Introducing Cinderella: UNC-Greensboro claims SoCon title
Coach: Wes Miller
Record: 27-7, 15-3 SoCon
Ratings and Rankings:
– Kenpom: 91
– RPI: 65
– AP/USA Today: Not ranked
Seeding: A win against NC State in the non-conference portion of the schedule helps the Spartans in the committee room and on the seed line. Still, it’s hard to see them going much higher than 14 given their profile.
Names you need to know: Francis Alonso shoots 41.8 percent from 3-point range and leads UNC-Greensboro with 15.9 points per game. Marvin Smith is the only other Spartan to average in double figures with 12.4 points while also contributing 5.4 rebounds per night. James Dickey is an elite shot blocker.
Stats you need to know: The Spartans are pedestrian 3-point shooters, converting at a 35.9 percent clip, but they hoist them in big numbers, with 45.7 percent of their shots from the field coming from beyond the arc. They’re going to try to slow down play and put up a ton of 3s, which is a nice recipe for trying to pull an upset.
Big wins, bad losses: They topped NC State, 81-76, on the road in December and have two wins of a solid East Tennessee State squad. On the other side of the ledger, the Spartans did catch Ls from Presbyterian and Chattanooga.
How’d they get here?: They’ve won six-straight, including an convincing 62-47 win over ETSU in the SoCon title game Monday. They were the conference’s outright league regular season champ with a 15-3 record.
Outlook: It’s going to take the right matchup and a hot shooting night from distance for the Spartans to fit in Cinderella’s slipper, but their style of play is conducive to pulling something like that off. They’ll be a long shot and probably won’t be a bracket darling in the lead-up to the tourney.
How do I know you?: Wes Miller is in his seventh year at the helm of the Spartans despite just being 35 years old. Getting Greensboro to the NCAA tournament likely supplants his previous claim to fame - being a member of North Carolina’s 2005 national championship team. Miller appeared in 24 points and scored 26 points that season as a walk-on. He did not play in the Tar Heels’ famous title-game victory over Illinois in St. Louis. Bet he’s still got that ring, though.