East Tennessee State (10-21) vs. Stetson (14-15)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, March 7, 2:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Hawkins Arena (3,200) -- Macon, Georgia. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: ETSU 5-8, Stetson 8-6. Away Record: ETSU 5-11, Stetson 6-9. Neutral Record: ETSU 0-2, Stetson 0-0. Conference Record: ETSU 8-10, Stetson 11-7. Series Record: East Tennessee leads, 11-8.
GAME NOTES: The 2013 Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament quarterfinals continue on Thursday afternoon, as the third-seed Stetson Hatters take on the sixth- seeded East Tennessee State Buccaneers at Hawkins Arena in Macon, Georgia.
ETSU has proven in recent years to be one of the A-Sun's best teams, even winning the tournament and representing the conference in the NCAA Tournament in both 2009 and 2010, but it has been a down year as it finished the regular season just 10-21 overall and 8-10 in league play. The Bucs closed out the regular season with losses in three of their last four bouts.
On the other hand, Stetson may not have impressed overall (14-15), although its 11-7 mark was good enough to finish in third place in the Atlantic Sun. The Hatters had been winners of four straight games before bringing the curtain down on the regular season with a home loss to champion Mercer (77-65).
These two squads split the season series, with each winning on the road. ETSU leads the all-time series, 11-8.
The Bucs hosted their senior night in the regular-season finale last Friday, but put together an awful performance in a 32-point loss the USC Upstate, as they shot a meager 35.2 percent from the floor. Hunter Harris netted 13 points, while Jarvis Jones added 12 points, but also committed five turnovers. On the season, ETSU has failed to impressed at both the offensive (62.8 ppg) or the defensive (71.5 ppg) ends of the court, ranking in the league's lower- half in both areas. Jones is the team's top performer with 16.2 ppg, although his production is due mostly to volume rather than accuracy, as his percentages from the field (.400) and the foul line (.303) have been underwhelming to say the least. Lester Wilson is the club's only other double- digit scorer with 13.1 ppg, and he is equally effective in the paint (5.3 ppg) as he is out on the perimeter (72 3-pointers).
Stetson also closed its season at home in disappointing fashion, shooting less than 39 percent from the field while committing 17 turnovers in the 12-point setback to Mercer last Saturday. Joel Naburgs was not very impressive from the floor (3-of-10), but he still finished with 14 points, while Adam Pegg and Aaron Graham tallied 12 points apiece. The Hatters are usually much more effective shooting the ball, as they net 46 percent of their field goal tries for 70.9 ppg, but they find themselves in shootouts quite often considering their underachieving defense (72.4 ppg). They benefit from having both the sixth- and seventh-best scorers in the A-Sun on their side, as Pegg (15.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and Chris Perez (15.3 ppg) are both in the midst of terrific seasons. Graham (11.7 ppg) and Naburgs (10.0 ppg) are also consistent entities on which Stetson can rely.
While neither team plays very good defense, Stetson has a clear advantage in terms of playmakers on the offensive side, which gives the Hatters the advantage to march in to the semifinals.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Stetson 77, East Tennessee State 70
03/07 10:33:17 ET