Big South Conference (19-13, 12-6)
Big Wins: 1/30 Coastal Carolina (67-64), 2/23 UNC Asheville (68-65), 3/4 vs Radford (61-46)
Bad Losses: 1/4 at Charleston Southern (54-57), 1/21 at UNC Asheville (53-66), 2/25 at High Point (66-71)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2008, First Round loss to Washington
Coach: Randy Peele (0-1 in 1NCAA appearance)
Why They Can Surprise:
Winthrop’s size has been a superb advantage during play in the Big South Conference. Coach Randy Peele usually starts Matt Morgan and Andy Buechert. Morgan is a 6-9, 235 pound sophomore and is a good interior scorer and a decent rebounder. He needs to gain a little more strength before he can battle on the boards, but his agility is helpful scoring around the basket. Buechert is 6-10 and the shot blocking threat on the team. He is not as effective of an interior scorer as Morgan, but the senior is a good rebounder and a steady leader.
Mantoris Robinson does not have a lot of size at 6-5, but the small forward is a great rebounder. He is not a bad slasher either and ended the season averaging 8.2 points and 6.2 rebounds. Robinson will also use his athleticism to block some shots and that makes him a very dangerous player on both ends of the floor. Charles Corbin will usually come in off the bench, but the 6-7 junior will play about 20 minutes per game and will do his fair share of scoring and rebounding.
Why They Can Disappoint:
What this team lacks is a shooter. Reggie Middleton is a good scorer and a fine passer, but he hits less than one three-pointer per game on average. And, believe it or not, he is the best shooter on the team. Not only does he make the most three-pointers of anybody on the Eagles team, his 33 percent shooting percentage from beyond the arc is also a team high. Middleton makes up for it with his solid defense and his ability to create opportunities for his teammates. He is also the team’s best scorer and will take all the big shots when Winthrop needs a bucket. The lack of outside shooting is a problem, but this is a team that will create a ton of turnovers and they can get easy buckets that way. However, they will fall behind in the NCAA Tournament and somebody better start hitting some outside shots when Winthrop needs points in a hurry.
Who To Watch:
A lot of pressure has been put on freshman Robbie Dreher to be the shooter on this team. He has responded by hoisting up a team high 3.1 three-pointers per game. Unfortunately, he has only connected on 21.4 percent of those attempts. Dreher has had some good games, but most of those were in the middle of the season and he has only reached double figures in two games since January 23rd. The other option is sophomore Andre Jones. Jones has a little more experience, but he is just as bad of a shooter and has not been a very effective scorer in any form for most of the season.
Reggie Middleton, Sophomore, Guard, 10.2 ppg, 2.9 apg
Robbie Dreher, Freshman, Guard, 6.1 ppg, 1.1 apg
Mantoris Robinson, Senior, Forward, 8.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg
Matt Morgan, Sophomore, Center, 9.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg
Andy Buechert, Senior, Center, 5.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg
Justin Burton, Junior, Guard, 4.1 ppg, 1.4 apg
Charles Corbin, Junior, Forward, 6.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg
Gideon Gamble, Freshman, Guard, 3.6 ppg, 1.5 rpg
Andre Jones, Sophomore, Guard, 6.0 ppg, 1.8 apg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 62.4 (295th in nation, 9th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 61.4 (31, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 38.3 (326, 9)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.8 (32, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 3.8 (329, 9)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: na
Free-Throw Percentage: 64.6 (290, 6)
Rebound Margin: 1.7 (130, 4)
Assists Per Game: 10.7 (307, 9)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.3 (63, 1)
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