Northern Colorado 2010 College Insider Tournament Preview
Northern Colorado Bears - Big Sky (24-7, 12-4)
Big Wins: 12/1 Colorado State (70-63), 12/5 at Montana (59-48), 1/7 Weber State (84-75)
Bad Losses: 12/4 at Montana State (63-87), 12/12 vs Wyoming (70-76), 1/15 at Portland State (69-85)
Coach: Tad Boyle
Probable Northern Colorado Starters:
Will Figures, Senior, Guard, 16.9 ppg, 2.7 apg
Yahosh Bonner, Senior, Guard, 6.0 ppg, 2.4 apg
Neal Kingman, Junior, Forward, 7.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg
Chris Kaba, Junior, Forward, 7.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg
Taylor Montgomery, Junior, Forward, 8.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg
Key Northern Colorado Roleplayers:
Devon Beitzel, Junior, Guard, 14.3 ppg, 2.0 apg, 2.0 spg
Elliott Lloyd, Freshman, Guard, 5.2 ppg, 1.0 apg
Mike Proctor, Sophomore, Center, 8.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg
Why The Bears Can Surprise:
Few expected Northern Colorado to win over 20 games this season. Heading into the 2009-2010 campaign, most had the Bears pegged to finish towards the bottom of the Big Sky Conference. However, Coach Tad Boyle has done a superb job building this program and UNC can win some big games with their superb shooting abilities and their ability to take care of the ball and earn extra possessions.
Will Figures is the star of this team and leads the way with 16.9 points per game. The 5-9 senior is a good outside shooter, but he does most of his scoring around the basket. He uses his speed and his diminutive stature to his advantage and somehow finds a way to sneak through the big guys and finish around the basket. Devon Beitzel is the other major scorer for the Bears. Beitzel has more size, but he does not attack the basket as often as Figures. Instead, Beitzel hits a ton of three-pointers and connects on an impressive 44.4 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. However, Beitzel has not played since suffering a foot injury on February 13 th and his status for the postseason is unclear. Yahosh Bonner is often overshadowed by the scorers on the perimeter, but he is a superb ballhandler who dishes out 6.0 assists per game and rarely turns the ball over.
Why The Bears Can Disappoint:
The Bears need those extra possessions from avoiding turnovers because they will give up possessions to the opposition on the glass. Center Mike Proctor is the team’s leading rebounder at 5.7 per game, but he is only 6-8 and can get outmatched against bigger and stronger opponents. Taylor Montgomery, a 6-7 junior, is the usual starter at the power forward position, but has lost that role later in the season. Montgomery is a better all-around scorer than Proctor and he has the ability to step outside and hit the mid-range jumper with consistency. His ability to stretch the defense is good for the offense, but it does not help out in the rebounding department.
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Who To Watch for Northern Colorado:
Neal Kingman started some games when Montgomery was out with a knee injury in February and did a solid job. The junior has been around for a while, but he has been playing his best basketball late in the season. Unfortunately, Kingman is no better a rebounder than Montgomery, but he is a more dangerous outside shooter and a fine athlete who is finally getting the opportunity to show his stuff. With Chris Kaba also available, the frontcourt remains undersized, but has plenty of different weapons. Kaba is an athlete, not a big man and he can take most opposing power forwards off the dribble.
Northern Colorado By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 74.1 (71st in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.6 (137, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.5 (119, 6)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.3 (182, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.8 (39, 3)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 39.0 (21, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 74.6 (18, 1)
Rebound Margin: 1.1 (155, 3)
Assists Per Game: 11.8 (249, 8)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.9 (99, 4)