Atlantic 10 Conference (19-12, 9-7)
Big Wins: 12/5 at Louisville (87-65), 1/20 at Richmond (71-59), 1/27 Temple (74-64)
Bad Losses: 2/17 Duquesne (77-83), 2/27 at George Washington (70-75), 3/9 vs Massachusetts (56-59)
Coach: Bobby Lutz
Why They Can Surprise:
Charlotte tries to score a lot of points every game, but sometimes they just cannot do it. The overall shooting numbers are pretty awful, but at least the 49ers have an inside/outside duo in Shamari Spears and Derrio Green that keep them in just about every game. Green is easily the most prolific shooter on the team and is very tough to stop when he is having a good day. However, shooting 31.3 percent from beyond the arc, those good days do not happen too often at this point.
Spears, a 6-6 junior who spent a couple seasons at Boston College, is much more consistent. He can do a little bit of everything when it comes to scoring. Nobody on the team gets to the line as much as he does, but he can also keep the defense honest with his outside shooting ability. He hits the occasional three-pointer, but even stretching the defense out with a 15 to 18 foot jumper does the job. The emergence of freshman center Chris Braswell has given the team another scoring option, at least occasionally. Braswell is extremely inconsistent, but even when he is not scoring, he will be hitting the glass and clearing space for Spears and Green.
Why They Can Disappoint:
There are lots of reasons this team can make an early tournament exit. If Green is not hitting shots and Braswell is not scoring in the paint, Charlotte will not beat any quality opponent. The turnover numbers are a little high and the turnover margin on any given day can easily lead to a loss. Most of those concerns stem from a lack of depth. An’Juan Wilderness missed some time early in the year and has been inconsistent ever since. However, due to his size, he has been inserted into the starting lineup many times anyway. The only other options are the more experienced Charles Dewhurst or big man Phil Jones.
Who To Watch:
Dewhurst is pretty much just another point guard, but DiJuan Harris handles that job pretty well, although having both on the floor is a necessity in certain situations. Harris has turned into a fine leader on the floor and averages 4.6 assists per game and just 2.1 turnovers. The 5-9 speedster can blow past most defenders and create easy shots for the big guys under the basket or a slashing Spears or Green sitting in the corner ready to hoist up another three. But Harris’ shooting ability has made him even more dangerous this year. He will not hit a lot of outside shots, but just the threat means the opposition has to guard him beyond the arc and that gives Harris the space to run right past them.
DiJuan Harris, Senior, Guard, 8.3 ppg, 4.6 apg
Derrio Green, Sophomore, Guard, 13.1 ppg, 2.3 apg, 1.5 spg
An’Juan Wilderness, Junior, Forward, 5.7 ppg, 2.8 rpg
Shamari Spears, Junior, Forward, 16.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg
Chris Braswell, Freshman, Forward, 9.5 ppg, 8.6 rpg
Ian Anderson, Senior, Guard, 4.0 ppg, 1.2 rpg
Charles Dewhurst, Junior, Guard, 2.8 ppg, 1.4 apg
Phil Jones, Junior, Center, 5.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.1 bpg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 74.0 (75th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 71.5 (249,10)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.0 (239, 11)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.8 (103, 8)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.5 (132, 5)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 31.6 (244, 9)
Free-Throw Percentage: 73.4 (30, 1)
Rebound Margin: 2.6 (96, 7)
Assists Per Game: 13.3 (146, 8)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.3 (137, 7)
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