Cheat Sheets

NCAA Tournament Cheat Sheet: Getting to Know Saint Louis


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Conference: Atlantic 10

Coach: Jim Crews

Record: 27-6, 13-3

Rankings and Ratings:

– Kenpom: 17
– RPI: 22
– AP/USA Today: 16/16

Seeding?: Our Dave Ommen has the Billikens as a No. 5-seed in the midwest in his latest bracket projection, but with wins over Butler and VCU en route to the Atlantic 10 tournament championship, the Billikens could rise to as high as the No. 3-seed.

Names you need to know: Dwayne Evans (13.6 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.3 spg, .533 FG%), Cody Ellis (10.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg), Kwamain Mitchell (10.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 3.1 apg, 1.4 spg), Mike McCall Jr. (10.0 ppg, .423 3PT%),

Stats you need to know: The Billikens are a top-40 team nationally in terms of effective turnover percentage, both on the offensive and defensive ends of the court. What that means is that Saint Louis is really good at forcing turnovers and really difficult to take the ball from. Guards Mike McCall Jr. and Jordair Jett rank nationally in field goal efficiency and effective field goal percentage.

Tendencies: Saint Louis plays from the inside out. They use big men Cody Ellis and Rob Loe on the perimeter, and send 6-foot-5 forward Dawyne Evans to the low block. They like shooting from the outside and working the ball down low. On defense they are hard to crack. They don’t make mistakes and look to force turnovers with suffocating pressure.

Big wins, bad losses: Saint Louis beat Butler three times this season, including a 17-point drubbing when the Bulldogs were ranked inside the top-10. During non-conference play the knocked off New Mexico at The Pit, one of the most difficult venues to earn a road win from. They do have two bad losses, including a 12-point loss to Santa Clara in the second game of the season, and an overtime loss to Atlantic 10 bottom-feeder Rhode Island.

How’d they get here?: The Billikens played their best basketball of the season in Brooklyn en route to an Atlantic 10 tournament championship. They have won 15 of their last 16 games, and have not lost in regulation since January 12th.

Outlook: This is a team that can legitimately make the Final Four. Yes, they lack elite athleticism and NBA frontcourt size, but Saint Louis is stocked with upperclassmen and versatile players. Dwayne Evans is a match-up problem for most teams, and the Billikens won’t beat themselves. This team can definitely make a deep run in March.

How Do I know you? The Billikens return to the Big Dance for the second straight season, and first under Jim Crews. But prior to their appearance last season, the Billikens went 11 years without making the NCAA tournament.

You can contact Troy Machir on Twitter at @TroyMachir

NCAA Tournament Cheat Sheet: Getting To Know: Southern

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Conference: Southwestern Athletic Conference

Coach: Roman Banks

Record: 23-9

Rankings and Ratings:

– Kenpom: 162
– RPI: 49
– AP/USA Today: N/A

Seeding?: Our Dave Ommen had Southern as a No. 16 seed playing in one of the First Four in Saturday’s bracket projection.

Names you need to know: Malcolm Miller (16.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg), Derrick Beltran(16.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg), Javan Mitchell (9.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg)

Stats you need to know: Scoring defense for Southern is the key. Roman Banks is a discipline coach and under him the Jaguars hold teams to exactly 57 points per game after holding Prairie View A&M to 44 points in the SWAC title game. The Southern scoring defense is good for thirteenth in the nation. In Saturday’s win, Southern held Prairie View A&M’s Jourdan DeMuynck to 15 points after he went for 37 the night before against Jackson State

How’d they get here?: Southern made it to the field of 68 by only needing to win a pair of tournament games in order to clinch the automatic bid. Southern actually finished second in the SWAC, but because of postseason bans, Texas Southern was not in the tournament.

Outlook: Probably not good. Like previously stated, Southern is pegged for a No. 16 seed and even before the Jaguars play one of the four No. 1 seeds, they will likely need to play a game in Dayton at the First Four before.

How do I know you?: Like all No. 16 seeds, it’s been impossible to beat a No. 1 seed thus far. Also, it’s uncertain whether Southern will even get that chance as they are slated to play the MEAC winner in the First Four. However, this is a tremendous turnaround for the Jaguars. Two years after the program’s worst record, 4-26 and Southern is in the big dance.

Terrence is also the lead writer at and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

NCAA Tournament Cheat Sheet: Getting to know Albany


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Conference: America East

Coach: Will Brown

Record: 24-10 (9-7 America East)

Rankings and Ratings:

– Kenpom: 152
– RPI: 142
– AP/USA Today: N/A

Seeding?: Our Dave Ommen did not have Albany in his brand new bracket projection Sunday. They will likely fall where many small-conference fall, which would be either a 15 or 16 seed.

Names you need to know: Mike Black (15.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg), Sam Rowley (9.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg), Peter Hooley (7.8 ppg, 3.0 apg)

Stats you need to know: The Great Danes surrender just 60.9 points per game, ranking 36th in the country. They rely on that defense because they don’t score many points.

Tendencies: It’s all about pace for Albany. The Great Danes want to slow teams down and grind it out. It’s not always the prettiest brand of basketball, but it won them 24 games this season. With fewer possessions, Albany will need to limit its turnovers if it wants a chance in the NCAA tournament.

Big wins, bad losses: Albany beat Washington, Wagner, and Stony Brook. It lost to Quinnipiac and Maine.

How’d they get here?: Albany won the America East title Saturday by beating Vermont, 53-49.

Outlook: It’s always difficult for a 15- or 16-seed to win in the NCAA tournament, especially when the team relies so heavily on controlling the pace. Against bigger, more athletic teams, they’ll likely have trouble.

