Introducing Cinderella: Troy Trojans continue postseason run


Conference: Sun Belt Conference

Coach: Phil Cunningham

Record: 22-14 (10-8 Sun Belt)

Ratings and Rankings:

– Kenpom: 131
– RPI: 162
– AP/USA Today: N/A

Seeding: Despite being a No. 6 seed in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament, the Trojans could jump to the first round and skip out on Dayton. Troy has 22 wins and a higher RPI than any other the teams currently projected by NBC Sports bracketology to be in the First Four. Troy should expect to be a No. 16 seed.

Names you need to know: Jordon Varnado has come up big late in the year for the Trojans. The sophomore forward ended the year averaging a team-best 16.5 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Wesley Person, a junior marksmen who was named MVP of the conference tournament, averages 14.8 points a night while shooting 40 percent from three

Stats you need to know: The Trojans averaged 79.0 points per game, ranking them in the top-50 nationally in that category. However, they rank sub-200 in defensive efficiency, according to kenpom.

Big wins, bad losses: The Trojans were up at halftime against Southern Cal, but USC rallied for a five-point win back in December. Instead, Troy’s best win is a 22-point win over UT Arlington at home in January. It’s worst lost, based on RPI is to South Florida, falling to the Bulls 80-74 in early December.

How’d they get here?: Troy had to win four games in five days to clinch the automatic berth into the 2017 NCAA Tournament. It started with back-to-back 20-point wins over Appalachian State and Georgia Southern. After Texas State took down top-seeded UT Arlington in the semifinals, Troy followed by coming from nine down to upset No. 2 seed Georgia State, outscoring the Panthers by 20 in the second half. In the finals, the Trojans led for the final 30 minutes of regulation, opening up a lead as large as 10 in the closing minutes of the first half. The Bobcats would rally, cutting the deficit to a one-possession game, but Jordon Varando and Wesley Person closed out the game from the free throw line.

Outlook: Troy overcame six straight losing seasons and has had a 13-win turnaround from 2015-16. However, as a projected No. 16 seed, the odds tell us this incredible ride will end next week.

How do I know you?: If the last names of Troy’s two stars sound familiar, it’s because Jordon is the younger brother of former Mississippi State star Jarvis Vanardo. Wesley Person is the son of NBA veteran, Wesley Sr.. His uncle, Chuck, was also an NBA veteran