NCAA Tournament Primer: Mercer Bears

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Get to know all of the NCAA Tournament’s automatic bids here.

Conference: Atlantic Sun

Coach: Bob Hoffman

Record: 26-8 (14-4 Atlantic Sun)

Rankings and Ratings:

– Kenpom: 102
– RPI: 88
– AP/USA Today: Not ranked

Seeding?: In Dave Ommen’s most recent bracket, it had Florida Gulf Coast as the automatic bid from the Atlantic Sun. Dunk City was projected as a No. 16 seed.

Names you need to know: Langston Hall (14.7 ppg, 5.7 apg); Daniel Coursey (9.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 2.1 bpg)

Stats you need to know: Had the Atlantic Sun’s top scoring offense (79.5 points per game) and scoring defense (66.4 points per game). Langston Hall, the senior floor general from the Bears has a 2.37 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Tendencies: The Bears have the tendency this season to be in a lot of close ball games. Langston Hall’s 3-pointer gave Mercer a huge win over Ole Miss. Before that the Bears knocked off Seton Hall in double overtime. The Bears played another two overtime game in the A-Sun semifinals, before they held off rival Florida Gulf Coast to finally punch its ticket to the Big Dance on Sunday. Should make for a fun game in the NCAA tournament, right?

Big wins, bad losses: Beat Ole Miss in Oxford by three on Dec. 22 and won in double overtime against Seton Hall. Hung with Texas on opening night before eventually dropping a close one. Mercer split with Florida Gulf Coast before Sunday’s championship win.

How’d they get here?: Breezed past Jacksonville in the conference quarterfinals before barely getting by USC Upstate, 78-75 in double overtime in the semis. The Bears held the Eagles to 17 first half points, limiting them to only five field goals.

Outlook: Mercer has been a good team for several seasons. The Bears are a tough team with a senior-heavy lineup and will can give anyone, regardless of seed, a scare in the NCAA tournament.

How do I know you?: Mercer was actually the Atlantic Sun regular season champion last season before Florida Gulf Coast snagged the automatic bid. And we all remember how that turned out for the Eagles.

Wichita State’s Anton Grady improving after being hospitalized

James Woodard, Anton Grady, Ron Baker
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Wichita State senior forward Anton Grady received some positive news on Saturday as a neurosurgeon reviewed MRI results, which are negative for spinal cord trauma.

According to a release from Wichita State, doctors believed Grady suffered a spinal cord concussion during a collision on Friday after he was taken off the floor in a stretcher and taken to a hospital in an ambulance. CT and MRI scans on Friday both turned up negative, but the news of Saturday’s results are an even more encouraging sign for Grady.

The injury for Grady occurred during a Friday loss to Alabama during the AdvoCare Invitational as the senior’s condition has improved since the collision. Grady will receive physical therapy over the next few days and doctors will check his progress before he is released from the hospital.

Grady has been alert and responsive to questions and had feeling in his extremities on Friday, but the use of his arms and legs was limited. By Saturday morning, Grady had improved the use of his extremities.

The 6-foot-8 Grady has averaged 9 points and 6 rebounds per game this season in his first season with the Shockers. The Cleveland State transfer is shooting 39 percent from the field.

Colorado’s Tory Miller reprimanded by Pac-12 after biting opponent

Dusan Ristic, Tory Miller
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Colorado sophomore forward Tory Miller has been reprimanded by the Pac-12 and he also apologized for biting Air Force’s Hayden Graham earlier this week.

During Colorado’s win over Air Force on Wednesday, Miller was assessed a Flagrant 2 Dead Ball Technical Foul and ejected with 12:25 left in the second half after biting Graham during a loose ball.

In a release from the Pac-12, they announced reprimanding Miller, but he will not be suspended.

“All of our student-athletes must adhere to the Pac-12’s Standards of Conduct and Sportsman-ship,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in the release. “Regardless of Mr. Miller’s frustration and emotion, such behavior is unacceptable and he is being appropriately reprimanded.”

Miller also released his apology in the same release.

“I would like to apologize for my actions during the Air Force game. I would like to apologize to Hayden Graham, Air Force, my teammates and fans. It was a heat of the moment thing. I’m an emotional player, but I let my emotions get the best of me. I will use this as a learning experience and focus on helping my teammates and respecting my opponents for the rest of the season and beyond,” Miller said.

For Miller to not be suspended for this is good news for him and Colorado since he won’t miss any additional action, but did the Pac-12 make the right decision on this?