Portland 2010 College Insider Tournament Preview


Portland Pilots - West Coast Conference (21-10, 10-4)

Big Wins: 11/26 vs UCLA (74-47), 11/27 vs Minnesota (61-56), 2/13 St. Mary’s (80-75)

Bad Losses: 12/2 Portland State (82-86), 12/6 at Idaho (48-68), 2/20 at Loyola Marymount (68-77)

Coach: Eric Reveno

Probable Portland Starters:

  • T.J. Campbell, Senior, Guard, 13.5 ppg, 5.5 apg

  • Jared Stohl, Junior, Guard, 11.5 ppg, 1.6 apg

  • Ethan Nidermeyer, Senior, Forward, 6.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg

  • Robin Smeulders, Senior, Forward, 12.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg

  • Kramer Knutson, Junior, Center, 4.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg



Key Portland Roleplayers:

  • Taishi Ito, Senior, Guard, 1.6 ppg, 1.1 apg

  • Nik Raivio, Senior, Guard, 14.1 ppg, 1.9 apg, 6.1 rpg

  • Luke Sikma, Junior, Forward, 7.9 ppg, 7.6 rpg

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Why The Pilots Can Surprise:
This was supposed to be Portland’s year to knock Gonzaga off the top of the West Coast Conference standings. However, the Pilots struggled in December and it became clear that this was not a team that could beat Gonzaga. And in the regular season, they could not. But this is still an experienced and talented team that can make some noise in March. The shooting of the Pilots will lead the way and nobody shoots better than Jared Stohl. Stohl knocks down 3.1 three-pointers per game and connects on 47.7 percent of his attempts. Now, that is a great sixth man who can provide some instant offense off the bench.

T.J. Campbell is a fine outside shooter as well, but the 5-9 point guard does a lot more than that. Campbell dishes out 5.5 assists per gameand finishes around the basket much more effectively than one would expect from somebody who is just 5-9. With Campbell leading the way this team is always in good hands. Small forward Ethan Niedermeyer is not as efficient of an outside shooter as Campbell or Stohl, but he is dangerous. When Portland is hitting their outside shot, which is quite often since they connect on 40.2 percent of their attempts as a team, they are tough to beat.


Why The Pilots Can Disappoint:
The Pilots have struggled at times this year due to their defense. While the frontcourt has some scorers and a few rebounders, they lack a shot blocker. That allows the opposition to have their way in the paint and a patient offense with a quality big man or two can beat Portland by feeding the forwards. Kramer Knutson is the man under the basket. He is not much of a scorer, or a rebounder for that matter, but Knutson is a tough defender and he will be the player who needs to step up and stop the opposing big man. Robin Smeulders and Luke Sikma are the more productive big men. Smeulders has turned into a quality interior scorer and Sikma is a beast on the glass. Yet, neither is shot blocking threats and Portland needs to find a way to stop the opposition from getting to the basket.

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Who To Watch for Portland:
There has been some good things about the injury to Nik Raivio. While losing your leading scorer is never a good thing, Portland has played some of their best basketball without him and some former roleplayers have gained valuable playing time and confidence. But the bad news is Raivio always seems like he is on the verge of his triumphant return only to be on the sidelines yet again. His did not play in the West Coast Conference Tournament, but hopes to be ready for the postseason. In the meantime, Stohl has to take his starting job and the depth on the perimeter is an issue.



Portland By the Numbers:

Scoring Offense: 72.0 (102nd in nation, 4th in conference)

Scoring Defense: 65.7 (103, 1)

Field-Goal Percentage: 46.5 (44, 3)

Field-Goal Defense: 43.5 (193, 3)

Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.8 (42, 2)

Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 40.2 (7, 2)

Free-Throw Percentage: 73.3 (35, 2)

Rebound Margin: 3.0 (81, 4)

Assists Per Game: 14.7 (54, 2)

Turnovers Per Game: 13.2 (122, 4)



By Joel Welser
CollegeSports-fans.com Senior Basketball Writer


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