American University (#14, East, Philadelphia pod)
vs Villanova (#3)
Thur, 3/19 at 7:20 PM
Vegas Line: +16.5
Location: Washington, DC
Conference: Patriot League, automatic bid
Coach: Jeff Jones, 149-120
08-09 Record: 24-7, 13-1
Last 12 Games: 12-0; 13-game winning streak
Best Win: Manhattan (60-48 on 12/29 on the road)
Worst Loss: George Washington (63-50 on 12/17 on the road)
Off. Efficiency Rating: 104.3, 118th nationally
Def. Efficiency Rating: 98.6, 124th nationally
Nuts ‘n Bolts
Star Player(s): Garrison Carr (17.8 PPG) & Derrick Mercer (11.5 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 4.4 APG)
Unsung Hero: Brian Gilmore (12.4 PPG and 5.4 RPG)
Potential NBA Draft Pick(s): N/A
Key Injuries: N/A
Depth: 21.4% (328th nationally); the bench accounts for 21.4% of the team’s total minutes
Achilles Heel: Free throw shooting (64.8% as a team)
Will Make a Deep Run if…: Dante Cunningham and Scottie Reynolds get in foul trouble. Realistically they might have had a chance if the NCAA hadn’t given their opponent a home game. They would have a better shot being a #15 seed playing a #2.
Will Make an Early Exit if…: Villanova doesn’t get lost on the way to the arena in its hometown.
Last Year Invited: 2008; Lost to Tennessee in the 1st round
Streak: 1 year
Best NCAA Finish: 2008; 1st round
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present): -0.04; on average, they win 0.04 less games than expected based on their seeding each year they make the NCAA tournament
Distance to First Round Site: 137 miles
School’s Claim to Fame: According to The Princeton Review, they are the most politically active campus in the nation (not surprising because of their location). According to PETA, they are also the most vegan-friendly campus. They have dry dorms.
School Wishes It Could Forget: Outside of its choice of name (now known for being those cheap stores in the mall with everything 70% off all the time)? See the last two sentences (above). Any time PETA likes you, it’s not something to be proud of.
Prediction: American is a fine team but they’ve drawn a buzz saw — Villanova basically at home. Obviously an upset of major proportions if AU could pull it off…but I wouldn’t count on it.
Major RTC stories: Patriot League Wrapup & Tourney Preview
Preview written by Rush the Court.