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College basketball preview: Navy Midshipmen
Coach: Ed DeChellis. Second season, 3-26; 222-257 overall
Last season: 3-26, lost in Patriot League quarterfinals
Key player: F Worth Smith. The sophomore averaged 6.8 points and 5.0 rebounds a year ago and, if healthy, should continue developing into a major part of the Midshipmen's nucleus going forward.
Biggest loss: G Jordan Sugars. He averaged 11.4 points as a senior and finished as the No. 14 scorer in academy history. On the flip side, any loss can only be so big for a team coming off a three-win season.
Top newcomer: G Tilman Dunbar. The freshman will at least be the most noticeable addition considering the dearth of point guards among the holdovers. Look for freshmen Phil Guglielmo and Kendall Knorr to also emerge as factors in the backcourt.
Best case: There should be no illusions that Navy will suddenly morph into a Patriot League contender overnight. A long rebuilding process is underway, but that doesn't mean the Mids can't snatch a few victories both before and during league play. Anything close to 10 wins would be impressive.
Worst case: Well, it can't get much worse than last year's misery. But the Mids are pegged for the Patriot cellar, and a second straight winless season in league play would be particularly sobering.
Nov. 9 vs. Marymount. Usually, an opener against a Division III team wouldn't stand out as important. For Navy, it means the chance to snap a 22-game losing streak, the longest in Division I.
Jan. 26 vs. Colgate. Could this be Navy's best chance to snag a Patriot League victory? Possibly. The Mids lost one meeting to the Raiders in overtime and another on a buzzer-beater last season.
Feb. 16 vs. Army. Regardless of the season, the Black Knights' visit to Annapolis is the highlight of the home schedule. They'll play Jan. 20 — Inauguration Day — in West Point as well.
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About the Author
Patrick Stevens has covered Maryland and other Mid-Atlantic college sports for more than a decade. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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