East Tennessee State Buccaneers (Overall: 27-7, Conf: 14-4)
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This will be the Buccaneers’ first trip to the dance in seven years. They will be parading an attack that puts up 79.9 PPG (41st overall), led by their all-around offensive weapon, TJ Cromer (19.1 PPG), who can relentlessly get to the hoop and also step out for a trey (3.1 threes per game). He’ll be a challenging matchup against any defender in the tourney.
Alongside Cromer are quick guards Desonta Bradford and AJ Meriweather, and they form an aggressive trio in defending the passing lanes. The three power the Bucs to record 8.3 steals per game, which ranks 10th in the nation.
Collectively, ETSU is also efficient in their shots 49.1 percent, 10th in the nation – and a good part of it is due to their three key rotation players – Meriweather, Tevin Glass, and Hanner-Mosquera – shooting a combined 55 percent from the floor.
The Bucs cannot take good care of the ball. Period.
There is no doubt that they are one of the worst (if not the worst) in ball handling. The 14.7 turnovers they record every game is 11th-most in the entire country, and it is the most by any team in the tournament. Against a pesky Florida defense (their opponents for the first round), such carelessness will definitely be a big problem.
Adding to that is the thin front line and poor inside presence, which would’ve been a key to edging the the depleted interior defense of the Gators.
|Field goal percentage||49.1||10th|
|Free throw percentage||70.4||165th|
East Tennessee gets pounded by the Gators in the first round.
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