How do I know you?: The Great Danes went on the road to Washington early in the season and upset the Huskies on a last-second layup by Mike Black. Albany last won the America East tournament in 2007 and has made two NCAA tournament appearances under coach Will Brown.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

NCAA Tournament Cheat Sheet: Getting to know LIU Brooklyn

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Conference: NEC

Coach: Jack Perri

Record: 20-13, 13-6

Rankings and Ratings:

– Kenpom: 192
– RPI: 180
– AP/USA Today: N/A

Seeding?: Our Dave Ommen had the Blackbirds as a one of the First Four in Dayton in Monday’s bracket projection.

Names you need to know: Jamal Olasewere (19.0 points, 8.5 rebounds), C.J. Garner (15,6 points, 4.2 rebounds), Jason Brickman (9.7 points, 8.5 assists per game)

Stats you need to know: Offense, offense, offense. LIU Brooklyn ranks sixth in the country in scoring at 79.1 points per game, 30th in assists with 15.2, and sixth in the country with 47.9 percent shooting from the floor.

Tendencies: LIU Brooklyn is one of the most high-octane offenses in the country at the mid-major level. Even having lost star Julian Boyd in December with the torn ACL, the Blackbirds have kept running and scoring. The problem, though, will be defense.

Big wins, bad losses: The biggest non-conference win for LIU was against Lafayette, who is now in the Patriot League championship against Bucknell. Other notable non-conference wins include Rice and Manhattan. They lost by double digits to high-majors including Maryland, Kentucky, and Seton Hall. In the NEC, LIU has beaten Wagner and Bryant.

How’d they get here?: The Blackbirds won the NEC tournament championship over Mount St. Mary’s, 91-70, after beating Quinnipiac in the quarterfinals and Wagner in the semifinals.

Outlook: For as well as they work offensively, defense will be the problem in the NCAA tournament. They rank 342nd out of 347 Division I teams in points allowed per game. If they can make it into the First Four and push the pace with a team, perhaps they can get a win and advance to the Round of 64. Outside of that, their defensive weaknesses will be hard to overcome against high-major opponents.

How Do I know you? This is the third consecutive NCAA tournament appearance for the Blackbirds. They lost to Michigan State in 2012 and to North Carolina in 2011.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

NCAA Tournament Cheat Sheets: Get to know Mississippi Valley State


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Conference: SWAC

Coach: Sean Woods

Record: 21-12, 17-1 (1st)

Rankings and Ratings:

– Kenpom: 258
– RPI: 149
– AP/Coaches: Unranked

Seeding?: MVSU is probably destined for a 16 seed, unfortunately. Maybe a 15 if they get lucky.

Names to know: Paul Crosby (13.6 ppg, 7.4 rpg), Terrence Joyner (13.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg), Cor-J Cox (11.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg)

Stats to know: The Delta Devils are 29th nationally in pace and top 40 when it comes to turnovers percentage. They also rank 16th nationally in steal percentage.

Tendencies: MVSU’s head coach is Sean Woods, who played for Kentucky in the Rick Pitino era. As you might imagine, the Delta Devils like to play that same kind of pressuring style that Pitino thrived using in Lexington. They press, they trap, they force turnovers and they look to push the pace. They thrive off of chaos and take advantage of their athleticism.

Big wins, bad losses: MVSU’s only bad loss to to Arkansas-Pine Bluff, while their only “good” win is against Tennessee State, whose claim to fame is beating Murray State.

How’d they get here?: MVSU went 1-11 in non-conference play then rolled through the SWAC, winning the first 17 games of the season. They lost their final regular season game, but turned it around for the SWAC Tournament beating Texas Southern 71-69 in the title game.

Outlook: The problem with teams from smaller conference that thrive on their athleticism is that they aren’t as athletic as the best teams from the higher conferences. That’s the problem that MVSU is going to run into in the NCAA Tournament. Great story, great coach, but not long for the tournament.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

NCAA Tournament Cheat Sheet: Get to know Long Beach State


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Conference: Big West

Coach: Dan Monson

Record: 25-8, 15-1 (1st)

Rankings and Ratings:

  • Kenpom: 35
  • RPI: 38
  • AP/Coaches: NR

How’d they get here? Automatic bid. The 49ers’ first bid since 2007 was a slow build for Monson’s group, which finally beat Santa Barbara in the Big West title game.

What seed will they get? Probably a 12. Then it’ll be everyone’s pick to pull off an upset.

Names to know: Casper Ware (16.9 ppg, 3.2 apg), Larry Anderson (14.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg), T.J. Robinson (12.2 ppg, 10.2 rpg).

Stats to know: The 49ers make a lot of their 2s (52 percent) and are better than average beyond the arc (35.8 percent), but wretched from the free-throw line (67.2 percent). Too bad they get there on 43.3 percent of their field-goal attempts.

Tendencies: Everything runs through Ware, the cat-quick senior point guard who’s the team’s leading scorer and two-time conference player of the year. He can get by any defender and either finishes himself or pens up shots for others. They can run, but haven’t pushed it too much. They’ve also turned up the defensive pressure lately, doing a better job at challenging shots.

Big wins, bad losses:  Wins against Pitt and Xavier were once hailed as superb. Now they’re just OK. Only one bad loss, the regular-season finale vs. Cal-State Fullerton.

Outlook: The 49ers spent all season – really, the last three years – working toward this point by playing brutally tough schedules and maintain the same group of core players in that time. Now, with four seniors and a junior as starters, this experienced, balanced and talented group could win a game in the tournament. Maybe two. All those close losses? They’re OK. More worrisome will be Anderson’s health. He missed the entire Big West tournament because of a sprained ligament in his right knee. The league’s top defender is essential to any NCAA tournament wins for Long Beach.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.