Morgan State 2010 NCAA Tournament Preview
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Morgan State Bears - Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (27-9, 15-1)
Seed: #15 - East Region
Big Wins: 11/19 East Tennessee State (72-61), 11/24 at Arkansas (97-94), 1/16 at South Carolina State (72-67)
Bad Losses: 12/1 at Loyola MD (66-78), 12/29 vs Eastern Kentucky (62-76), 2/15 South Carolina State (68-71)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2009, First Round loss to Oklahoma
Coach: Todd Bozeman (2-4 in 4 NCAA appearances)
Probable Morgan State Starters:
Sean Thomas, Sophomore, Guard, 4.7 ppg, 3.1 apg
Troy Smith, Senior, Guard, 9.3 ppg, 1.8 apg
Reggie Holmes, Senior, Guard, 21.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.5 spg
Ameer Ali, Sophomore, Forward, 4.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg
Kevin Thompson, Sophomore, Forward, 12.8 ppg, 11.9 rpg
Key Morgan State Roleplayers:
Joe Davis, Junior, Guard, 7.2 ppg, 1.0 apg
DeWayne Jackson, Freshman, Forward, 10.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg
Danny Smith, Junior, Guard, 2.8 ppg, 2.9 apg
Rodney Stokes, Junior, Forward, 3.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg
Why The Bears Can Surprise:
Morgan State is easily the most talented team in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and their 15-1 record proves it. The reason for their success largely rides on the shoulders of two players, the first is one of the best players to ever suit up for the Bears and the other is a rising star in the conference. Senior Reggie Holmes has been a great scorer for the last four seasons and has not disappointed as a senior. He hits nearly three long balls per game and ended the regular season with an impressive 21.8 points per game.
The inside player is sophomore Kevin Thompson. While Thompson showed plenty of promise last year, he was relegated to the bench for most of the season. This time around he is almost always in the starting lineup and has proven to be nearly impossible to stop. He is a quality scorer in the paint and averages 12.8 points per contest, but it is ability to dominate on the glass against just about anybody that makes him so special.
Why The Bears Can Disappoint:
The question is who is the third scorer behind Holmes and Thompson? DeWayne Jackson is a 6-8 forward with a very consistent outside shot, but he is just a freshman and the bright lights of March, not to mention the unfriendly confines of a larger arena, could make him less effective. Jackson does deserve a ton of credit for having a great year and shooting 43.9 percent from beyond the arc, but he needs to get more aggressive attacking the basket and using his size to his advantage. There are other options too. Troy Smith and Sean Thomas are decent ballhandlers, but are not great shooters. Joe Davis is a pure shooter, but he hits less than 24.7 percent of his long range attempts. The other option is undersized forward Ameer Ali, but he is pretty much just around for his tenacity on the glass.
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Who To Watch for Morgan State:
Generally speaking Morgan State will find their third scorer from somewhere. With a team that easily goes nine deep, somebody will almost certainly be at least a threat to score outside of Holmes and Thompson. More importantly is the size of the frontcourt. Ali is often the starting power forward and he is just 6-4. That is where 6-10 junior Rodney Stokes comes into the conversation. Despite the difference in size, Stokes is not as good of a rebounder as Ali, but he is a much more imposing presence under the basket and the Bears best shotblocker. Against bigger teams, Stokes will have to play more minutes and at least provide a defensive presence.
Morgan State By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 76.9 (36th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 71.0 (235, 8)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.7 (208, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.8 (155, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.7 (212, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.7 (180, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.4 (121, 3)
Rebound Margin: 3.9 (58, 1)
Assists Per Game: 12.5 (200, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.3 (132, 3)
Joel’s Bracket Says: First Round loss to West Virginia