2008 NCAA Tournament Capsule: Mississippi Valley State
Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils
Southwestern Athletic Conference (17-15, 12-6)
Big Wins: 2/9 Alabama State (72-60), 3/1 at Jackson State (74-73), 3/15 vs Jackson State (59-58)
Bad Losses: 1/28 at Prairie View A&M (53-55), 2/4 Grambling (79-83), 2/16 at Alcorn State (67-70)
Last NCAA Appearance: 1996, First Round loss to Georgetown
Coach: James Green (First NCAA Appearance)
Dwayne Harmason, Junior, Guard, 4.9 ppg, 2.9 apg
Michael Clark, Junior, Guard, 8.0 ppg, 1.4 apg
Carl Lucas, Senior, Forward, 12.7 ppg, 5.5 rpg
Eric Petty, Junior, Forward, 6.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg
Larry Cox, Senior, Center, 12.4 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 2.3 bpg
Stanford Speech, Senior, Guard, 10.8 ppg, 2.6 apg, 3.8 rpg
Mike Davis, Senior, Guard, 2.4 ppg, 2.4 apg
Chris Watson, Forward, 8.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg
Why They Can Surprise:
Mississippi Valley State has a scorer for every situation. In the paint, it is the big Larry Cox who does a majority of the scoring. The 6-10 senior averages 12.4 points per game and is a monster on the glass. Cox will use his big body to get position under the basket and he has developed a post move or two during his collegiate career. On the defensive end, Cox blocks over two shots per game and he can be difficult to deal with under the basket.
On the perimeter it is Stanford Speech who does a bulk of the scoring. The senior has not held onto his starting position the entire season, but he still averages 10.8 points per game and can occasionally be dangerous from beyond the arc. If the Delta Devils need a bigger wing to attack the basket, they will likely go to Carl Lucas. The 6-5 senior leads the team with 12.7 points per game and does more than his fair share of rebounding.
Why They Can Disappoint:
By the numbers, the Delta Devils are not that great at anything. The team shoots just 40.8 percent from the floor, allows their opponents to shoot 44.5 percent, gets out-rebounded on a consistent basis and has been outscored by about four points per game on the season. Such is life in the Southwestern Athletic Conference and Coach James Green’s squad will have to look for a miracle to advance in the NCAA Tournament. There are some quality pieces on this team, but beating a top seeded team does not happen every day. This is a team that lost by 34 to Mississippi, 33 to Pittsburgh and 45 to Washington State. It will not get any easier than those teams in the tournament.
Who To Watch:
Mississippi Valley State can get some scoring from players other than the big three. Michael Clark is the most prolific long range shooter on the team and that can add another dimension to the Delta Devils offense when his shot is falling. Eric Petty is a little undersized at 6-6, but the power forward is a decent rebounder and can even step outside and hit the mid-range jumper when he is not mixing it up in the paint. MVSU will slow the game down and as long as the team is firing from everywhere on the floor and making the opposing defense work a little bit, they can stick around and at least make things interesting.
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 62.6 (289th in nation, 9th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.2 (108, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 40.8 (289, 6)
Field-Goal Defense: 44.5 (216, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 4.4 (318, 10)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: na
Free-Throw Percentage: 67.7 (207, 3)
Rebound Margin: -1.8 (244, 6)
Assists Per Game: 11.8 (270, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.5 (185, 3)
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