North Atlantic Season 55 Non-Conference Review
Teams rated by total talent
3. Castleton State
6. Mount Ida
8. Johnson State
12. Salem State
Teams rated by use of talent
1. Castleton State
4. Mount Ida
6. Johnson State
9. Salem State
Total talent reflects the entire 12 man roster, including those being redshirted. Use of talent proportionally weights the rating to minutes on the court. Because 12th men rarely impact things much, I'm using the latter number for ratings. (And any team that is using their 12th man will have it show up anyway.)
Castleton State: 7-3, 2 RPI, 2 SOS, #10 rating
Most Talented Player: Mathew Brown, 23.9 min, 53% FG, 19.6 pt, 8.5 reb, 1.1 blk, 1.5 stl
Player being used too much: Demetrius Albert (11th in usage, 11th in talent)
Player being used too little: Thomas Allen (6th in usage, 5th in talent)
Future Star: Brian Osgood, SO SG (+31)
Five Final Fours in the past six seasons and it sure looks like RDB is on pace to make it 6 for 7. (That #3 RPI, Elite 8 showing in season 51 really is an eyesore.) Pretty interesting how RDB is getting it done, completely ignoring the 3 point shot and winning despite facing severe (-) defenses. I suppose a team that quick and fast is going to be tough to guard even if you are properly positioned. Those same traits are also forcing a ridiculous amount of turnovers.
I'm not sure if RDB is partying it up like it is season 37 but this roster reminds me a lot of the old-school Castleton that existed before WIS introduced player potential. For those that weren't around back then, CSU was a team that looked a lot like 12 small forwards. The guards could all rebound and the post players could dribble, pass, and shoot. That's not exactly the case with this team, especially as it pertains to the rebounding guards. But the post players are very good at passing and not too bad at dribbling and shooting. The team ratings of 45 in both ball handling and passing demonstrate that.
Don't see CSU winning the NAC North but that's because Lasell look to be on a mission to finally get Carl a NT in the Allen world. CSU has lost three times, even if all three were close losses. Additionally, CSU is winning by a good margin but isn't destroying the field the way that Lasell is. CSU wins by 10 points a game, Lasell wins by 25. Even against a slightly higher level of competition, that 15 point differential is too much to ignore.
-- As good as they are, CSU is being outrebounded on the season. Only Mathew Brown (15.0) and Daniel Moore (12.2) average more than 10 rebounds per 40 minutes.
-- CSU is at risk of getting into foul trouble. Over the course of 40 minutes, Carl Garrett (7.1), Timothy Wright (6.7), Brian Osgood (6.4), Jerry Chambers (5.4), Demeterius Albert (5.4), and Steven Woodling (5.2) would all foul out of a game.
-- He's a freshman but Brian Osgood is currently fouling at the rate of 7.2 per 40 minutes. Yikes.
-- Mathew Brown leads the team in scoring and that's in large part due to him getting to the free throw line at a NAC leading rate of 14.3 times per 40 minutes.
Prediction: 13-3 2nd place NAC North
Lasell: 10-0, 5 RPI, 37 SOS, #2 rating
Most Talented Player: Damian Horodyski, 18.5 min, 54.5% FG, 7.4 pt, 3.4 reb, 1.2 stl
Player being used too much: William Korn (11th in usage, 10th in talent)
Player being used too little: Ronald Aguon (7th in usage, 4th in talent)
Future Star: William Korn, FR PG (+24)
I loved Lasell last season when my numbers suggested they weren't #1 and they went ahead and won the NAC North and made it to the National Title game. I'll make the same prediction that I did last season: As good as the NAC North is, I expect Lasell to steamroll its way through the gauntlet to a rather remarkable season. I think not only will Lasell be the NT favorite, but come selection time they will be sitting with the #1 RPI, #1 ranking, and will deservedly get the #1 overall seed in the NT.
With 9 upperclassmen on the roster, this shouldn't be a huge surprise. Lasell returned a great deal of talent from the best team in the Allen world last season. Moreover the team is so well-rounded that I'm not sure where exactly a team attacks "weaknesses" on the Laser's roster. Maybe speed is the closest thing to a weakness since the 50 is quite good but isn't great. However considering Carl already beat the team with the highest speed rating in the game, I'm not sure others will be able to exploit it. The one team that might be interesting were they to square off in the NT is Rails' Carleton team.
I'm using the eye test on Carl's squad. This looks like the best team in the NAC to me and I'm not sure how close it really is. My formula might think otherwise but I look at Carl's team and see a rather unstoppable bunch. Carl has the best combo of speed and athleticism in the D3 world which makes for a terrific press defense that should make just about every offense in the NAC look silly. Carl has plenty of good rebounders, plenty of folks that can light it up from the outside, and plenty that can post up in the paint. This team really doesn't have weaknesses. Even if Lasell wasn't so good in the other areas, I think the press defense causes so many turnovers that very few NAC teams will stand a chance against him. Maybe I'm buying (creating?) the hype too much but this looks to be the best Lasell team that I can remember in a while and Carl is one of the best D3 coaches in all the HD worlds. I might change my mind but this, to me, looks like the favorite for the national title.
I'm going to predict a loss for Carl although I'm really not seeing it. I don't see how a team goes 16-0 in the NAC. But I really don't know where it happens.
-- Carl gives the deep threats the green light and the rest of the Lasell offense is a balanced attack. John Dunn averages 31.5 points per 40 and off the bench Ted Harey chips in 25.6. After that, there are five players that average between 16.5 and 20.9 points per 40.
-- Five players average more than 12 rebounds per 40 minutes: Ronald Aguon (16.2), John Ballard (15.6), William McEwan (15.2), Michael Nau (13.3), Jason Baxter (12.6).
-- Lasell has three of the top 5 shot blockers in the NAC: Jason Baxter (5.1), William McEwan (4.7) and Ronald Aguon (3.2)
-- John Ballard maybe should be given more freedom to create his own shot. He doesn't get many touches but his eFG% of 66.7 and TS% of 70.6 suggest he'd do just fine if given the opportunity.
Prediction: 15-1 1st place NAC North
Thomas: 7-3, 7 RPI, 6 SOS, #14 rating
Most Talented Player: Lee Brown, 24.9 min, 42.6% FG, 11.7 pt, 3.8 reb, 1.2 stl
Player being used too much: Jess Youngblood (5th in usage, 10th in talent)
Player being used too little: Robert Holt (9th in usage, 5th in talent)
Future Star: Richard Kimble, SO C (+34)
I've mentioned my recruiting mishaps enough already so I hate to revisit them but I will simply to point out that I don't think that Thomas is as good as their placement here. I'm forcing minutes upon players that don't deserve them and I'm going to have to force even more minutes upon Jeffrey Taylor since what I was doing in non-conference play was going to result in me failing to fill my promise to him. At full strength, Thomas might deserve the #3 spot although keeping in mind that the rankings are based on a formula that I created, it is going to favor Thomas and in reality even at full strength Mount Ida is probably a notch or two ahead.
Thomas has three seniors and counts on them for almost the entire team offensive output. Bryan Vaden leads the team at 19.8 per game, Dennis Myers is right behind him at 18.1, while Lee Brown is "only" scoring 13.4 a game due to a nasty case of Senioritis. Alongside the three seniors are six that score less than 2 points a game and another that only averages 2.6. The three are good enough to win against most teams but if one of them has an off night, it's probably a loss for Thomas since there is nobody else to pick up the slack. And it is not just for lack of opportunity, Thomas' low post team rating of 30 and perimeter of 36 is the second worst scoring combination in the NAC.
Because the team is pretty weak at scoring, Thomas is going to lean on its defense to win games. The defense is good, but not great. Thomas does a nice job of having a low two point FG% but the three point defense isn't nearly as good and as good as the FG% defense is, Thomas is not currently forcing enough turnovers to have a truly elite defense. Especially so when considering how frequently Thomas turns over the ball.
-- Bryan Vaden might be the favorite for CPOY. Thomas will probably win enough games for Vaden to be considered and since he's 2nd in the NAC in minutes per game, he's going to put up some really good counting numbers. He's only 13th in points per 40 (24.7) but is 2nd in the NAC in scoring. His rebounding rate (16) is 3rd in the NAC but he's lapping the field in rebounds since he plays 31 minutes a game.
-- Officials are on the hunt for The Fugitive. Richard Kimble is whistled for 7.1 fouls per 40. Only one other player on Thomas averages more than 4.
-- The Terriers are close to having their first corporate sponsor in Butterfinger. Dennis Myers has the highest turnover rate in the NAC (5.5), Cory Bjorklund is 5th (5), Bruce Sawyer is 6th (4.8), and Anthony Lockwood is 11th at 4.4. Those four are also the first four guards on the Thomas depth chart.
-- Larry Oakes made it through 88 minutes of non-conference play and didn't make it to the charity stripe once. Pretty amazing for a center.
Prediction: 11-5, 2nd place NAC South
Mount Ida: 8-2, 10 RPI, 14 SOS, #15 rating
Most Talented Player: Jacob Smith, 22 min, 55.7% FG, 16.3 pt, 4.5 reb, 1.6 stl
Player being used too much: James Gregg (9th in usage, 11th in talent)
Player being used too little: Aaron Jackson (11th in usage, 8th in talent)
Future Star: Greg Cardinal, SO C (+29)
I think Mount Ida is the likely favorite in the NAC South, especially when coaching is taken into account. Mizzou has had a couple of mini-runs with teams that I didn't think were all that good while he was rebuilding Ida. So with a team this talented, I kind of expect nothing less than a Division title for Ida. The one catch to that may be in the team athleticism. Everything else about the roster looks like that of a team primed to make a deep tourney run. But of what I would say are the elite D3 teams, Mount Ida has the worst athleticism. I'm looking forward to seeing how this team does since they have top 10 ratings in speed, low post, perimeter, ball handling, and passing.
-- Ida's assist-to-turnover ratios are out of this world. Mount Ida has 4 of the best 5 in the NAC: Paul Hail (8.7 to 1), Aaron Jackson (8.5), Alexander Bragg (5.8), and Joe Hall (3.8). That Hall makes the cut at 3.8 and Ida has two over 8 is just silly.
-- James Gregg should probably shoot more than just 5 times a game with a eFG% of 71 and a TS% of 74.2.
Prediction: 12-4, 1st place NAC South
Becker: 7-3, 106 RPI, 134 SOS
Most Talented Player: Donald Conyers, 25.8 min, 50% FG, 18.4 pt, 8 reb, 1.5 stl, 2.1 blk
Player being used too much: Aaron Stevenson (9th in usage, 10th in talent)
Player being used too little: Sherman Bernard (7th in usage, 2nd in talent)
Future Star: Charles McBryar, FR PG (+36)
I do think Becker has a nifty squad but I think there is a pretty sizable gap between 1a Lasell, 1b Castleton, and the rest of the South. My formula says Becker is 3rd but there is a big gap between those two and the next team. And while the formula like Becker, I think I like it less among the North teams. I hope I'm wrong on this but I think Becker as a team is less than the sum of its parts. With 4 senior PF/C players, I don't think the backcourt has the skills to match the frontcourt. I think this is seen in that Sherman Bernard by my formula is the 2nd best player but only gets the 7th most minutes. Because of this, even though my formula has Becker ahead of Johnson State, I think the Johnies will beat out Becker for 3rd in the NAC North. I also hate to make too much of a small sample size but I can't remember a team with a 100+ RPI finishing in the top half of a NAC division in recent memory. (And since I'm cheating by writing this four days into conference play I can note that Becker has started 0-4.)
-- Sherman Bernard is top 5 in the NAC in rebounds (15.6) and blocks (4.1). That he played 12 minutes a game in non-conference is a crime
-- Branden Badger might also need more minutes. He only played in 43% of the available minutes but during that time had the highest rebounding rate on the team (13.3/40), fouled least among post players (3.68/40), and shot at a decent clip (53 TS%)
Prediction: 6-10 4th place NAC North
Johnson State: 9-1, 1 RPI, 3 SOS, #12 rating
Most Talented Player: Adam Wallace, 25 min, 52.6% FG, 10.6 pt, 5.1 reb, 1.1 stl
Player being used too much: William Young (1st in usage, 5th in talent)
Player being used too little: Daryl Evanoff (10th in usage, 8th in talent)
Future Star: Dennis Alfaro, SO SF (+34)
What I wrote last season: Ryan Ernst is filling up the stat sheet and then some. Ernst looks to be the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd option for Johnson State taking twice as many shots as any other player and averaging 38.6 points per 40 minutes. There's nothing wrong with him hogging the ball, his eFG% of 62.4 and TS% of 62.6 is essentially the best on the team. (Thomas Davis is better but only took 34 shots in non-conference play.) Earnst is also leading the team in steals on the defensive side. Looks like Johnson State will go as far as Ernst will take them.
This season: Scoring is now 39.7 points. eFG% is 62.8 and TS% is 63.3. The eFG% and TS% are again leading team. He's slipped tremendously on the defensive side, however. His steal rate of 1.1 per 40 is the 2nd worst on the team. I'll go ahead and ignore that and repeat my line that Johnson State will go as far as Ernst will take them.
As I'm typing this, Ryan Ernst is the #14 scorer in Johnson State history and he's not yet halfway finished with his Junior campaign.
I'm pretty shocked that Johnson finished with the #1 RPI and I'm comparing that to the #106 of Becker in figuring that despite what the formula may say, Johnson is the clear favorite to finish 3rd in the NAC. I don't see this team winning games against 1a and 1b in the North and I think that prevents them from getting a 1st round bye in the CT.
Fun Facts that don't involve Ryan Ernst
-- Quick glance, nothing much. Go get popcorn when the coach has him on the bench
Prediction: 10-6, 3rd place NAC North
Husson: 8-2, 14 RPI, 48 SOS
Most Talented Player: Robert Clary, 25.5 min, 53.8% FG, 17.7 pt, 5 reb, 1 stl
Player being used too much: Dan Parker (8th in usage, 11th in talent)
Player being used too little: Louis White (4th in usage, 4th in talent)
Future Star: Robert Clary, SR SF (+24)
-- Nothing really stands out
Prediction: 8-8, 5th place NAC South
Maine Maritime Academy: 8-2, 33 RPI, 108 SOS
Most Talented Player: Shawn Bogard, 18.6 min, 53.2% FG, 5.8 pt, 6.8 reb, 0.9 blk
Player being used too much: Steven Moore (9th in usage, 11th in talent)
Player being used too little: Shawn Bogard (2nd in usage, 1st in talent)
Future Star: Titus Kappler, JR SF & Gilbert Saville SR PG (+21)
-- Steven Moore is the leading scorer (29.4) and has taken the most attempts but he maybe should take more. His eFG% of 70.9 and TS% of 71.4 is outstanding.
-- Rebounding is a strength. Four average 10 per 40 and Kermit McClinsey is top 5 in the NAC at 16.9. He's joined by Shawn Bogard (15), David Peacock (10.6), and Kevin Winters (10.5).
-- MMA has three avering 3 steals per 40. Titus Kappler's 3.6 has him in the NAC top 5 and the 3.3 rate of both Gilbert Saville and Steven Moore are right on his heals.
Prediction: 6-10, 3rd place NAC South
Salem State: 7-3, 30 RPI, 23 SOS
Most Talented Player: Kenneth Dunbar, 27.6 min, 51.1% FG, 12.5 pt, 5.3 reb, 1 stl
Player being used too much: Donald Sydnor (4th in usage, 6th in talent)
Player being used too little: Micheal Buchberger (5th in usage, 3rd in talent)
Future Star: Kenneth Dunbar, SR SF (+22)
-- Donald Sydnor is top five NAC in eFG% (72) and TS% (72.3). After what I said about him last season, this needs to be noted. I have opinions, they aren't always correct.
Prediction: 3-13, 5th place NAC South
Elms: 2-8, 213 RPI, 114 SOS
Most Talented Player: Donald Wilmore, 23.5 min, 50.6% FG, 10.5 pt, 5.5 reb
Player being used too much: Jimmie Robinson (5th in usage, 7th in talent)
Player being used too little: Jerome Robinson (6th in usage, 2nd in talent)
Future Star: Albert Timmerberg, FR PF & Steve Coleman, JR SF (+23)
-- Nothing really, a pretty well balanced team which leaves little to put here.
Prediction: 3-13, 6th place NAC North
UMF: 9-1, 117 RPI, 364 SOS
Most Talented Player: Elroy Ver, 21.6 min, 56.3% FG, 15.3 pt, 6.7 reb, 1.3 stl, 1.4 blk
Player being used too much: Eric Hawkins (2nd in usage, 4th in talent)
Player being used too little: Elroy Ver (4th in usage, 1st in talent)
Future Star: William Critchfield, FR PG (+18)
-- With eFG% of 70.5 and TS% of 76.7, Anthony Baker needs to be shooting more.
-- UMF has two of the top 5 assist rates in the NAC with William Critchfield (10.2) and Adam Gurganus (8.7)
Prediction: 3-13 5th place NAC South
UMPI: 7-3, 19 RPI, 12 SOS
Most Talented Player: Joshua Enochs, 25.5 min, 40.7% FG, 9.2 pt, 2.1 reb, 2.1 stl
Player being used too much: Randolph Donaldson (8th in usage, 5th in talent)
Player being used too little: Rodney Witt (9th in usage, 4th in talent)
Future Star: Joseph Beach, SO PF (+31)
-- Paul Jarnigan is by far the worst volume shooter in the NAC. Nobody in his range of 37.3 eFG% and TS% of 47.5 have taken half as many shots as he has.
-- UMPI gets to the line. 3 of the top 5 NAC rates come from Erick Castaldo (12.7), Paul Jarnigan (11.3), and Rodney Witt (11.1). Three others on the roster aren't far behind averaging 9+ from the charity stripe per 40.
-- Steven Merritt has a 22 athleticism rating, a 20 defensive rating .... and is committing 7.8 fouls per 40. Yikes!
-- If I'm going to point out the bad about Merritt I need to mention that his assist rate of 9.5 is top 5 in the NAC.
Prediction: 6-10, 3rd place NAC South