Read through the rest of the Cheat Sheets here.
Conference: Southwestern Athletic Conference
Coach: Roman Banks
Rankings and Ratings:
– Kenpom: 162
– RPI: 49
– AP/USA Today: N/A
Seeding?: Our Dave Ommen had Southern as a No. 16 seed playing in one of the First Four in Saturday’s bracket projection.
Names you need to know: Malcolm Miller (16.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg), Derrick Beltran(16.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg), Javan Mitchell (9.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg)
Stats you need to know: Scoring defense for Southern is the key. Roman Banks is a discipline coach and under him the Jaguars hold teams to exactly 57 points per game after holding Prairie View A&M to 44 points in the SWAC title game. The Southern scoring defense is good for thirteenth in the nation. In Saturday’s win, Southern held Prairie View A&M’s Jourdan DeMuynck to 15 points after he went for 37 the night before against Jackson State
How’d they get here?: Southern made it to the field of 68 by only needing to win a pair of tournament games in order to clinch the automatic bid. Southern actually finished second in the SWAC, but because of postseason bans, Texas Southern was not in the tournament.
Outlook: Probably not good. Like previously stated, Southern is pegged for a No. 16 seed and even before the Jaguars play one of the four No. 1 seeds, they will likely need to play a game in Dayton at the First Four before.
How do I know you?: Like all No. 16 seeds, it’s been impossible to beat a No. 1 seed thus far. Also, it’s uncertain whether Southern will even get that chance as they are slated to play the MEAC winner in the First Four. However, this is a tremendous turnaround for the Jaguars. Two years after the program’s worst record, 4-26 and Southern is in the big dance.
Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne
Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.
After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.
Video credit: Wyoming Athletics
Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.
Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.
Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.
Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.
Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.
But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.