NCAA tournament team previews: Davidson Wildcats
As part of its preview of the 2015 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, SI.com is taking a look at all 68 teams in the field. RPI and SOS data from realtimerpi.com. Adjusted offense and defense are from kenpom.com and measure the number of points scored and allowed per 100 possessions, and the team’s national rank. All stats are through Monday, March 16.
Record: 24-6 (14-4 A 10)
Adjusted offensive/defensive efficiency: 118.5 (8th)/103.1 (180th)
Seed: South No. 10
Impact Player: Tyler Kalinoski, senior, guard. 17.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 125.6 offensive rating
The Case For: In a league that was a virtual 14-car pileup all season long, Davidson proved to be the most consistent and steady squad all year. That might not mean a whole lot in the NCAA tournament, but it should count for something, right? From Jan. 20 up to the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament, the Wildcats won 12 of their 14 games. The only losses were back-to-back against a bad St. Joe's team on the road and a mediocre St. Bonaventure team at home.
But if you're a team that struggles with defense, you do not want to see Davidson, period. Four of their starters shoot better than 40% from three-point range, with a fifth—Jordan Watkins—coming off the bench to shoot 46.4%. That's a big reason head coach Bob McKillop's team is one of the highest-scoring squads in the tournament.
The Case Against: While Davidson did win a lot of games this season, the competition in the Atlantic 10 wasn't as stern as it was last season, before the Wildcats arrived from the Southern Conference. The majority of their games were blowouts, which means that they're scoring a ton and winning games, but also that the competition isn't that strong.
Half of their 14 conference wins were by 15 points or more, including four by more than 25 points. That's winning games you're supposed to win, but many times that doesn't translate to success in the NCAA tournament. Davidson has to hope that its first game of the Atlantic 10 tournament—a one-point buzzer-beating win over a .500 La Salle squad—is an aberration this month and not the norm.