Wednesday, January 28, 2015

NCAA tournament: East Regional at a glance


Record: 28-6, 16-2 Atlantic Coast, 1st. RPI: 11.

Coach: Tony Bennett (8th season, 173-92; 104-59 in five seasons at Virginia; 3-3 NCAA).

Best win: 75-56 vs. Syracuse, March 1.

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Worst loss: 75-72 vs. Green Bay, Dec. 7.

Three-pointers: 36.3 percent.

Free throws: 66.4 percent.

Top three: Malcolm Brogdon (12.3 ppg., 5.6 rpg.), Joe Harris (11.6 ppg.), Akil Mitchell (7.0 ppg., 6.9 rpg.).

The skinny: Virginia brings a feisty defense to the tournament. The Cavaliers limited 16 of their opponents to less than 40 percent shooting. The regular-season ACC title was their first since 1981 and the tourney title their first since 1976.



Record: 28-4, 16-2 Big East, 1st. RPI: 5.

Coach: Jay Wright (20th season; 407-232; 285-148 in 13 seasons at Villanova; 12-10 NCAA).

Best win: 63-59 vs. Kansas, Nov. 29.

Worst loss: 64-63 vs. Seton Hall, March 13.

Three-pointers: 36.4 percent.

Free throws: 71.6 percent.

Top three: James Bell (14.5 ppg., 6.1 rpg.), Darrun Hilliard (14.3 ppg., 1.3 spg.), JayVaughn Pinkston (14.2 ppg., 6.1 rpg.).

The skinny: The Wildcats shot the ball well from the field (45.2 percent) and from three-point range. Their defense improved late in the season; they allowed an average of 57.4 points in their last five regular-season games.



Record: 26-7, 11-7 Big 12, tied 3d. RPI: 8.

Coach: Fred Hoiberg (4th season, 88-46, all at Iowa State; 2-2 NCAA).

Best win: 77-70 vs. Michigan, Nov. 17.

Worst loss: 102-77 at West Virginia, Feb. 10.

Three-pointers: 35.1 percent.

Free throws: 69.4 percent.

Top three: Melvin Ejim (18.1 ppg., 8.5 rpg.), DeAndre Kane (17.0 ppg., 6.7 rpg., 5.8 apg.), Georges Niang (16.5 ppg., 4.4 rpg., 3.6 apg.).

The skinny: The Cyclones are making their third-straight NCAA appearance. They have won their first game each of the last two years, and Ejim, a senior who is the second-leading scorer in the Big 12, was a contributor each time.



Record: 26-8, 12-6 Big Ten, tied 2d. RPI: 22.

Coach: Tom Izzo (19th season, 465-186, all at Michigan State; 39-15 NCAA).

Best win: 78-74 vs. Kentucky, Nov. 12.

Worst loss: 64-60 vs. Georgetown, Feb. 1.

Three-pointers: 39.1 percent.

Free throws: 69.3 percent.

Top three: Gary Harris (17.1 ppg., 4.2 rpg.), Adreian Payne (15.8 ppg., 7.4 rpg.), Keith Appling (12.3 ppg., 4.6 apg.).

The skinny: Harris has started to round into shape lately. He's the one Spartan who can consistently make things happen at the offensive end in a pinch. Payne is tough inside for the Big Ten tournament champs.



Record: 27-6, 15-3 American Athletic, tied 1st. RPI: 20.

Coach: Mick Cronin (10th season, 231-130; 162-106 in eight seasons at Cincinnati; 3-5 NCAA).

Best win: 69-66 vs. Louisville, Jan. 30.

Worst loss: 64-47 vs. Xavier, Dec. 14.

Three-pointers: 33.5 percent.

Free throws: 70.9 percent.

Top three: Sean Kilpatrick (20.7 ppg., 2.6 apg.), Justin Jackson (11.1 ppg., 7.2 rpg.), Titus Rubles (7.3 ppg., 6.7 rpg., 2.0 apg.).

The skinny: Kilpatrick has been lights-out all season long. He's the type of player who can get hot and potentially lead the Bearcats, 5-4 in their last nine games, on a deep run in the tournament.



Record: 23-9, 13-5 Atlantic Coast, tied 3d. RPI: 25.

Coach: Roy Williams (26th season, 723-189; 305-88 in 11 seasons at North Carolina; 62-21 NCAA).

Best win: 74-66 vs. Duke, Feb. 20.

Worst loss: 83-80 vs. Belmont, Nov. 17.

