This vigorous young conference was completely dominated last season, in its first official year, by powerful ST. JOSEPH'S, one of the 20 best teams in the nation, and it probably will happen again. Speed, experience, excellent shooting and great size are reasons why many coaches consider St. Joe's tops in the East. Coach Jack Ramsay has five returning starters, including 6-foot-9 Center Bob Clarke, Forwards Vince Kempton, 6 feet 8, and Jack Egan, and Guards Joe Gallo and all-East Bobby McNeill. Tall Forwards Frank Majewski, Joe Reilly and John Hoffacker load the front line; lack of veteran reserve guards is the team's only possible weakness. At LA SALLE wily Coach Dudey Moore is priming his squad for the big upset. One of the most notorious pessimists in a profession famed for its blues singers, Moore is making almost-cheerful sounds this year. If he had the one good, really big man so essential these days, LaSalle would be a threat to anyone, because all five starters are back after a year of the best coaching to be found anywhere except Kentucky, Temple and California, where it is merely just as good. The veterans, of fair average size, are Bob Herdelin, Hugh Brolly and Bob Alden up front and Guards Ralph Bantivoglio and Joey Heyer, the last the league's third-best scorer. Three sophomores, Joe Carey, Bob McAteer and George Friedrich, will see much action but the bench is fairly weak, LAFAYETTE, too, is unusually fortunate in the number of returning starters in camp. Forward Charlie Ross, top scorer in the MAC, and three other first-team veterans make the Leopards genuine title contenders. Guards Jim Hurst and Pete Pavia and Forward Morris Boyer will start again. Coach George Davidson's big problem is at center, where he will test 6-foot-10 George Hoerrner. Two poised sophs, a fine rebounder named Chip Lundy and speedy Bob Kauffman, could beat out veterans and start. TEMPLE is recovering from a rough season but should move up substantially, with three starters back and a strong sophomore crew. The Owls have a brilliant guard in Bill Kennedy, who will team with Bruce Drysdale, and experienced forwards in Bernie Ivens and George Palmer. Sophomore Russ Gordon probably will start at center; he is 6 feet 4 and the squad's tallest. Reserves Norm Ginsberg and Stodie Watts and sophs Earl Proctor, John Koskinen, Mike Gold and Ed Devery complete the roster. BUCKNELL has a courtful of young speed demons who are sure to pull some upsets but equally sure to trip over their own inexperience. Coach Ben Kribbs lost all but Guard Tommy Thompson. Dave Evans and sophomores Don Lampus and Joe Steiner average nearly 6 feet 5 across the front line, are backed by veteran Bruce Babich and soph Mike Fadden. Reserves Pete Matz and Mike Kasnick return at guard, with transfer Larry Roman and sophomores Doug Hill and Kevin Cooney. MUHLENBERG had big plans until 6-foot-6 Forward Dick Sekunda was put on academic probation, leaving only Don Robins and Joe Berghold as returning starters. Coach Birney Crum has some reserve height in Herb Loeffler and Ron Druckenmiller, while a tall soph named Dick Hunt is a likely starter at center. Other top newcomers are Chris Hiotis and Jack Superka, and Joel Sarner and George Gilfillan are back from the 1959 reserves. RUTGERS got off to a slow start last year, but has enough experience now to avert a repetition. Karol Strelecki, Doug Patton and Bill Barton are returning regulars, and plenty of depth is furnished by Lars Steensland, Fred Homer, Larry Kaufman, Lee Ammerman and a flock of good sophomores. DELAWARE will have a strong first five, fast and tough on the boards, but a weak bench. Tom Adams, Chuck Hamilton and Gil Mahla will start again, with soph Tom Schonauer joining them. The fifth man should come from 1959 reserves Jack Baly, Jay Lynch or Al Wentz. GETTYSBURG is the only MAC team without a single returning starter. Reserves John Warner, Bill Fitzkee, Bill Hemsing, John Bauer and Ken Kamis, plus likely soph starters Bob Parker, Ron Warner and George Burnett, are the nucleus of a squad with good speed but no height or experience. LEHIGH has good over-all size in starters Ross Culligan, Terry Eckert and Jack Palfi, plus promising sophs John Jacobsen and Norm Brandl. They should improve on last year's record, but not much because there is little talent in reserve.
TWO-ON-TWO DRILL is observed by Coach Dudey Moore at LaSalle, where five returning regulars offer only hope in conference of upsetting powerful champion St. Joseph's.