Team preview: Fairleigh Dickinson

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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)

The top of the mountain in the NEC is a tough place to stay. It's even harder to earn a repeat trip to the NCAA Tournament.

The Knights, who won the NEC's regular-season league title last season, became the latest victim of the "Conference Curse" when they came up a game short of a second straight NCAA appearance, falling to Monmouth in the conference championship game.

FDU's loss extended the league's streak to 13 years since it had a team make back-to-back tournament trips. It also left the Knights slightly miffed about not earning an at-large bid for its 20-win season, even though mid-major conferences rarely send more than one team to NCAAs.

"Winning the regular-season championship is obviously more significant than winning the NEC Tournament," said Green, comparing the three-round tournament to an 18-game league schedule.

FDU did receive an invitation to the NIT, where it lost to Manhattan in the first round, 80-77.

The road back to the NCAAs won't be any easier for the Knights this season. In fact, it might be rather difficult after losing NEC Player of the Year Chad Timberlake (15.2 ppg) along with fellow senior Gordon Klaiber (14.9 ppg).

But Green already knew both players would be gone. The big offseason loss was 7-0 senior center Andrea Crosariol, who skipped his final year of eligibility to play professional overseas.

"Now I know how Roy Williams and Jim Calhoun feel [when they lose underclassmen]," Green said