March Madness 2012: The Lamar Cardinals are Dancing in the NCAA Tournament

We’ll be doing NCAA Tournament profiles for all automatic bid conference winners leading up to Selection Sunday, for links to others, see bottom of this post.

Conference: Southland Conference (23-11)

Location: Beaumont, Texas

Famous Alums: Janis Joplin attended, but did not graduate from Lamar. Famous coaches Bum Phillips and Billy Tubbs both went to Lamar.

They’re Back! Lamar is making their sixth appearance, but only the second since 1983 (that was in 2000). The greatest success came in 1980, when Billy Tubbs coached them to the Sweet 16.

Resume: I suppose we could go with Rice or Charlotte. They lost the only game against conference regular season winner UT-Arlington, but avoided them in the tournament. Lamar lost to Kentucky, Louisville and Ohio State on the road by 20 or more.

Notable Player(s): Well, Pat Knight is proud of his senior leaders–and Lamar has the most experience in the tournament, with 5 starters: Mike James, Anthony Miles, Devon Lamb, Charlie Harper and Brandon Davis.

Team Style/Strengths: Despite Knight’s complaint about effort, the problem with Lamar is that they are not a great shooting team (33% from there, 45.6% from 2 point range). They will be severely undersized in the tournament, but hold their own on the boards against their conference, though that will be tested.

All-Important Rankings: 106 (RPI), 102 (Pomeroy)

Projected Outlook/Seed: Lamar and UNC-Asheville are right on the cut line for a 15 seed from a 16 seed. They could draw the final #1 seed in the first round, or get a bump up to play a #2.

[photo via US Presswire]

NCAA Tournament Automatic Berths:

Murray State
Loyola (Maryland)
St. Mary’s
Western Kentucky

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