March is upon us, and the NCAA Tournament is just a few weeks away. Madness and brackets are in the near future, and people will be searing for trendy upset picks. If you need a small school with the ability to make some noise in the Big Dance, shift your attention to the Winthrop Eagles. Pat Kelsey‘s team is 22-1 after capturing the Big South Tournament Title on Sunday.
Winthrop Eagles Primed to Make Noise in NCAA Tournament
This will be their first trip to the tournament since 2017. The Big South Champions will be a tough out for whomever they draw. They are currently being projected as a 12- or 13-seed. Any fan of the Big Dance knows how often a 12- or 13-seed takes down a bigger school in the first round. It has been a while, but the Winthrop Eagles are no strangers to pulling off an upset in March. They defeated Notre Dame in 2007 behind 20 points and 11 rebounds from former Big South Player of the Year Torrell Martin.
Do It All
This season, Winthrop again will head to the NCAA Tournament led by the conference’s best player in Chandler Vaudrin. The 6’7″ forward is a triple-double threat every night he steps on the court. The sophomore has three of them this season, and four for his career. His court vision stands out when you watch him play. Vaudrin always seems to know where his teammates are and when to get them the ball. He leads this balanced team in points, rebounds, and assists. His ability to create for himself and his teammates is why this team is averaging almost 80 points a game. He will be a match-up problem for whomever Winthrop draws in the first round.
Spreading it Around
Coach Kelsey’s team gets points from all over the floor. They have the playmaking skills of Vaudrin to rely on, as well as a good inside-out mix of shooting and post presence. D.J. Burns Jr had 22 points in the championship game. The big man has 11 games in double figures this year and gives the Winthrop Eagles a reliable scoring option in the paint. Adonis Arms provides punch off the bench, as he is second on the team in scoring. Charles Falden, Josh Corbin, and Vaudrin all shoot above 37% from three, so this team can get hot from beyond the arc. The Eagles have 11 different players who have scored in double figures this season. They can get points from a lot of places on their roster.
March Madness is the best time of the year for college basketball fans. The Winthrop Eagles have punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament, now they just wait for Selection Sunday to see who they will face. This team will offer a lot of homework for whichever opponent sees them line up on the bracket. The Eagles have the combination of size, shooting, and defense to still be standing after the first weekend of the tournament. With Vaudrin leading the way, Winthrop should be a trendy upset pick when the brackets are being filled out next Monday.
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