March Madness: Midwest Region (St. Louis) Team Profiles For 2012 NCAA Tournament

Now that the field has been set, I’ll be posting team profiles of all 68 teams, broken down by regions.

Next up is the St. Louis region, which features perennial contenders North Carolina and Kansas as well as regular season champions from the Big Ten, Atlantic 10, and Mountain West.

Also see:

1. North Carolina Tar Heels

  • Conference: ACC
  • Record: 29-5 (14-2 conf)
  • Last 10 Games: 9-1
  • Record vs. Tournament Teams: 9-5
  • Wins vs. Tournament Teams: Duke, Long Beach State, Michigan State, North Carolina State (3), Texas, UNC-Asheville, Virginia (2), Wisconsin
  • Losses vs. Tournament Teams: Duke, Florida State (2), Kentucky, UNLV
  • Player to Watch: Tyler Zeller (7’0” F, Sr.) – 16.5 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 1.3 bpg, 55.5 FG%
  • Bottoms Line: The Tar Heels came into the season as one of the favorites to win it all, and they hung onto a one seed despite losing to Florida State in the ACC Championship Game on Sunday.  For the year, they ranked 13th in offensive efficiency and 12th on the defense end, the latter of which probably surprises people.  They posted the lowest opponents’ free throw rate in the country and ranked inside the Top 30 in effective field goal percentage defense and defense rebounding percentage.  Just don’t count the Heels forcing many turnovers.  You also shouldn’t count on them turning it over at a high rate, as they rank ninth in the country there.  They are also ninth in offensive rebounding percentage, led to by the duo of Tyler Zeller and John Henson.  Zeller was second on the team in points, rebounds, and blocked shots while hitting over 55 percent from the field, and he earned ACC Player of the Year honors as well.  Henson injured his wrist in the ACC Tournament, but I would imagine he plays in the NCAAs.  He averaged a double-double for the season and blocked 2.9 shots per game as well.  Both guys posted strong rebounding rates on both ends of the floor, with Zeller finishing with the superior free throw rate.  Point guard Kendall Marshall doled out nearly 10 assists per game and finished with one of the top assist rates in the country.  Last year’s top incoming freshman Harrison Barnes led the team in scoring with 17.4 points per game to go with 5.2 rebounds.  Multiple backcourt injuries have placed more pressure on Reggie Bullock and P.J. Hairston, and both have shown flashes this season.  If Henson is healthy, the Heels have more than enough talent to get to the Final Four.

2. Kansas Jayhawks

  • Conference: Big 12
  • Record: 27-6 (16-2 conf)
  • Last 10 Games: 9-1
  • Record vs. Tournament Teams: 12-6
  • Wins vs. Tournament Teams: Baylor (2), Georgetown,  Iowa State, Kansas State (2), Long Beach State, Missouri, Ohio State, South Florida, Texas (2)
  • Losses vs. Tournament Teams: Baylor, Davidson, Duke, Iowa State, Kentucky, Missouri
  • Player to Watch: Thomas Robinson (6’9” F, Jr.) – 17.9 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 1.1 spg, 1.0 bpg, 53.1 FG%
  • Bottoms Line: Despite losing a number of key contributors from last season’s team, the Jayhawks refused to relinquish their stranglehold on the Big 12 and won the league by two full games.  Player of the Year candidate Thomas Robinson is a double-double machine who is relentless on both ends of the floor.  His 31.6 defensive rebounding percentage is the best in the country, and he has proved adept at getting opposing defenders into foul trouble.  The other key offensive weapon is guard Tyshawn Taylor, who averages 17.3 points and a team-high 4.8 assists while hitting 43.5 percent from deep.  Center Jeff Withey has come up big for the Jayhawks on multiple occasions and always impacts the game with his rebounding and shot-blocking prowess.  Overall, Kansas ranks in the Top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency, and their two-point shooting and two-point defense are also among the nation’s best.  They have also done a solid job of getting to the line and competing on the glass.

3. Georgetown Hoyas

  • Conference: Big East
  • Record: 23-8 (12-6 conf)
  • Last 10 Games: 6-4
  • Record vs. Tournament Teams: 8-6
  • Wins vs. Tournament Teams: Alabama, Connecticut, Louisville, Marquette, Memphis (2), Notre Dame, South Florida
  • Losses vs. Tournament Teams: Cincinnati (2), Kansas, Marquette, Syracuse, West Virginia
  • Player to Watch: Henry Sims (6’10” C, Sr.) – 11.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.4 bpg
  • Bottoms Line: The Hoyas were one of the season’s biggest surprises, as they finished tied for fourth in the Big East.  They are one of the top defensive teams in the country and rank seventh in adjusted efficiency.  They limit opponents to just 26.6 percent from beyond the arc and have a high block percentage as well.  The Hoyas also do a solid job of preventing offensive rebounds.  On offense they finished just inside the Top 50 in efficiency with their greatest strengths a high two-point shooting percentage and a 35.5 offensive rebounding percentage.  Georgetown doesn’t shoot the three all that well, but the Hoyas also don’t take a ton of shots from long range in the first place.  Five players do the bulk of the scoring, led by senior Jason Clark with 13.9 points per game.  Sophomore Hollis Thompson is the team’s top long-range shooter, making 44.4 percent from deep.  He averages 12.7 points and pulls down 5.6 rebounds per game.  Big man Henry Sims hadn’t shown much during his career, but he stepped up this season to lead the team in assists and blocked shots and finished second in rebounding and third in scoring.  He posted strong rebounding percentages on both ends and does a great job of drawing fouls and getting to the line.  Freshman Otto Porter got better as the season went along and led the team in rebounding while shooting 51.8 percent from the field. 

4. Michigan Wolverines

  • Conference: Big Ten
  • Record: 24-9 (13-5 conf)
  • Last 10 Games: 7-3
  • Record vs. Tournament Teams: 7-7
  • Wins vs. Tournament Teams: Indiana, Iowa State, Memphis, Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin
  • Losses vs. Tournament Teams: Duke, Indiana, Michigan State, Ohio State (2), Purdue, Virginia
  • Player to Watch: Trey Burke (6’0” G, Fr.) – 14.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4.6 apg
  • Bottoms Line: The Wolverines finished in a three-way tie for the Big Ten title, thanks in large part to the contributions of freshman point guard Trey Burke.  He has picked right up where Darius Morris left off a year ago, playing a ton of minutes and running the offense to perfection.  Five other Michigan players score at least seven points per game, with Tim Hardaway Jr. the only other Wolverine in double figures.  He has scored 14.6 points per game this season, but he hasn’t shot the ball very well, particularly from long range where he hits just over 28 percent of his attempts.  Seniors Zack Novak and Stu Douglass provide important leadership, and Novak has hit over 41 percent from beyond the arc.  The Wolverines rank just outside of the Top 20 in offensive efficiency, as they make 54.2 percent from two-point range and rarely turning the ball over.  Michigan’s offense thrives when the Wolverines are connecting from long range, and while they take over 44 percent of their shots from downtown, they make just over 35 percent.  Consequently, they don’t get to the line often and don’t grab many offensive boards.  Outside of a low opponents’ free throw rate, the defensive numbers aren’t great, but the Wolverines’ style will prove difficult for other teams to prepare for.

5. Temple Owls

  • Conference: Atlantic 10
  • Record: 24-7 (13-3 conf)
  • Last 10 Games: 8-2
  • Record vs. Tournament Teams: 5-2
  • Wins vs. Tournament Teams: Duke, Saint Bonaventure, Saint Louis, Wichita State, Xavier
  • Losses vs. Tournament Teams: Purdue, Texas
  • Player to Watch: Khalif Wyatt (6’4” G, Jr.) – 17.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 3.4 apg, 2.2 spg, 38.8 3P%
  • Bottoms Line: The Owls won the regular season title in the A-10 but lost in the tournament quarterfinals.  Led by the trio of Khalif Wyatt, Ramone Moore, and Juan Fernandez, the Temple offense was one of the best in the country.  The Owls hit over 40 percent from three-point range and rarely turn the ball over, which helps to atone for the fact that they don’t have a high offensive rebounding rate and don’t get to the line too often.  On the inside, big man Micheal Eric missed time during the season with a knee injury, but he is healthy now and averaging 9.1 points and 8.8 rebounds while hitting over 52 percent from the field.  Forwards Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson and Anthony Lee both battle inside, particularly on the glass, and both also make over 56 percent from the field.  Eric’s return has helped on defense, but the overall defensive efficiency numbers aren’t particularly impressive.

