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Heart of America Athletic Conference

Avila Eagles
Kansas City, MO
Head Coach: Rodney Perry
Last Season: 10-19 (5-13)

Coach Rodney Perry was quick to admit he doesn’t have a of experienced players come back to the team that has eleven sophomores and freshmen and just four returning to a team that lost 19 games. The inexperience might be a problem for the Eagles and moving up in the HAAC rankings might not be in the cards this season.

Baker Wildcats
Baldwin City, KS
Head Coach: Sean Dooley
Last Season: 15-14 (8-10)

Guards Julian Mills and Todd Johnston will have their work cut out for them is Bakers hopes to make a run at a HAAC crown. The Wildcats were near the bottom of the conference in scoring and shot just over 43 percent from the field below what they shot the year before when they played in the national tournament. Baker will be building off of last season but still have a way to go.

Benedictine College Ravens
Atchison, KS
Head Coach: Ryan Moody
Last Season: 18-12 (10-8)

The Ravens return just about their  entire team from a year ago, and Coach Moody feels that leaves a lot of room for optimism. Three seniors will lead Benedictine and one of those they will be leaning on a lot is senior forward Charlie Wallrapp who was a second-team All-HAAC selection a year ago.

"Having that much scoring coming back is a positive thing," Coach Moody said. "But we've talked with our guys a lot, and I they believe it, that  one year older doesn't mean you're one year better. We're going to have to continue to work hard because this (conference) has too many good coaches and there are too many good players in this league.”

Central Methodist University Eagles
Fayette, MO
Head Coach: Jeff Sherman
Last Season: 19-13 (11-7)

CMU returns just one starter, Melvin Tillman (14.9 ppg) from last season. Tillman will help but the lack of returners will be an issue early on for the Eagles. Another 19 win season could be hard to come by for CMU in a tough HAAC, but it never hurts to have a coach 30 years of experience and over 500 wins.

Culver-Stockton College Wildcats
Canton, MO
Head Coach: Jack Schrader
Last Season: 26-9 (14-4)

The 26 wins that the Wildcats had last season was more that they had the previous four combined. Coach Schrader looks like a genius the way he has turned the program around in such a short period of time. CSC returns eleven players including three starters from last season, but the biggest returner may be senior forward James Johnson who averaged 14.5 points off the bench. The element of surprise is gone at Culver-Stockton this season but the Wildcats still look to contend for the HAAC title and another trip to Kansas City.

Evangel University Crusaders
Springfield, MO
Head Coach: Steve Jenkins
Last Season: 26-7 (15-3)

Steve Jenkins enters his thirty-first season with the Crusaders and looks for a ninth consecutive 20 win season. Evangel looks to frustrate opponents again this season, as they were one of the best in the nation at scoring defense allowing just less than 66 points per games and a scoring margin of nearly 9. Team leading scorer Zack Kleine will be key to the crusaders who look to make a deep run in the national tournament.

Graceland University Yellowjackets
Lamoni, IA
Head Coach: Jeffrey Hamilton
Last Season: 7-22 (4-14)

The Yellowjackets are returning three starters from last season. Drew Emmert, Jamal Lawson and Isaiah Miller look to improve on last season with the help of NCAA Division I transfer, Steven Roundtree. Coach Hamilton sees GU being picked to finish last in the HAAC as motivation. We’ll have to see if the team responds to that motivation. More than likely it could be another long season at Graceland.

MidAmerica Nazarene Pioneers
Olathe, KS
Head Coach: Rocky Lamar
Last Season: 26-10 (14-4)

Pioneers return 4 starters to the second highest scoring team in the HAAC (82.1 ppg) last season. Forward Luke Thomas, the team’s second leading scorer from last season will try to pick up where he left off averaging nearly 15 point a game for the Pioneers. The early season will tell a lot for MNU as they will have two tough games one back-to-back nights at Our Lady of the Lake and then Texas Wesleyan.

Missouri Valley College Vikings
Marshall, MO
Head Coach: Chad Lance
Last Season: 9-21 (4-14)

The loss of Jordan Epps and his nearly 19 points a game are going to hurt a Vikings club that wasn’t very good with him. MVC will need for the lone returning starter, Jim Thomas to help lead the way for a team that shot under 43 percent from the fields. Rebounding will need to improve as well, as the Vikings were last in HAAC and 106 out of 112 in the nation in that category a season ago. Things may get worse before they get better in Marshall.

Peru State Bobcats
Peru, NE
Head Coach: Troy Katen
Last Season: 12-18 (5-13)

Bobcat head coach Troy Katen said at HAAC media day that they had a good year last year. In a way, he was right as they had the most wins in season in nine years. Bobcats might be a little better this season with three returning starters including Peru’s second leading scorer Kody Kirkpatrick (13.6 ppg) and a so, so non-conference slate. The Bobcats should be a little better.

Projected Standings

  1. Evangel
  2. MidAmerica Nazarene
  3. Culver-Stockton College
  4. Benedictine College
  5. Central Methodist University Eagles
  6. Peru State Bobcats
  7. Baker Wildcats
  8. Missouri Valley College Vikings
  9. Avila Eagles
  10. Graceland