Updated: 6 days ago
I am a relatively new participant of the Jerome. This is only my third year participating, and I have had a painfully average past two campaigns.
It ends here!
In the spirit of brevity, here's my "no-more-than-two-sentence takes" on why each team can win their titles this year.
America East: Vermont
John Becker has distanced himself from the field, and Ben Shungu is on fire - his last performance under 10 points was in December 2021.
Darius McGhee can't be stopped; he's second in the nation in PPG.
Big South: UNC Asheville
The Bulldogs are no stranger to March, and they're overdue; it's been 6 years since UNC Asheville has gone dancing. They gave #1 Longwood and #2 Winthrop some close efforts this year.
Pat Skerry's group is cruising again, and even though it's a crowded CAA pool, Towson's sheer talent will prevail.
Horizon: Cleveland State
Dennis Gates deserves a Power 6 job; even though the Vikings have lost 3 of their last 5, there's no better person to help reverse the course.
Yes, that Drake...the one that was undefeated last year. They've won five straight, and are playing some of their best basketball of the season.
This is a Bulldogs team with two #1 options. Peter Kiss and Charles Pride are the highest scoring duo in the nation; their only threat is LIU after Wagner's injuries.
OVC: Murray State
Not only are the Racers ranked in the AP Top 25, but they're a team that can do some damage in the NCAA Tournament. There are plenty of threats, but a sneaky SEMO team might be in the cards, too.
Patriot: Boston University
Navy's defense is scary, but their offense has gone ice cold...and BU won a championship the last time they were underdogs in Colgate's building. PL POY Sukh Mahton and sharpshooter Javante McCoy will dictate how the Terriers fare up.
Sure, Furman is good, but not enough to take the wind out of the Mocs' sail.
Summit: South Dakota St.
Oral Roberts & Max Abmas could threaten another historic season for the Jackrabbits, but SDSU is just too deep this year. Look for scrappy forward Luke Appel and sharpshooter Baylor Scheierman to lead the way.
Sun Belt: Texas State
All three of TSU's conference losses were reversed later in the year; Troy, Arkansas State, and UT Arlington were on the revenge tour. The Sun Belt goes through San Marcos.
WCC: St. Mary's CA (SMC)
SMC can beat Gonzaga. Do you need anything else?! On a serious note, a neutral floor might favor the Gaels, rather than trying to pick off the Zags in Spokane. There is a legitimate path to the auto-bid for SMC, who will be in the NCAA tourney regardless of what transpires.