McKillop and Wildcats are no strangers to winner-take-all tournament.
The Davidson Wildcats are no strangers to heading into a conference tournament with a winner-take-all mentality. Newcomers to the Atlantic Ten in just 2014-15, many Davidson players, and all of their coaches, still remember the days of the Southern Conference, where at-large bids did not exist. Having to head into the conference tournament needing to win it to clinch a tournament berth – even in the days of Steph Curry – is something that Davidson is used to, and hope to replicate in Brooklyn this week.
Davidson’s head coach Bob McKillop is quite used to this “win or go home” situation, and much like everything in life, he has a mantra and saying to go along with it. Often times when discussing individual games, or even the season as a whole, McKillop will say that his team has to “hit singles and not try for home runs”. This is exactly what Davidson has to do – take this tournament one game at a time, but most importantly not look for the knockout punch or “home run” in those games. Often caught up with shooting the three pointer too often too early, Davidson needs to work from the inside-out, through Aldridge and Barham, to set up the three. If they can do that, they can shoot and hang with any team in the tournament. But first, the Wildcats have to hit singles.
Davidson Wildcats News & Notes:
- Davidson has been one of the best home court teams in the nation over the last two seasons. They have only lost two games: on a buzzer beater to St. Bonaventure in 2015, and this year’s loss to VCU. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, the conference tournament does not take place in Belk Arena.
- Speaking of playing away from home, Davidson is only 3-10 away from the friendly confines of Belk this season.
- Jack Gibbs is averaging 24.8 points per game, which is good for third in the entire nation behind Howard’s James Daniel and Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield.
- Last season Davidson reached the NCAA Tournament via an at-large bid after winning the Atlantic 10 regular season title. They got bounced in the first round against Iowa. Davidson did not have to win the conference tournament to secure a bid, and lost in the semi-finals after a Tyler Kalinoski buzzer-beating floater knocked off La Salle in the round of 8.
- Sophomore forward Nathan Ekwu has really come on for the Wildcats as a reliable 5-man in the last half of conference play this year. Over his last 9 games, Ekwu has hit double figures four times, highlighted by an 18 point outburst against Saint Joseph’s. He’s averaging over 9 points and 6 rebounds during this stretch, and will be a major key for Davidson in Brooklyn.