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NCAA Tournament Primer: Cal Poly Mustangs

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

Conference: Big West

Coach: Joe Callero

Record: 13-19 (6-10 Big West)

Rankings and Ratings:

– Kenpom: 172
– RPI: 223
– AP/USA Today: Not ranked

Seeding?: They weren’t in Dave Ommen’s latest bracket, but the Mustangs will likely be a 16 seed with a trip to Dayton in their future.

Names you need to know: F Chris Eversley (13.6 ppg, 7.1 rpg), G David Nwaba (11.9, 4.9), G Kyle Odister (9.3, 2.2)

Stats you need to know: The Mustangs lost nine of their last 11 games to end the regular season, and they played five of those games without Odister. Cal Poly averaged just 63.3 points per game and shot 40.8% from the field, ranking last in the Big West in both statistical categories. However this is a group that takes care of the basketball, averaging just nine turnovers per game and ranking 39th nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3). Defensively teams shot 43.5% from the field against Cal Poly.

Tendencies: Tempo is critical for Cal Poly, as they rank 348th in the country with an average of 60.8 possessions per 40 minutes. They’re not going to run up and down the floor, preferring to play one half court at a time. Eversley and Nwaba are their two best offensive options, with Odister being a key figure as well. And in their Big West title game victory over Cal-State Northridge freshman guard Ridge Shipley was an important piece, stepping in for the struggling Jamal Johnson and hitting three three-pointers (finishing with 14 points) off the bench.

Big wins, bad losses: Cal Poly picked up just two wins against Division I opponents in non-conference play, beating Big Sky tournament finalist North Dakota and Santa Clara. In conference play the Mustangs lost a game to Cal-State Fullerton and was swept by UC Davis, which did not qualify for the Big West tournament.

How’d they get here?: Beat Cal-State Northridge 61-59 in the Big West title game. In the two games prior the Mustangs beat two-seed UCSB and one-seed UC Irvine.

Outlook: A win in Dayton looks improbable for the Mustangs. Then again, so did their run through the Big West tournament.

How do I know you?: This is the first-ever NCAA tournament appearance for Cal Poly, whose alums include Ozzie Smith, John Madden and Chuck Liddell.

BUBBLE BANTER: Key Atlantic 10, Big East bubble games

Kelan Martin, Kyle Alexander
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This post will be updated throughout the night.

Butler (KenPom: 41, RPI; 67) at Seton Hall (KenPom: 31, RPI: 37), 6:30 p.m.
LSU (KenPom: 53, RPI: 76) at South Carolina (KenPom: 45, RPI: 28), 7:00 p.m.
Nebraska at Wisconsin (KenPom: 51, RPI: 62), 7:00 p.m.
Saint Joseph’s (KenPom: 48, RPI: 30) at George Washington (KenPom: 71, RPI: 34), 7:00 p.m.
Missouri at Vanderbilt (KenPom: 35, RPI: 58), 9:00 p.m.
No. 14 Iowa State at Texas Tech (KenPom: 59, RPI: 51), 9:00 p.m.
Michigan (KenPom: 46, RPI: 56) at Minnesota, 9:00 p.m.
Washington (KenPom: 80, RPI: 57) at Utah (KenPom: 44, RPI: 16), 9:00 p.m.
San Diego State (KenPom: 65, RPI: 47) at Fresno State, 11:00 p.m.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Ben Simmons, LSU get tested at South Carolina; more important bubble matchups

FILE - In this Nov. 24, 2015, file photo, LSU forward Ben Simmons (25) drives downcourt as teammate Antonio Blakeney (2) follows in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina State in New York. For all of his gaudy numbers, Simmons is still trying to figure out the best way to put the Tigers in position to win. And now the schedule gets harder, starting with Tuesday night's, Dec. 29, 2015, tilt against Wake Forest, followed by the opening of Southeastern Conference play against Vanderbilt and No. 10 Kentucky. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)
(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: LSU at South Carolina, 7:00 p.m.

LSU attempts to stay atop the SEC standings when they travel on the road to face South Carolina. The Gamecocks have been very tough at home this season and they’re trying to form a potential four-way tie in the conference standings if they’re able to win this one (and Texas A&M wins tonight). It will be intriguing to see how Ben Simmons fares against South Carolina’s stingy defense.

THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: Saint Joseph’s at George Washington, 7:00 p.m.

An important game in the Atlantic 10 as Saint Joseph’s heads to the Smith Center to play surging George Washington. The Colonels have won three straight games as they try to stay with VCU and Dayton and make a move to tie the Hawks in the league standings. CBT’s Rob Dauster will be in the building for this one, so make sure to follow him on Twitter for updates.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR

  1. No. 21 Baylor will have a tough one in the Big 12 when they go on the road at Kansas State. The Wildcats just knocked off Oklahoma and the Octagon of Doom is a very tough place to play, even if Kansas State is struggling in the standings.
  2. No. 16 SMU will try to stay in the lead in the American as they host Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane could really use a road win like this for its postseason chances.
  3. An intriguing Pac-12 contest tips as Washington heads to Utah. The Pac-12 standings are a mess right now, but these two teams still have a chance to make one final move for the regular season title if they start building momentum now.
  4. In the SEC, Alabama hosts No. 15 Texas A&M, a team that has lost three of its last four games. The Aggies will be favored in this road contest, but this one could be interesting because of Avery Johnson’s unique connection to Texas A&M. Avery Johnson Jr., a transfer guard sitting out this season at Alabama, played for the Aggies last season, so he could have some useful tips for his dad on slowing down Texas A&M’s potent offense.
  5. No. 20 Providence will be looking for revenge when they head to Milwaukee to face Marquette. The Golden Eagles currently sit eighth in the Big East standings, but they did win on the road by a point over the Friars earlier this season.