North Carolina Central Men's Basketball 2017 NCAA Tournament Capsule


North Carolina Central Eagles

MEAC (25-8, 13-3)

Many expected North Carolina Central to remain in the middle of the pack this season, but Coach LaVelle Moton had other plans. It became clear early in the campaign that the Eagles were going to be a contender in the MEAC after they beat the likes of Missouri, among others, in non-conference play.
Big Wins: 11/26 at Northern Kentucky (82-74), 11/28 at Missouri (62-52), 12/6 LIU Brooklyn (79-56)
Bad Losses: 1/9 Delaware State (68-69), 2/27 Savannah State (73-74), 3/2 at North Carolina A&T (63-68)
Coach: LaVelle Moton
Why They Can Surprise:
The Eagles cruised through the MEAC in large part due to their stingy defense. The MEAC opposition has had a lot of trouble shooting the ball, especially from beyond the arc. As long as NCCU can slow down opposing offenses, they can at least remain close to most opponents. The Eagles also boast a superstar in Patrick Cole. The 6-5 senior averages 19.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 5.7 assists. He can go off on any given night and on his own can make this team competitive. Dajuan Graf has emerged as a star too after averaging 14.3 points and 5.2 assists. He is not as prolific of a shooter like Cole, but the senior can finish around the basket.
Why They Can Disappoint:
For the most part the role players have filled in nicely around Cole and Graf, but this team needs a third scorer to step up. Rashaun Madison is an option as the team’s most prolific three-point shooter. However, he is not much of a threat to score at all if he is having an off day shooting the basketball. Kyle Benton and Del’vin Dickerson can be decent interior scorers. Benton is the traditional big man who will stay in the paint and eat up plenty of rebounds. Dickerson is a stretch four who can add another dynamic to the offense. If he is making shots, that will give Cole some more space to operate. And North Carolina Central can only go as far as Cole takes them.
Probable Starters:
Dajuan Graf, Senior, Guard, 14.3 ppg, 5.2 apg
Rashaun Madison, Senior, Guard, 9.8 ppg
Patrick Cole, Senior, Guard, 19.5 ppg, 5.7 apg, 7.0 rpg
Del’vin Dickerson, Senior, Forward, 8.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg
Kyle Benton, Senior, Forward, 8.8 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 1.3 bpg
Key Role Players:
Pablo Rivas, Junior, Forward, 6.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg
Will Ransom, Senior, Forward, 3.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.0 bpg
Ron Trapps, Senior, Guard, 5.3 ppg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 74.7 (143rd in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 64.1 (25, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.7 (109, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.6 (17, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.7 (139, 4)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.9 (235, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 67.9 (257, 6)
Rebound Margin: 2.5 (107, 1)
Assists Per Game: 14.1 (136, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.4 (108, 2)
Recent Postseason Appearances:
2015    NIT      First Round loss to Miami (FL)
2014    NCAA Round of 64 loss to Iowa State
*all team stats through 3/5