6. San Diego State Aztecs

  • Conference: Mountain West
  • Record: 26-7 (10-4 conf)
  • Last 10 Games: 6-4
  • Record vs. Tournament Teams: 5-6
  • Wins vs. Tournament Teams: California, Colorado State (2), Long Beach State, New Mexico
  • Losses vs. Tournament Teams: Baylor, Colorado State, Creighton, New Mexico (2), UNLV
  • Player to Watch: Jamaal Franklin (6’5” G, So.) – 17.2 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 1.0 spg
  • Bottoms Line: Despite losing a number of key contributors last season, the Aztecs tied for the regular season title in the Mountain West and reached the conference tournament final.  SDSU boasts a number of talented guards, led by MWC Player of the Year Jamaal Franklin who ranks first on the team in both scoring and rebounding despite standing just 6-foot-5.  His defensive rebounding percentage is among the best in the country, and he does a terrific job of drawing fouls as well.  Xavier Thames also scores in double figures and leads the team in assists, while veteran Chase Tapley has drained 43.3 percent from beyond the arc.  On the inside, the Aztecs use a committee approach with Garrett Green, Tim Shelton, and Deshawn Stephens all averaging at least 5.0 points and 4.7 rebounds.  Green hits nearly 59 percent from the field, while Stephens shoots over 60 percent.  Overall, SDSU ranks 83 in adjust offensive efficiency and the only areas where they rank inside the Top 100 are turnover rate and two-point shooting.  Three point shooting has been a struggle, and as a team, they don’t get to the line or grab offensive boards often enough.  The Aztecs are definitely tough on the defensive end.  They have a low turnover rate, but they are in the Top 25 in defensive rebounding percentage and opponents’ free throw rate.  Franklin can certainly get hot and carry the team, which is exactly what he will need to do if the Aztecs want to make a deep NCAA run.

7. Saint Mary’s Gaels

  • Conference: West Coast
  • Record: 27-5 (14-2 conf)
  • Last 10 Games: 7-3
  • Record vs. Tournament Teams: 4-3
  • Wins vs. Tournament Teams: BYU (2), Gonzaga (2)
  • Losses vs. Tournament Teams: Baylor, Gonzaga, Murray State
  • Player to Watch: Matthew Dellavedova (6’4″ G, Jr.) – 15.6 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 6.4 apg
  • Bottoms Line: The Gaels finally wrestled the WCC Championship away from Gonzaga and followed that up with a win in the conference tournament for good measure. Matthew Dellavedova and Rob Jones give Saint Mary’s a formidable one-two punch. Dellavedova played over 90 percent of the Gaels’ minutes this season, and ability to run the offense efficiently is critical to the team. Jones is a bit undersized at 6-foot-6, but he has impressive rebounding percentages on both ends of the floor and makes over 54 percent of his two-pointers. Overall, Saint Mary’s ranks in the Top 25 in offensive efficiency, as they do virtually everything well on that end of the floor. On defense, they won’t force many turnovers, but they do a solid job of cleaning the glass and keeping their opponents off of the free throw line. On the injury front, third-leading scorer Stephen Holt missed the last four games with a knee injury, but signs point to him being able to suit up in the NCAA Tournament.

8. Creighton Bluejays

  • Conference: Missouri Valley
  • Record: 28-5 (14-4 conf)
  • Last 10 Games: 7-3
  • Record vs. Tournament Teams: 3-1
  • Wins vs. Tournament Teams: Long Beach State, San Diego State, Wichita State
  • Losses vs. Tournament Teams: Wichita State
  • Player to Watch: Doug McDermott (6’7″ F, So.) – 23.2 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 61.0 FG%, 49.5 3P%
  • Bottoms Line: The Bluejays bounced back from a three-game losing streak in early February to win their final seven games, including Arch Madness. Creighton boasts one of the most prolific and most efficient offenses in the country, ranking fourth on KenPom. They are third in both two- and three-point shooting at 55.5% and 42.5%, respectively, and they are also in the Top 50 for turnover rate. If you haven’t had the chance to see Doug McDermott play, I implore you to check him out. His shooting percentages and overall efficiency numbers are off the charts, and he can beat teams both inside and out. The Bluejays also have a tough, veteran point guard in Antoine Young, who can attack the basket and has shown the propensity to make clutch shots. Inside, Rutgers transfer Gregory Echenique provides a strong rebounding and shot-blocking presence inside. Creighton also has three other members of the rotation who make over 40 percent from three-point range, and Grant Gibbs does a little bit of everything for this squad. The area where Creighton is most vulnerable is on the defensive end, where they rank in the middle of the pack in adjusted efficiency. Interestingly, they rate highly in defensive rebounding percentage and opponents’ free throw rate, but they are next to last in turnover rate and struggle to defend the three-point line. However, the Bluejays can score with the best of them and could be poised for a Davidson-esque run with McDermott playing the role of Steph Curry.

