American Eagles: NCAA Tournament Preview

American Eagles NCAA

American University is located in Washington D.C. and was champion of the Patriots League post-season tournament, beating regular-season champ Boston University in the championship game. They not only beat BU, they beat them down, allowing them only 36 points in a 55-36 win. That defensive effort takes on even more meaning when taking into account that Boston had averaged 91 points in their two wins leading up to the finals.

One thing that can be said about American University this season is that they exceeded expectations in this, the first year for coach Mike Brennan. The 20-12 record represents the best ever by a first-year coach at American. The Eagles were picked to finish 9th in the Patriot League in pre-season polls.

Their nickname is, appropriately, the Eagles. Being in D.C. it’s no surprise the school is politically active, and it received its charter though an Act of Congress in 1893. The charter was actually approved by Benjamin Franklin.

American University Eagles (15 Seed, West Bracket)

Record: 20-12 (13-5 Patriot League)

Coach: Mike Brennan

Tournament Berth:  Patriot League automatic bid

Big Wins: Bucknell, Holy Cross, Boston

Big Loses: Ohio State, Saint Mary’s, San Francisco,

 

Top Players

POINTS

PPG

FG%

FT%

3PT%

Jesse Reed

13.9

.512

.759

.468

Tony Wroblicky

12.2

.588

.720

.000

REBOUNDS

REB

OFF

DEF

BPG

Tony Wroblicky

7.3

1.9

5.4

1.9

Jesse Reed

4.4

0.5

3.9

0.5

ASSISTS

APG

SPG

TO

AST/TO

Darius Gardner

4.2

2.1

2.8

1.5

Tony Wroblicky

3.0

1.0

2.9

1.0

Starting Five

C – Tony Wroblicky

F – Kyle Kager

G– John Schoof

G – Darius Gardner

G – Jesse Reed

Who’s Hot:  Efficiency is the rule for the Eagles as they shot almost 56 percent from the field in the Patriot League finals against Boston. They were 44.4 percent on three-pointers, and rank seventh in the country in overall Field Goal Percentage. Balance is another rule. The Eagles had three different players lead the team in scoring in each of their 3 wins in the conference tournament.

Who’s Not:   American does not put a lot of points on the board, ranking no. 316 in the nation in scoring. Maybe they don’t have to, as they hold opponents to only 58.6 points per game.

Outlook: The Eagles’ last appearance in the NCAA tournament was in 2009, losing to Villanova in the first round 80-67. Their only other trip to the post-season tournament was in 2008, losing in the first round to Tennessee. This year the Eagles are a 15-seed in the West Region of the NCAA tournament and face second-seeded Wisconsin out of the Big Ten in their first game. American’s game is slow and deliberate, seldom taking bad shots. The weakness is in the competition. It was very hard to find any quality wins except in Patriot League play, and none of those teams even come close to the quality of Wisconsin. The really bad news for the Eagles is that this game is in no. 12 Wisconsin’s back yard in Milwaukee. Even it was played somewhere else it would be hard to imagine a way for the Eagles to knock off the Badgers. There is always the chance that Wisconsin will be looking past American to their next game against either Oregon or Brigham Young. There is also a chance that Milwaukee will run out of beer, but everyone knows that is not going to happen.

Commentary by Chuck Podhaisky
@Chuck_pod

Sources:
ESPN
American University
American University
Sports Grid

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.