Three-pointers: 33.6 percent.

Free throws: 62.5 percent.

Top three: Marcus Paige (17.4 ppg., 4.3 apg.), James Michael McAdoo (14.2 ppg., 6.7 rpg.), Leslie McDonald (10.3 ppg.).

The skinny: Carolina found an impressive rhythm at the end of the regular season behind the sharp play of sophomore guard Paige. The Tar Heels won 12 in a row before closing with a loss at Duke and an ACC tournament loss to Pittsburgh.



Record: 26-8, 12-6 American Athletic, tied 3d. RPI: 21.

Coach: Kevin Ollie (2d season, 46-18, all at Connecticut; 0-0 NCAA).

Best win: 65-64 vs. Florida, Dec. 2.

Worst loss: 75-71 at Houston, Dec. 31.

Three-pointers: 38.7 percent.

Free throws: 76.1 percent.

Top three: Shabazz Napier (17.4 ppg., 5.9 rpg.), DeAndre Daniels (12.5 ppg., 5.8 rpg.), Ryan Boatright (11.8 ppg.).

The skinny: The Huskies have at times shown an overreliance on the three-point shot. Napier, the conference's player of the year and a USBWA first-team all-American, looks to set the tone for Connecticut.



Record: 23-9, 12-6 American Athletic, tied 3d. RPI: 36.

Coach: Josh Pastner (5th season, 129-43, all at Memphis; 1-3 NCAA).

Best win: 72-66 vs. Louisville, March 1.

Worst loss: 77-68 vs. Houston, Feb. 27.

Three-pointers: 33.5 percent.

Free throws: 64.9 percent.

Top three: Joe Jackson (14.3 ppg., 4.6 apg., 3.6 rpg.), Michael Dixon Jr. (11.8 ppg.), Shaq Goodwin (11.8 ppg., 6.6 rpg., 58.4 field-goal percentage).

The skinny: The Tigers have struggled from the free-throw line all season, something that could hurt them this month. Austin Nichols finished second in the American in field-goal percentage (59.2).



Record: 24-8, 11-5 Atlantic 10, tied 3d. RPI: 29.

Coach: Mike Lonergan (21st season, 424-202; 47-46 in three seasons at George Washington; 0-1 NCAA).

Best win: 60-53 vs. Creighton, Dec. 1.

Worst loss: 76-60 vs. Marquette, Nov. 29.

Three-pointers: 36.9 percent.

Free throws: 65.4 percent.

Top three: Maurice Creek (14.3 ppg., 3.4 rpg., 1.8 apg.), Isaiah Armwood (12.5 ppg., 8.5 rpg., 1.6 bpg.), Patricio Garino (12.2 ppg., 4.3 rpg., 56.4 field-goal percentage).

The skinny: The Colonials have won more games this season than they had in the previous two years combined (23). Armwood began his career at Villanova and averaged the most rebounds in A-10 games (9.8).



Record: 24-9, 11-5 Atlantic 10, tied 3d. RPI: 37.

Coach: Phil Martelli (19th season, 362-246, all at St. Joseph's; 7-5 NCAA).

Best win: 69-62 vs. VCU, Feb. 8.

Worst loss: 77-69 at Temple, Dec. 4.

Three-pointers: 38.1 percent.

Free throws: 64.4 percent.

Top three: Langston Galloway (17.4 ppg., 4.3 rpg., 1.5 apg.), Ronald Roberts Jr. (14.4 ppg., 7.2 rpg., 1.3 bpg.), Halil Kanacevic (10.7 ppg., 8.7 rpg., 4.4 apg.).

The skinny: The Hawks slid at the end of the regular season but won three straight to claim the A-10 tournament title. Galloway was a first-team all-A-10 choice, while Kanacevic made the second team and Roberts the third team.



Record: 23-11, 10-8 Big East, tied 3d. RPI: 40.

Coach: Ed Cooley (8th season, 149-112; 57-53 in three seasons at Providence; 0-0 NCAA).

Best win: 68-65 vs. Creighton, March 15.

Worst loss: 81-80 vs. Seton Hall, Dec. 31.

Three-pointers: 35.0 percent.

Free throws: 78.1 percent.

Top three: Bryce Cotton (21.4 ppg., 5.8 apg.), LaDontae Henton (13.9 ppg., 7.8 rpg.), Kadeem Batts (12.4 ppg., 7.6 rpg.).

