Time to dance: Trojans set for second ever NCAA Tournament game Friday afternoon against Oregon State
Published 3:00 am Friday, March 18, 2016
It may be a matchup of the second seed vs. the 15th seed, but that won’t deter the Troy Trojans on Friday.
“We definitely feel like we can win this game,” said Trojans head coach Chanda Rigby.
The Trojans have won eight straight games, including defeating Arkansas State in the Sun Belt Tournament Championship.
“This is a phenomenal team,” Rigby said. “Being a 15 seed, we knew we were going to play a good team, but we feel like there is a niche there and if we can get in it we can be successful.”
The Beavers enter the game with a 28-4 record and only one loss at home. Their defense has held teams to just 51 points per game, which is good enough for seventh best in the country, and 32 percent shooting, which is the lowest in the nation.
“We don’t play teams like this in the Sun Belt Conference,” Rigby said. “We are taking a crash course in this style of basketball. We want to learn everything we can from now to tip off time. We feel like if we know it and understand it, and we have something that goes against it, we can be successful.”
The Trojans will focus on a fast break that forces turnovers and ill-advised shots by their opponents. Rigby said that could bring success for the Trojans.
“I don’t think they want to pressured,” Rigby said. “I don’t think that’s their game. It’s not like this team can’t fast break. They are very smart and forceful. Of all the film that I have watched, I haven’t seen them have to do it for forty minutes.”
Beaver head coach Scott Rueck respects Troy’s style of play and has enjoyed watching and studying the game film.
“I have loved watching and getting to know them,” Rueck said. “I love their style of play and the energy that they play with. They are playing extremely confident. They can score in a variety of ways and they can mix up defenses. I have been impressed with what I have seen.”
This is the Trojans’ second trip to the NCAA tournament. In 1997, they lost to Virginia in the first round. It’s the Beavers’ ninth appearance and third in a row. The winner of Friday’s game advances to Sunday and will play the winner of Oklahoma and St. Bonaventure.