Winthrop Eagles--- 24-4 11------Midwest---- 70-- 270
Starting Five: G-Michael Jenkins (15.3 PPG), G-Torrell Martin (14.3 PPG), G-Chris Gaynor (4.7:1.4 AST:TO), F-Phillip Williams (52.6 FG%), C-Craig Bradshaw (13.3 PPG)
Key Wins: at Mississippi St. (11), at Old Dominion (6), at Missouri St. (11)
Key Losses: North Carolina (7), at Maryland (11), at Wisconsin (3), at Texas A&M (20)
Why the slipper fits: Unequivocally, Winthrop is the Secretariat of dark horses. One of two teams nationally to go undefeated in conference play, the Eagles rolled through the Big South winning by an average margin of 14.4 PPG, seventh-best in DI. Winthrop is an experienced, close-knit club that starts five stalwart upperclassman who've limited opponents to a dismal 60.9 PPG this year. Led by three-point drainer Michael Jenkins (3.1 threes made per-game), their difficult non-conference schedule, window cleaning interior – they rank eighth nationally in offensive rebound percentage – and defensive prowess could make them this year's underdog darling. However, matched against an Irish team with a NASCAR offense, they'll have to control the tempo and clamp Collin Falls and Russell Carter on the perimeter to be the team everyone's tabbing as the "next George Mason."
Prediction: First Round loss to Notre Dame, 67-63
Of course I agree whole heartedly with Mr. Evans. My problem with the likes of Winthrop is this. There claim to fame is losing to 4 nationally ranked opponents. There last game against any team ranked was back on January 2nd against Texas A&M. There other claim to fame is going undefeated in conference. Tough to do, but not all that exciting. The Irish need to pound on the Eagles early and often and crush their hopes. Falls and Carter need to hit their threes and Harangody needs to control the middle. Don't take the Eagles lightly and the Cinderella story will need to find another Pumpkin.
Since the loss to Texas A&M, the Eagles had 11 games: Teams with final records below
- VMI, 14-19
- Charleston Southern (twice) 8-22
- Liberty (twice) 14-17
- UNC Asheville 12-19
- Radford 8-22
- Missouri State 22-10
- High Point 22-10
- Coastal Carolina (twice) 15-15
That is a record of 115-134. Explain to me how this prepares a team to play a Notre Dame squad that was a solid 4th in the Big East and there last game was against the #2 seed Georgetown Hoyas.
The Irish are once again not getting any respect and Brey will have a lot of bulletin board material to hang up.
Irish by 14.