2008 NIT Capsule: Cleveland State
Cleveland State Vikings
Horizon League (21-12, 12-6)
Big Wins: 11/17 vs Florida State (69-66), 1/12 at Wright State (65-63), 1/17 Butler (56-52)
Bad Losses: 11/16 vs Georgia Southern (70-72), 1/27 at Wisconsin Milwaukee (71-79), 2/2 at Loyola Ill (53-65)
Coach: Gary Waters
Cedric Jackson, Junior, Guard, 14.0 ppg, 4.9 apg, 5.0 rpg, 2.6 spg
Breyhon Watson, Senior, Guard, 5.2 ppg, 1.4 apg
D’Aundray Brown, Freshman, Guard, 4.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg
J’Nathan Bullock, Junior, Forward, 15.0 ppg, 6.6 rpg
George Tandy, Junior, Forward, 4.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.2 bpg
Joe Davis, Sophomore, Guard, 8.4 ppg, 1.1 apg
Norris Cole, Freshman, Guard, 4.8 ppg, 1.5 rpg
Kevin Francis, Senior, Forward, 4.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg
Chris Moore, Junior, Center, 5.0 ppg, 2.7 rpg
Why They Can Surprise:
Cleveland State has a couple dynamic scorers in J’Nathan Bullock and Cedric Jackson who have led the team to the postseason. Bullock, a 6-5 junior, has been the teams leading scorer for the last three seasons. Even at 6-5, Bullock will man the four spot and he will use his 240 pound frame to be extremely effective under the basket. On the offensive end he is a nightmare for most opposing power forwards to guard. He has enough strength to battle with them in the paint and more athleticism and speed than most big men.
Jackson is the lone long range shooting threat on the team. Yet, the former St. John’s starter only hits 1.4 shots per game from beyond the arc. While it is a positive that the Vikings do not play outside of themselves and take a bunch of hasty three-pointers, having more than one option to hit the long ball would certainly stretch out of the defense. Jackson does a whole lot more than hit the occasional outside shot. He dishes out 4.9 assists per game, grabs five rebounds and will use his quickness to score around the basket.
Why They Can Disappoint:
Jackson might dish out 4.9 assists, but he dishes out four turnovers too. Cleveland State is not going to run and gun, so cherishing every possession is a must in any postseason tournament. It is not all Jackson’s fault, as most of the players on the team have a negative assist-to-turnover ratio. That is understandable for the forwards, but everybody will have to do their part to keep the turnovers manageable.
Who To Watch:
Besides Bullock and Jackson, the rest of the usual starters average fewer than six points per game. Sixth-man Joe Davis will come in off the bench and provide a spark, but the Vikings desperately need a third scorer to step up. Breyhon Watson is a defensive stopper, but has only scored over ten points in three games this year. D’Aundray Brown has not been very consistent during his freshman campaign and lacks the firepower to do a lot of scoring at this point in his career. Chris Moore, a 6-9 center, is on the floor for his size and defense, not his offense. There are options, but if nobody else can prove to be an offensive threat, the opposition can concentrate on stopping Bullock and Jackson.
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 67.4 (203rd in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 63.5 (59, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.0 (175, 6)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.9 (85, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 4.5 (316, 10)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: na
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.2 (129, 5)
Rebound Margin: 3.5 (62, 1)
Assists Per Game: 12.2 (247, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.2 (155, 9)
Joel’s Bracket Says: First Round loss to Dayton
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