Read through the rest of the NCAA Tournament Cheat Sheets here.
Coach: Pat Knight
Record: 23-11, 11-5 (3rd)
Rankings and Ratings:
– Kenpom: 110
– RPI: 115
– AP/Coaches: Unranked
Seeding?: The Cardinals are probably looking at a 16 seed with the potential for ending up in the First Four. They do have a fairly decent RPI for a team from a tiny conference, which may be enough to get them to a 15 seed.
Names to know: Mike James (16.9 ppg), Anthony Miles (14.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 4.1 apg), Devon Lamb (11.9 ppg, 8.1 rpg)
Stats to know: Lamar is not a jump-shooting team. They are 275th in the country in effective field goal percentage and 230th in three-point percentage. What’s more, just over a fifth of the field goals they take are from beyond the arc, the third-fewest in all of Division I.
Tendencies: If the lack of threes wasn’t enough to tell you what Lamar wants to do offensively, how about this: they are top 50 in the country in free throw rate (FTA/FGA) and top 25 in the country in offensive rebounding percentage. This group is going at the rim, whether it’s off the dribble or off of a missed shot.
Big wins, bad losses: Lamar lost to Nicholls State, who is one of the worst teams in the country, but beyond that they didn’t really have an outlying win or loss this season.
How’d they get here?: Lamar won their last three games of the regular season to win their division in the Southland. They followed that up with three straight wins to take home the league’s automatic bid, capping it with a 21 point win in the title game.
Outlook: Here’s the thing about Lamar — they are talented, probably the second most talented team in the conference. The problem? The Southland isn’t exactly known as a powerhouse league. The Cardinals are not all that big, but they do have a pair of very good back court players. It’ll take the right matchup to pull an upset — maybe a guard heavy team like Missouri? — but its not out of the question.
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.