Coaches vs. Lippman

By Jeff Lippman - October 15, 2007

As's women's basketball preview coverage rolls onward, Monday marked the release of my Division I conference predictions piece.

And as conference Media Days continue to trickle in, I'd like to see how the coaches predictions conflict and agree with - hey, it's rare, but it does happen - my own.

Atlantic Sun:
My Pick: East Tennessee State
Coaches Pick: Jacksonville
Record: 0-1

While JU garnered seven first-place votes to ETSU's four, this was an extremely close vote as JU got 138 total points to ETSU's 133. OK so I start off 0-for-1, but I think that at least counts as a fielders choice with a run scored.

Big South:
My Pick: Radford
Coaches Pick: Radford
Record: 1-2

Bingo, picked up my first hit with the Highlanders. This actually marks the first time since 1996-97 that Liberty was not picked as preseason favorites by the coaches. So that either means my pick was extremely insightful, or extremely obvious. Insightful sound so much better.

Conference USA:
My Pick: SMU
Coaches Pick: Tulane
Record: 1-3

Did I make a major error here? SMU was only picked tied for fourth in the conference with UAB, so I was waaay off. Not so fast! The Mustangs did receive two first-place votes, which ranks them second to Tulane in that category. I know, that doesn't make up for the fact I still differed with the coaches for the champion, but it makes me feel better to justify my selection.

Horizon League:
My Pick: Milwaukee
Coaches Pick: Milwaukee
Record: 2-4

Ahh, average is back up to .500 with this agreement. Green Bay won both the regular season and conference tournament last year, but as both the coaches and I agree, this year the Horizon will belong to another team from Wisconsin.

My Pick: Coppin State
Coaches Pick: Coppin State
Record: 3-5

After a shaky 1-3 start, back-to-back hits have my average skyrocketing. Of course, with Coppin State going 18-0 in MEAC play last year and returning their best player and MEAC Player of the Year candidate Rashida Suber, this pick didn't need Nostradamus-like insight to come up with.

Ohio Valley Conference:
My Pick: Southeast Missouri
Coaches Pick: Southeast Missouri
Record: 4-6

OK, now I'm due for strikeout, or at least a squibbler back to the pitcher. This pick wasn't a sure thing for me, with the nation's leading rebounder Lachelle Lyles gone to graduation, the Redhawks still seemed like the team to beat in the OVC and the coaches agreed.

West Coast Conference:
My Pick: San Diego
Coaches Pick: San Diego
Record: 5-7

Continuing to earn the title of Women's Basketball Editor one pick at a time, San Diego's nod for WCC champs puts me at a win percentage of .714. The Toreros return four starters and the talent will be too great for Gonzaga or any other WCC team to beat the southern California school.

Summit League:
My Pick: Oakland
Coaches Pick: Oral Roberts
Record: 5-8

This one feels like I just ripped a drive down the line in left field that was snared on a diving catch in the corner. It may not count as a hit in the scorebook, but you can tell I took a nice cut. While the coaches felt Oral Roberts will finish the league No. 1, I think the talent that Oakland returns from a team that won the conference last year will be enough to win it again, and this time take the conference tourney as well.

Mountain West Conference:
My Pick: Wyoming
Coaches Pick: Wyoming
Record: 6-9

The Cowgirls won 27 games last year and return all five starters from that team making this pick an easy one to get correct. However, Wyoming did manage to choke long enough to fail to win their conference tournament, so they do have something to prove on the season. All the more reason to pick them.

Colonial Athletic Association:
My Pick: William and Mary
Coaches Pick: Old Dominion
Record: 6-10

Come on coaches! Grow an imagination. Let's get creative. Old Dominion has won 16 conference titles in a row, don't you think its time to let someone else have a turn? The coaches picked the Tribe to finish third behind ODU and James Madison, but could that be simply because both teams had better records last year than the Tribe? In my estimation, William and Mary has the best combination of returning depth and talent, plus sometimes it's fun to root for the underdog.

My Pick: Ball State
Coaches Pick: Ball State
Record: 7-11

My batting (picking) average climbs over the .600 mark by correctly agreeing with the coaches of the MAC that Ball State will take both the West Division and conference title. After coming in second in last season's conference tournament, Julie DeMuth and company are ready to take control of the conference from Bowling Green, who beat the Cardinals in the conference tourney last season.

My Pick: Prairie View A&M
Coaches Pick: Prairie View A&M
Record: 8-12

She's On Fire! Get it? OK, seriously, I am on a roll here and I still say that William and Mary is the more attractive option in the CAA. But I digress, coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke will have her Lady Panthers playing some top-notch basketball next season as she looks to continue to build a name for herself on the sidelines to go with the reputation that proceeds her as a player.

Southland Conference:
My Pick: Texas State
Coaches Pick: Lamar
Record: 8-13

Everybody swings and misses sometimes. But, personally, this conference has the coaches do one poll, broken into East and West division, and they ranked Lamar No. 1 in the East and UTSA in the West. They had Texas State, my pick, No. 3 in the West. The Sports Information Directors, however, have their own poll. They ranked Texas State No. 1 in the West, tied with Stephen F. Austin. I guess what I am trying to say is, nobody really knows who is going to win this conference. Oh, looks like the catcher couldn't hold on to strike three causing me to reach base safely.

My Pick: Marist
Coaches Pick: Marist
Record: 9-14

In what was one of the easier predictions to make, the coaches and I both agree that Marist will once again rule the MAAC. With dynamite sophomore Rachele Fitz, who was in the league's top 10 in scoring, rebounding, FG precentage and FT percentage last year, getting even better with a year of experience, the Red Foxes will once again be NCAA Tournament bound. Just don't expect to see them get as far.

As more conferences have their Media Days and more preseason conference favorites are selected by the coaches, this page will continue to be updated with my record, so check back to see how I'm doing.

Posted by Jeff Lippman at 03:03 PM on October 15, 2007

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