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Wisconsin men’s basketball season preview: St. Francis (NY)

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It’s time to start previewing the men’s hoops season! Here is a preview of the Terriers, Wisconsin’s season opening opponent.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 04 NEC Conference Tournament - St Francis Brooklyn at Robert Morris Photo by Michael Longo/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Team: St. Francis (NY) Terriers
Location: Brooklyn Heights, New York
Conference: Northeast Conference
Head coach: Glenn Braica (11 seasons, 154-180 record)
2020-2021 record: 9-10 overall, 9-9 NEC

Top returning players: 6-foot-1, G, Rob Higgins (11.2 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.4 spg); 6-foot-8, F, Vuk Stevanic (6.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.7 apg, 0.6 bpg)

Top newcomers: 6-foot-4, G, Michael Cubbage (11.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.5 spg, 42.9% 3-Pt), transfer from Marist; 6-foot-7, F, Patrick Emilien (5.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 0.7 bpg), transfer from Western Michigan; 6-foot-9, F, Jack Hemphill (6.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.2 apg), transfer from Boston University

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 24 Marist at Siena
Cubbage dribbling a basketball for Marist last year. He’ll do that for St. Francis (NY) now.
Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

2020-2021 review: Obviously last season was a strange one in college sports. The Terriers only played one non-conference game, a six point loss to St. Peter’s, and then played mostly NEC doubleheader type series where they’d play conference rivals in back-to-back games.

While the Terriers finished seventh in the ten team NEC, and were swept by regular season champs Wagner, they did take three of four games from conference tournament finalists (who also finished second and third in the league’s regular season) Bryant and Mount St. Mary’s.

The Terriers were led by second team All-NEC point guard Chauncey Hawkins (16.0 ppg, 4.4 apg), who was set to return for a fifth year this season, but in September announced that he’d be entering the transfer portal.

Fellow starters from last season, wing Travis Atson (14.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg) and guard Unique McLean (12.9 ppg, 7.3 rpg), have also moved on which will leave the Terriers with a number of starting spots open for this season.

2021-2022 preview: While 60% of their starting lineup from last season is gone, the Terriers were active in the transfer portal and brought in a handful of solid contributors that should step into the rotation right away. Hawkins, Atson and McLean were the three highest usage players on the team last year, so there are shots to be had all over the court for St. Francis.

The Terriers are predicted for another middle of the pack finish in the NEC, although most of those predictions came when everyone thought that Hawkins was going to suit up for them. Losing an all-conference performer will definitely hurt St. Francis as will their lack of height.

St Francis-Brooklyn v Robert Morris
Head coach Glenn Braica making a point during a game against Robert Morris a few years ago.
Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

6-foot-4 Marist transfer Michael Cubbage will be the most important player for St. Francis as he brings strong three point shooting and rebounding numbers to the squad, but will he be able to do all of the heavy lifting by himself?

Last season, the Terriers took care of the ball on offense and will need to do so again, but their lack of shooting (Atson and Hawkins were their two best shooters) and rebounding (Atson and McLean were their two best rebounders) will keep them closer to the bottom half of the conference than the top.

Game vs. Wisconsin: Tuesday, Nov. 9; Madison, Wisc.; Kohl Center; B1G+; time TBA