Eastern Washington Men's Basketball 2015 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Eastern Washington Eagles
Big Sky (26-8, 14-4)


Eastern Washington put together a great 2014-2015 season. In non-conference play they got a signature win over Indiana and their only losses were on the road at SMU, Washington, Sam Houston State and California. They finished 14-4 in Big Sky play, tying Montana atop the conference standings. And it was Montana that stood in their way in the Big Sky Championship game where EWU came from behind to win 69-65 and earn their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2004.

Big Wins: 11/24 at Indiana (88-86), 12/11 at San Francisco (81-76), 2/5 at Montana (75-69)
Bad Losses: 2/14 Portland State (66-68), 2/21 at Northern Arizona (69-73), 2/28 Montana (76-77)
Coach: Jim Hayford

Why They Can Surprise:
Only a couple teams in the country score more points than Eastern Washington, and none have a scorer as prolific as Tyler Harvey. The junior guard averages 22.9 points per game. He shoots a ton of three-pointers and knocks down 42.8 percent of those attempts. Harvey, at 6-4, can also attack the basket and finish effectively. To score that much, he does it from anywhere on the floor. Venky Jois is the inside scorer. The 6-8, 230 pound forward is a beast in the paint and averages 16.6 points and 7.7 rebounds. But that does not nearly tell the entire story. Jois is also a great passer for a big man and a dangerous shot blocker. He did not record any triple-doubles this year, but he came close. Even a quadruple-double is not out of the realm of possibility. Drew Brandon is often overshadowed by Harvey and Jois, but he is a great point guard who makes this team tick on both ends of the floor. And speaking of triple-doubles, Brandon is certainly a candidate since he is so strong on the glass.

Why They Can Disappoint:
If Eastern Washington is going to pull off an upset, one way or another it will come down to three-point shooting. The Eagles rely so heavily on their outside shooting and if their shots are not falling, they are not going to win. This is not going to be like the Big Sky title game where EWU shot just 4-of-18 from beyond the arc. That is not going to cut it in the NCAA Tournament. On the other side of the floor, EWU allows the opposition to shoot 38.2 percent from beyond the arc. This is a team that can matchup against big conference teams because of their size, but against a talented frontcourt, they will need to add a little extra attention down low and that could open up the shooting lanes and leave the Eastern Washington defense in some trouble.

Probable Starters:
Drew Brandon, Senior, Guard, 9.9 ppg, 4.8 apg, 7.1 rpg, 1.8 spg
Tyler Harvey, Junior, Guard, 22.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.6 apg
Parker Kelly, Senior, Guard, 7.9 ppg, 1.1 apg
Venky Jois, Junior, Forward, 16.6 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 2.1 apg, 2.2 bpg
Ognjen Miljkovic, Sophomore, Forward, 10.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg

Key Roleplayers:
Bogdan Blizyuk, Freshman, Forward, 8.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg
Felix Von Hofe, Sophomore, Forward, 5.2 ppg, 1.4 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 80.5 (6th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 73.3 (318, 8)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.6 (26, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 44.6 (261, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 9.8 (6, 1)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 40.0 (11, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.5 (62, 5)
Rebound Margin: -0.1 (202, 5)
Assists Per Game: 13.3 (116, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.7 (30, 2)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
No Recent Tournament History

*all team stats through 3/8


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules