Let’s keep the focus on the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils. The 18-15 Devils are on a 9 game winning streak. It’s their fourth trip to the Big Dance and they are going to be looking for their first win.
Needless to say coach James Green is more than a little excited. From the Greenwood Commonwealth (local paper in Mississippi):
"Our team has some a long way this season after a tough start. I appreciate the ride these guys have taken me on and now they get to take me on one more. I am so excited for these kids and what this means to our fans and our program."
Cox, a 6-foot-10 senior center [Larry Cox, 12.4 ppg, 8.0 rpg – Ed.], is the focal point, but there is more to the Delta Devils.
Senior forward Carl Lucas (12.7 ppg) is the top scorer and a 3-point threat. However, senior guards Michael Clark and Stanford Speech are Mississippi Valley State's main 3-point threats. Clark is shooting 36.9 percent (49 for 130) and Speech is hitting 35.6 percent (36 for 101) beyond the arc.
"They know there roles," Prairie View A&M assistant coach Talvin Hester said. "They don't go deep on their bench at all, and some of their role players overachieve. They play really hard and are going to overachieve and make up for their lack of ability with their effort.
"They're not going to pressure you at all. If they have to dribble the ball up, they're going to walk it up. They're going to run their sets. They're really disciplined. Usually, they don't beat themselves. They do what they do, and they do it well."
The Delta Devils won 15 of their last 19 games, with the four losses being by four points or less, and they won by slowing down the game. They rank 285th of 328 teams in scoring at 62.5 points per game, and are 298th in field-goal percentage (.406).
More from Dohn’s report on how the Devils are patient on the offensive end and play a disciplined, physical man to man defense (which rarely goes to zone):
"They'll get rattled a little bit, but not a whole lot. They stay under control for the most part."
Defensively, Boone said the Delta Devils rarely play zone defense.
"They play a physical (game), well, physical for our league," Boone said. "Their starting center can block some shots. They're pretty disciplined defensively. They'll jump to the ball. They get out and try to keep the five-second count on. They'll try to get on the wings as much as they can."
It looks like the Devils have one local player on their roster. From the OC Register:
As mentioned above this is the Devils’ 4th trip the Big Dance. They lost by a score of 56-93 to Georgetown in 96, 56-83 to Ohio State in 92, and 78-85 to Duke in 1986. Against Duke they were apparently leading in the first half.
So bottom line our guys cannot come out over confident and expect these guys to just roll over and surrender in a huge loss. If we (not just the team but our fans) go in with that kind of mentality, we will deserve whatever comes at us.
The old cliché of fear no one, but respect everyone couldn’t be more appropriate in this time of the year. So on that note please keep all the BS talk about who we are going to play in the second round on Bruins Nation until this game is over.
Keep the focus on our opponents who are just as deserving as anyone to partake in this tournament, and will likely give us everything they have in their effort to make history.
Our guys need to make sure that highlights of Thursday night’s game doesn’t show up on ESPN classic. Dealing with the Princeton garbage is enough.