Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

NCAA Tournament preview: Midwest Region, Seeds 9-16









Northern Iowa Panthers

Record: 28-4, 15-3 Missouri Valley

Tourney history: 1-5, second round 1990

Coach: Ben Jacobson (87-42 at Northern Iowa)

Key win: A 67-52 win over rival Wichita State that secured the Panthers' second straight MVC tournament championship.

Key loss: A Feb. 23 one-point loss to Evansville, which finished last in the MVC.

Key player: Sr. F Adam Koch averaged 12.4 points and 4.8 rebounds this season and was named the MVC player of the year.

X-factor: Northern Iowa's bench has been a key factor and outscored Wichita State's 25-10 in the MVC championship game.

New Mexico State Aggies

Record: 22-11, 11-5 WAC

Tourney history: 10-19; Sweet 16 1970

Coach: Marvin Menzies (60-40 at New Mexico State)

Key win: A 69-63 win against top-seeded Utah State vaulted the Aggies into the NCAA Tournament for the first time in three years.

Key loss: A 100-68 loss at UCLA capped a 4-6 start to the season. The Aggies went on to win nine of their next 10 games.

Key player: Jr. G Jahmar Young averages 20.5 points and 3.5 rebounds.

X-factor: Menzies is a Rick Pitino disciple, having been an assistant at Louisville under him for two years.

Houston Cougars

Record: 19-15, 7-9 C-USA

Tourney history: 26-23; national runnerup 1983 and 1984

Coach: Tom Penders (121-76 at Houston, 594-419 overall)

Key win: Beating Memphis twice is solid, but not as much as knocking off UTEP in the Conference USA championship game.

Key loss: A week before their tournament run, the Cougars took an embarrassing 79-76 loss at Tulane, which finished 8-22.

Key player: Sr. G Aubrey Coleman led the nation in scoring at 26 points per game, including nine games with at least 30 points.

X-factor: Houston's supporting cast is key — Coleman went 4-for-20 in the win against UTEP, but the Cougars got 28 points from its other 6-4 Sr. G, Kelvin Lewis.

Ohio Bobcats

Record: 21-14, 7-9 Mid-American

Tourney history: 4-12; Elite Eight 1964

Coach: John Groce (36-31 at Ohio)

Key win: The Bobcats, the ninth seed, stunned top-seeded Akron 81-75 in OT to win the Mid-American Conference tournament on Saturday.

Key loss: They lost decisively at Pittsburgh, 74-49, on Dec. 22.

Key player: Jr. G Armon Bassett averages 16.9 points and was far better in the MAC tournament, averaging 29 to earn the MVP.

X-factor: Groce has learned about getting teams ready for the NCAA Tournament as an assistant under Herb Sendek and Thad Matta.

UCSB Gauchos

Record: 20-9, 12-4 Big West

Tourney history: 1-3; second round, 1990

Coach: Bob Williams (199-155 at UC Santa Barbara, 388-255 overall)

Key win: 69-64 over Long Beach in the Big West tournament final, its first title since 2002 and fifth NCAA appearance.

Key loss: 57-55 on Jan. 2 to UC Irvine, which finished tied for second to last in the Big West.

Key player: So. G Orlando Johnson, the Big West player of the year, averages 18 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists.

X-factor: Momentum. The Gauchos won nine of their final 10 games, which would indicate UCSB is playing its best when it counts the most.

Lehigh Mountain Hawks

Record: 22-10, 10-4 Patriot League

Tourney history: 0-3

Coach: Brett Reed (51-39 at Lehigh)

Key win: 74-59 over Lafayette in the Patriot League championship game, giving the Mountain Hawks their first conference title since 2004 and fourth NCAA berth.

Key loss: The 71-52 loss to Stony Brook that ended a three-game winning streak.

Key player: Fr. G C.J. McCollum is first nationally among freshman with 18.9 points per game and also averages 4.9 rebounds.

X-factor: Perimeter game. The Mountain Hawks are ranked eighth nationally in 3-point shooting, averaging 40 percent from beyond the arc, and have hit at least five 3-pointers in 24 games this season.

San Diego State Aztecs

Record: 25-8, 11-5 Mountain West

Tourney history: 0-5

Coach: Steve Fisher (198-148 at S.D. State, 382-230 overall)

Key win: The Aztecs beat visiting New Mexico 74-64 on Jan. 5.

Key loss: Somehow, the Aztecs were nipped by lowly Wyoming 85-83 on Jan. 9.

Key player: Fr. F Kawhi Leonard lived up to the hype as one of the program's most heralded prospects; he had nine double doubles in league play.

X-factor: Fisher's bunch gets after teams, holding opponents to 61.8 ppg, the stingiest in the Mountain West.

Ga. Tech Yellow Jackets

Record: 22-12, 7-9 ACC

Tourney history: 22-15; national runnerup 2004

Coach: Paul Hewitt (176-143 at Tech, 242-170 overall)

Key win: The Yellow Jackets beat Duke 71-67 in Atlanta on Jan. 9.

Key loss: A buzzer-beating jumper by Miami meant a 64-62 loss on Feb. 10.

Key player: So. F Gani Lawal averaged nearly a double double during the regular season (13.6 ppg, 8.8 rpg).

X-factor: If Fr. F Derrick Favors plays like a "one-and-done," the Jackets can be tough, especially on the boards at both ends.

NCAA Tournament preview: Midwest Region, Seeds 9-16

03/14/10 [Last modified: Monday, March 15, 2010 12:06am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Joe Maddon gets warm reception in return to the Trop

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The night was arranged to honor former Rays manager Joe Maddon in his first visit back to the Trop, and the standing ovation from the bipartisan crowd and scoreboard video tribute seemed proper acknowledgments of his hefty role in the Rays' success during his nine-year stint.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) talks with reporters during a press conference before the start of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.
  2. Rays vs. Cubs, 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Cubs

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM; 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays' Blake Snell poses for a picture during the team's photo day at baseball spring training in Port Charlotte, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Cubs game

    The Heater

    Chris Archer's night ended with his 11th loss, but he and the Rays should feel good about his six solid innings. After the forearm tightness scare in Chicago, he had two rough outings (15 hits, 11 runs, seven innings), so Tuesday was a reassuring rebound.

  4. At 6-8, Lightning prospect Oleg Sosunov comes with, and needs, a high ceiling

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — When Hall of Famer Phil Esposito first saw Lightning prospect Oleg Sosunov, he joked that the 6-foot-8 defenseman could reach the Amalie Arena ceiling.

    Lightning 6-foot-8 defenseman Oleg Sosunov competes in the preseason opener. Phil Esposito jokes that Sosunov can reach the ceiling at Amalie Arena.
  5. Jones: Rays' Kevin Cash doesn't mind following in Joe Maddon's steps

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — On this particular night, he's the other guy. He's like a talk-show guest scooted to the end of the couch. He is Kevin Cash. And the Rays manager is standing in the home dugout at Tropicana Field.

    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: Manager Kevin Cash (L) of the Tampa Bay Rays reacts to action during the game against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field on September 17, 2017 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr./Getty Images) 700012494