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2011 NCAA Tournament Preview: Mid-Majors



2011 NCAA Tournament Picks:
Sweet 16 Redo | East | West | Southwest | Southeast | Final Four | Winning Tips | 2011 NCAA Tournament Home
2011 NCAA Tournament Bracket Breakdowns:
West | East | Southwest | Southeast | Final Four | Schedule
2011 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Breakdowns:
West | Southeast |
2011 NCAA Tournament Preview:
ACC | Atlantic 10 | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Mid-Majors | Mountain West | Pac 10 | SEC

These are notes I took while studying each NCAA Tournament team. Most of this is unedited. I'll have a more coherent breakdown in my NCAA Tournament picks.

Akron (23-12)

EXPERIENCE: Top six scorers: Jr, Sr, Jr, So, Sr, Sr

WHY TO LOVE: Experience: Five of the top six scorers are upperclassmen.

WHY TO HATE: Awful defense (103rd).

Awful offense (157th).

4-9 road record. No quality road wins.

Alabama State (17-17)

EXPERIENCE: Top six scorers: Sr, Jr, Jr, Jr, Sr, Sr

WHY TO LOVE: Some of the numbers in the hate section are skewed because Alabama State didn't have forward Tramayne Moorer (12.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg) for the first half of the season.

The top six scorers are upperclassmen (three are seniors).

WHY TO HATE: Awful defense (241st).

Awful offense (307th).

Sloppy offense (61.3 ppg).

4-14 road record.

Negative point differential (-2.3 ppg).

Awful three-point shooting (28.4%).

Arkansas-Little Rock (19-16)

EXPERIENCE: Top six scorers: Sr, Sr, Sr, Fr, Jr, Jr

WHY TO LOVE: Five of the top six scorers are upperclassmen. Three are seniors.

Great three-point shooting: 39.8%.

WHY TO HATE: Awful offense (207th).

Awful defense (228th).

Only one consistent scorer (Solomon Bozeman, 16.5 ppg). Next highest scorer: Alex Garcia-Mendoza, 8.6 ppg.

3-10 road record.

Played ZERO teams in the NCAA Tournament.

Sluggish offense, averaging 68 ppg.

Belmont (30-4)

EXPERIENCE: Top six scorers: So, Jr, Jr, Sr, So, Jr

WHY TO LOVE: Great defense (19th).

Good offense (32nd).

Games vs. quality foes: at Tennessee (L, 66-65); at Vanderbilt (L, 85-76); at Tennessee (L, 85-76). All close. All early in the year.

12-game winning streak entering NCAA Tournament.

Very good three-point shooting: 38.1%.

30 wins.

WHY TO HATE: You'd expect a mid-major like this to have more senior leadership; only one of the top six scorers is a senior.

Belmont has never won an NCAA Tournament game. However, Belmont has never had this great of a record.



Boston University (23-13)

EXPERIENCE: Top six scorers: Sr, Jr, Fr, Jr, Fr, Jr

WHY TO LOVE:

WHY TO HATE: Awful offense (169th).

Awful defense (184th).

Sluggish offense (65.8 ppg).

4-10 road record. No quality road wins.

Two games versus elite opponents: Villanova (loss, 82-66), Kentucky (loss, 91-57).

Boston University has a freshman point guard (D.J. Irving).

Bucknell (25-8)

EXPERIENCE: Top six scorers: So, So, Sr, Sr, So, Fr

WHY TO LOVE: Great three-point shooting team (40.2%).

10-6 road record (but no quality road wins).

WHY TO HATE: Below-average defense (65th).

Awful offense (136th).

Inexperience: Four of the top six scorers are underclassmen.

Butler (23-9)

EXPERIENCE: Top six scorers: Sr, Jr, So, Sr, Fr, Jr

WHY TO LOVE: Good offense (38th).

Head coach Brad Stevens is 7-3 in the NCAA Tournament.

WHY TO HATE: Bad defense (76th).

No quality road wins (6-6 overall).





George Mason (26-6)

EXPERIENCE: Top six scorers: Sr, Jr, So, Jr, Jr, Sr

WHY TO LOVE: Elite offense (29th).

Good defense (44th).

Balanced scoring: Four players average double figures.

Experience: Five of the top six scorers are upperclassmen.

George Mason is one of the top three-point shooting teams in the country (40.4%).

10-3 road record. Quality road wins: Virginia-Commonwealth.

Head coach Jim Larranaga led George Mason to the Final Four in 2006.

WHY TO HATE: George Mason lost in the semi-finals of its conference tournament, ending a 16-game winning streak.

Gonzaga (24-9)

EXPERIENCE: Top six scorers: Sr, Jr, So, Fr, So, Jr

WHY TO LOVE: Good defense (26th).

Above average offense (49th).

7-4 road record. Quality road wins: Saint Mary's.

WHY TO HATE: People associate Gonzaga as a Cinderella. Perhaps the ugly step-sister would be a better comparison. The Zags have made it out of the Sweet 16 only once. They've been eliminated in the first round in two of the past four years.

Hampton (25-8)

EXPERIENCE: Top six scorers: Jr, Jr, Sr, Sr, Jr, Jr

WHY TO LOVE: Experience: The top six scorers are all upperclassmen.

WHY TO HATE: Bad defense (94th).

Awful offense (295th).

Sluggish offense (67.7 ppg).

Hasn't played a single team in the NCAA Tournament with the exception of Boston University.

Indiana State (20-13)

EXPERIENCE: Top six scorers: Jr, Jr, Fr, Sr, Sr, Jr

WHY TO LOVE: Experience. Five of the top six scorers are upperclassmen.

WHY TO HATE: Bad defense (70th).

Awful offense (180th).

Jake Odum is a good player, but he's a freshman point guard.

6-8 road record. Quality road wins: None.

Indiana State has a sluggish offense; they average about 66 ppg.

Long Island (27-5)

EXPERIENCE: Top six scorers: So, So, Sr, Sr, So, Jr

WHY TO LOVE: Balanced scoring: Four players averaging 10.8 ppg or more.

27 wins.

WHY TO HATE: Mediocre offense (79th).

Awful defense (202th).

The top two scorers are sophomores. Only two of the top six scorers are seniors.

Long Island has played ZERO teams in the NCAA Tournament excluding Saint Peter's (lost, 65-62).

Head coach Jim Ferry is making his first NCAA Tournament appearance.

Memphis (25-9)

EXPERIENCE: Fr, Fr, Fr, Jr, Fr, Jr

WHY TO LOVE:

WHY TO HATE: Below-average defense (61st).

Awful offense (134th).

5-6 road record. Quality road wins: Gonzaga, UTEP.

Only one consistent scorer (Will Barton, 12.3 ppg).

Inexperience: Top three scorers are freshmen.

Memphis has a freshman point guard (Joe Jackson).

Morehead State (24-9)

EXPERIENCE: Top six scorers: Sr, Sr, Jr, Sr, Sr, Fr

WHY TO LOVE: Senior forward Kenneth Faried is the top rebounder in the country (14.5 rpg).

Experience: Morehead State's top five scorers are upperclassmen. Four are seniors.

8-8 road record. Quality road wins: Indiana State, Tennessee Tech.

WHY TO HATE: Awful offense (111th).

Bad defense (90th).

Head coach Donnie Tyndall has never won an NCAA Tournament game (0-1).

Northern Colorado (21-10)

EXPERIENCE: Top six scorers: Sr, Sr, Sr, So, Fr, Jr

WHY TO LOVE: Senior guard Devon Beitzel (21.4 ppg) is one of the most clutch players in the country. Experience: The top three scorers are seniors.

WHY TO HATE: Awful offense (113th).

Awful defense (139th).

6-9 road record. No quality road wins.

Oakland (25-9)

EXPERIENCE: Top six scorers: Sr, Jr, Sr, Fr, Sr, So

WHY TO LOVE: Elite offense (15th).

Balanced scoring: Four players average 10.5 ppg or more.

Center Keith Benson (18.0 ppg, 10.1 rpg) is an NBA talent.

Experience: Four of the top five scorers are upperclassmen. Three are seniors.

10-7 road record. Quality road wins: Tennessee.

WHY TO HATE: Awful defense (200th).

Old Dominion (27-6)

EXPERIENCE: Top six scorers: Sr, Jr, Sr, Sr, Sr, Jr

WHY TO LOVE: Above average defense (46th).

Experience: Old Dominion's top six scorers are all upperclassmen. Four are seniors.

7-4 road record. Quality road wins: Virginia-Commonwealth

27 wins

WHY TO HATE: Mediocre offense (68th).

Old Dominion has a sluggish offense that averages about 65 ppg.

Head coach Blaine Taylor is 1-4 in the NCAA Tournament. However, he earned his first win last year.

Princeton (25-6)

EXPERIENCE: Top six scorers: Sr, So, Sr, Jr, Jr, So

WHY TO LOVE: Balanced scoring: Four players average 11.9 ppg or more.

10-5 road record. No quality road wins.

Experience: Four of the top five scorers are upperclassmen.

WHY TO HATE: Bad defense (78th).

Awful offense (103rd).

Saint Mary's (25-8)

EXPERIENCE: Top six scorers: Sr, Jr, So, So, Jr, Jr

WHY TO LOVE: Elite offense (10th).

Balanced scoring: Four players average 10.2 ppg or more.

Saint Mary's advanced to the Sweet 16 last year. They can clearly win in the Big Dance.

Experience: Four of the top six scorers are upperclassmen.

6-4 road record. Quality road wins: Gonzaga,

WHY TO HATE: Awful defense (128th).

Saint Mary's has struggled down the stretch, losing four of their final six games.



Saint Peter's (20-13)

EXPERIENCE: Top six scorers: Sr, Sr, Sr, Sr, So, So

WHY TO LOVE: Elite defense (20th).

Balanced scoring: Four players average 10 ppg or more.

Experience: Top four scorers are seniors.

WHY TO HATE: Awful offense (274th).

No quality road wins (8-8).

Sluggish offense, averaging 61.4 ppg.

Texas-San Antonio (19-13)

EXPERIENCE: Top six scorers: Sr, So, Fr, Jr, Jr, Fr

WHY TO LOVE:

WHY TO HATE: Awful offense (185th).

Awful defense (252nd).

5-10 road record. No quality road wins.

Best team played all year: Oklahoma State (loss, 79-63).

UAB (22-8)

EXPERIENCE: Top six scorers: Sr, Jr, Sr, So, So, Fr

WHY TO LOVE: Above-average defense (49th).

8-5 road record.

Head coach Mike Davis has lost in the first round only once in his coaching career.

WHY TO HATE: Bad offense (74th).

UC-Santa Barbara (18-13)

EXPERIENCE: Top six scorers: Jr, Jr, Jr, Sr, Jr, Sr

WHY TO LOVE: Experience: Top six scorers are upperclassmen.

Junior swingman Orlando Johnson is one of the top scorers in the country (21.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 3.0 apg).

WHY TO HATE: Awful defense (115th).

Awful offense (146th).

5-8 road record. Quality road wins: UNLV.

UNC-Asheville (19-13)

EXPERIENCE: Top six scorers: Jr, Jr, Jr, So, So, Sr

WHY TO LOVE:

WHY TO HATE: Bad defense (89th).

Awful offense (201st).

Poor three-point shooting (33.3%).

Only one of the top six scorers is a senior.

Center D.J. Cunningham (9.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg) has been in and out of the lineup with a foot injury.

Games vs. quality foes: at Ohio State (L, 96-49); at Georgetown (L, 87-72); vs. North Carolina (L, 80-69). None close.

Utah State (30-3)

EXPERIENCE: Top six scorers: Sr, Jr, Sr, Sr, Jr, Sr

WHY TO LOVE: Elite defense (8th).

Experience: The top six scorers are all upperclassmen. Four are seniors.

11-3 road record. Quality road wins: Saint Mary's.

WHY TO HATE: Average offense (57th).

Stew Morrill does a great job of getting his team to the Big Dance every year, but has never had much success there. Morrill's record in the NCAA Tournament is an abysmal 1-8.

Virginia-Commonwealth (23-11)

EXPERIENCE: Top six scorers: Sr, Jr, Sr, Sr, Sr, Fr

WHY TO LOVE: Balanced scoring: Four players average 10.6 ppg or more.

Experience: Top five scorers are upperclassmen (four seniors).

WHY TO HATE: Below-average offense (59th).

Awful defense (143rd).

Wofford (21-12)

EXPERIENCE: Top six scorers: Sr, Sr, Sr, Jr, Jr, Sr

WHY TO LOVE: Good offense (39th).

Wofford shoots 41 percent from three.

Experience: The top six scorers are upperclassmen. Four are seniors.

Wofford has battled NCAA Tournament teams very closely; they lost at Xavier by 4 and Clemson by 8.

Played in the NCAA Tournament last year. Almost beat No. 4 Wisconsin.

WHY TO HATE: Awful defense (193rd).

No quality road wins.



2011 NCAA Tournament Picks:
Sweet 16 Redo | East | West | Southwest | Southeast | Final Four | Winning Tips | 2011 NCAA Tournament Home
2011 NCAA Tournament Bracket Breakdowns:
West | East | Southwest | Southeast | Final Four | Schedule
2011 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Breakdowns:
West | Southeast |
2011 NCAA Tournament Preview:
ACC | Atlantic 10 | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Mid-Majors | Mountain West | Pac 10 | SEC



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