Savannah State Men's Basketball 2012 NIT Capsule

Savannah State Tigers
MEAC (21-11, 14-2)

Nobody expected much out of Savannah State this year. After all, this was their first full year as a member of the MEAC. But the Tigers proved that not only could they hang with the best teams in the conference, but they could beat them. The end result was an amazing 14-2 conference record and Savannah State’s first MEAC title, in their first year eligible to win the conference crown.  

Big Wins: 11/16 Jacksonville (73-70), 2/11 at North Carolina Central (67-57), 2/2 Bethune-Cookman (60-47)
Bad Losses: 11/14 at North Florida (57-62), 11/25 at Chattanooga (63-65), 1/16 at Bethune-Cookman (62-68)
Coach: Horace Broadnax (7 seasons at Savannah State)

Why They Can Surprise:
The Tigers are led by superstar point guard Preston Blackman. The 6-0 junior is a superb playmaker and is the catalyst of the Savannah State offense. Blackman will not score a lot, but he is a quality outside shooter and the defense has to guard him out on the perimeter. Deric Rudolph is the more dangerous shooter on the team. Rudolph, a junior college transfer, will knock down about three long balls per game. That is where Rudoloh is the most dangerous, but he is even better when he mixes up his game a little bit and attacks the basket on occasion. Cedric Smith is the big wing who helps out the frontcourt with his ability to hit the glass. With Rashad Hassan, Arnold Louis, Joshua Montgomery and Jyles Smith manning the frontcourt, this is a strong rebounding team. Hassan is the team’s leading scorer who can knock down the mid-range jumper with consistency. Louis usually comes in off of the bench, but he is a great rebounder and a pretty good scorer too. Arnold may not start, but he will finish most games. Jyles Smith will make his biggest impact on the defensive end. The 6-8 sophomore is a lanky athlete who has developed into one of the best shot blockers in the conference.

Why They Can Disappoint:
Savannah State has come out of nowhere to claim the MEAC title, but there is a big difference between February and March for small conference teams like Savannah State. This is a group that has the athleticism to hang with some of the more talented squads they will see in March, but Coach Horace Broadnax simply does not have the talented depth to keep up. The good news is the Tigers should continue to be a player in the MEAC and they do play pretty good defense. With the defense leading the way, Savannah State might be able to keep a game close for a while and make the opposition worry a little bit.

Probable Starters:
Preston Blackman, Junior Guard, 8.8 ppg, 5.0 apg
Deric Rudolph, Junior, Guard, 11.0 ppg, 1.6 apg
Cedric Smith, Junior, Guard, 5.0 ppg, 1.5 apg, 4.6 rpg
Rashah Hassan, Junior, Forward, 12.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg
Jyles Smith, Sophomore, Forward, 4.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg

Key Roleplayers:
Arnold Louis, Junior, Forward, 9.6 ppg, 7.9 rpg
Joshua Montgomery, Junior, Forward, 5.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg
Keirre Richards, Sophomore, Guard, 1.8 ppg
Stephen Wilson, Sophomore, Guard, 2.3 ppg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 64.3 (254th in nation, 11th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 58.9 (15, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.5 (218, 7)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.7 (152, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.9 (188, 5)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.5 (200, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 59.0 (334, 13)
Rebound Margin: 4.5 (46, 1)
Assists Per Game: 13.0 (166, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.7 (257, 5)

Last Five Postseason Appearances:

*all team stats through 3/4

See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules