Let’s Spend the Night Together

With all of the teeth-gnashing, hand-wringing, head-scratching, and, honestly, hyperbole, today is actually the day everybody has been waiting for since October 15 in the CAA. A full slate of Thursday games rife with meaning begins tonight.

The nonconference season, while interesting, does not hold a candle. Sure ODU piddled away opportunity. So did UNCW. But in all honesty, it really doesn’t matter. At large bids, Andy Katz mentions, and the winning percentage of your opponents’ opponents are largely uncontrollable for teams. Playing conference rivals, and winning those games, are very controllable. So is playing your best in late February, which is every coach’s goal.

Tonight is when the games really begin. When the banter increases. When the minor ankle sprain matters most. So let the Iowas and NC States and Californias of the world sweat over a nonconference loss to DePaul, and then create a somewhat forced and synthetic regular season. Sure, there is emotion and gravity to Big 12, Big Ten, and ACC games. But it’s nothing like the CAA, and other mid major conferences.

Because Every. Game. Matters.

***

I’m not saying this will occur every night. In fact, it won’t. But I’m fired up for the start of the conference season, so I’ll take a pop at a couple of predictions. All in fun, mind you, all in fun.

  • VCU at George Mason: This is “my game” tonight, and I’ll try again to bring the action live. This comes down to VCUs ability to defend Tony Skinn’s ability to peel into to the paint and drop a bouncer to the Human Second Helping for a layup, or a kick out to Lamar Butler for a three. On the other side, GMU will have to contain VCU at the 10-minute mark of each half. VCU is far deeper than GMU and legs start to get weary. Barnburner tonight. Mason has just a little too much. GMU 73, VCU 68.
  • James Madison at Hofstra: Loren Stokes will play. Cavell Johnson will not. Hofstra will create tempo in this one, and the Pride has too many weapons. I know Madison historically plays very well up there, but this time they don’t. Hofstra 81, JMU 68.
  • Georgia State at Northeastern: Shawn James is just too much inside for the Panthers’ trio of big men. Plus, I’m not sure who will guard JJ Barea. Herman Favors is too small. Boyd Copeland needs to produce, so concentrating on defending Barea is silly. Northeastern wins this fairly handily, 88-70.
  • Drexel at William & Mary: This is one of those classic games where you really don’t think William & Mary stands a chance, but the weaker team ends up winning a surprising game that should not be a surprise because they are at home. Make sense? It matters not, because Bruiser Flint will find a way to stop the Tribe’s soon-to-be rookie of the year, Calvin Baker. After that, the task is not great. Drexel grinds out a 64-56 victory on the road.
  • UNC Wilmington at Delaware: Okay, now you need to figure out what I wrote about in the Drexel/W&M write up because it applies. The Dub is coming off of a tough loss and not playing its best basketball. It heads onto the road to play a team that, in its mind, it should whale on. It won’t. I won’t predict the upset, because Brad Brownell has a way of always having his team play hard. That is the difference in this closer-than-it-should-be game. UNCW 59, Delaware 57. (And don’t be shocked to see the score reversed.
  • Old Dominion at Towson: Everybody is talking up Gary Neal and the “new” Towson. Everybody is also on the “ODU is not that good bandwagon. And that’s why ODU wins this one in a runaway, 84-63.

***

Hopefully I’ll see you tonight.

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~ by mglitos on January 5, 2006.

One Response to “Let’s Spend the Night Together”

  1. Huge game for UNCW…more for confidence than anything else.

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