In coaches predicted order of finish
Coach: Dale Faber, 11th season, 165-139
2012-13: 17-13, 13-5 KCAC
Outlook: The Falcons may have the best player in the KCAC — if not one of the best in the nation — in senior guard Joe Mitchell. Mitchell, who was an All-Jayhawk West selection at Hutchinson Community College two years ago, averaged 15.3 points in only 11 games after joining Friends in the second semester after transferring from Wichita State. Mitchell is one of three All-KCAC preseason picks for the Falcons along with 6-5 forwards Anthony White (13.1 points, 8.3 rebounds) and Colton Rausch (12.4 points).
Coach: Micah Ratzlaff, seventh season, 87-87
2012-13: 15-13, 14-4
Outlook: Senior guard Robbie Samuel was an honorable mention All-KCAC selection last season and is the team’s leading returning scorer at 9.0 points. The Bluejays return four other players who averaged at least 5.0 points per game — Brent Jackson (8.6), Reggie Butler (7.4 ), Nick Sauer (7.1) and JT Nemit (5.2). Starting point guard Chance LeBlanc is out for the season with a knee injury.
3. Saint Mary
Coach: Jon Bishop, sixth season, 100-54
2012-13: 22-9, 16-2
Outlook: Bishop won his first KCAC title last season and has led the Spires to second-place finishes in two other seasons. Bishop and the Spires got an immediate lift to their title hopes when 5-11 junior guard Jamal Akakpo transferred from NCAA Division II Truman. Akakpo averaged 14.5 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals for Truman as a sophomore.
Coach: Tim Swartzendruber, sixth season, 103-59
2012-13: 15-18, 6-12
Outlook: The Bulldogs are in the midst of the greatest run in school history, with three straight NAIA Division II tournament appearances — although none was more unlikely than last season. McPherson entered the KCAC Tournament as the bottom, No. 8 seed and earned the automatic bid to the national tournament with a series of upsets culminating in a championship-game victory over regular-season champion Saint Mary.
Coach: Dean Jaderston, eighth season, 119-92
2012-13: 21-11, 13-5
Outlook: Senior guard Eddie Adesodun was an honorable-mention All-KCAC pick last season and was named preseason All-KCAC. Adesodun (5-foot-11) averaged 11.8 points and is a career 34 percent three-point shooter. The Warriors return one other scorer who averaged in double digits, 5-11 senior guard Darius Alexander (10.2 points) who also averaged 4.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists. A pair of senior guards — Samson Shivers and Adam Bruner — were both preseason All-KCAC selections.
Coach: Clair Oleen, 21st season, record unavailable
2012-13: 12-15, 8-10
Outlook: Oleen has a trio of guards to lead the way, led by 6-5 senior Idris Idris, a preseason All-KCAC selection who transferred from UC Riverside, where he played for former Kansas State coach Jim Woolridge. Dwight Abad (7.9 points, 2.4 assists) and Carroll product Jordan Bieberle (6.9 points) will contribute.
Coach: Matt O’Brien, fifth season, 64-54
2012-13: 16-14, 7-11
Outlook: If your coach compares you to Jack Bauer, the role made famous by Kiefer Sutherland on “24,” take it as a compliment and run. That’s who O’Brien says 6-3 sophomore guard Cameron Clark reminds him of after Clark led Southwestern in scoring (14.0 points) and rebounding (8.9) last season. Clark was named the KCAC freshman of the year, a first team All-KCAC pick and honorable mention NAIA All-American last season.
Coach: Andy Carrier, 24th season, 298-377
2012-13: 10-20, 6-12
Outlook: The Braves lost their top two scorers in Chase Dippel and Corey Smith, but return six key contributors led by junior guard Adam Hasty (10.3 points) and All-KCAC defensive pick Kameron Lindsay (8.2 points, 4.5 rebounds), a 6-3 junior guard. Carrier recruited well in the offseason, bringing in some size with 6-8 senior center Jason Haase, a transfer from Avila University, and 6-6 freshman forward Logan Bullinger, a Carroll product who should make an immediate impact.
9. Kansas Wesleyan
Coach: Chris Fear, second season, 11-26
2012-13: 8-20, 5-13
Outlook: Fear seemed to have the piece he needed to turn around the Coyotes’ losing ways in senior guard Canon Fields, who led the nation in scoring last season with 24.2 points and led the KCAC with 5.3 assists. But Fields unexpectedly withdrew from school at the end of September. The Coyotes have three players back who started more than 20 games, but they’re all guards — Dane Brinker, Brock Borovetz and Michael Johnson.
Coach: Alonzo Jamison, third season, 7-48
2012-13: 3-25, 2-16
Outlook: Former Kansas star Jamison has struggled mightily in his first two seasons, finishing last in the KCAC last year. Things don’t look to get much better for the Threshers this season with no returning starters and their three tallest players are all 6-5, two of whom are freshmen. Early-season games include trips to NCAA Division II foes Fort Hays State, Emporia State and Newman.
