Duquesne vs. the Foreigners - Maine Preview

Last Year Maine Recap:

Maine finished the year at 12-17 (6-10 America East, #281 RPI). Early season, the Black Bears looked good, starting the season 8-5 before finishing with a Duquesne-esque collapse. The Black Bears start of the season was good enough to give coach Ted Woodward a contract extension right before Christmas. However, their second straight late season collapse (they went 1-8 two years ago) is starting to raise many questions about the extension in Maine.

Preseason predictions on the America East board typically have Maine ranging from third to sixth in the AE, with one or two outliers. On paper, this seems like a talented America East team. Part of the key will be how Woodward can get them to come together, which could be an issue given the foreign flavor on the Bears roster (more on that in the comments below).

Key Returners:

Justin Edwards (6-3 Soph SG): A candidate for America East Rookie of the Year, Edwards finished with 14.9 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 3.3 apg, and 1.4 spg last year. The Ontario product was ranked as the #8 player from Canada in the 2011 class. Edwards will be a much bigger part of the offense this year with the departure of Gerald McLemore.

Alasdair (Ali) Frasier (6-7 Jr PF): Frasier was third in the AE in field goal percentage, and led the AE in two point FG percentage. Frasier also hits the boards hard, grabbing 7.8 rpg last year in addition to chipping in his 1.4 blocks per game. Expect a ton of fouls and turnovers with Frasier also to go along with his shooting efficiency.

Mike Allison (6-9 senior center): A 6-9, 215 pounder whose primary function is to block shots and crash the glass, Allison averaged 7.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg (6th in the AE), and led the America East in blocked shots with 49 (2.2 blocks per game).

Key Departures:

The Black Bears lost most of their backcourt production in McLemore, Singleton, and Rogers last year. Edwards can help fill part of the role, but the remaining will be filled in by unknown players.

Gerald McLemore (6-3 G): The America East's number three leading scorer, McLemore was also the conference's leading three point shooter and free throw shooter. A second team all-AE player, McLemore was a lights out scorer (17 ppg), and will be sorely missed.

Raheem Singleton (6-0 G): An efficient point guard who was 5th in the AE in assist to turnover ratio, Singleton will leave a void in the backcourt. Singleton averaged 7.9 ppg, 3.4 apg, and 3.3 rpg. Singleton's lack of turnovers (only 46 all season) helped him to a 2.2 to 1 assist to turnover ratio.

Andrew Rogers (5-9 G): Led the AE with a whopping 2.8 to 1 assist to turnover ratio. Rogers had almost as many assists (95) as points (98) last season.

Svetoslov Chetinov: A center who only played 12 games last year before his career was unfortunately cut short with a leg injury.

Key Arrivals:

Dimitry Coronel (6-4 SG/SF): Rated a 78 by ESPN's new rating system, the 6-4 to 6-5 swing is reportedly an athletic type. He should be a quality defender, and a streaky shooter. He is reportedly strong for his size at 6-4, and is a solid one-on-one player who can create his own shot.

Till Glocer (6-8 PF) and Jonathan Mesghna (6-6 SF JUCO) are both foreign-touted prospects with little information.

Comments from Pittsburgh:

Maine is clearly recruiting internationally. A quick look at current locations include: USA (6), Canada (2), Germany (2), Serbia (2), Finland (1), and Scotland (1). They'll certainly have the most diverse team that the Dukes will be playing.

From afar, Maine has seemingly had more talent than their final records with Coach Woodward would reflect. I'm not sure what the issue is, but looking at a game or two I was expecting their record to be more even. I don't know if that's coaching, the international players not meshing the way one would like, or just poor execution at times, but it seems from afar that the team had more talent than the final record indicated.

Maine seemingly beat the teams it was supposed to beat and lose to those it should lose to in America East play. Maine's wins went against teams that combined for an 11-37 conference record, but Maine went 0-10 vs. the the rest of the America East who finished 30 games above 500 in conference ball.

Though I'm sure Maine fans will get on me for mentioning how horrible of a game they played on offense against Vermont in the AE tourney, but Maine was 0-17 from three, had an assist to turnover ratio of 1 to 2, and attempted only seven free throws.