The Winthrop Eagles sit at 23-1 with the eighth highest scoring margin in the country at +12.8 per game. Winthrop is surely a dangerous mid-major team that could make some noise in the NCAA Tournament. NCAA’s NET ranks them at 54th in the country even with a lackluster schedule. The Eagles have consistently dominated due to great team-rebounding and distributed scoring. Will Winthrop pull off a major upset in the 2020-21 NCAA Tournament?
The Eagles’ offense is like a well-oiled machine scoring 79.5 points per game. Game after game, the Winthrop offense hums with four double-digit scorers in the lineup. They share the ball well by getting 15 assists per game. Also, Winthrop shoots 53% on two point attempts and 46.1% from the field.
Ranked 29th, the Eagles make 28.1 shots per contest. Alongside good shooting, Winthrop also draws a lot of fouls per game. Leading to 21.8 free throw attempts per game, which is good for 36th in the NCAA. The Eagles have one of the more efficient offenses in the country led by good ball movement, efficient shooting and drawing fouls.
Distributed scoring is perhaps Winthrop’s most dangerous offensive characteristic. Defenses cannot focus on one scorer as five Eagle scorers seem to rotate the lead scoring role. These five scorers include Chandler Vaudrin, Adonis Arms, Charles Falden, D.J. Burns Jr. and Josh Corbin. All five playmakers have scored 15 or more points in a game this season.
The lead scorer is the stat-sheet-stuffer Vaudrin. Posting anything close to a triple-double is hard to come by in college basketball. However, Vaudrin averages 12.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 6.9 assists per contest. Averaging these totals is extremely impressive in the college game.
Winthrop virtually ranks top 15 in every single rebounding category. Their total rebounding ranks 12th in the country with 40.2 rebounds per game. Also, they corral 26.5 defensive rebounds per game and rank third with a defensive rebounding percentage of 81.3%.
The Eagles get numerous second chance points fueled by 11.2 offensive rebounds per game. Ranked 13th, Winthrop has an offensive rebound percentage of 34.1%. Offensive rebounding complements Winthrop’s fluid offense, this could be a terrifying combination for any opponent.
Similar to their distributed scoring, the Eagles rebound as a team. The entire team crashes the glass as there are seven players averaging three or more rebounds per game. Their lead rebounder is Vaudrin with 7.2 rebounds per contest. Winthrop clearly takes on a team-effort identity. They are balanced and everyone contributes everywhere on the floor.
Winthrop was a No.13 seed for awhile, but with their Big South title win they are now viewed as a No.12 seed. Five seeds often go down to twelve seeds, and have become a very popular upset pick in brackets. Since 2014, there has been nine twelve seed wins. In 2019, three twelve seeds won their Round of 64 matchup.
The Eagles clearly have the fire power to put up big points in any game. In addition, they usually get more shot attempts than opponents due to outstanding team-rebounding. Twelve seed upsets are all about the matchup. For example, does Winthrop matchup with a weak rebounding team? If so, this could spell trouble for the Eagles’ Round of 64 foe. If they clear the first round, Winthrop would have a fair shot at winning a Round of 32 game and advancing to a Sweet 16. Some upsets are near impossible to predict, but a solid Winthrop squad is a reasonable upset pick.
All stats courtesy of ESPN, Kenpom, NCAA and Team Rankings.