The skinny: Cotton, who averages 39.9 minutes per game, is the Big East's best player not named Doug McDermott. They made a surprising run to the Big East tourney title despite injuries and a pair of player dismissals.



Record: 26-4, 13-1 Ivy, 1st. RPI: 46.

Coach: Tommy Amaker (17th season, 314-209; 138-70 in seven seasons at Harvard; 3-3 NCAA).

Best win: 76-64 vs. Green Bay, Nov. 29.

Worst loss: 68-53 at Florida Atlantic, Jan. 21.

Three-pointers: 38.7 percent.

Free throws: 72.6 percent

Top three: Wesley Saunders (14.0 ppg., 3.9 apg., 1.7 spg.), Steve Moundou-Missi (10.5 ppg., 5.8 rpg., 54.4 field-goal percentage), Siyani Chambers (11.1 ppg., 4.7 apg.).

The skinny: The first team to punch a ticket to the NCAA tournament, Ivy League champion Harvard has won 12 of its last 13 games. Last year, the Crimson upset No. 3 New Mexico in the tournament as a 14 seed.



Record: 25-9, 14-2 Colonial Athletic, 1st. RPI: 65.

Coach: Monte' Ross (8th season, 115-140, all at Delaware; 0-0 NCAA).

Best win: 83-76 vs. Towson, Jan. 25.

Worst loss: 95-93 vs. Charleston southern, Nov. 10.

Three-pointers: 34.5 percent.

Free throws: 70.9 percent.

Top three: Devon Saddler (19.7 ppg., 4.3 rpg., 3.6 apg.), Davon Usher (19.4 ppg., 6.1 rpg.), Jarvis Threatt (18.1 ppg., 5.8 rpg., 5.6 apg.).

The skinny: The Blue Hens claimed their first NCAA bid since 1999 behind the high-scoring trio of Saddler, Usher, and Threatt. Their 13-game winning streak (from Jan. 1 to Feb. 12) was the second-longest in school history.



Record: 28-5, 15-1 Mid-Eastern Athletic, 1st. RPI: 99.

Coach: LeVelle Moton (4th season, 82-44, all at North Carolina Central; 0-0 NCAA).

Best win: 82-72, overtime, at North Carolina State, Nov. 20.

Worst loss: 71-65 at IUPUI, Dec. 7.

Three-pointers: 33.8 percent.

Free throws: 72.7 percent.

Top three: Jeremy Ingram (20.6 ppg., 3.8 rpg.), Emanuel Chapman (6.8 ppg., 6.5 apg.), Jordan Parks (10.2 ppg., 5.6 rpg., 66.2 field-goal percentage).

The skinny: Only three seasons after moving up to Division I, North Carolina Central has won 20 in a row to make its way to the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history.



Record: 21-13, 7-9 Horizon, 5th. RPI: 131.

Coach: Rob Jeter (9th season, 150-140, all at Milwaukee; 1-1 NCAA).

Best win: 73-63 at Green Bay, Feb. 8.

Worst loss: 80-58 vs. Illinois-Chicago, Feb. 25.

Three-pointers: 32.3 percent.

Free throws: 73.0 percent.

Top three: Jordan Aaron (14.9 ppg., 3.0 rpg., 2.5 apg.), Kyle Kelm (12.4 ppg., 5.1 rpg.), Matt Tiby (12.3 ppg., 6.6 rpg.).

The skinny: The streaky Panthers haven't been to the tournament since 2006. Over its last 15 games, Milwaukee lost three in a row, then won three straight, lost four straight, and eventually won five straight to end the year.



Record: 21-12, 11-5 Big South, 1st, southern Division. RPI: 199.

Coach: Cliff Ellis (36th season, 670-425; 134-87 in seven seasons at Coastal Carolina; 8-8 NCAA).

Best win: 76-61 vs. Winthrop, March 9.

Worst loss: 70-58 at Charleston Southern, Jan. 8.

Three-pointers: 33.3 percent.

Free throws: 69.4 percent.

Top three: Elijah Wilson (16.1 ppg., 4.1 rpg.), Warren Gillis (14.8 ppg., 3.5 rpg., 3.2 apg.), Josh Cameron (14.1 ppg., 2.6 rpg., 2.5 apg.).

The skinny: This is Coastal Carolina's first NCAA trip since 1993. Willis had 22 points in the title win over Winthrop. Ellis is the 10th coach in NCAA Division I history to lead four teams to the tournament.

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