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Ranking the best new teams since 2007

When Florida Gulf Coast entered Division-I play in men's basketball at the start of the 2007-2008 season, no one could have predicted where the Eagles are today. But four other programs moved to D-I that year, and seven other programs have made the move since then.

How do they stack up to FGCU's wanton success? I ranked them all, 1-12.

1. Florida Gulf Coast University

First D-I season: 2007-2008
Conference: Atlantic Sun
Coach: Andy Enfield (two seasons)
2012-2013 season: 26-10 and counting, 13-5 ASun; NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen
Current Pomeroy rank: 92
Postseason play: NCAA Tournament 2013
Best program win: vs. San Diego State, 81-71, in 2013 NCAA Tournament third round
Overall win-loss record: 80-109
Prospects: Fantastic. The Eagles only lose Sherwood Brown from their starting rotation going into next season and return six of their top seven minute-getters. FGCU has only inked two players to LOIs for next season, but has four offers still out there. Plenty of scholarships open up for 2014-2015 and Florida Gulf Coast will be well positioned to take advantage thanks to all the attention.

2. North Carolina Central

First D-I season: 2007-2008
Conference: MEAC
Coach: LeVelle Moton (four seasons)
2012-2013 season: 22-9, 15-1 MEAC; lost in first round of MEAC Tournament
Current Pomeroy rank: 161
Postseason play: None
Best program win: vs. Southern, 59-55, on Nov. 15, 2012
Overall win-loss record: 69-114
Prospects: Great. The Eagles only lose starter Ray Willis from among their top-10 minute earners that won the most games in the program's D-I history. NC Central earned a No. 2 seed in the 2013 MEAC Tournament, but drew a tough matchup with North Carolina A&T in the first round. Starting junior guards Jeremy Ingram and Emanuel Chapman should help NCC vie for its first ever postseason tournament berth next season.

3. Bryant

First D-I season: 2008-2009
Conference: Northeast Conference
Coach: Tim O'Shea (five seasons)
2012-2013 season: 19-12, 12-6 NEC; lost in first round CBI Tournament
Current Pomeroy rank: 185
Postseason play: CBI 2013
Best program win: at Boston College, 56-54, on Nov. 25, 2012
Overall win-loss record: 39-111
Prospects:  Great. In just its first season of postseason eligibility, the Bulldogs showed amazing improvement that saw them win 17 more games than they did the season before to earn their first-ever D-I postseason selection. Bryant loses just two of its top eight most used players from this season.

4. South Carolina Upstate

First D-I season: 2007-2008
Conference: Atlantic Sun
Coach: Eddie Payne (six seasons)
2012-2013 season: 16-17, 9-9 ASun; lost in second round ASun Tournament
Current Pomeroy rank: 194
Postseason play: CIT 2012
Best program win: vs. Belmont, 79-78, on Jan. 21, 2013
Overall win-loss record: 64-122
Prospects: Very good. A season removed from their first-ever D-I postseason tournament berth, the Spartans boasted a rotation that had no seniors among the top eight most used players and still managed to take FGCU to overtime during the season, break even in conference play and go down as the best shot-blocking team in the nation (by block rate). Blame South Carolina State transfer Jodd Maxey for that last part. 

5. North Dakota

First D-I season: 2009-2010
Conference: Big Sky
Coach: Brian Jones (four seasons)
2012-2013 season: 16-17, 12-8 Big Sky; lost in first round of CIT
Current Pomeroy rank: 247
Postseason play: CIT 2011, 2012, 2013
Best program win: vs. South Dakota State, 89-70, on Dec. 15, 2011
Overall win-loss record: 60-70
Prospects: Very good. UND is learning the ropes of a bigger and better conference after moving out of the cursed Great West, and earned its third straight CIT selection this season. All five starters, including all-Big Sky first-teamer Troy Huff should be back for another go next season. North Dakota is one of many teams with an offer on the table for 2014 shooting guard J.P. Macura.

