#1W Delta State 71, #1E Montevallo 67
Delta State avenged a loss to Montevallo in last year’s conference title game with this win, which continues the Statesmen’s 25-game winning streak. Here are the keys to the game:
|Eff||116.1||105.9||10.1||Actual net efficiency|
|9.0||Predicted net efficiency|
Montevallo just didn’t have enough solid defenders for this game. They had their stars, James Hall and Marcus Kennedy, along with Greg Brown, who also made the all-tournament team. They held Jasper Johnson and Jeremy Richardson somewhat in check, at least so that they had to take a lot more shots to get their 30 points (12-of-30 from the field). It’s too bad they didn’t stop the rest of the Statesmen, who combined to shoot 16-of-24. The inside tandem of Victor Brown and Sandrell Spann had 17 points and 12 rebounds with efficient shooting, while guards Travis DeGroot and Turmaine Rice had 24 points. Kennedy, Hall, and Brown each had 15+ for the Falcons, but Hall’s performance was actually quite poor. He missed 11 shots and had 7 turnovers, helping him to barely break even in game score.
South Region tournament field
Since there were no upsets in the other conference title games in the South Region, the standings shaped up essentially as expected. Here are the first-round matchups for the NCAA Tourney:
#1 Delta State vs. #8 Stillman
#4 Arkansas-Monticello vs. #5 North Alabama
#3 Alabama-Huntsville vs. #6 Rollins
#2 Montevallo vs. #7 Benedict
The Statesmen should have no problem with SIAC champ Stillman, regardless of Stillman’s hot streak to end the season. Several of the GSC teams that were left out would have a better chance of toppling DSU. I think UAM will beat UNA, since the Lions have not been playing as well as they did when they handed DSU their only loss back in November. UAH-Rollins should be a good game, and if I had to pick an upset, this would be it. I still think UAH has an edge because of their exceptional fundamentals and coaching, but I suppose there’s a reason Rollins usually makes this tournament field. Montevallo should have no trouble dispatching SIAC regular-season champ Benedict.
I think Delta State and Montevallo are on track for a rematch in the regional final, and barring any unforeseen injuries, DSU should again have the edge. The Statesmen will be playing at home, and they probably have the better team anyway. Seattle Pacific won’t be an easy Elite 8 opponent if both teams make it that far, but I have to give DSU the benefit of the doubt there.
Check back for tourney updates. If I get the chance while I’m in Florida for Spring Break, I’ll try to update the site.