Coach: Dave Denly, 16th season, 296-156
2012-13: 23-8, 15-3
Outlook: There’s a reason Southwestern is creating buzz in the preseason — five players return who earned some type of All-KCAC honor last season, led by 6-foot senior forward Zefiryn Bryan and 6-foot sophomore forward Jana Rechenberger, the KCAC freshman of the year and Carroll product. Kaitlin Tennyson, a 5-11 senior guard was honorable mention, 5-4 senior guard Trinicia Shafer was third team and sophomore guard Jessica Hobbs was on the all-freshman team.
Coach: Shawn Reed, third season, 27-31
2012-13: 20-10, 15-3
Outlook: Reed orchestrated quite the turnaround in his second season, going from 7-21 to 20-10, and now he returns 5-11 senior forward and reigning KCAC player of the year Janelle Rust. Rust led the KCAC in scoring last season (15.3 points) and was second in rebounding (7.6). She’s not the only All-KCAC player back — senior guard Nikki Lewis (11.5 points, 5.4 assists) also returns.
3. Kansas Wesleyan
Coach: Ryan Showman, second season, 18-13
2012-13: 18-13, 11-7
Outlook: The Coyotes have a pair of preseason All-KCAC guards in 5-11 senior Alecia Smith, a first-team pick last season, and 5-9 junior Vanessa Kreslin. Smith, who is in graduate school, led the KCAC with 7.9 rebounds and was second in scoring at 14.1 points. The Coyotes return post players Brittney Stever (6-3 sophomore) from Clearwater and Caley Greving, a 6-1 sophomore.
Coach: RaeAnne Boothe, fourth season, 63-29
2012-13: 23-9, 16-2
Outlook: Boothe has turned the Falcons into one of NAIA Division II’s elite programs in just three seasons, leading the school to back-to-back KCAC titles and national tournament berths the last two seasons, along with a Sweet 16 spot in 2012. Senior guard Sarah Munds is an All-KCAC preseason pick — the 5-11 Wichita native averaged 8.7 points and led Friends with 3.4 assists last season. Senior guard/forward Ashlynn Steffensen is the other returning starter.
Coach: Lonnie Kruse, 33rd season, 696-225
2012-13: 14-15, 10-8
Outlook: Kruse will in all likelihood pick up his 700th win in the first few weeks — he’s four wins away and has a career winning percentage of 75.5 percent. The Warriors have a solid nucleus that returns for Kruse to build around, led by All-KCAC preseason pick Lori Dauer, a 5-11 junior forward. Dauer averaged 11.8 points and 6.7 rebounds last season on her way to honorable-mention All-KCAC honors. All-KCAC freshman pick Leslie Branch (5.4 points) also returns.
Coach: Bruce Tate, seventh season, 55-120
2012-13: 9-20, 5-13
Outlook: This could be the year Tate and the Braves smash through the ceiling in the KCAC with three returning starters who all averaged in double figures. Senior forward Amber Ramsey was a second-team All-KCAC selection last season with 13.6 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists and is joined by guards Shauna McClure (10.7 points) an Mikayla Skidmore (10.0 points, 2.3 assists).
Coach: Mark Fox, ninth season, 85-133
2012-13: 8-19, 4-14
Outlook: Fox’s best seasons so far came with back-to-back 16-win seasons and fourth-place finishes in 2009-10 and 2010-11, but hasn’t been above seventh in the KCAC in any of his other six seasons. This group, on paper, could be Fox’s strongest so far. The Threshers return all five starters and eight letterwinners, led by 5-5 sophomore guard Lauren Ulrich. Ulrich was honorable-mention All-KCAC after leading Bethel in points (12.8), assists (2.5) and steals (1.6).
Coach: Brett Morehouse, first season
2012-13: 5-24, 4-14
Outlook: Morehouse comes to the Swedes after two seasons as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the men’s team at Montana-Western, which qualified for the NAIA Division I Tournament each season. Senior guard/forward Kendra Austin is Bethany’s top returning scorer (7.0 points) and led the Swedes with 27 three-pointers. Six-foot senior post Heather Eddings averaged 6.0 points and 3.8 rebounds.
9. Saint Mary
Coach: Bruce Erickson, first season
2012-13: 8-22, 2-16
Outlook: The Spires went out and made a big hire with Erickson, a former assistant at UMKC and Oklahoma State. Saint Mary finished last in the KCAC last season and its top returning scorer is 5-7 senior guard Adelyn Ezeh (6.7 points).
Coach: Gordon Reimer, first season
2012-13: 14-15, 8-10
Outlook: Reimer unexpectedly resigned in September 2012 after eight seasons at Kansas Wesleyan, where he racked up more wins (140) than any other coach in school history. He led the Coyotes to two KCAC regular-season and two KCAC tournament titles and three appearances in the NAIA Division II tournament.