Southern Conference (18-16, 11-9)
Big Wins: 12/30 Niagara (99-84), 2/5 at Wofford (84-77), 3/9 Charleston (80-69)
Bad Losses: 1/3 at Georgia Southern (74-78), 1/24 at Elon (85-86), 2/7 at Furman (70-72)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2005, First Round loss to Wake Forest
Coach: John Shulman (0-1 in 1 NCAA appearance)
Why They Can Surprise:
Few starting lineups in all of college basketball have as much experience as Chattanooga’s starting five. All of them are seniors and the sixth man is a junior. Coach John Shulman can rely on his players to do what they do best. And what this group does best is rebound. Nicchaeus Doaks has emerged as the most productive member of the frontcourt, averaging 13.9 points, 8.7 rebounds and one block per contest. The 6-7 Trenton, Tennessee native will spend most of his time hanging around the basket, but he can step outside and knock down the occasional three-pointer.
Small forward Kevin Goffney can hit the long ball as well. Goffney is not a back to the basket type of player and he will slash down the paint and score with ease. He is even a great passer and that is rare for a 6-5 forward. The biggest of the big guys is 6-8, 222 pound senior Khalil Hartwell. He is a decent scorer around the basket and solid rebounder. Hartwell will not block many shots, that is Doaks’ job, but he can play good defense.
Why They Can Disappoint:
The biggest concern for the Mocs is the lack of depth. Ty Patterson and Jasper Williams are the only two players outside of the likely starting five that average more than ten minutes per game. And those two are guards. Patterson will provide a spark off the bench with his outside shooting and Williams can handle the ball, but if one of the big guys gets hurt or in foul trouble, Coach John Shulman suddenly has a much smaller lineup on the floor and the advantage on the glass virtually disappears. Patterson is 6-6 and can certainly play at the three or four spot, but he will not be hitting the glass as effectively as the player he substituted in for.
Who To Watch:
Keyron Sheard is a solid guard who does a good job creating shots for his teammates. The teammate that is usually the beneficiary of his passing is Stephen McDowell. The 5-11 transfer from South Carolina connects on an amazing 4.0 three-pointers per game. Only a couple players in the nation can say they hit more than that. And it is not like McDowell just jacks up three’s all the time. His 43.4 percent from long range ranks in the top 20 in the nation. And McDowell does more than just shoot. A majority of his shots do come from beyond the arc, but he will mix things up every once in a while and attack the basket. He is a little small to do that against some opponents, but he seems to always find a way. McDowell seems to have his best scoring performances in big games and they do not get any bigger than the NCAA Tournament.
Keyron Sheard, Senior, Guard, 7.1 ppg, 3.8 apg
Stephen McDowell, Senior, Guard, 18.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg
Kevin Goffney, Senior, Forward, 13.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 2.6 apg
Nicchaeus Doaks, Senior, Forward, 13.9 ppg, 8.7 rpg
Khalil Hartwell, Senior, Forward, 9.1 ppg, 7.1 rpg
Ty Patterson, Junior, Guard, 8.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg
Jasper Williams, Freshman, Guard, 2.2 ppg, 1.5 apg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 76.7 (42nd in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 76.2 (314, 10)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.4 (136, 6)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.9 (202, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.4 (18, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.6 (108, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 65.0 (273, 9)
Rebound Margin: 3.2 (70, 2)
Assists Per Game: 13.8 (114, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 15.7 (284, 11)
Following the final Bracket announcement, more team info will be added, including final RPI, final team statistical rankings, Joel's prediction, and more!