Toledo Men's Basketball 2014 NIT Tournament Capsule

Toledo Rockets
Mid-American (27-6, 14-4)


Toledo did not play the toughest non-conference schedule, yet they did start out 12-0 and beat the likes of Boston College, Stony Brook and Robert Morris. The Rockets then ran into Kansas and suffered their first loss of the year. They followed it up with a loss at Western Michigan in the MAC opener and then only lost four more games the entire season.

Big Wins: 1/15 Buffalo (67-65), 2/12 Ohio (82-76), 3/1 Western Michigan (96-85)
Bad Losses: 2/15 at Eastern Michigan (44-65), 2/26 at Northern Illinois (66-74), 3/15 vs Western Michigan (77-98)
Coach: Tod Kowalczyk (4 seasons at Toledo)

Why They Can Surprise:
The Rockets have an extremely potent offense led by the backcourt trio of Julius Brown, Rian Pearson and Justin Drummond. Brown, a junior point guard, is one of the best assist men in the country, dishing out 6.1 per contest. But unlike some of the other top passers in the country, Brown also leads his team in scoring. He does an amazing job using his quickness to attack the basket and is a dangerous outside shooter. Like Brown, Pearson can break down any defense. Drummond, a transfer from Loyola (MD), wasted little time fitting in with his new backcourt mates. He is not the most consistent outside shooter, but Drummond spends a lot of time finishing around the basket and earning trips to the charity stripe.

Why They Can Disappoint:
While Toledo worries about their offense, the defense can disappear. The Rockets will usually get more possessions than their opponent thanks to strong rebounding from J.D. Weatherspoon and Nathan Boothe and the limited turnovers by the backcourt. Brown, Pearson and Drummond will go after steals and that does lead to easy buckets for the Rockets, yet it also leads to easy buckets for the opposition. Allowing teams to shoot 46.2 percent from the floor is not going to be good enough to win a postseason contest.

Probable Starters:
Julius Brown, Junior, Guard, 14.8 ppg, 6.1 apg
Rian Pearson, Senior, Guard, 14.7 ppg, 1.8 apg
Justin Drummond, Junior, Guard, 14.2 ppg, 2.7 apg, 5.1 rpg
J.D. Weatherspoon, Junior, Forward, 10.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg
Nathan Boothe, Sophomore, Center, 9.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.2 bpg

Key Roleplayers:
Jordan Lauf, Freshman, Guard, 3.9 ppg
Matt Smith, Senior, Forward, 3.9 ppg, 1.8 rpg
Jonathan Williams, Freshman, Guard, 6.9 ppg, 1.0 apg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 80.6 (16th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 73.6 (267, 10)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.1 (41, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 46.2 (292, 10)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.7 (221, 8)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.4 (126, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 73.2 (54, 2)
Rebound Margin: 3.2 (78, 3)
Assists Per Game: 15.3 (34, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.6 (42, 2)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
2012    CIT    First Round win over McNeese State
2012    CIT    Second Round loss to Robert Morris
2007    NIT    First Round loss to Florida State
2004    NIT    First round loss to Marquette
2001    NIT    First round win over South Alabama
2001    NIT    Second round loss to Alabama
1999    NIT    First round loss to Xavier
1981    NIT    First round win over American U
1981    NIT    Second round loss to Michigan

*all team stats through 3/9


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules