2020 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Team Preview: Winthrop Eagles
March 9, 2020
24-10 (Finished 1st in Big South) Sagarin Rating: 133 Head coach: Pat Kelsey (8th Season) Rock Hill, South Carolina Enrollment: 5,014 Undergraduates
HOW THEY QUALIFIED: Entering the Big South conference as the 2 seed behind Radford, the Highlanders’ stunning loss to Hampton in the semis meant the Eagles hosted the Pirates in the Big South Championship game, handling Hampton 76-68 to capture its 12th Men’s Basketball title.
BEST SAGARIN WIN: at St. Mary’s (CA) 61-59 (40 in Sagarin)
WORST SAGARIN LOSS: vs. Tennessee Tech 58-61 (328 in Sagarin)
SEASON RECAP: Though the Eagles had a slight hiccup with a bad loss to Tennessee Tech, Winthrop had a 14 game winning streak in the middle of the year, including 12 straight Big South victories. Though they dropped three conference games late, when Hampton gave the Eagles an opening by upsetting Radford, they took it.
STAR TO WATCH:G Hunter Hale is the superstar around which the Eagles are based (13.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.8 apg). If he gets hot from outside, watch out – against Duke earlier in the season, he lead the way for the Eagles with 11 points.
UNSUNG HERO: Winthrop gets by with a stifling defense, and G Chandler Vaudrin (9.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg) is one of the Eagles’ biggest defensive hawks who leads the team in steals.