Team preview: Mercer

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

The Mercer Bears are a team on the hunt for some consistency. After winning only six games in the 2001-02 season, they came out of nowhere to win 23 the next, only to fall back to 12 wins the year after that.

Despite having the nation's leader in assists last season and a 6-10 center who ranked among the conference leaders in scoring and rebounds, the Bears could only manage an 11-9 record in the Atlantic Sun and exited in the first round of the league tournament.

Coach Mark Slonaker has both those players back this year, and he's hoping a tough early-season schedule that takes place mostly on the road -- highlighted by back-to-back stops at Oklahoma State and Colorado -- will toughen his team up for the conference schedule.