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2019-20 Central Arkansas men's basketball preview

Central Arkansas Bears

2018-2019 record: 14-19, 8-10 in the Southland Conference

Head Coach: Russ Pennell

Tenure at Central Arkansas: 6th Season

Career coaching record: 142-166

Home court: Farris Center

Starters: C Hayden Koval, G DeAndre Jones, F Eddy Kayouloud, G Khaleem Bennett, G Rylan Bergersen

Bench: F SK Shittu, G Lewis McDaniel, G Masai Olowokere, G Collin Cooper, C Jonas Munson

Overview: The Bears were picked fifth overall in the Southland preseason poll, projecting them to finish around the middle of the pack similar to last year. They received a few first-place votes coming off three straight trips to the Southland Conference Tournament. The Bears did not lose many to graduation and return many of their key players who could lift them into the upper echelons of the conference this year. Four of their five top scorers return from last year, and Hayden Koval along with DeAndre Jones were named to the preseason SLC second team. Their mettle will be tested early, with nonconference games against Baylor, Duke, Marquette and Wichita State over the opening stretches of the fall campaign.

One thing that needs to go right: The two stars, Koval and Jones, need to live up to their preseason conference honors, and make up most of the scoring for the Bears, taking a leadership role along the way.

One thing that could go wrong: Central Arkansas could suffer a few bad losses to begin the season, and never fully recover its confidence when conference play comes knocking, underperforming and not making much of a postseason impact.

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