The Bucs are back for their first tournament since 2010. They have made the tournament nine times but have never strung together a pair of wins. Could this year be the year?
The Bucs have a great backcourt duo in T.J. Cromer and Desonta Bradford. The two combine for an average of 30 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, and a couple of steals every game. They complement each other nicely, as Cromer is a big time 3-point threat whereas Bradford would rather take it to the hole. Both are great free throw shooters (around 80% on the season) and serve as team leaders for East Tennessee State. A tourney victory will likely be on their shoulders.
In addition to their starting backcourt, the rest of the East Tennessee State team is very solid defensively. They average almost nine steals per game, 7th in all of college basketball. This allows them to get out on the break and score easy transition baskets. Whoever they are up against will have to really take care of the ball.
The Buccaneers average 15 turnovers every game, which puts them at 327th in the country in that statistic. This is not going to win any tournament games, especially with their low seed. For example, they gave the ball away 18 times against Dayton and 17 times against Tennessee. They will have to be smarter with the basketball and not force anything.
Along with their tough, on ball, defense the Bucs can get into foul trouble. On average, they foul 20 times every game, which not only sends opponents for free points at the line, but can take key players out of the game for East Tennessee State. Over the course of the season, six players have fouled out. This could cripple the Bucs in late game scenarios.
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