Portland State Vikings
Big Sky (23-9, 11-5)
Big Wins: 11/18 Portland (81-76), 12/23 at Gonzaga (77-70), 2/21 Boise State (93-81)
Bad Losses: 11/28 vs Hampton (71-77), 12/17 at Cal Poly (62-65), 2/12 at Idaho State (69-78)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2008, First Round loss to Kansas
Coach: Ken Bone (0-1 in 1 NCAA appearance)
Why They Can Surprise:
Jeremiah Dominguez is the leader of the Vikings of Portland State. The senior averages a team high 12.6 points 3.2 assists per game. The diminutive 5-6 point guard is a superb passer who will dish out some amazing assists. When he is not finding his teammates, Dominguez will sneak his way into the paint for lay-ups or take one of his many attempts from beyond the arc. And shooting three’s is what Coach Ken Bone’s team does best. Dominguez is the most prolific outside shooter, but Dominic Waters, Andre Murray and Phil Nelson are also dangerous shooters.
Waters, a transfer from Hawaii, is the team’s second leading scorer despite coming in off the bench. He is an extremely consistent outside shooter and can finish around the basket. However, Waters can also handle the ball and having him and Dominguez on the floor at the same time provides the Vikings with two capable ball handlers. Nelson, a 6-7 forward, adds a new dimension that Portland State lacked last year. The transfer from Washington is a great shooter, but has enough size to battle on the boards.
Why They Can Disappoint:
The offense is dynamic and pretty good, but the same cannot be said for the defense. Portland State’s opponents shoot 45.2 percent from the floor. There are not many teams that play in any postseason tournament that will give up a higher percentage than 45.2 They can block some shots and grab some steals, but it is the turnovers that lead to that high opponents shooting percentage. On many occasions those turnovers will turn into easy baskets on the other end. Dominguez, Waters and Murray each commit at least two turnovers per game and that is too many for such an experienced backcourt.
Who To Watch:
The Vikings do not have a ton of size in the frontcourt, but Jamie Jones has emerged as a solid scoring threat under the basket and a capable shot blocker. Kyle Coston usually starts by his side and the 6-8 junior can stretch out the defense with his ability to hit the mid-range jumper. While Jones and Coston will usually start, Julius Thomas and Tyrell Mara see just about as many minutes. Thomas is only 6-5, but he is the second best rebounder on the team after Jones. What he lacks in size he will make up for with tenacity and hustle. Mara is a wide-bodied player who has a decent touch on his outside shot. He is not as strong on the glass as the rest of the forwards, but Mara can handle playing either forward spot and provide a spark off the bench every once in a while.
Jeremiah Dominguez, Senior, Guard, 12.6 ppg, 3.2 apg
Andre Murray, Senior, Guard, 11.1 ppg, 2.2 apg, 3.9 rpg
Phil Nelson, Sophomore, Forward, 11.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg
Jamie Jones, Junior, Forward, 9.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg
Kyle Coston, Junior, Forward, 6.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg
Tyrell Mara, Junior, Forward, 3.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg
Julius Thomas, Junior, Forward, 6.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg
Dominic Waters, Junior, Guard, 11.7 ppg, 2.9 apg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 74.1 (68th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 68.5 (187, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.3 (96, 6)
Field-Goal Defense: 45.2 (264, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 9.7 (4, 1)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.7 (44, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.8 (172, 5)
Rebound Margin: 1.5 (136, 4)
Assists Per Game: 15.4 (45, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.1 (185, 5)
Following the final Bracket announcement, more team info will be added, including final RPI, final team statistical rankings, Joel's prediction, and more!