2007 Bradley Braves Basketball Preview
In 2007, the Bradley Braves (23- 13 overall, 10- 8 Missouri Valley) missed the NCAA despite the fact that they earned 22 wins just as they had the year before. That 2006 season, they did go to the Big Dance and made for some interesting college basketball odds. This year coach Jim Les (84- 73 in five years with Bradley and overall) has a decent chance of going to the NCAA tournament and not the NIT. But Les will have to do some major work on this team in order to make them competitive.
Bradley had a sound offense as last season the Braves were second in scoring (74.7 PPG) and assists (15.5 APG). The team’s ball handling was expert. They had the fewest turnovers in the league with only 14.4 TPG. However, under the rim the club was minus-6.8, placing them 10th, while their scoring defense allowed 70.4 PPG, ranking them ninth. Will the Braves be one of the March Madness picks?
Senior forward Matt Salley (7.1 PPG, 4.8 RPG) is the team’s only returning starter upfront. Salley offers fine defense and solid offense. Junior college transfer Rashad Austin is tough under the basket and will be asked to contribute immediately. The rest of the frontcourt is a question mark with various freshmen, including F/C Will Egolf and center Anthony Thompson, possibly contributing points and snatching rebbies. Les will be looking for an up tick in rebounds from this crew.
The guard positions are quite deep. Senior Daniel Ruffin (13.6 PPG, 5.4 APG) is a precise passer, fine three-point shooter and solid playmaker. Jeremy Crouch (13.8 PPG, 2.3 APG) hit 50% from downtown last season. Sophomore Andrew Warren (4.1 PPG, 1.6 RPG) brings a season of experience and a 47.5 FG% from beyond the three-point line. Junior college transfer Tyrone Cole-Scott is another player who can make threes.
Coach Les has seven new guys to add to the club. That will be no easy task. Additionally, the Braves’ regular season schedule includes eight NCAA tournament teams. The young and inexperienced frontcourt will have to come through quickly. This will be no easy ride for the Bradley Braves. Still, with its dynamic three-point game, the team has a shot at the Big Dance and the March Madness odds.