2008 NCAA Tournament Capsule: Austin Peay
OVC (24-10, 16-4)
Big Wins: 11/17 Belmont (71-56), 12/19 at Belmont (93-84), 2/23 Georgia Southern (80-72)
Bad Losses: 12/8 at Evansville (62-72), 1/26 at Samford (49-63), 1/29 at Southeast Missouri State (116-121)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2003, First Round loss to Louisville
Coach: Dave Loos (0-2 in 2 NCAA appearances)
Derek Wright, Senior, Guard, 11.7 ppg, 4.8 apg, 2.6 spg
Todd Babington, Senior, Guard, 11.6 ppg, 1.4 apg
Kyle Duncan, Junior, Guard, 6.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg
Drake Reed, Junior, Forward, 14.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg
Fernandez Lockett, Senior, Forward, 10.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg
Wes Channels, Sophomore, Guard, 11.0 ppg, 2.1 apg
Ernest Fields, Sophomore, Forward, 5.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg
Why They Can Surprise:
Austin Peay is a decent shooting team from anywhere on the floor. While the frontcourt bolsters that number, the trio of starting guards certainly help with their solid outside shooting. Senior Todd Babington is a three-point specialist and rarely journeys inside the arc. He can score over 20 points a game when he is on, but Babington can find himself well under double-digits as well when the shot is not falling.
Defense has always been the mantra of Coach Dave Loos, and Derek Wright and Kyle Duncan are shut down defenders. Wright, a 5-9 point guard, averages 2.6 steals per contest and has developed into a solid floor leader for the Governors. His shot has also been coming around nicely and Wright can put up some big numbers in the scoring column. Duncan is a decent scorer and hits over 56 percent of his shots from long range, which would rank as one of the best in the nation if he had enough attempts.
Why They Can Disappoint:
Wright is 5-9 and the rest of the starters are listed at 6-5 or 6-6. That is good size on the wings, but not so good up front. Not surprisingly, Austin Peay has trouble in the rebounding department. Forwards Fernandez Lockett and Drake Reed are solid scorers, but the post offense is pretty much non-existent, especially against teams with a quality big man or two. Lockett can use his athleticism to get on the glass and Reed is a good offensive rebounder, but that will not help much against a 7-footer. The team as a whole gets outrebounded by over three boards per game and that number can get a lot worse against a team with some big men.
Who To Watch:
The Govs in essence only have a two man bench, but it is a pretty good two man bench. Wes Channels, a 6-3 guard, was the sixth man last year and has embraced that role again as a sophomore. He averages over 11 points per game and can instantly spark the offense. Sophomore Ernest Fields might just be the best rebounder on the team. He only plays 15 minutes, but still grabs over four boards per game. He should step into a starting role next year, but for now he is a solid option off the bench.
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