Pacific 2010 College Insider Tournament Preview
Pacific Tigers - Big West Conference (20-11, 12-4)
Big Wins: 11/25 SDSU (71-63), 12/5 Nevada (61-58), 2/17 at Long Beach State (74-52)
Bad Losses: 12/21 at Santa Clara (53-54), 2/10 at UC Davis (59-62), 2/25 UC Riverside (53-62)
Coach: Bob Thomason
Probable Pacific Starters:
Demetrece Young, Junior, Guard, 9.4 ppg, 2.8 apg
Terrell Smith, Junior, Guard, 8.9 ppg, 1.6 apg
Joe Ford, Senior, Forward, 6.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.0 bpg
Michael Nunnally, Senior, Forward, 7.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg
Sam Willard, Junior, Forward, 11.2 ppg, 8.1 rpg
Key Pacific Roleplayers:
Pat Eveland, Junior, Forward, 7.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg
Allen Huddleston, Freshman, Guard, 5.2 ppg, 1.8 rpg
Lavar Neufville, Senior, Guard, 4.0 ppg, 2.0 apg
Why The Tigers Can Surprise:
Pacific has done this year what they have always done under Coach Bob Thomason. They play solid, straight up defense and take care of the ball. This is not a team that will take a lot of risks on defense, they just play solid team defense. The Tigers lack the superstars they have had in the past, but thanks to a talented backcourt led by Demetrece Young, they still play Pacific basketball and that is enough to get back to the postseason. Young, a junior college transfer, is the team’s point guard and has done a great job running the offense and only commits 1.3 turnovers per contest.
Fellow starters Terrell Smith and Joe Ford are also capable passers. Smith will commit some turnovers, but his biggest job is to score and he does that quite well. Ford is the glue guy. He is not a shooter at all or much of a scorer for that matter, but he is a great ballhandler for a 6-6 forward and does plenty of work on the glass. Add backup point guard Lavar Neufville to the mix and the Tigers usually have at least two ballhandlers on the floor at all times.
Why The Tigers Can Disappoint:
This would be a great team if the Tigers had a couple consistent shooters. Young and Smith are both capable outside shooters, but neither is very consistent. Smith at least has the ability to attack the basket. Young’s 37.6 percent shooting from long range is actually better than his overall shooting numbers. Forward reserve Pat Eveland is another outside shooting threat and having a big guy who can spread out the defense is never a bad thing, especially when that player can provide an offensive spark off the bench. The backcourt has a couple players who can provide that spark as well. However, Neufville is not much of a shooter and does his best work setting up his teammates and Allen Huddleston is shooting a mere 24.7 percent from beyond the arc.
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Who To Watch for Pacific:
This is a balanced scoring team, but the best scorers are in the frontcourt. Sam Willard, a 6-9, 210 pound junior, is the team’s leading scorer and rebounder. Willard will create space for his teammates by eating up space in the paint, but he can also step outside and hit the mid-range jumper with consistency. His partner up front is Michael Nunnally. While Nunnally lacks the rebounding capabilities of Willard, he is a good scorer in the paint. And with those two threats inside, Pacific gets plenty of open looks on the perimeter. They just need to start knocking them down if they want to win in March.
Pacific By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 65.3 (255th in nation, 8th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 59.9 (12, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.2 (140, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.9 (62, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.5 (132, 5)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.7 (147, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 66.2 (257, 7)
Rebound Margin: 2.2 (109, 2)
Assists Per Game: 13.0 (174, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.2 (20, 1)