Tag: NCAA Tournament Primers

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NCAA Tournament Primer: Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks

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

Conference: Southland

Coach: Brad Underwood

Record: 29-2 (18-0 Southland)

Rankings and Ratings:

– Kenpom: 60
– RPI: 63
– AP/USA Today: Not ranked

Seeding?: The Lunberjacks were a No. 13 seed in Dave Ommen’s most recent bracket projected.

Names you need to know: Desmond Haymon (14.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.8 apg), Jacob Parker (14.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.3 spg), Thomas Walkup (12.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.1 apg), Deshaunt Walker (12.0 ppg)

Stats you need to know: The Lumberjacks are third in the nation in defensive turnover percentage, but it comes at a price. They’re also one of the most foul prone teams in the country, with a free throw rate that ranks among the worst in Division I despite playing just a single NCAA tournament team.

Tendencies: The Lumberjacks are a bit unique. They force a ton of turnovers and commit a lot of fouls, but they’re one of the most patient offensive teams in the country. They don’t start anyone taller than 6-foot-6, all of whom shoot at least 35.3% from three, yet their offensive rebounding percentage is 38.5%, 11th nationally.

Big wins, bad losses: Stephen F. Austin has only lost twice this season — at Texas and at East Tennessee State, both in November. They’ve won 28 straight since then, but only one of those 28 teams ranked in KenPom’s to 150. That’s Towson.

How’d they get here?: SFA rolled through the Southland Conference and then rolled through the Southland tournament.

Outlook: If SFA is going to win a game in the dance, they’re going to have to get lucky with a matchup. A team with solid, turnover-free point guard play and a big front line might embarrass them. If they can catch a break and draw a team like Ohio State or Villanova, there might be some potential there.

How do I know you?: The Lumberjacks have made one NCAA tournament in their history. You probably don’t know much about them unless you read Scott Phillips’ feature on the team from last month.

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.

NCAA Tournament Primer: Weber State Wildcats

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

Conference: Big Sky

Coach: Randy Rahe

Record: 19-11 (14-6 Big Sky)

Rankings and Ratings:

– Kenpom: 176
– RPI: 154
– AP/USA Today: Not ranked

Seeding?: According to Dave Ommen’s most recent bracket, the Wildcats will be a 16 seed.

Names you need to know: G Davion Berry (19.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 4.0 apg), G Jeremy Senglin (11.1, 2.1, 2.2), F Kyle Tresnak (11.2, 4.8)

Stats you need to know: Weber State led the Big Sky in scoring defense and field goal percentage defense, limiting  opponents to 42.5% shooting from the field. Offensively, the Wildcats scored a respectable 72.7 points per game, ranking second in both field goal (47.8%) and free throw percentage (73.3%) and first in three-point percentage (38.9%). From a playing time standpoint seven players are averaging at least 18 minutes per game.

Tendencies: Berry is the key decision-maker for the Wildcats, as he factors into 29.9% of the team’s possessions and ranks second in the Big Sky in offensive rating (minimum 24% possessions). Tresnak is the team’s best interior scoring option, with sophomore Joel Bolomboy being the best rebounder with 10.8 rebounds per game. Weber State isn’t great at forcing turnovers but they are one of the best teams in the country when it comes to blocking shots, ranking third nationally in block percentage (6.1%; Tresnak averages 1.9 blocks/game).

Big wins, bad losses: The Wildcats didn’t pick up a non-conference win of note, losing to BYU and UCLA. Weber State beat North Dakota three times, Northern Colorado twice and split their two meetings with Montana in conference play.

How’d they get here?: Led by Tresnak, who scored 27 points (11-for-15 FG) and grabbed five rebounds, the Wildcats beat North Dakota 88-67 in the Big West title game.

Outlook: While Berry’s a talented player capable of giving opponents fits, it’s difficult to see this team winning a game unless they wind up in Dayton for the First Four.

How do I know you?: The Wildcats are making their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2007, but this is a program that along with Montana has set the standard in the Big Sky in recent years. And you’re probably familiar with alum Damian Lillard, who’s now one of the best young guards in the NBA with the Portland Trail Blazers.