8. Quinnipiac - First year Head Coach Baker Dunleavy is going to do great things for this Quinnipiac program. Talent is on the way. Unfortunately it's too soon for them to have much success in this competitive tournament and they will have to struggle in three straight losses.
7. Drexel - The Dragons come to Lynchburg, VA a little banged up. To make matters worse, they have to face a formidable Houston squad in Round 1. Fortunately for Drexel, they will get to take out some frustration in the 7th place game against Quinnipiac.
6. Drake - Hard to not love what Niko Medved did as the Head Coach at Furman. Completely turned that program around and almost won the SoCon title last season. Now in his first year at Drake, he looks to repeat the same formula. And they open the Paradise Jam against a struggling Wake Forest team, which could be interesting. I see them falling short, but turning around and beating Quinnipiac before again falling short on Monday.
5. Mercer - The Mercer Bears are a sleeper team to win this tournament. They have a tough draw against the red hot hosts - Liberty. That should be a fun game to watch on opening day. Whoever loses that game is in the drivers seat to take 5th place. Since Liberty is at home, I am going to say Mercer takes 5th.
4. Wake Forest - This team is reeling after home losses to Georgia Southern and Liberty. Coach Danny Manning will bring his team to Lynchburg in search of answers. Luckily they face a rebuilding Drake team to get their confidence going. But after that I think the struggles will resurface and I see them finishing here.
3. Houston - Houston has a quality roster, led by talented Sophomore Armoni Brooks to go along with 6 Juniors and Seniors. This team tasted some success last year but fell short in bigger match-ups. It would do wonders for their confidence to win this tournament. I'm going on a limb and saying they will get stunned in the Semifinals and rebound to finish in 3rd place.
2. Liberty - Here is my boldest pick of the month so far. With Liberty hosting the tournament and coming off a road dismantling of Wake Forest, I see them coming in with a high level of confidence. Enough so to pull of upsets of Mercer and Houston. Let's see how this plays out.
1. Colorado - I've got the Buffaloes winning this tournament despite being the team that had to travel the furthest. I like that they draw Quinnipiac in the First Round which should allow them to keep their guys fresh. In the Semi's I see them handling Wake Forest, before knocking off Liberty in the Final. Overall, any of my top 5 here can win the Paradise Jam.