Delaware Basketball a Team to be Feared in NCAA Tournament

By Brian Skinnell
Blue Hens Basketball
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Are you looking for this year’s VCU, Norfolk State or Wichita State? Then look no further than CAA champion Delaware Fighting Blue Hens.

The Blue Hens finished the regular season and conference tournament with a 25-9 record. On Monday night in the conference championship, they needed some late-game drama from Carl Baptiste to defeat William and Mary. Delaware’s berth in the NCAA tournament is their first since 1999.

While it’s easy to immediately discredit the Blue Hens because they’re from a mid-major conference, don’t disrespect the work they have done. Prior to the conference schedule, they nearly upset the likes of Villanova, Notre Dame and then No. 3 ranked Ohio State. When they entered conference play, they made it through relatively unscathed, losing just two games.

Delaware is led by a trio of guards that account for over half of the team’s points. Devon Saddler (19.7 PPG), Davon Usher (19.4 PPG) and Jarvis Threatt (18.4 PPG) average a combined 57.2 points per game. As a team, the Blue Hens average 79.2 points per game. The three all average over 36 minutes per game, so opposing teams can expect to see a lot them.

All three do just about everything well. They rebound (combined 16.2 per game) and share the basketball (combined 11 assists per game). Heading the attack is Threatt who averages 18.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 2.5 steals per game. To put his steals statistic in perspective, Ohio State’s Aaron Craft, the Big Ten‘s all-time steals leader, averaged just 2.4 steals per game this season.

Looking beyond the big three, the supporting cast lead by Baptiste (11.3 PPG, 8.0 RPG) and Kyle Anderson (11 PPG). They all get a lot of playing time together as both players average 34 minutes per game. Also, the fact that the starting five all average at least 11 points per game is very encouraging for the team’s tournament chances.

The Blue Hens are not a team to be taken lightly this March. They have been tested and they have performed quite well. While they may not have won against their toughest non-conference teams, their largest loss was by 12 against the Buckeyes. The final score may not have been close, but it doesn’t show just how well they played. It took a late push by Ohio State to secure the win.

Whoever has to face Delaware in the NCAA tournament better be ready. The Blue Hens have a great starting five led by the trio of Threatt, Saddler and Usher. Supporting them, Baptiste and Anderson can make you pay in the paint. This team is also experienced. Their starting five consists of three seniors and two juniors.

If you’re looking for a mid-major school to pull off some upsets and make a deep run the tournament, then look no further than the Delaware Blue Hens. This is a team to be feared, so don’t be surprised when they’re the ones causing the madness this March.

Brian Skinnell is a freelance sports writer for Follow him on Twitter and add him to your network on Google.

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