Conference: Horizon League
Coach: Scott Nagy
Record: 25-9, 14-4 Horizon (2nd)
Rankings and Ratings:
– Kenpom: 141
– RPI: 101
– AP/USA TODAY: Not ranked
Seeding: Wright State very nearly has a top 100 RPI, which usually is enough to get an automatic bid off of the 16 seed line.
Names you need to know: Grant Benzinger is the leading scorer for the Raiders, but the 6-foot-3 senior guard probably isn’t their best player. That title likely belongs to Loudon Love, a 6-foot-9, 275 pound redshirt freshman that committed to South Dakota State when Nagy was the coach there and tore his ACL on the final play of his high school football career. Oh, and Love isn’t his actual last name. He changed it from Vollbrecht.
Stats you need to know: Wright State cannot score. There is a very good chance that they end up being the worst offensive team in the NCAA tournament, at least according to KenPom’s offensive efficiency metrics. They do, however, have a defense that borders on the top 50 and enough size inside that they should be able to matchup physically against a top two seed.
Big wins, bad losses: The best win that the Raiders have landed on the season came at Toledo, but they also swept Northern Kentucky, who happened to be the Horizon League champs this season.
How’d they get here?: The Horizon League tournament is always insane, and this year’s was no different as No. 8 seed Cleveland State played their way to the title game. They also picked off No. 6 seed Milwaukee and No. 7 seed Green Bay en route to the Big Dance.
Outlook: It would be foolish to say that any team projected as a No. 15 or 16 seed has a chance to win a game in the dance. They generally don’t. That’s why they are seeded there. Because the best teams in the country earned the easiest path to the second round. That said, I think that the Raiders have the pieces on paper to make things tough for whoever they play. They’re big up front and old in their back court. That’s usually a good combination.
How do I know you?: You probably don’t. The last time they made the NCAA tournament was in 2007 when Brad Brownell was the head coach, and before that, they hadn’t been dancing since 1993. They did, however, have a guy named “Dollar Bill” Edwards play a few games for the 76ers in the early-90s, right before longtime NBA center Vitaly Potapenko enrolled. He eventually was the 12th pick in the NBA Draft.