Northern Kentucky Men's Basketball 2019 NCAA Tournament Capsule


Northern Kentucky Norse

Horizon (26-8, 13-5)

After a brief one year absence, Northern Kentucky is back in the NCAA Tournament. That was when the Norse as a 15 seed gave Kentucky everything they could handle in a 79-70 game. This year’s team is arguably better than that group after winning a share of the Horizon League title and going 26-8 overall.
Big Wins: 12/16 Miami OH (72-66), 12/20 Northern Illinois (65-62), 1/11 Wright State (68-64)
Bad Losses: 12/8 at Eastern Kentucky (74-76), 2/1 at IUPUI (77-83), 2/23 Cleveland State (77-83)
Coach: John Brannen
Why They Can Surprise:
This team is all about 6-8 senior Drew McDonald. He averages 19.1 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists. McDonald is a prolific outside shooter and connects on 40.9 percent of his three-point attempts. Most teams will have trouble defending him. It does not help that the Norse have other scoring threats. Tyler Sharpe, Dantez Walton and Zaynah Robinson are all good shooters and Jalen Tate is a dynamic 6-6 wing. Tate averages 14.0 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists. Having a center like McDonald and a big wing like Tate who can pass the ball effectively is why this team ranks 13th in the nation in assists per game.
Why They Can Disappoint:
Northern Kentucky is a team that can be difficult for some opponents in the NCAA Tournament. They have more size than many mid-major teams, especially when 7-1 sophomore Chris Vogt gets meaningful minutes. And they generally do a good job of taking care of the basketball. However, this is not a team that creates easy buckets from their defensive play. Against a bigger, tougher defense, Northern Kentucky could struggle in their halfcourt offense and if they are not getting open looks, that big upset will not happen.
Probable Starters:
Tyler Sharpe, Junior, Guard, 14.1 ppg, 1.9 apg
Trevon Faulkner, Freshman, Guard, 4.9 ppg, 1.1 apg
Jalen Tate, Sophomore, Guard, 14.0 ppg, 4.1 apg, 4.4 rpg
Dantez Walton, Junior, Forward, 11.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.7 apg
Drew McDonald, Senior, Center, 19.1 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 2.9 apg
Key Role Players:
Zaynah Robinson, Senior, Guard, 7.0 ppg, 2.4 apg
Paul Djoko, Freshman, Guard, 1.7 ppg, 1.3 apg
Chris Vogt, Sophomore, Center, 4.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.2 bpg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 79.7 (39th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 69.0 (115, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 48.4 (20, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.0 (78, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.8 (65, 6)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.3 (87, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 67.1 (298, 10)
Rebound Margin: 4.8 (39, 1)
Assists Per Game: 17.0 (13, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.7 (142, 5)
Recent Postseason Appearances:
2018NITFirst Round loss to Louisville
*all team stats through 3/10