9. Alabama Crimson Tide

  • Conference: SEC
  • Record: 21-11 (9-7 conf)
  • Last 10 Games: 6-4
  • Record vs. Tournament Teams: 4-6
  • Wins vs. Tournament Teams: Detroit, Purdue, VCU, Wichita State
  • Losses vs. Tournament Teams: Florida (2), Georgetown, Kansas State, Kentucky, Vanderbilt
  • Player to Watch: JaMychal Green (6’8” F, Sr.) – 14.0 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.4 bpg, 54.4 FG%
  • Bottoms Line: It has been virtually the same formula for the Crimson Tide this year where they are among the best in the nation on the defensive end but struggle to score points.  Alabama ranks ninth in adjusted defensive efficiency, with Top 50 marks in two-point defense, three-point defense, steal percentage, and block percentage.  The main area where they struggle is their opponents’ free throw rate, but make no mistake, the Tide can lock people up on the defensive end.  Offensively it’s another matter.  Then rank 135th or worse in all four factors and make just 28.5 percent from beyond the arc.  Overall, they rank 109th in adjusted offensive efficiency.  JaMychal Green leads the team in scoring and rebounding, but a suspension in the middle of the SEC season had his future with the team in doubt.  He rebounds at a high rate on both ends of the floor, draws a lot of fouls, and is an effective shot-blocker.  Point guard Trevor Releford scores 11.9 points per game and is second in assists with 2.7 per game.  Five other Alabama players score between 5.3 and 7.1 points per game, but just two of them (Andrew Steeler and Nick Jacobs) make at least half of their shots.  Jacobs has an impressive offensive rebounding percentage and is a decent shot-blocker as well, and he’s seen more playing time after the dismissal of Tony Mitchell.

10. Purdue Boilermakers

  • Conference: Big Ten
  • Record: 21-12 (10-8 conf)
  • Last 10 Games: 6-4
  • Record vs. Tournament Teams: 3-10
  • Wins vs. Tournament Teams: Iona, Michigan, Temple
  • Losses vs. Tournament Teams: Alabama, Indiana (2), Michigan, Michigan State (2), Ohio State (2), Wisconsin, Xavier
  • Player to Watch: Robbie Hummel (6’8” F, Sr.) – 16.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.2 bpg
  • Bottoms Line: While the Boilers haven’t been as strong on defense as they have in recent years, they have stepped up their game offensively and rank among the Top 10 in offensive efficiency.  They have the lowest turnover rate in the  nation and have made nearly 38 percent from long range, but the other numbers aren’t particularly impressive.  On defense, Purdue as struggled in part due to a lack of size inside, which has hurt them on two-point defense as well as on the glass.  Senior Robbie Hummel has returned from two serious knee injuries to lead the Boilers in scoring and rebounding, and it’s tough not to root for a player who has been through so much.  Point guard Lewis Jackson is the only other Purdue player to score in double figures at 10.3 points per game, and he also leads the team in assists with 4.3 per contest.  He doesn’t shoot well from the outside but can get to the rim thanks to great quickness.  Ryne Smith and D.J. Byrd both hit at least 43 percent from beyond the arc, and Terone Johnson has played better since the dismissal of Kelsey Barlow.

11. North Carolina State Wolfpack

  • Conference: ACC
  • Record: 22-12 (9-7 conf)
  • Last 10 Games: 5-5
  • Record vs. Tournament Teams: 3-8
  • Wins vs. Tournament Teams: Texas, UNC-Asheville, Virginia
  • Losses vs. Tournament Teams: Duke, Florida State, Indiana, North Carolina (3), Syracuse, Vanderbilt
  • Player to Watch: C.J. Leslie (6’8” F, So.) – 14.6 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 1.1 spg, 1.6 bpg, 53.2 FG%
  • Bottoms Line: The Wolfpack snuck into the tournament with a decent showing in the ACC Tournament,
    which is an impressive achievement in Mark Gottfried’s first year at the helm.  Five players score at least 10.6 points per game, which isn’t necessarily surprising since the team plays only seven guys in most contests.  C.J. Leslie is an explosive athlete, who has played extremely well down the stretch.  He boasts strong rebounding percentages on both ends of the floor, blocks shots at a high rate, and does a great job of getting to the free throw line.  He’s joined up front by Richard Howell, who nearly averages a double-double with 10.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game and ranks in the Top 75 in both offensive and defensive rebounding percentage.  Point guard Lorenzo Brown does a little of everything with 12.7 points, 6.4 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.8 steals.  On the perimeter, N.C. State also has sharpshooter Scott Wood, who shoots over 41 percent from three-point range and over 91 percent from the line.  The Wolpfack finished 33rd in adjusted offensive efficiency, with their impressive performance on the offensive boards a big reason why.  They don’t get to the line a ton, but their other offensive numbers are all above average.  On the defensive end, they don’t force many turnovers but still managed to finish 75th in adjusted efficiency.

12. California Golden Bears

  • Conference: Pac-12
  • Record: 24-9 (13-5 conf)
  • Last 10 Games: 7-3
  • Record vs. Tournament Teams: 1-5
  • Wins vs. Tournament Teams: Colorado
  • Losses vs. Tournament Teams: Colorado (2), Missouri, San Diego State, UNLV
  • Player to Watch: Allen Crabbe (6’6” G, So.) – 15.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.2 apg, 40.7 3P%
  • Bottoms Line: The Golden Bears lost three of their last four games and missed out on a chance to win the Pac-12 regular season title, but apparently they had still done enough in the eyes of the selection committee.  The team lacks depth, with five players logging the bulk of the time and only seven playing double-digit minutes.  Cal finished 50th in adjusted offensive efficiency, largely due to a low turnover rate and solid shooting both inside and outside of the arc.  The Bears take less than 23 percent of their field goal attempts from long range, which is one of the lowest rates in the nation.  They wound up 21st in defensive efficiency and rank in the Top 50 in effective field goal percentage defense, defensive rebounding percentage, and opponents’ free throw rate.  The perimeter trio of Allen Crabbe, Jorge Gutierrez, and Justin Cobbs leads the team offensively.  Crabbe leads the team in scoring and is second in rebounds and assists.  He takes roughly half of his shots from three-point range and hits nearly 41 percent of them.  Gutierrez won the Pac-12 Player of the Year Award and ranks second on the team in points and assists while leading the Bears in steals.  He’s the heart and soul of this team and is as tough as they come.  Minnesota transfer Justin Cobbs has also played well, contributing 12.9 points and 5.0 assists while hitting nearly 42 percent from long range.  Inside, Harper Kamp and David Kravish both shoot over 55 percent from the floor and grab at least 5.1 rebounds per game, with Kravish owning the better rebounding percentages of the two.

12. South Florida Bulls

  • Conference: Big East
  • Record: 20-13 (12-6 conf)
  • Last 10 Games: 7-3
  • Record vs. Tournament Teams: 3-10
  • Wins vs. Tournament Teams: Cincinnati, Louisville, Vermont
  • Losses vs. Tournament Teams: Connecticut, Georgetown, Kansas, Marquette, Notre Dame (2), Southern Mississippi, Syracuse, VCU, West Virginia
  • Player to Watch: Anthony Collins (6’1” G, Fr.) – 8.5 ppg, 5.3 apg, 1.7 spg, 50.0 FG%
  • Bottoms Line: The Bulls were sweating out their NCAA Tournament fate despite 12 Big East wins, largely because the bulk of those victories came against the worst teams in the league.  But late wins over Cincinnati and Louisville were enough to satisfy the committee.  USF has no double-digit scorers, but they do have seven players averaging between 6.8 and 9.6 points.  Freshman point guard Anthony Collins missed the first few games of the season, but his presence and ability to get into the lane have been critical for the Bulls.  Five players grab at least four rebounds per game, led by Toarlyn Fitzpatrick, who also scores 8.0 points per game and makes over 41 percent from deep. Big man Augustus Gilchrist leads the team in scoring at 9.6 points per game, while Jawanza Poland provides athleticism on the wing.  The Bulls play at one of slower paces in all of college basketball, so don’t count on them lighting up the scoreboard.  They are in the middle of the pack in terms of offensive efficiency and rank 293rd in three-point shooting and 303rd in turnover rate.  The Bulls are much better defensively and finished 16th in adjusted efficiency.  They are in the Top 30 in both two- and three-point defense, and limit their opponents’ trips to the free throw line.  Expect a low-scoring grinder when USF takes the floor, but given their struggles against tournament caliber teams, their NCAA run could be a short one.

