Over the past three seasons, Saint Francis has reached the Elite Eight, finished as runner-up and won the national championship in the NAIA Division II tournament. The past two seasons, Saint Francis has lost to the eventual national champion.
Graduation took the top two scorers from last seasons 23-13 team. Qadr Owens averaged 19.6 points, and Kevin Dawson averaged 12.3.
Ranked 19th in the final poll last season, Saint Francis was rated No. 34 in the preseason NAIA Division II poll.
With a .741 percentage, Saint Francis was ranked seventh in free-throw shooting last season.
Counting redshirt freshman Greg Dickey, the Cougars have six freshmen on the roster.
4 games of interest
Nov. 13 at Indiana Tech: Its the first of two meetings between the two NAIA rivals. Tech, which defeated the Cougars twice last season, is ranked No. 25 in the NAIA preseason poll.
Dec. 5 vs. Indiana University Southeast: Another early test, since IU Southeast, 26-8 last season, is ranked No. 6 in the preseason poll.
Jan. 12 vs. Grace: The Lancers finished No. 12 in the final poll last season and are No. 8 going into this year. Saint Francis lost to Grace in the MCC tournament title game last season.
Jan. 15 at Indiana Wesleyan: Always one of the key conference (now the Crossroads League) games. Wesleyan is ranked No. 4 in the preseason poll.
3 key players
Scott Kohne, Jr., F: The 6-foot-7 Kohne was the leading returning scorer with a 12.2 average. He led the team with 46 blocked shots last season.
Ethan Hussey, Sr., G: The 6-3 Hussey averaged 9.8 points and had 24 steals. Is the only junior on the roster.
Seth Small, So., G: The 5-8 Small averaged 5.3 points, 2.1 assists as a freshman starter. Second behind Owens with 36 three-point field goals.
2 points of concern
Replacing Q: Owens will be hard to replace. He led the team in nearly every offensive statistical category. To go along with his 19.6 points per game, he had 122 assists and 52 steals, and averaged 4.9 rebounds.
Rough schedule: The youth of the team will be tested quickly and often. Saint Francis has a rugged schedule, as it plays seven opponents in the NAIA preseason top 25. Four of the ranked opponents (Indiana Wesleyan, IU-Southeast, Grace and Indiana Tech), Saint Francis will play twice.
1 major issue
Inside depth: Kohne will be counted upon heavily to lead inside, both offensively and defensively. Returning 6-6 forward Brad Sneary will help, but everyone else 6-5 or more is either a freshman or sophomore.