The Colonels, who don't have a player taller than 6'7", ran their way into the NCAAs. They averaged 79.7 points per game in conference play. Their running game wasn't very effective against bigger nonleague opponents, however. Nicholls State went 2-8 outside the Southland Conference, including losses to LSU, Lamar and Austin Peay, and that doesn't bode well for tournament play.
A Southland team will make the Final Four, but not likely first-round loser Nicholls. Texas-San Antonio is the host.
Coach Jerry Green
Team scoring 757 (FG%: 42.7) (3-pointers: 201-520, 38.7%)
Opponents' scoring 70.2 (FG%: 40.6)
Rebound margin-2.8 Team FT% 63.8
Whom not to foul C.J. Black (74%), Tony Harris (72%)
Whom to foul Torrey Harris (43%), Rashard Lee (57%)
Quality wins Mississippi 77-67, South Carolina 70-69
Players to Watch
Point guard Tony Harris still makes a lot of freshman errors—his questionable shot selection has led him to convert only 37.8% from the field and 33.6% from three-point range, and his ratio of assists to turnovers is a poor 4 to 3—but he's still the guy who makes the Volunteers go. Tennessee's other igniter late in the season, when the Vols had an 8-2 run in SEC play, was 6'6" junior forward Lee, who made 55.7% of his threes and averaged 7.2 rebounds over that span.
Make sure to patrol the perimeter against Tennessee. Green once coached under Kansas' Roy Williams, but his M.O. is more Pitinoesque. The Volunteers took 212 more treys than they did a year ago under coach Kevin O'Neill. The use of the three compensates for Tennessee's weakness under the boards. The Vols must worry about inexperience, too: They don't have a single senior who plays significant minutes.
In the battle of Roy's boys—Green versus Illinois State's Kevin Stallings—the Vols' youth will likely cost them.
9 Illinois State
Coach Kevin Stallings
Team scoring 77.0 (FG%: 48.8) (3-pointers: 208-557, 37.3%)
Opponents' scoring 68.2 (FG%: 41.9)
Rebound margin +0.9 Team FT% 66.7
Whom not to foul Kyle Cartmill (79%), Dan Muller (71%)
Whom to foul Skipp Schaefbauer (52%), LeRoy Watkins (64%)
Quality win Pacific 64-63