Utah Valley Men's Basketball 2014 NIT Tournament Capsule

Utah Valley Wolverines
WAC (20-11, 13-3)


Utah Valley gained headlines for their little brawl with New Mexico State, but they deserved recognition throughout the entire WAC campaign. Winning the outright conference regular season title is huge for a program that just entered the WAC this year from the Division I limbo conference that was the Great West. When Dick Hunsaker began his career with the Wolverines, they were a junior college. He has taken them a long, long way and it all came together in 2014.

Big Wins: 12/11 Weber State (62-59), 1/11 Grand Canyon (65-58), 2/27 New Mexico State (66-61)
Bad Losses: 12/2 at South Dakota (67-71), 2/13 Seattle (57-71), 2/22 New Mexico State (66-61)
Coach: Dick Hunsaker (12 seasons at Utah Valley)

Why They Can Surprise:
The story is especially sweet for Coach Hunsaker since his son is the senior star of this squad. Holton Hunsaker leads the team with 14.0 points and 4.2 assists per game. His outside shot has not been all that consistent during his senior season, but he is always a threat to put up huge numbers in the scoring column. Fellow senior Ben Aird provides in the inside punch. The 6-9 center is a beast on the glass and a consistent scoring threat.

Why They Can Disappoint:
Hunsaker and Aird alone would have allowed the Wolverines to compete for a WAC title, but the emergence of freshman Zach Nelson has added a lot to this team. Nelson averages 10.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists. He is even a pretty good defender. But that raises the question of whether or not Utah Valley can get enough from somebody besides Hunsaker and Aird. Mitch Bruneel, Hayes Garrity and sharpshooter Keawe Enos are capable of having quality outings and Utah Valley will need all of them to step up under the bright lights of the postseason if they have a shot at pulling off an upset.

Probable Starters:
Holton Hunsaker, Senior, Guard, 14.0 ppg, 4.2 apg
Keawe Enos, Senior, Guard, 7.8 ppg, 1.9 apg
Zach Nelson, Freshman, Forward, 10.6 ppg, 3.4 apg, 6.3 rpg, 1.0 bpg
Mitch Bruneel, Junior, Forward, 10.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg
Ben Aird, Senior, Center, 11.6 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 1.2 bpg

Key Roleplayers:
Brenden Evans, Junior, Forward, 2.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg
Hayes Garrity, Sophomore, Guard, 8.9 ppg, 1.6 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 67.1 (267th in nation, 7th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 64.8 (50, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.8 (255, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.8 (130, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.5 (136, 4)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.3 (169, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 75.7 (12, 1)
Rebound Margin: 0.8 (169, 4)
Assists Per Game: 13.9 (87, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.2 (67, 1)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
2012    CIT    First Round loss to Weber State

*all team stats through 3/9


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules