By Rowan Shiell
Previously we concentrated on the player’s individual performances with a loose view on winning. Now that we are just a few weeks away from one of the greatest annual sporting tournaments in world, we will look at the bigger picture and see who has a chance to be playing in the NCAA tournament, come March.
For those unfamiliar with the system, having the most wins in conference doesn’t necessarily get a team into the tournament, but it will get them a bye or an easier road to victory in the conference tournament. The winner of this secures an automatic bid to the tournament. All other teams will have to depend on an at large bid depending on their record.
The only exception is the Ivy League which does not have a post season tournament and the outright conference winner gets the bid.
Keith Rendleman | North Carolina-Wilmington | Senior | Forward
Due to academic issues, UNCW does not qualify for any post season tournament. Keith Rendleman could have transferred and played immediately, at any school that accepted him, but stayed loyal to UNCW for his senior year.
Rendleman remained loyal in part because he loves being at UNCW and they were one of a few schools to offer him a basketball scholarship. They even went through the trouble of writing him an open letter to stay after the other two leading scorers left.
The best comparison I can think of is Arsalan Kazemi, the first Iranian to play in division one college basketball and he is a rebounding machine, like Rendleman. Kazemi transferred from Rice to Oregon and was able to avoid the mandatory redshirt year. Now Oregon is one of the best surprises of the season.
Kazemi, Oregon’s current leading rebounder, has improved his professional outlook by playing against stronger competition and has a better chance of playing in the NCAA tournament (hopefully Oregon point guard Dominic Artis will be back from injury in time).
Meanwhile Rendleman is stuck playing in what Rob Dauster refers to as a “meaningless” season.
UNCW are currently eighth, in Colonial Athletic Association Conference, which has eleven teams, so their goal of conference regular season champions is out the window. Though Rendleman’s other objective to win conference player of the year might be still viable.
As if to prove his worthiness, Rendleman scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, on Monday, against Towson. Two days later he had 15 and 10 against Georgia State.
“I want to be known as one of the best ever to play here.” Rendleman said as reported by the Seahawk. He has scored 1367 points to date and needs 23 more rebounds to break 1000.
Alasdair Fraser | Maine | Junior | Forward | @bigali15
Fraser, Maine’s second leading scorer (13.9) and leading rebounder (8.7), tallied a total of 29 points, 17 rebounds, two blocks and two assists in two losses over the week.
Andrew Lawrence | College of Charleston | Senior | Guard | @andrewcofc04
Charleston has won their last five games, and is just two victories behind Davidson for the top spot in the South division of the Southern Conference.
They won both their games over the week. Lawrence, the leading scorer, shot poorly (4-14) against Samford, but managed to score 10 points and dished out three assists on Thursday.
Previously he had a better game when he scored 17 points to go with six assists against UNC-Greensboro, on Saturday.
Ashley Hamilton | Loyola Marymount | Senior | Forward | @thekingash
LMU are sitting at the bottom of the competitive West Coast conference.
On Monday they played San Diego. The game went to overtime where LMU lost by one. Hamilton had 11 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists.
Next game against fellow conference cellar dweller, Portland, Hamilton only managed seven points, two rebounds, three assists and four fouls, in another loss.
Ben Mockford | St Francis NY | Junior | Guard | @BenMockford
The Northeastern conference is crowded in the middle where St Francis resided at the start of the week. Bryant University (8-2) and Robert Morris (8-3) sit at the top and the next four teams that follow all have four losses.
After hitting 62% of his shots last week, Mockford scored only four points in 21 minutes to go with four steals as St Francis (NY) lost to St Francis (PA) by three points.
On Thursday he made five of his seven three pointers, finishing with 15 points, in a loss to conference leading Bryant University.
They now sit at 5-6 in the conference standings. Winning both these games would have seen St Francis tied for second place.
Will Neighbour | Arkansas Little Rock | Junior | Forward
Arkansas Little Rock is a contender in the Sun Belt Conference. They are currently tied for first place, in the West division, with Arkansas State. Neighbour, who was recently named Conference Player of the week, leads the team in scoring and rebounding.
Neighbour started the week by scoring six points and grabbing 10 rebounds in a four point loss to South Alabama. He followed that up with 11 points and six rebounds in a victory over Louisiana- Monroe, on Thursday, to surpass Arkansas State as the division leader.
Fahro Alihodzic | UAB | Junior | Center
Alihodzic started the week scoring 12 points and grabbing seven rebounds in a loss to Southern Mississippi. Wednesday he filled out the stat sheet with six points, five rebounds, two assists and three blocks in a victory over Tulsa.
UAB are currently 2-6 in conference.
Lee Goldsbrough | Providence| Junior | Forward
After Sidiki Johnson became eligible, back in December, Providence’s Lee Goldsbrough saw his playing time diminish significantly. Providence went on a losing streak, not necessarily due to the Goldsbrough’s lesser playing time, as competition increased and they were implementing a few other late additions to their roster.
Then before Sunday’s game against Villanova, it was announced that Johnson had taken a leave of absence for personal reasons, clearing the way for more playing time for Goldsbrough. The 6’9″ forward from Newcastle would answer the call with superior effort and hustle. His stats of six points and three rebounds weren’t overwhelming but his defense helped Vilanova break a three game losing streak.
Then a few days later he would force No.17 ranked Cincinatti’s Sean Kilpatrick into a crucial turnover in the closing seconds of the game for Providence’s first victory over a top 25 ranked opponent this season.
“I can’t praise Lee Goldsbrough enough for what he’s done on the ball screen defense,”Providence coach, Ed Cooley said. “Lee was really big today even though you don’t see it in the stats.”
Goldsbrough would finish with six points and four rebounds. Providence is 10-2 when Goldbsbrough plays 10-20+ minutes and 2-9 when he plays less than 10 minutes.
Thoughts? Anyone else that deserves a mention?