13. Ohio Bobcats

  • Conference: MAC
  • Record: 27-7 (11-5 conf)
  • Last 10 Games: 8-2
  • Record vs. Tournament Teams: 2-1
  • Wins vs. Tournament Teams: Lamar, UNC-Asheville
  • Losses vs. Tournament Teams: Louisville
  • Player to Watch: D.J. Cooper (5’11” G, Jr.) – 14.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 5.7 apg, 2.4 spg
  • Bottoms Line: The Bobcats finished third in a loaded MAC East, but they knocked off the top two teams in Cleveland to win the MAC Tournament.  Ohio ranks in the Top Five in defensive turnover rate and steal percentage, and they have also done a great job at shutting down opposing three-point shooters.  Offensively, their numbers don’t jump off the page, but they have been effective on the offensive glass.  The Bobcats have nine players who log at least 11 minutes per game, with five of them scoring at least 8.9 points as well.  D.J. Cooper makes this team go, leading the squad in points, assists, and steals and ranking among the nation’s leaders in assist rate and steal percentage.  Ohio State transfer Walter Offutt is the team’s other double figure scorer, while Reggie Keely and Ivo Baltic anchor the front line and combine for 18.2 points and 10.2 rebounds.  Nick Kellogg, son of former NBA player and current broadcaster Clark, is the team’s top shooter and hits 41.8 percent from three-point range and 90.9 percent from the stripe.

14. Belmont Bruins

  • Conference: Atlantic Sun
  • Record: 27-7 (16-2 conf)
  • Last 10 Games: 10-0
  • Record vs. Tournament Teams: 0-2
  • Wins vs. Tournament Teams: None
  • Losses vs. Tournament Teams: Duke, Memphis
  • Player to Watch: Kerron Johnson (6’1″ G, Jr.) – 14.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 5.2 apg, 1.4 spg, 52.6 FG%
  • Bottoms Line: The Bruins were touted as one of the top small conference teams heading into the season and nearly knocked off Duke at Cameron in the season opener. They struggled to pick up key non-conference wins, but they ripped off 14 straight victories to end the season. Belmont ranks in the Top 10 nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency thanks to the fifth best effective field goal percentage in the country. Kerron Johnson runs the show and boasts a high assist rate and has been adept at drawing fouls and getting to the stripe. Unlike many small conference squads, the Bruins also have a pair of capable big men with 6’10” Scott Saunders (10.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg) and 6’9″ Mick Hedgepeth (9.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg). Belmont likes to push the tempo and takes nearly 40 percent of its shots from beyond the arc, with Drew Hanlen (48.1 3P%) and Ian Clark (40.7 3P%) serving as the top long-range snipers.

15. Detroit Titans

  • Conference: Horizon
  • Record: 22-13 (11-7 conf)
  • Last 10 Games: 9-1
  • Record vs. Tournament Teams: 0-2
  • Wins vs. Tournament Teams: None
  • Losses vs. Tournament Teams: Alabama, Notre Dame
  • Player to Watch: Ray McCallum, Jr. (6’2″ G, So.) – 15.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.9 apg, 1.5 spg
  • Bottoms Line: The Titans got off to an extremely slow start and were 7-10 in early January, and those struggles can be partially attributed to an early-season injury to Nick Minnerath and a “leave of absence” by big man Eli Holman, both of which left Detroit limited inside. The team does have quite a big of talent and seemed to gel over the latter part of the year, culminating in four victories in the Horizon League Tournament. Point guard Ray McCallum, Jr. leads the team in points, assists, and steals, and he’s been adept at getting to the line thanks to his relentlessness at attacking the rim. Holman (10.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.4 bpg, 61.3 FG%) gives the team a tremendous presence in the lane in terms of rebounding and shot-blocking. Chase Simon (13.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.4 apg) and Jason Calliste (10.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg) both score in double-figures but shoot less than 40 percent from the field. As a team, their great offensive strengths are a free throw rate, which ranks in the Top 25, and a 44.0 offensive rebounding percentage. On the defensive end, the Titans boast a decent turnover rate and a strong block percentage, but none of the other numbers jump off the page.

