2014 NCAA Tournament Preview: American

2014 NCAA Tournament Preview: American
March 16, 2014, 6:15 pm
Share This Post

Team: American University Eagles (20-12, 13-5, Patriot League)

Seed/Region: No. 15/West

Status: Automatic bid

Matchup: vs. No. 2 Wisconsin (26-7, 12-6 Big Ten)

Where: Milwaukee, Wisc.

History: 3rd appearance in program history, first since 2009

Coach: Mike Brennan, 1st season

Leaders: Scoring (Jesse Reed, 13.9), Rebounding (Tony Wroblicky, 7.3), Assists (Darius Gardner, 4.2)

What's new: The Eagles struggled late in the season after starting 10-0 in conference play, but won three straight in the PL Tournament including 55-36 in the championship at BU.

What to know: Brennan brought the Princeton Offense he learned from legendary coach Pete Carril to Ward Circle

Notable wins: Went 2-1 versus Patriot League regular season champion Boston U

[RELATED: Meet all 68 teams in the 2014 NCAA tournament]

Notable losses: Fell by 11 points at Ohio State in November. 3-5 in final eight regular season games

Simply notable: Ken Pomeroy - a.k.a. KenPom.com - loves Mike Brennan

KenPom: Overall (98), Offense adjusted efficiency (199), Defense adjusted efficiency (46)

RPI: 118

Strength: Point guard "Pee Wee" Gardner is a calming influence who authoritatively directs the offense. Arguably the most valuable player this season in the DMV.

Weakness: Essentially no interior options beyond the 6-foot-10 Wroblicky; limited athleticism

Scoring: 64 points per game

Good stat: Shoots 49.5 percent from the field, seventh in the country

Bad stat: Finished last in the Patriot League in turnover margin

Key player: Wroblicky, the PL Defensive Player of the Year and AU's lone senior, must avoid foul trouble due to depth issues. In addition, much of the offense runs through the 12.2 ppg scorer in the high post.

Key to success: Not only do the Eagles rank 7th nationally in field percentage, they do as well in scoring defense (58.6). Their deliberate style creates quality shot opportunities and limits possessions. Combined with Brennan's coaching acumen, AU will have some high-seeded coach worried while doing his pregame homework.