NCAA tournament team previews: Western Michigan Broncos
As part of its preview of the 2014 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. For more teams, click here.
Record: 23-9, 14-4 in Mid-American Conference
Adjusted offense / Adjusted defense: 106.6 (130th)/ 102.4 (121st)
Seed: No. 14 in South
Impact player: David Brown, 19.4 ppg, 57.5 true shooting percentage, 6.8 fouls drawn per 40 minutes.
The Case For:
Two of Western Michigan’s players could be earning professional paychecks next year. Guard David Brown and center Shayne Wittington, both of whom received All-MAC first team honors, form a potent inside-out duo. Brown is the Broncos’ offensive workhorse; he has posted a 57.5 true shooting percentage while using 28.9 percent of available possessions and taking 30.8 percent of his team’s shots while he’s on the floor. Whittington is a strong two-way frontcourt player. His offensive rating of 113.1 is tops among Broncos with usage rates of at least 20.0, his defensive rebounding percentage of 23.3 ranks in the nation’s top 70 and he has blocked 5.8 percent of opponents’ two-point field goals, good for 158th in the country. A ball-dominating guard like Brown, paired with an imposing interior presence like Whittington, will cause problems for a higher-seeded opponent.
The Case Against:
Western Michigan doesn’t take good care of the ball. The Broncos turned it over on 20.9 percent of their possessions, which ranked 317th in the country. Coach Steve Hawkins’ team was merely average on the defensive end during conference play, ranking sixth in points allowed per possession (100.6) and allowing opponents to rebound 32.9 percent of their misses (11th).
Western Michigan posted a gaudy record in MAC play, but its non-conference body of work is nothing special. The Broncos lost to three teams that finished the regular season ranked outside the top 100 of Ken Pomeroy’s team ratings: Hawaii, Northwestern and Drake. Western Michigan has never advanced past the Sweet 16. The last time the Broncos made the field was 2004, when they were bounced in the round of 64 by Vanderbilt.
SI prediction: Lose to Syracuse in second roundView complete bracket predictions from SI.com's panel of experts