College basketball: The Post’s 2019-20 predictions for NYC area

The Post gives its New York City-area college basketball predictions for the 2019-20 season:

Iona’s drive for five

Despite decreasing win totals the past two years, the Gaels have reached the NCAA Tournament in four straight seasons and six of the past eight years. Tim Cluess brings back numerous key pieces likely to earn all-conference honors (E.J. Crawford, Tajuan Agee, Asante Gist) who will blend with the usual impact transfers. Come March, no team in the MAAC is more comfortable.

Long Island goes dancing

Though Hofstra may initially struggle to adapt to life without star Justin Wright-Foreman, the Pride return an experienced core, which will be fueled by last season’s conference-championship game loss and excel without the weight of expectation. LIU will be in the big bracket as well, reaching the NCAA Tournament for the second time under Derek Kellogg, who returns all five starters from last season.

The last stand

Jeff Neubauer made many fans when he led Fordham to a 17-14 record in his first season, completing the school’s first winning season in nine years. Since then, the Rams have gone 25-61, with back-to-back last-place finishes in the Atlantic 10. Fordham is again expected to finish in the basement, and Neubauer — whose contract expires after the 2020-21 season — likely won’t survive another brutal campaign.

Rutgers snaps drought

There are real expectations at Rutgers this season, and the Scarlet Knights will partially meet them. For the first time in 14 years, they won’t finish with a losing record. They will not reach the postseason, however, coming up short of the NIT, in part because of yet another soft non-conference schedule. Sophomore Ron Harper Jr. emerges as their best player, and 6-foot-10 classmate Myles Johnson takes a big step forward, too.

Tyrese the beast

Seton Hall won’t just have the best player in the area in preseason All-American Myles Powell, but it will have the best freshman, too. Canadian Tyrese Samuel, a 6-foot-10 wing with 3-point range, will be a difference-maker, providing a spark with needed scoring punch off the bench. Samuel will play so well, coach Kevin Willard will even start him on occasion.

Howie’s Haggerty pick: Sr. G Myles Powell, Seton Hall

Howie’s All-Met First Team

Sr. G Mustapha Heron, St. John’s
Sr. G E.J. Crawford, Iona
Sr. G Eli Pemberton, Hofstra
Jr. F LJ Figueroa, St. John’s
Sr. F Raiquan Clark, LIU

Zach’s Haggerty Pick: Sr. G Myles Powell, Seton Hall

Zach’s All-Met First Team

Sr. G E.J. Crawford, Iona
Jr. F LJ Figueroa, St. John’s
So. G Ron Harper Jr., Rutgers
Sr. G Mustapha Heron, St. John’s
Jr. F Sandro Mamukelashvili, Seton Hall

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