Who are they?
Shaw University (located in Raleigh, North Carolina) is currently the No. 9 team in the National Association of Basketball Coaches Division II poll. This is the highest ranking in the history of the men’s basketball program at Shaw. Last week SU raised its record to 21-2 and continued its 17-game win streak. Shaw is 13-0 in the CIAA and 7-0 in the Southern Division. With its win over Johnson C. Smith on Feb. 13, the Bears clinched the division title.
Stars to watch
Shaw averages 79 points per contest and are led by a senior duo of Malik Alvin and Tony Smith. Alvin averages close to 21 ppg, which is good enough for 16th nationally. As a team, Shaw is currently sixth in Division II in field goal percentage, hitting 52.5 percent of their shots. Dishing the ball out to Alvin is point guard Smith. Smith is 12th in the nation in assists with six per game. He is also a force on the defensive end, bringing down a team-high 142 rebounds.
Last time against the Hilltoppers
The last time these two teams met was a year ago in an Atlantic Region semifinal with West Liberty defeating Shaw, 98-93. Both teams started the game even as WLU held a one-point lead at the half, 48-47. But the Hilltoppers were able to pull away, little by little, as the Bears never had a second half lead.
Should WLU keep an eye out for them?
Absolutely. Shaw is not the No. 9 team in the nation for nothing. This team has the capability to keep up with the Hilltopper on offense. It will be WLU’s defense that win’s this matchup if the two should face off in the tournament.