Cleveland State University (#13, Midwest, Miami pod)
vs. Wake Forest (#4)
Thur. 3/20 at about 9:40 pm
Vegas Line: +8
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Conference: Horizon League, automatic bid
Coach: Gary Waters, hired 2006. Record at Cleveland State = 56-44.
08-09 Record: 25-10 (12-6)
Last 12 Games: 10-2, won 4.
Best Win: Either at Syracuse, 72-69, on 12/15/08 OR vs Butler, 57-54, on 3/10 for the Horizon tournament title.
Worst Loss: at Youngstown State, 60-64, on 1/23/09.
Off. Efficiency Rating: 104.2 (122nd)
Def. Efficiency Rating: 91.8 (31st)
Nuts n Bolts
Star Player(s): J’Nathan Bullock (6’5″ senior forward), 15.3 ppg/7.0 rpg.
Unsung Hero: Cedric Jackson (6’3″ senior guard), 10.5 ppg/5.7 rpg/5.4 apg/2.9 spg.
Potential NBA Draft Pick: None.
Key Injuries: Guard D’Aundray Brown — sprained MCL on March 3, has not returned.
Depth: 27.8% mins. (240th nationally)
Achilles Heel: Shooting the three. Cleveland State shoots 32.0% which is 265th in the nation.
Will Make a Deep Run if…: …they can shoot better overall. The Vikings are around 200th in the nation in every shooting subcategory, which they’ll have to improve to pull off an upset.
Will Make an Early Exit if…: …they don’t get a little more help for Bullock, Jackson, and Norris Cole, the three-man attack for CSU.
Last Year Invited: 1986
Streak: One year.
Best NCAA Finish: 1986 Sweet Sixteen. Beat Indiana 73-69 in R1, then St. Joseph’s 75-69 in R2, then lost to Navy 70-71 in S16.
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present): n/a
Six Degrees to Detroit: J’Nathan Bullock is a Flint native.
Distance to First Round Site: 1242 miles
School’s Claim to Fame: Tim Russert was a CSU alumnus.
School Wishes It Could Forget: That it’s in downtown Cleveland — just kidding, Clevelanders!
Prediction: CSU has an interesting three-man attack and therefore they don’t jump out at you statistically in any category, and it’s a long way from the days of “Mouse” McFadden…but after watching them in their conference tournament, there’s something about them that makes me want to take a first-round chance in the way that a person puts a stray $2 on a fat longshot in a horse race. Plus, Wake tends to not get up for “small-time” opponents, so I’ll probably have CSU moving into the second round in my bracket.
Major RTC stories: Horizon League Wrapup/Tourney Preview, RTC Live: Horizon Tournament Final
Preview written by: John Stevens, Rush The Court.