Tag: NCAA Tournament Primer


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.

NCAA Tournament Primer: Eastern Kentucky Colonels

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

Conference: Ohio Valley

Coach: Jeff Neubauer

Record: 24-9 (13-5)

Rankings and Ratings:

– Kenpom: 141
– RPI: 113
– AP/USA Today: Not ranked

Seeding?: 14 or 15.

Names you need to know: G Glenn Cosey (18.7 ppg, 4.2 apg, 3.3 rpg), G Corey Walden (13.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 2.8 apg)

Stats you need to know: The Colonels rank 13th nationally in field goal percentage, shooting 48.9% from the field, and eighth in offensive efficiency (116.4). Offensively this is a very good basketball team, with Marcus Lewis (10.1 ppg) joining Cosey and Walden as double-digit scorers and three other players averaging between 8.5 and 9.8 points per game. If there’s a concern it’s the defense, with opponents shooting 48.3% from the field and nearly 36% from three.

Tendencies: Six players average at least 20 minutes per game, with Cosey rarely leaving the floor (36.1 mpg) and Walden playing just over 31 minutes per game. Those two lead the way, with Marcus Lewis being a quality supplementary option and forward Eric Stutz ranking third on the team in assist rate.

Big wins, bad losses: EKU managed to beat Belmont twice, and they also beat Murray State in the OVC semis. As for bad losses, the Colonels dropped conference games to both SIU-Edwardsville and Tennessee Tech.

How’d they get here?: The Colonels raced out to a 12-0 lead over Belmont in the OVC title game, then went on a 12-2 second-half run after the Bruins tied the game at 52. EKU, led by Walden (29 points) and Cosey (23 points), would go on to win 79-73.

Outlook: The backcourt of Cosey and Walden has the skill and experience needed to lead this team in tight games. But the defense may be an issue when considering the caliber of opponent they’ll likely face.

How do I know you?: Marcus Lewis may end up being one of the most explosive dunkers in the NCAA tournament field. Here’s an example of his jumping ability. The fun starts at the 23-second mark of that video.