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NCAA Tournament Preview: Lamar Cardinals

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The Basics

  • Record: 23-11 (11-5 in the Southland Conference)
  • Best Wins: Stephen F. Austin, McNeese State
  • Worst Losses: Nicholls State, Northwestern State
  • Admirable Losses: Ohio, No. 8 Louisville, No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Kentucky

Statistically Speaking (national ranking)

  • The good: 73.9 ppg (45th); 39.6 rpg (10th), 280 stls (16th), 601-834 FTs (7th-8th), 94.4 DRtg (52nd)
  • The bad: -3.49 SOS (253rd), 412 TOs (124th)
  • The interesting: The Cardinals made sports talk radio across the country when first-year head coach Pat Knight brutally ripped into his team after a February loss to Stephen F. Austin. The team responded, winning six straight since then. They're led by seniors Devon Lamb (rebounding leader), Anthony Miles (assists) and Mike James (points) - the only three Lamar players averaging double figures, who really stepped up on their run through the conference tournament.
What to Expect

Lamar is a good choice to win their play-in game, though Vermont is on a 14-1 streak and is playing suffocating defense along with their turtle's pace tempo. I love Lamar's senior leadership and think that with their backs against the wall, along with some of that famous Knight family charm, the Cardinals beat Vermont and put up a formidable but futile fight against North Carolina.