Why is North Carolina Central a scary No. 14 seed? Let's count 'em down.
ISU coach Fred Hoiberg will reference all those points to keep his team wary of the Eagles, but if the Cyclones watched the first day of March Madness, too, they'd know high seeds like Florida and Louisville struggled with inferior opponents, while Villanova and Michigan State needed some coaxing to pull away from Milwaukee and Delaware, respectively.
"We're not underestimating anybody in this tournament," sophomore forward Georges Niang said Thursday. "Seeding is out the window for us."
By 21 spots, Carolina Central is the highest-rated team in Ken Pomeroy's rankings (No. 75). As far as advanced stats go, there are reasons to be worried — the Eagles are No. 5 in defensive turnover percentage and effective field goal percentage against, as well as No. 15 in steal rate, No. 13 in three-point defense and No. 10 in two-point percentage allowed.
But, well, they haven't played anyone since Dec. 31, a 70-56 loss to Maryland. The Eagles' have the No. 347 strength of schedule (this isn't their fault) which is why, when Pomeroy adjusts his offensive and defensive efficiencies to account for schedule and tempo, the Eagles are No. 60 defensively and No. 107.7 on offense — despite the high defensive metrics.
Let's run through some layman stats then advanced ones.
Stat-haters, skip below this section
Or, I could just pull a screen-grab (green is good).
Now for a look at the Eagles' most frequent lineup over the last five games, used 22.5 percent of the time:
G: Jeremy Ingram (6-3, sr)
G: Emanuel Chapman (6-1, sr)
G: Reggie Groves (6-2, sr)
F: Karamo Jawara (6-8, jr)
F: Jordan Parks (6-7, jr)
The first backcourt player off the bench is 6-foot-3 wing Alfonzo Houston. For the frontcourt, it's 6-foot-7 player Jay Copeland.
Rarely will anyone else play, but 6-foot-4 forward Abuka Anyaorah is good for a few hard fouls.
Guard Dante Holmes, who uses 24 percent of the team's shots when he's on the court, missed the early portion of the season, played sparingly down the stretch after returning in January and played just 14 minutes the last four games before sitting out the title game against March 15.
Quick scouting report on these guys:
Ingram: High-volume shooter, good from three-point range (38.2), draws a ton of fouls, not a playmaker but doesn't turn it over much, active hands on defense lead to steals. Plays a ton of minutes.
Chapman: Will play most of the game, has the No. 16 assist rate nationally and the No. 42 steal rate on defense, so for good reason. Shoots at 36 percent from three, rarely fouls.
Groves: Not an effective three-point shooter (30-for-108) but also has only taken 30 two-point shots.
Jawara: Useful low-post player who gets to the foul line, converts on around 60 percent of his layups and has some pick-and-pop game. Decent shot-blocker.
Parks: The nation's No. 41 offensive rating, connects on 66.3 percent of two-point shots and 58.3 percent of three-pointers (relax, he's 7-for-12). Destroys people on the offensive glass (No. 21 in offensive rebound rate) and is very good on the other side, too, sitting as the No. 230 defensive rebounding player. Blocks 7.2 percent of shots taken while he's on the floor, which is No. 97 overall, and draws 4.8 fouls per 40 minutes.