Expect Mercer to join three other surging basketball programs to pass a rebuilding East Tennessee State this year. Value Add projects Strawberry's Ria'n Holland edging out Furman's Devin Sidley for Player of the year, giving Mercer a strong one-two preseason All-Conference punch.
Value Add projects Samford (75th) and Mercer (82nd) in the top tier of the 351 Division 1 teams.
Here is where Value Add ranks each Southern Conference team for the season, and the Massey Rankings rank the football teams against all other schools.
|Team - 2017 Seed||Hoops||Football|
|North Carolina Greensboro||127|
|East Tennessee St. 13||182|
Here are the top 15 projected players in the conference in order.
|Top 15 Southern Players||Value Add||School||Ht|
|Ria'n Holland 10||6.57||Mercer||`6-00|
|Devin Sibley 12||6.21||Furman||`6-02|
|Francis Alonso 10||6.19||North Carolina Greensboro||`6-03|
|Jordan Strawberry 5||5.62||Mercer||`6-01|
|Wyatt Walker 33||5.46||Samford||`6-09|
|Fletcher Magee 3||5.00||Wofford||`6-04|
|Cameron Jackson 33||4.87||Wofford||`6-08|
|Demetrius Denzel-Dyson 22||4.82||Samford||`6-05|
|Desonta Bradford 11||4.59||East Tennessee St.||`6-04|
|Preston Parks 0||4.20||The Citadel||`6-01|
|Zane Najdawi 35||4.10||The Citadel||`6-07|
|Daniel Fowler 35||4.08||Furman||`6-04|
|David Burrell 3||3.80||East Tennessee St.||`6-06|
|Stephon Jelks 15||3.80||Mercer||`6-06|
|James Dickey 21||3.58||North Carolina Greensboro||`6-09|
Ken Pomeroy ranked the Southern Conference the 14th best of 32 Division 1 basketball conferences, which will all be previewed here with notes on which schools are now "basketball" or "football" schools based on which program is stronger this season. Football revenue is much higher, but programs are much more expensive between equipment and the requirement of matching enough women's scholarships in other sports. Therefore some programs forgo FBS football programs to focus on low cost basketball programs as their biggest revenue sport.
Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports and ESPN have lauded Value Add Basketball for estimating the number of points each college basketball players is worth to his team above a replacement player - similar to baseball WAR (Wins Above Replacement). Massey Ratings is used for the football rankings above.