The Midshipmen play serviceable defense (standard-issue man-to-man) and know how to crash the boards. Their offense? Don't ask, don't tell. If you must know, Navy tries to get by with a 6'3" power forward (Booker) and without a natural point guard, hence its 405 assists and 475 turnovers, a bad ratio by any measure. In a 70-54 loss at Auburn early this season, the Middies struggled to get the ball past half-court.
By halftime of its first-rounder with North Carolina, Navy will be in extremis.
Coach Melvin Watkins
Team scoring 73.2 (FG%: 43.7) (3-pointers: 163-482, 33.8%)
Opponents' scoring 67.5 (FG%: 42.2)
Rebound margin +1.6
Team FT% 70.7
Whom not to foul Sean Colson (87%), Diego Guevara (82%)
Whom to foul Dalonte Hill (47%), Kelvin Price (48%)
Quality wins Marquette 66-53, Cincinnati 69-62
Player to Watch
As senior forward-center DeMarco Johnson, the Conference USA player of the year (20.7 points, 9.0 rebounds), sat down for a recent interview, the phone rang on the desk next to him. It was PEOPLE magazine calling with an interview request—for Antawn Jamison. Uh, hello? Wrong branch of the University of North Carolina. "If this school wants respect," said Johnson, "we have to make a statement in the tournament."
To keep opponents from sagging on Johnson, the 49ers must score from outside. Price, a 6'8" junior forward who averaged 9.8 points and 8.2 rebounds, won't help much there: Of his 111 field goals, 49 were dunks. Senior point guard Colson could be key. He led Conference USA with 7.7 assists a game and averaged 15.3 points, but his shooting can be streaky. Whether the 49ers are, in PEOPLE parlance, a postseason Pick or Pan will depend largely on him.
After a first-round defeat of Illinois-Chicago in the battle of the hyphens, the 49ers will lose the battle of the UNCs.
Coach Jimmy Collins
Team scoring 75.1 (FG% 43.7) (3-pointers: 186-439, 42.4%)
Opponents' scoring 65.7 (FG%: 43.0)
Rebound margin +2.4
Team FT% 73.5
Whom not to foul Anthony Coomes (86%), K. Stavropoulos (78%)
Whom to foul Anton Collins (42%)
Quality wins Michigan St. 70-58, Illinois St. 75-67, Detroit 88-83