Toledo is predicted to represent the Mid-American Conference in the 2014 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament in College Sports Madness’ 144 teams in 144 days countdown to the college basketball season.
The Rockets are ranked No. 89 and are followed by fellow MAC members Western Michigan at No. 100, Kent State at No. 115 and Akron at No. 128.
UT returns four starters from last year’s 15-13 squad that tied Western Michigan for first place in the MAC’s West Division. A pair of all-conference guards, senior Rian Pearson (17.9 points per game, 6.8 rebounds per game) and junior Julius Brown (13.1 points per game, 6.0 assists per game), are back to the team with 2012-13 All-MAC Freshman Team member, center Nathan Boothe (8.3 points per game, 5.2 rebounds per game), and senior forward Matt Smith (9.8 points per game, 3.6 rebounds per game).
The Rockets also are gaining the services of a pair of junior transfers, guard Justin Drummond and forward J.D. Weatherspoon, as well as the freshman trio of center Zach Garber, guard Jordan Lauf and guard Jonathan Williams.
According to the final projection by the publication: “Toledo has a roster full of talent. There are quite a few newcomers who will need some time to adjust to their roles and young players who need to take that next step, but it is not impossible for this to happen. Coach [Tod] Kowalczyk even has enough options to spend the non-conference portion of the schedule sorting out his rotation before the more important games in January, February and, of course, March.”
The Rockets played the final game of their trip to Greece Tuesday and will return to the United States Friday.