Jacksonville: 2009 NIT Capsule

    
March 8th, 2009
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Jacksonville Dolphins

Atlantic Sun (1st, 18-13, 15-5)

 

Last NCAA Appearance: 1986, First Round loss to Temple

Coach: Cliff Warren (First NCAA appearance)

 

Probable Starters:

Ben Smith, Junior, Guard

Travis Cohn, Sophomore, Guard

Lehmon Colbert, Junior, Forward

Ayron Hardy, Sophomore, Forward

Marcus Allen, Senior, Forward

 

Key Roleplayers:

Will Alston, Freshman, Forward

Aric Brooks, Sophomore, Forward

Chris Edwards, Freshman, Guard

Tevin Galvin, Freshman, Guard

Evan Jefferson, Senior, Guard

Szymon Lukasiak, Sophomore, Center

 

Why They Can Surprise:

While Jacksonville does turn the ball over quite a bit, they do other things to make it so they almost always get more possessions than their opponents. One thing the Dolphins do to keep the ball out of their opponent’s hands is rebound. Marcus Allen, a 6-7 senior, is the best rebounder on the squad, averaging 7.1 per contest. Fellow starting forwards Lehmon Colbert and Ayron Hardy give Allen plenty of help on the glass. Those three are also quality scorers. Allen spends most of his time under the basket, but Colbert and Hardy can stretch out the defense with their outside shooting ability.

 

The other way to create possessions is to grab some steals. As a team, the Dolphins tally 8.6 steals per contest. Most of the credit goes to point guard Ben Smith who averages 2.3 of those steals. The 5-10 junior is more than just a great defender though. He is the team’s top scorer and the point guard. Smith has always been an aggressive scorer and that has not changed this season. He will attack the basket very effectively and either find his teammates or score himself. Smith is also Jacksonville’s biggest long range shooting threat and that versatility makes him difficult to stop. 

 

Why They Can Disappoint:

Smith does not deserve most of the blame for the turnovers, but it is his job to keep this team under control, especially when the young players on the bench are in the game. The other concern on this team is the shooting defense. Jacksonville will go for the steals, so when the opposition gets a shot off it will be a pretty good look. Jacksonville allows the opposition to shoot 45.4 percent from the floor and 36.9 percent from beyond the arc. Both those numbers are better than what Jacksonville shoots and they better make sure they can get rebounds and not turn the ball over if the opposition is going to shoot that well from the floor.

 

Who To Watch:

Smith is the only consistent scoring threat among the guards. Sophomore Travis Cohn will usually start at the shooting guard spot, but he has been extremely inconsistent this season. He might give the Dolphins a dozen points, but he could just as easily put up a goose egg. If Cohn is not scoring, Coach Cliff Warren will look to Evan Jefferson and Tevin Galvin off the bench. Jefferson is the more effective scorer of the two and he has only reached double-digits twice on the year, but his outside shooting can provide some quick points. However, it does not matter if the points come from Cohn, Jefferson or Galvin, or a combination of all three, as long as Jacksonville can provide another scoring threat from the perimeter.

 

+ Following final Bracket announcement, more team info will be added, including final RPI, final team statistical rankings, Joel's prediction, and more!

 

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