The Aggies are one of California’s hottest teams. They usually get overshadowed by Saint Mary’s, California and UCLA, but they’ve won nine out of their last ten games. Overall, UC Davis finished 22-12 on the season and 11-5 in the Big West. Regular season losses to Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine were avenged with the Aggies’ ultimate tournament success.
Their senior star, Brynton Lemar, has been crucial to this recent success. He’s one of the most efficient players in college basketball, averaging 16.0 points per game, while turning the ball over just 1.7 times per game. Even a star like Kansas’ Frank Mason turns the ball over more than that.
And then there’s Chima Moneke. The Australian forward has 13 double-doubles this season. 13! There’s also no doubt that he brings a fire to the team. Together, the Lemar-Moneke combination was enough for the Aggies to take the Big West title.
How the Aggies can win
Lemar and Moneke are two high-caliber players that have the ability to lead the Aggies to a First Four win. Lemar is the team leader in points and is also extremely efficient, turning the ball over 1.7 times per game and shooting 38.3 percent from three. Moneke can rule the paint and dominate other teams, as he averaged 9.4 rebounds per game.
The wildcards for the Aggies might be Siler Schneider and Lawrence White. Schneider was named Big West Sixth Man of the Year and is a promising guard and playmaker. The Aggies don’t have a true point guard, but Schneider has had several five assist games. When White is hitting shots, the team can be especially tough. Less than a week ago against Cal Poly he was pivotal with three three pointers.
How the Aggies could lose
UC Davis isn’t a deep team. Outside of Moneke and Lemar, they don’t have solid role players on a day-to-day basis. So, success in March will certainly have to come at the hands of these two. We’ll see if they can step up to the plate.
The Aggies haven’t faced extremely tough competition this year. Their best RPI win is against UC Irvine (#132). They’ve also suffered losses to Tennessee State, Air Force, Drake and Weber State, which won’t build confidence coming into the NCAA Tournament.
Also, UC Davis doesn’t have a true point guard. Lemar loves to shoot but is not a drive-and-dish creator. Senior guard Darius Graham leads the team with 3.2 assists per game.
Overall, UC Davis has two weapons the college hoops world doesn’t yet know about, but will the team provide enough support to give these stars the attention they deserve?