Tennessee Martin Skyhawks
Ohio Valley (22-9, 14-4)
NIT Seed: #8
Big Wins: 1/5 Murray State (75-71), 2/5 at Austin Peay (87-82), 2/26 Eastern Kentucky (74-55)
Bad Losses: 11/25 Arkansas State (67-76), 12/6 at Eastern Kentucky (75-78), 2/21 Missouri State (77-79)
Coach: Bret Campbell
Delrico Lane, Junior, Guard, 5.1 ppg, 5.0 apg, 2.2 spg
Marquis Weddle, Sophomore, Guard, 13.9 ppg
Lester Hudson, Senior, Guard, 27.3 ppg, 4.1 apg, 7.8 rpg
Olajide Hay, Senior, Forward, 9.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg
Djero Riedewald, Senior, Forward, 5.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg
Reuben Clayton, Sophomore, Guard, 5.5 ppg, 1.6 apg
Eric Massey, Junior, Forward, 3.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg
Benzor Simmons, Sophomore, Guard, 6.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg
Why They Can Surprise:
Only Davidson’s Stephen Curry averages more points per game than Tennessee Martin’s Lester Hudson. He might not get as much attention, but Hudson is every bit the scorer that Curry is. And Hudson is a very efficient scorer. He shoots 44.7 percent from the floor and that is a very good number for somebody who attempts 9.1 three-pointers per contest. Scoring 30 points in a game is no special occasion for the 6-2 senior and he will even occasionally reach the 40-point plateau. Equally impressive as his scoring is the fact that Hudson is also averaging 7.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.4 steals per contest.
As if going up against Hudson is not scary enough for the opposition, the Skyhawks also have Marquis Weddle on the team. The 6-1 sophomore is not as aggressive getting to the basket as Huson, but he will keep up with him shot for shot from beyond the arc. For a team that scores so much, it would not be surprising if they committed a lot of turnovers. But that is not the case thanks to junior Delrico Lane. Lane does a great job finding Hudson and Weddle and also has kept the turnovers to a minimum.
Why They Can Disappoint:
Obviously the frontcourt is going to get overlooked when the group on the perimeter is so talented, but Olajide Hay and Djero Riedewald have done an admirable job this season. Hay has taken advantage of the defense worrying about the perimeter and has emerged as decent scorer in the paint. Riedewald is a good rebounder, but the problem is those big guys can get outmatched by bigger, stronger opponents. Neither are great shot blockers either and the Skyhawks can give up some easy buckets if the guys on the perimeter cannot get a steal.
Who To Watch:
Every once in a while Hudson and Weddle need a break. Barring some major foul trouble, one of them will be on the floor at all times, but Coach Bret Campbell still needs to find some production from the bench players in the backcourt. Without Weddle, Hudson is less effective and vice versa. Thus, it will be important for Benzor Simmons and Reuben Clayton to keep the backcourt a multi-dimensional threat in small spurts. Simmons, a 6-7 sophomore, will use his size to get to the basket and will make the Skyhawks a much bigger team on the perimeter. Clayton is more of a shooter, but he will score around the basket as well…like when he tallied 20 points against Tennessee State in February.
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 78.7 (17th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 69.5 (211, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.1 (105, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.6 (187, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.7 (54, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.3 (195, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 73.6 (32, 1)
Rebound Margin: 1.0 (156, 5)
Assists Per Game: 14.7 (73, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.7 (72, 2)
Joel’s Bracket Says: First Round loss to Auburn