Posted by rtmsf on March 12th, 2010
As we move through the next few days when automatic bids will be handed out on a regular basis, we’re going to break down the teams for you so that you can start thinking about your bracket ahead of time. The pearls of wisdom are meant to help you better understand what these teams are good at and how to make fair comparisons between them — all too often, the capsules you see have a lot of information in them, but very little of it is actually helpful. If you have additional ideas, leave them in the comments. For the good/bad matchups, we’re not necessarily saying that Team X will win; we’re simply pointing out that in an ideal situation, some of that team’s strengths will be more likely to manifest against those particular opponents — so save the emails. We’re still catching up, but these should be the teams through the early part of the week.
#5. Northern Iowa Panthers (28-4, 15-3 MVC) – automatic qualifier
NCAA Seed Range: #7-#9
Three Bruce Pearls of Wisdom:
- It’s all about methodical offense and sticky defense for the Panthers. This team will not beat themselves with mistakes, so you’d better be disciplined in your approach if you hope to beat them. Sixty points is the magic number — the Panthers were 16-0 this year when reaching that score. Possession basketball is the key; a 10-point deficit in the last five minutes against UNI is nearly impossible to recover from, as they take care of the ball (only 10.5 turnovers/game) and hit free throws (75.5%).
- Not many mid-majors have a legitimate seven-footer but UNI’s Jordan Eglseder is one such player. He only plays about 22 minutes per game, but he’s an effective scorer in the low post, draws a lot of fouls and is one of the best per-minute rebounders in the nation on both ends. He’s not a game-changer in the sense that he will own the paint, but he is a tough wrinkle to prepare for in the game plan.
- The Panthers beat up on some bad major conference teams this year (Iowa, Iowa State, BC) in addition to knocking off some mid-major powers in Old Dominion and Siena. The one confounding loss was to DePaul in the Virgin Islands early in the year where Mac Koshwal (12/19) dominated Eglseder (2/6) inside. Don’t assume that as a trend, though, as Eglseder played well against ISU’s Craig Brackins (20/14) and Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson last season (13/5).
Good Matchups: Wake Forest, Clemson
Bad Matchups: Marquette, UNLV
#6. Old Dominion (26-8, 15-3 CAA) – automatic qualifier
NCAA Seed Range: #9-#11
Three Bruce Pearls of Wisdom:
- There’s no one player you have to stop to beat ODU, but if you can slow down 6’10 center Gerald Lee, you’ll have a better chance. The versatile big man was seen in the CAA Tournament taking the ball upcourt against pressure on occasion, in addition to lending his usual 15/5 and 54% shooting from the field. He has six teammates who contribute between six and nine points per game, so keying on any one of them is precarious because the Monarchs share the wealth. They only had six occasions where a player scored 20+ points in a game this year, and five of those were Lee (Marsharee Neely was the other).
- ODU is another one of those mid-majors that thrives on possession basketball. They limit your possessions by defending and rebounding among the best in the nation. They also gang-rebound on the offensive glass, giving themselves an extra chance on nearly half of their scoring opportunities. Those extra chances help to make up for what is a fairly lousy three-point (31.5%) and two-point shooting percentage (49.4%).
- ODU’s signature win was at Georgetown during Snowpacalypse I in December. They did it by forcing GU point guard Chris Wright into a difficult game (2-8 FG; 4 pts) and collecting eighteen Hoya turnovers. It should be noted that if you can turn over the Monarchs, as Missouri, Northern Iowa and Dayton successfully did in the nonconference slate, they struggle scoring enough points to win.
Good Matchups: Oklahoma State, Texas
Bad Matchups: Clemson, Richmond
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