16. Lamar Cardinals

  • Conference: Southland
  • Record: 23-11 (11-5 conf)
  • Last 10 Games: 7-3
  • Record vs. Tournament Teams: 0-4
  • Wins vs. Tournament Teams: None
  • Losses vs. Tournament Teams: Louisville, Ohio, Ohio State, Kentucky
  • Player to Watch: Devon Lamb (6’2” G, Sr.) – 11.9 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 1.7 spg
  • Bottoms Line: Following Pat Knight’s post-game tirade, the Cardinals ripped off six straight wins, including a 21-point victory in the Southland Tournament Final.  They don’t shoot the ball well at all, but they are in the Top 60 in turnover rate, offensive rebounding percentage, and free throw rate.  For the most part, the defensive numbers rank outside of the Top 100, but Lamar did finish in the Top 50 in steal percentage.  Even though Devon Lamb doesn’t lead the team in scoring, I chose him as the player to watch, because he grabs nearly eight rebounds per game in spite of the fact he’s a 6-foot-2 guard.  Mike James leads the team with 17.2 points per game, and a high shot percentage proves he isn’t shy about taking shots.  Point guard Anthony Miles averages 14.5 points and a team-high 4.1 assists, and his attacking style has earned him 219 trips to the free throw line.  The Cardinals don’t have much height, as just three players who are 6-foot-5 over taller play significant minutes.

16. Vermont Catamounts

  • Conference: America East
  • Record: 23-11 (13-3 conf)
  • Last 10 Games: 9-1
  • Record vs. Tournament Teams: 0-4
  • Wins vs. Tournament Teams: None
  • Losses vs. Tournament Teams: Harvard, Iona, Saint Louis, South Florida
  • Player to Watch: Matt Glass (6’8” F, Sr.) – 11.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 40.7 3P%
  • Bottoms Line: The Catamounts won 14 of their last 15 games, including the America East final, which was on the home floor of top seed Stony Brook.  From an efficiency standpoint, Vermont is much better on the defensive end, as they rank in the Top 50 in effective field goal percentage defense and do a decent job on the defensive glass while keeping opponents off the free throw line.  Offensively, you can look for the Catamounts to slow the game down, which should help to offset the fact that they are above average, but not great, in the all of the four factors.  Four players score in double figures, led by Four McGlynn, who hits nearly 39 percent from beyond the arc.  Matt Glass also shoots well from long range, while soph Luke Apfeld has posted strong overall efficiency numbers this season.  Fellow sophomore Brian Voelkel doesn’t look to score much, but he leads the team in both rebounds and assists.


About Andy Bottoms

While Andy was born and raised in Indiana, he would like to point out that he grew up shooting hoops in his driveway and not against the side of a barn like you see in all the March Madness promos or in the middle of a field like Jimmy Chitwood. Andy ranks among the top bracketologists according to the Bracket Matrix and has provided his projections to Fox Sports for the past three seasons. When not compiling excuses for missing work during the NCAA Tournament, Andy enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters. He is a proud IU graduate and co-hosts The Assembly Call postgame show following every IU game. Twitter: @AndyBottoms

Comments

  1. Garcinia has been used routinely with no known toxicity for many centuries, and has been considered to make foods more filling and satisfying.

  2. With VSCO Cam the company brings the same professional, industry standard level filters they were selling separately but this
    time to the smartphone.

  3. It’s hard to come by educated people in this particular topic, however, you seem like you know what you’re talking
    about! Thanks

  4. Cambogia capsules effets secondaires Garcinia sont vraiment ne prennent pas en conditions normales, certaines personnes
    ne fait face à des questions relatives à des maux de tête et des
    douleurs d’estomac.

  5. Select Hatcling plan or Child Plan as your website hosting package as you need (Baby plan is advisable, because it allows to host unlimited domains
    whereas hatchling plan allows solely single domain) and change the billing
    cycle as Month-to-month”.

Speak Your Mind