Oral Roberts Men's Basketball 2012 NIT Capsule

Oral Roberts Golden Eagles
Summit League (27-6, 17-1)

Oral Roberts has been a mainstay atop the Summit League standings as of late. Surprisingly, this is their first regular season title since 2008…although they have never slid too far down the standings in recent years. But this team might be different. The Summit League has had some great teams lately and ORU is the next in line. That may not lead to a ton of success in March, but it could lead to an upset.

Big Wins: 11/30 Missouri State (68-63), 12/18 at Xavier (64-42), 1/7 South Dakota State (97-75)
Bad Losses: 11/15 vs Texas-San Antonio (77-78), 12/8 at Oklahoma (59-73), 3/5 vs Western Illinois (53-54)
Coach: Scott Sutton (13 seasons at Oral Roberts)

Why They Can Surprise:
The Golden Eagles do not lack scoring options. Dominique Morrison averages about 20 points per game and the 6-6 forward can score in a variety of ways. He is a very consistent shooter from long range and can use his size and athleticism to finish above the rim. Most opposing defenders are either too small or too slow to have any luck stopping Morrison. Warren Niles is the other shooter on the team. And shooting is pretty much what Niles does, but he will help out on the glass and is a decent passer as well. Point guard Roderick Pearson is a very experienced player who can score and play solid defense. However, on a roster loaded with experienced scoring options, Pearson usually leaves most of the scoring to everybody else. Forwards Michael Craion and Steven Roundtree average double figures. Neither are threats to step outside, but both are proven interior scorers.

Why They Can Disappoint:
As great of a shooting team as Oral Roberts has been this year, they usually allow the opposition to shoot just as well. ORU is one of the worst teams in the nation when it comes to field-goal percentage defense. Lack of depth and the absence of a shot blocking threat in the paint all lead to good looks for the opposition. The Golden Eagles actually have very good size all across the board. Niles and Morrison are 6-5 and 6-6 wings. Craion is undersized for a power forward at 6-5, but he battle in the paint and Coach Scott Sutton could always call on the 6-8 Roundtree to have a bigger lineup. Damen Bell-Holter is the starting center and stands 6-9 and tilts the scales at 245 pounds. Bell-Holter is not a big scoring threat and he is not a great defender either. On the offensive end it is great to have Bell-Holter under the basket clearing space for all of the scorers, but Bell-Holter and the rest of the Golden Eagles need to step up their defensive effort if they have any upset hopes.

Probable Starters:
Roderick Pearson, Senior, Guard, 8.3 ppg, 3.7 apg
Warren Niles, Junior, Guard, 12.2 ppg, 2.3 apg
Dominique Morrison, Senior, Forward, 20.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg
Michael Craion, Senior, Forward, 11.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg
Damen Bell-Holter, Junior, Center, 7.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg

Key Roleplayers:
Jake Lliteras, Freshman, Guard, 2.1 ppg, 1.0 rpg
Mikey Manghum, Sophomore, Guard, 2.3 ppg, 1.3 apg
Steven Roundtree, Sophomore, Forward, 10.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.6 (48th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.1 (146, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 48.9 (58, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 46.9 (316, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.5 (229, 6)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.5 (70, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 74.7 (29, 2)
Rebound Margin: 4.0 (57, 1)
Assists Per Game: 13.8 (96, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 0.8 (139, 5)

Last Five Postseason Appearances:
Oral Roberts    2011    CIT           First Round loss to Southern Methodist
Oral Roberts    2008    NCAA        Round of 64 loss to Pittsburgh
Oral Roberts    2007    NCAA        Round of 64 loss to Washington
Oral Roberts    2006    NCAA        Round of 64 loss to Memphis
Oral Roberts    2005    NIT           First Round loss to Maryland
Oral Roberts    1997    NIT           First Round loss to Notre Dame

*all team stats through 3/4

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