Abilene Christian Men's Basketball 2019 NCAA Tournament Capsule


Abilene Christian Wildcats

Southland (27-6, 14-4)

Coach Joe Golding has led Abilene Christian through their transition from Division II to Division I and now he has taken the Wildcats to their first ever NCAA Tournament. Abilene Christian had not even finished with a winning record in any of their previous five seasons in Division I.
Big Wins: 11/23 at Pacific (73-71), 12/4 Campbell (83-68), 2/6 at Lamar (75-64)
Bad Losses: 12/1 at Pepperdine (62-77), 1/23 at Stephen F. Austin (60-61), 2/23 SE Louisiana (66-75)
Coach: Joe Golding
Why They Can Surprise:
Abilene Christian plays tough and aggressive defense. They allow just 63.2 points per game and will turn a lot of their defense into easy offense. Jaren Lewis, Payten Ricks and Jaylen Franklin combine to tally nearly five steals per game and only a handful of teams force more turnovers than Abilene Christian. Lewis, a 6-6 senior, has emerged as the team’s top playmaker, averaging 13.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists. He is not much of an outside shooter, but is an occasional threat to knock down some three-pointers. Ricks and Franklin are the other top scoring threats. Ricks does most of the outside shooting for this group and Franklin is the senior leader who will run the point efficiently and attack the basket with ease.
Why They Can Disappoint:
This is not the same Abilene Christian team that it was a month ago. Jalone Friday and B.J. Maxwell were both dismissed from the team in late February. Friday was the big man in the middle who was averaging 13.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.0 blocks. Maxwell added 9.2 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. The Wildcats deserve a ton of credit for overcoming those losses though. The team fell against Southeastern Louisiana on February 23rd when both missed their first game. After that Abilene Christian reeled off six wins in a row without two of their key players. However, the lack of depth will be a concern in the NCAA Tournament.
Probable Starters:
Jaylen Franklin, Senior, Guard, 10.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 4.9 apg
Damien Daniels, Freshman, Guard, 3.5 ppg, 1.8 apg
Payten Ricks, Junior, Guard, 11.7 ppg, 2.0 apg
Jaren Lewis, Senior, Forward, 13.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 2.7 apg
Hayden Farquhar, Senior, Forward, 6.5 ppg, 2.6 rpg
Key Role Players:
Joe Pleasant, Freshman, Forward, 5.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg
Trey Lenox, Junior, Guard, 2.3 ppg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 74.4 (123rd in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 63.2 (17, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.1 (50, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.1 (134, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.6 (194, 4)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 38.7 (18, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.7 (135, 6)
Rebound Margin: 1.7 (129, 6)
Assists Per Game: 15.6 (34, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.0 (88, 1)
Recent Postseason Appearances:
2018CITFirst Round loss to Drake
*all team stats through 3/10