Mount St. Mary’s makes the tourney as one of the few teams that had less than twenty wins this season. That being said they played some pretty tough non-conference opponents. Over the season they went on an eight game winning streak and an eight game losing streak. Could this be the year that they go all the way?
Defense is always a priority for Mount St. Mary’s coach Jamion Christian. The Mountaineers run a high pressure defense that allows them to average six steals per game and hold opponents to just 68 points per game (75th best in the nation). They force an average of 15 turnovers per game (40th best in the nation). If they want to win, they will have to do it with defense.
A tough regular season schedule caused them to lose eight games straight early on in the season, but this could help them in March. By seeing teams like Michigan, West Virginia, Iowa State, Minnesota, and Arkansas, the Mountaineers are accustomed to facing tough teams, and may even see some of these teams again if they go on a winning streak in the tournament.
As a team, Mount St. Mary’s never really rack up the score. They don’t have a particularly high powered offense, especially against good teams. They scored just 55 in a loss against Iowa State, they scored just 48 in a win (!) against Robert Morris, they scored just 47 in a loss against Michigan. 48 points is not going to win you many tournament games, especially when you are up against the best of the best.
Part of their scoring problems can be attributed to the Mountaineers’ allergy to the free throw line. They rank 277th in free throw attempts per game and just 274th in free throw percentage, so not only are they not getting to the line, but they aren’t making their attempts. This could be crippling in the tournament.
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