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college basketball preview

NYC College Basketball Preview: The Schools That Aren’t St. John’s

Astute readers might remember our big NYC College Hoops Tour from last year, in which we visited every NYC college basketball team's home court. Well, a new season is at hand, and we thought we'd take a look and see how everyone looks for the 2010-11 season. This year, though, St. John's is clearly worthy of its own post, so today, just like last year, we take a look at the other six programs in town. How are they gonna be this year? Let's find out.

We love college basketball, and we can prove it: Sitting at our desk right now are three college-basketball reference books. College Basketball Prospectus, the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, and, our favorite toy, the massive ESPN College Basketball Encyclopedia, which actually runs 1,213 pages.

As a service to you, and because we love leafing through all the pages and calling it "work," we're going to take a look at all the city teams. The big ESPN book, insanely, actually ranks all Division I-A teams historically, so we'll do them in that order, with that rank, along with a scouting line on each team from the Blue Ribbon guide. Anyway, here goes. We'll hit St. John's tomorrow.

No. 131 (ESPN historic ranking), Manhattan Jaspers
Coach: Barry Rohrssen
Record Last Season: 11-20 (ninth in Metro Atlantic)
Best Player: Forward Demetrius Jemison.
Home Arena: Draddy Gymnasium, Bronx.
Blue Ribbon Forecast: "If Manhattan finds the right mix, it could be a surprise team in the MAAC this season. If not, it will be a long season in Riverdale."
Predicted Conference Finish: Tenth (last).

No. 133, Fordham Rams
Coach: Tom Pecora
Record Last Season: 2-26 (fourteenth in Atlantic-10)
Best Player: Forward Chris Gaston.
Home Arena: Rose Hill Gym, Bronx.
Blue Ribbon Forecast: "The good news for the Rams is that it will be nearly impossible for them to be as bad as they were last year."
Predicted Conference Finish: Fourteenth (last).

No. 175, Long Island Blackbirds
Coach: Jim Ferry
Record Last Season: 14-17 (fourth in NEC)
Best Player: Guard Kyle Johnson.
Home Arena: Wellness, Recreation & Athletic Center, Brooklyn.
Blue Ribbon Forecast: "LIU just might be at the top of the pack along with Quinnipiac, at least entering the season."
Predicted Conference Finish: Second.

No. 192, Columbia Lions
Coach: Kyle Smith
Record Last Season: 11-17 (tied for fifth in Ivy League)
Best Player: Forward Noruwa Agho.
Home Arena: Levien Gymnasium, Morningside Heights, Manhattan.
Blue Ribbon Forecast: "The Lions will find it challenging to finish in the top half of the league."
Predicted Conference Finish: Seventh.

No. 241, St. Francis (NY) Terriers
Coach: Glenn Braica
Record Last Season: 11-18 (tied for eighth in Northeast)
Best Player: Guard Ricky Cadell.
Home Arena: Peter Aquilone Court, Brooklyn.
Blue Ribbon Forecast: "They might not be the best team in the NEC going into the year, but the Terriers could finish that way if things fall into place."
Predicted Conference Finish: Fifth.

No. 282 Wagner Seahawks
Coach: Dan Hurley
Record Last Season: 5-26 (11th in Northeast)
Best Player: Guard Chris Martin.
Home Arena: Spiro Sports Center, Staten Island.
Blue Ribbon Forecast: "There are plenty of holes/roles to fill if the Seahawks want to be a factor this season in the NEC."
Predicted Conference Finish: Tenth.

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Photo: Will Leitch, off his television.