In media's predicted order of finish
Six-foot-11 center David King had a breakout season last year for, earning All-KCAC and honorable-mention All-America honors, but the Maize product won't play this year because of a knee injury. Former Friends player and assistant coach Matt O'Brien is in his first year with the Moundbuilders.
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The defending KCAC champion lost all of its front court, but return an all-league backcourt with Chad Friess and Zach Goodrich. The Warriors are tough in Sterling, where they've gone 18-2 over the last two seasons.
3. SAINT MARY
The Spires will have a hard time replacing KCAC player of the year Carvelle Taylor, and Fort Scott Community College transfer Brandon Dougherty was brought in to try and ease the pain of losing Taylor's 24.3 points.
Don't be surprised to see a lot of three-guard combinations for the Falcons, because the backcourt is absolutely loaded with talent. Transfers Brett Steven (Wichita State), Avery Richardson (Southwestern) and Sean Jantz (Dodge City C.C.) should eat up minutes, but incumbent Chris Heard was the man last year.
Six-foot-3 senior guard Mike Reece came to the Bulldogs from Hesston College with coach Tim Swartzendruber last season and had a big year, leading the team in scoring at 14.3 points. Reece, an honorable mention all-league pick, is one of three starters that return.
6. KANSAS WESLEYAN
The future seemed bright for the Coyotes at the end of last season, with three All-KCAC performers returning in junior Romero Hood and freshmen Dante Jordan and Brad Wespieser. None made their way back to the KWU roster this season through a variety of circumstances.
Coach Andy Carrier, in his 20th season, resisted the urge to try and reload his team with transfers after last year's senior-laden roster departed. The building block for the Braves' will be sophomore point guard Isaac Johnston, who scored a career-high 17 points against Sterling in last year's KCAC Tournament semifinals on his way to making the all-freshman team.
Coach Micah Ratzlaff hopes that Goddard product Ryan Chippeaux, a 6-foot-7 freshman forward, can produce right away, and feels like Chippeaux may eventually develop into one of the best players in the league.
Senior guard C.J. Littlejohn is already a two-time All-KCAC selection, but could see his scoring numbers dip with the addition of 6-foot-5 junior college transfer Sol Byrd, who averaged 15 points last season for Florissant Valley (Mo.) Community College.
The Threshers went a miserable 1-17 in KCAC play last season and 3-25 overall. Eligibility issues could sideline several key players until second semester.
The Warriors lost one of the most complete players in the country with the graduation of Ashley Kraft, a two-time All-American who led a six-member senior class that accumulated 76 wins over three seasons. The prime candidate to replace Kraft is 6-foot guard/forward Megan Patrick, who averaged nearly 10 points as a freshman.
The Moundbuilders get Tylar Hartfield back after the All-KCAC pick in 2007-08 missed last season because of a knee injury, and expect the 5-foot-10 sophomore to team with the backcourt of all-freshman picks Jordyn Cossman and Jasmine Jackson to contend for a league title.
3. KANSAS WESLEYAN
The Coyotes won their first KCAC title since 1988 last season but lost KCAC player of the year and All-American Emily Luckeroth. Luckily, they've got an All-American to spare in senior guard LaCole Wilkinson.
Junior guard Kylie Covey appears to be healed from her third ACL tear after winning the 100-meter dash and finishing third in the 200 at the KCAC track meet in the spring. The Valley Center product started 11 games for the Braves last season.
The Falcons will start three guards again this year and can match up, size-wise, with anybody in the conference thanks to a frontcourt of 6-foot-1 Mary O'Nelio and 6-foot Calli Mathews. Jessica Halsing, a 5-11 guard/forward, can also crash the boards.
The Threshers return all five starters off one of the youngest teams in the KCAC, including all-league pick Hannah Blackburn, who led Bethel with 14.4 points and 9.7 rebounds last season.
Sophomore Gina Hullet led the Bluejays with six rebounds last season and was second in scoring with 9.4 points, but won't join the team until after volleyball season.
Lindsborg product Rhys Pihl took the KCAC by storm as a freshman, averaging 12.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.5 steals on the way to all-league honors. Along with sister Jade, Rhys is one of four starters back for the Swedes.
9. SAINT MARY
Junior guard Rani Jacobs is already a two-time All-KCAC pick and led the league in assists last year (4.0).
The Bulldogs managed one win in KCAC play last year, but return four starters led by honorable mention all-league pick Kristen Ozbun, a Rose Hill product.