Southern Conference (26-7, 18-2)
NIT Seed: #6
Big Wins: 12/6 North Carolina State (72-67), 12/9 vs West Virginia (68-65), 12/29 at Charleston (79-75)
Bad Losses: 2/7 Charleston (75-77), 2/18 Citadel (46-64), 3/8 vs Charleston (52-59)
Coach: Bob McKillop
Stephen Curry, Junior, Guard, 28.6 ppg, 5.7 apg, 2.6 spg
Will Archambault, Junior, Guard, 8.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg
Max Paulhus Gosselin, Senior, Guard, 4.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg
Steve Rossiter, Junior, Forward, 6.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg
Andrew Lovedale, Senior, Forward, 12.5 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 1.6 bpg
Ben Allison, Freshman, Forward, 4.4 ppg, 2.4 rpg
Bryant Barr, Junior, Guard, 7.4 ppg, 2.0 rpg
Brendan McKillop, Sophomore, Guard, 4.9 ppg, 1.4 apg
Why They Can Surprise:
There is one very good reason why Davidson can make another deep tournament run. His name is Stephen Curry and he tallied 28.6 points per game during his junior season. And this was in a year where Curry moved from the off-guard spot to the point guard position. Obviously the position switch did not effect his scoring. In fact, Curry has done a solid job of taking care of the ball. Curry can go off for 40 or more points on any given day, especially against top competition. He scored 44 points against both Oklahoma and North Carolina State early in the year. The big games will come again in March.
But it is not all about Curry. The Wildcats have three other players who are dangerous shooters from outside. Wing Will Archambault, shooting guard Bryant Barr and sharpshooter off the bench Brendan McKillop average at least 1.2 three-pointers per game. That is a lot of outside shooting and few teams knock down more than Davidson. It is one thing to simply shoot a lot of three’s, but the Wildcats actually hit theirs at a relatively high percentage.
Why They Can Disappoint:
Davidson is a good team, but they are not at the level they were last year. Some key losses, most notably point guard Jason Richards, went largely unnoticed and the hype was a little too high for the 2008-2009 campaign. The concerns in the backcourt have mostly gone away, but the frontcourt can still be outmatched by bigger and stronger competition. Steve Rossiter is a tough and physical player and Andrew Lovedale is having a great year, averaging 12.5 points and 8.7 rebounds, but those two lack the size and strength to compete with the premiere forwards in the country.
Who To Watch:
For Davidson the difference between winning and losing is Curry’s supporting cast. And usually getting scoring out of the rest of the team is not too important. Obviously somebody else has to score on occasion, but if the rest of the team plays solid defense, works hard on the glass and takes care of the ball, the Wildcats will likely win the game. Few players in the nation do so much for their team without scoring as Max Paulhus Gosselin. The 6-6 senior averaged just 4.6 points per game on the year, but he tallied 4.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.7 steals and even blocked the occasional shot. The numbers do not even tell the whole story and Paulhus Gosselin is the glue that holds Davidson together.
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 78.4 (22nd in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 65.5 (113, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.8 (171, 8)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.6 (26, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.7 (12, 1)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.1 (122, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.0 (100, 2)
Rebound Margin: 1.8 (124, 6)
Assists Per Game: 14.1 (98, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.2 (35, 1)
Joel’s Bracket Says: First Round loss to South Carolina