8. James Madison - James Madison heads to the Bahamas still licking their wounds after losing by 16 at home against former arch rival Old Dominion. This JMU program is in rebuilding mode, and maybe this trip will help them grow as they look toward an uphill battle in the CAA later this season. As for predictions, I see them unfortunately losing on three straight days this weekend.
7. UTSA - Head Coach Steve Henson inherited a program last year that finished dead last in the nation in Team Defense. Given that, you'd have to consider last season a major success. The Roadrunners went from 351st in Defense up to 134th. This year they are off to a quick 2-0 start including a road win at Texas State. I see this team hanging tough throughout the tournament and leaving the Island with a 7th place win over JMU.
6. Weber State - This Wildcat team is hungry after just falling short in overtime last year while knocking on the door of the NCAA Tournament. They enter the Bahamas with a 2-0 record and ready to take on a tough test in Iona. Should be a heck of an opening round battle, but I see Weber State falling just short. Saturday, I think they handle JMU before again losing a tough game on Sunday against...
5. Bradley - This Braves team is finally maturing after two rebuilding seasons. We will learn a lot about how far along they are by the time this weekend is over. They open up with a rough draw vs. Vermont in what I think will be a highly competitive game. I see them responding well after a tough loss to Vermont and leaving The Bahamas with a Two game winning streak in hand.
4. Coastal Carolina - Coastal comes into this weekend after losing a tough road game at Lamar. A game that was tight throughout and they just let it slip away at the end. I do believe the Chanticleers have enough fire power to take down UTSA on Friday. However, the road gets much tougher after that and I have them finishing here.
3. Iona - Coach Tim Cluess has been known to win preseason holiday tournaments in the past, and it would not surprise me if he won this one. Iona comes in pretty frustrated after close loses at Albany and at Syracuse. I believe here they beat Weber State in a close opening game, lose a heartbreaking Semifinal, and finish out Sunday with a win over CCU.
2. Northern Kentucky - It's hard not to like this Northern Kentucky team. They return the majority of their cast from last year's NCAA Tournament team including their leader Drew McDonald. NKU is off to a fast 2-0 start with a couple of blowouts. This is a great opportunity to get a couple of quality (75-150 RPI) wins. I see them winning a great battle in the Semifinals over Iona.
1. Vermont - This is Vermont's tournament to lose. They have a quality roster led by Anthony Lamb. Aside from Lamb they have a stud off the bench in Drew Urquhart and key contributors Payton Henson, Trae Bell-Haynes, and Ernie Duncan. Look for the Catamounts to sweat in the opener against Bradley, breeze past Coastal, and win a real good Title game over NKU.