NCAA March Madness Preview – Mount Saint Mary’s Mountaineers

Mount Saint Mary’s Mountaineers

NEC (19-15, 14-4)

 by Joel Welser

Following a 1-11 start that brought in a lot of paychecks, but not a lot of confidence, Mount Saint Mary’s Mountaineers rallied to finish atop the Northeast Conference, earning their first NEC regular season title in 21 years. Coach Jamion Christian has continued to exceed expectations during his tenure at Mount St. Mary’s, but victories in the tournament will certainly be tough to come by.

Big Wins: 11/18 at George Mason, 12/29 at LIU Brooklyn (67-65), 2/9 at Robert Morris (74-70)

Bad Losses: 1/5 at Bryant (71-72), 2/4 Central Connecticut State (52-54), 2/16 at Wagner (65-69)

Coach: Jamion Christian

Why They Can Surprise:

The Mountaineers boast a superb backcourt, led by Elijah Long and Junior Robinson. Long can absolutely fill up the stat sheet. He averages 15.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.6 steals. The 6-0 sophomore has developed into one of the best players in the NEC and is the type of player who should thrive during the bright lights of March. Like Long, Robinson can hit the long ball and attack the basket effectively. Robinson is only 5-5, but he can finish in the paint quite effectively. Greg Alexander is the shooter off the bench and averages 7.8 points per game. Miles Wilson starts beside Robinson and Long in the backcourt. He is not a great shooter, but at 6-5, Wilson brings much needed size to the perimeter.

Why They Can Disappoint:

Chris Wray and Mawdo Sallah make an interesting frontcourt duo. Wray is a versatile 6-8 junior who averages 7.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. Sallah is bigger at 6-9 and 235 pounds, but averages similar numbers to Wray. With those two doing a decent job blocking shots, one would think it would be tough to score against the Mountaineers. However, that is not the case. This team allows the opposition to shoot 44.9 percent from the floor and that is not going to be good enough in the tournament. Many of those easy buckets come due to Mount St. Mary’s inability to rebound. The team has a terrible rebounding margin of -7.4. The Mount will get up and down the floor and create easy buckets for themselves, but they cannot allow the opposition to get too many easy buckets in return from offensive rebounds.

Probable Starters:

Junior Robinson, Junior, Guard, 14.1 ppg, 2.9 apg

Elijah Long, Sophomore, Guard, 15.4 ppg, 4.4 apg. 5.4 rpg

Miles Wilson, Freshman, Guard, 11.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg

Chris Wray, Junior, Forward, 7.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.5 bpg

Mawdo Sallah, Sophomore, Forward, 6.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.2 gpg

Key Role Players:

Greg Alexander, Junior, Guard, 7.8 ppg

Will Miller, Senior, Forward, 3.2 ppg, 1.3 rpg

By the Numbers:

Scoring Offense: 68.2 (286th in nation, 6th in conference)

Scoring Defense: 68.8 (86, 3)

Field-Goal Percentage: 44.6 (164, 2)

Field-Goal Defense: 44.9 (232, 5)

Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.3 (182, 3)

Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.1 (135, 2)

Free-Throw Percentage: 66.9 (274, 7)

Rebound Margin: -7.4 (342, 10)

Assists Per Game: 4.1 (84, 2)

Turnovers Per Game: 13.3 (196, 3)

Recent Postseason Appearances:

2014    NCAA Opening Round loss to Albany

2011    CBI     First Round loss to James Madison

2008    NCAA Opening Round win over Coppin State

2008    NCAA Round of 64 loss to North Carolina

1999    NCAA Round of 64 loss to Michigan State

1996    NIT     First Round loss to Illinois State

1995    NCAA Round of 64 loss to Kentucky

*all team stats through 3/5

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