NCAA Breakdown: Davidson

Southern Conference champion Davidson, a hot-shooting team, is a dangerous first round opponent for Louisville Thursday in Portland. InsideTheVille.com breaks down the matchup.



    Davidson
    Head Coach: Bob McKillop
    Conference: Southern Conference
    Record: 25-7
    RPI: 63

    LOWDOWN

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    Davidson enters the NCAA Tournament as the Southern Conference Tournament champions. The Wildcats defeated Western Carolina in the SoCon championship game to punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament.

    Coached by Bob McKillop, the Wildcats finished first in the Southern Conference South Division, then won the SoCon Tournament in double overtime beating Western Carolina 93-91.

    The Wildcats are led by by forwards De'Mon Brooks and Jake Cohen, who combined to average 30 points and 12.3 rebounds. The 6'7 Brooks averaged 16 points and 6.3 rebounds, while the 6'10 Cohen, an inside, outside threat, added 14 points and 6 rebounds.

    A balanced and deep team, guards Nik Cochran (11 ppg), J.P. Kuhlman (11.1) and Chris Czerapowicz (10.2) all averaged double figures scoring. A dangerous three-point shooting team, all five Davison starters made at least 21 three pointers. The 6'7 Czerapowicz led the team with 64 three pointers. Reserve guard Tyler Kalinoski made 36 threes off the Wildcats bench.

    Typically, Davison goes eight deep. Reserves Clint Mann, Tyler Kalinoski and Tom Droney all averaged at least 16 minutes per game. Mann, a 6'8, 235 pound forward, averaged 5.5 points and 3.1 rebounds. Kalinoski averaged 4.8 points.

    Some assorted rankings: Davison averages 78 points per game (12th nationally); 38.9 rebounds (19th nationally); 13.8 assists (81st nationally); and 44.9 percent field goals (110th nationally).

    Opponents of note: Duke (lost 82-69); Vanderbilt (lost 87-83); Kansas (won 80-74).

    KEY MATCHUPS


    Davidson's three-point shooting vs. Louisville's tough defense: Davidson shoots it well from all five positions and a is a dangerous outside shooting team. Louisville's half court zone has been vulnerable against the three at times this season, but the Cardinals locked down the perimeter in the Big East Tournament, especially against hot-shooting Cincinnati in the championship game. If Louisville defends the perimeter and slows Davidson's dangerous outside shooters, the Cardinals will be in good shape to advance.

    Louisville's pressure vs. Davidson's backcourt: After struggling late in the season, Rick Pitino turned to full court pressure to win the Big East Tournament. Louisville will try to create a frenzied pace with their defense and if the disciplined Wildcats don't stand up against the Cardinals pressure they'll have a tough time in Portland.

    NCAA RESUME


    Davidson played a tough non-conference schedule, then won the Southern Conference regular season and tournament championships. Forwards Brooks and Cohen lead the way, but McKillop has plenty of other weapons, including a three-guard lineup that is capable of heating up from downtown. The Wildcats have won 10 of their last 12 games entering the tournaments.

    Ranked No. 63 in the RPI, Davidson enters the NCAA Tournament ranked higher than Morehead State, which upset Louisville in the first round, did last year. Davidson, which played Duke, Vanderbilt and Kansas during the non-conference part of their schedule, will be well-prepared to face Louisville in the opening round in Portland on Thursday.

    FINAL THOUGHTS

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    Historically, the West Region has been good to Louisville. The Cardinals came out of the West to win the 1986 NCAA championship and advanced to their last Final Four in 2005 from the West. But let's be clear, there is no easy route through the West Region this year.

    Davidson is a dangerous team who shoots the three well, has been tested by a tough non-conference schedule and has a coach who has enjoyed recent success in the NCAA Tournament. If Morehead State was a tough draw last season, Davidson looks even tougher in the opening round this time around for the Cardinals.

    The NCAA may have gotten Louisville's seeding right, but the selection committee did the Cardinals no favors shipping them to Portland for a Thursday game. After winning four games in four days in New York to win the Big East Tournament title, Louisville now must quickly re-charge and focus on doing something they haven't done in three years - win an NCAA first round game.

    If Louisville were to beat Davidson, a tough game against either Long Beach State or New Mexico, perhaps the two best teams out west, looms in the second round. A potential Sweet 16 matchup against Big 10 champion Michigan State is intriguing.

    The key for Louisville - continuing to build on their strong Big East Tournament performance. If Peyton Siva plays like he did while earning BIg East MVP honors, and Louisville continues to apply full court pressure to force tempo, the Cardinals will be threat out west.




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