6. South Dakota

First D-I season: 2009-2010
Conference: Summit League
Coach: Dave Boots (four seasons)
2012-2013 season: 10-20, 5-11 Summit League; lost in first round Summit League Tournament
Current Pomeroy rank: 260
Postseason play: CIT 2010
Best program win: vs. South Dakota State, 72-68, on Feb. 9, 2012
Overall win-loss record: 60-63
Prospects: Good. The Coyotes still seem to be adjusting to life in the Summit League, and came within one possession of besting Western Illinois in each of their last two games of the season. They should return four starters for next season, their first with full postseason eligibility. 

7. Cal State Bakersfield

First D-I season: 2007-2008
Conference: Independent
Coach: Rod Barnes (two seasons)
2012-2013 season: 14-16
Current Pomeroy rank: 246
Postseason play: None
Best program win: vs. South Dakota State, 79-78 in 2OT, on Feb. 20, 2013
Overall win-loss record: 62-114
Prospects: Good. After an apparent APR scores mix-up, CSUB has regained its postseason eligibility. It also has finally found a home, in the ever-ballooning WAC, where it will begin play next season. Veteran Rod Barnes is at the helm of the team which loses a trio of starters going into next season.

8. Seattle

First D-I season: 2009-2010
Conference: WAC
Coach: Cameron Dollar (four seasons)
2012-2013 season: 8-22, 3-15 WAC; lost in first round WAC Tournament
Current Pomeroy rank: 229
Postseason play: None
Best program win: vs. Utah State, 73-66, on Jan. 19, 2012
Overall win-loss record: 48-71
Prospects: Decent. In its first year of WAC play, the Redhawks finished at the bottom of the heap and were bounced in the first round of the conference tournament. Full postseason eligibility is on the horizon, but there's still that pesky Seattle rainfall. The team loses at least a couple of starters and has some gaping holes in its recruiting.

9. Northern Kentucky

First D-I season: 2012-2013
Conference: Atlantic Sun
Coach: Dave Bezold (first season)
2012-2013 season: 11-16, 9-9 ASun
Current Pomeroy rank: 240
Postseason play: None
Best program win: vs. Mercer, 63-46, on Jan. 24, 2013
Overall win-loss record: 11-16
Prospects: Decent. In just their first season of D-I basketball the Norse fared pretty darn well. They still face a battle for recruits without full postseason eligibility, but Bezold must be doing a lot right to finish in the middle of the Atlantic Sun pack. His seniors- and freshmen-laden roster might really struggle next season, and they'll contend with at least four and possibly up to seven incoming recruits.

10. Nebraska Omaha

First D-I season: 2011-2012
Conference: Summit League
Coach: Derrin Hansen (two seasons)
2012-2013 season: 11-20, 6-10 Summit League
Current Pomeroy rank: 320
Postseason play: None
Best program win: at South Dakota, 95-90, on Jan. 24, 2013
Overall win-loss record: 22-38
Prospects: Decent. The Mavericks finished higher than three other Summit League teams in just their second D-I season. They return much of their roster but still don't have the luxury of full postseason eligibility. Nebraska-Omaha currentl has just one commitment (and it's only verbal one) for its next three recruiting seasons. Hit the trail!

11. Houston Baptist

First D-I season: 2008-2009
Conference: Great West
Coach: Ron Cottrell (five seasons)
2012-2013 season: 14-17, 3-5 Great West; lost in Great West Conference Championship
Current Pomeroy rank: 323
Postseason play: None
Best program win: vs. Middle Tennessee, 70-68, on Feb. 22, 2011
Overall win-loss record: 46-109
Prospects: Decent. The Huskies have found a new home in the Southland for next season, but with just two sophomores and no juniors on the current roster, Houston Baptist may struggle for a little while.

12. Presbyterian

First D-I season: 2007-2008
Conference: Big South
Coach: Gregg Nibert (six seasons)
2012-2013 season: 8-24, 4-12 Big South; lost in first round Big South Tournament
Current Pomeroy rank: 335
Postseason play: None
Best program win: at Cincinnati, 56-54, on Nov. 19, 2011
Overall win-loss record: 57-125
Prospects: Not good. At the end of Gregg Nibert's 24th season as head coach (the past six in D-I), the Blue Hose are struggling to keep up in the Big South. Presbyterian has never finished better than sixth in Big South play and has yet to earn a postseason berth of any kind at the D-I level. 

 

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