Everything you need to know before Springfield College mens basketball takes on Swarthmore College in the Elite 8

Gage Nutter
@GageNutter

Noteworthy Swarthmore facts

  • Went into Centennial conference tournament as the No. 1 seed
  • Currently hold a overall record of 24-5
  • One of three teams from the Centennial conference to make the tournament (Johns Hopkins and Emory & Henry)
  • Lost in the Centennial conference Championship to Johns Hopkins, who was No. 16 in the country at the time, 61-57
  • No. 1 scoring team in the Centennial conference (78.8 per-game)
  • No. 1 total rebounding team in the Centennial conference (40.7 per-game)
  • No. 1 offensive rebounding team in the Centennial conference (11.6 per-game)

Notable Swarthmore wins and loses

  • Jan. 11, Johns Hopkins University, 79-70 W
  • Jan. 13, Franklin & Marshall College, 74-68 L
  • Feb. 10, Johns Hopkins University, 93-91 2OT L
  • Feb. 24, No. 16 Johns Hopkins University, 61-57 L
  • Mar. 3, No. 15 Wesleyan University, 97-75 W

Players to watch

camwiley23

#23 Cam Wiley

Swarthmore is a relatively evenly balanced team, but Wiley is the programs best player statistically. He averages 16.5 points and 4.6 rebounds per-game.

His list of accolades is lengthy:

  • NABC All-America 3rd Team (2016-17)
  • Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area (2016-17)
  • NABC All-District 1st Team (2016-17)
  • D3Hoops.com All-Mid-Atlantic 1st Team (2016-17)
  • Centennial Conf. Tournament Most Outstanding Player (2016-17)
  • Centennial Conf. Player of the Year (2016-17)
  • All-Centennial 1st Team (2016-17)
  • Centennial Player of the Week (11/28/16, 1/30/17, 2/6/17, 2/13/17)

Wiley is coming off a game where he scored 27 points against a nationally ranked Wesleyan team. He is a threat from behind the arc, but he also likes to get to the rack.

The Pride had trouble minimizing the effect of Hamilton’s Kena Gilmour in the Sweet 16 (finished the game with 40 points). Springfield is going to have to at least slow down Wiley a little bit to have a good chance of moving on.

Screen Shot 2018-03-09 at 11.16.55 PM.png

#33 Zac O’Dell

O’Dell, statistically, could be considered a Swarthmore version of Heath Post. He averages 10.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per-game. He is 6’7, gets after it on the offensive glass, and plays physical inside. He isn’t afraid to step outside and shoot either. Wiley might be the team’s scorer, but O’Dell is the guy down low that keeps things running smoothly.

Keys to the game

Home-court advantage

The biggest advantage Swarthmore has in this game has nothing to do with any play on the court. The game will be played at Swarthmore College. In Swarthmore’s game with Plattsburgh on Friday, the gym was packed with Phoenix fans. It will be a tough environment to play in for the Pride. It’s going to take some serious mental fortitude for Springfield to stay focused from beginning to end.

Offensive rebounding

If the Pride’s matchup with Hamilton was physical, this game is going to be even moreso. Much like Hamilton, Swarthmore asserts its dominance on the offensive boards (average 11.6 per-game). Springfield got outrebounded on the offensive glass 10-4 against Hamilton. That’s 10 extra possessions. The Pride will need to do a better job boxing out on defense to minimize Swarthmore’s dominance in that area.  

Transition Defense

The Phoenix like to push the ball in transition every chance they get. Springfield will need to make sure everyone is accounted for defensively when Swarthmore gets on the break. If not, Wiley and Zack Yonda (averaging 13.8 points per-game) will do some damage.

Resilience

The Pride were three seconds and two free throws away from being sent home Friday night. They were also down 10 points at one point in the second half. It doesn’t get any easier from here. Springfield could find themselves down by 20 in this game. If they do, it will be key that they stick with their mindset of refusing to go down quietly. If the last few games are any indicator, the team should do fine in this area

 

 

(Featured photo courtesy of the NCAA. Headshot and game photo courtesy of Swarthmore Athletics) 

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