One is the Lonliest Number

Tomorrow’s Big One(s)

Hofstra (4-2, 11-3) AT Old Dominion (6-1, 13-4)

Your mind does not immediately call up these two teams when you think of rivalries or grudge matches. There is no sexy angle like players facing each other in pick up games during the offseason. These two teams simply have no history nor share geography, and I would call this the series that progress forged. Before Hofstra became part of the CAA in 2001, the teams had played each other just once–a 92-66 ODU thumping of the Flying Dutchmen at the Norfolk Scope in the 1993-94 season.

But Hofstra has a new nickname, ODU has a new arena, and this series has quietly become one of the best in the CAA. Both games last season were won by the road team, and both games came down to a buzzer-beating shot that went astray.

Hofstra won at Old Dominion 66-63 last February, which stands as the only home loss in the last two years the Monarchs have suffered. (That would be 22-1, thank you.) ODU, meanwhile, defeated the Pride at Hofstra Arena in January by a 67-66 score. Hofstra has not lost a home game since (14-game streak, 21-2 in its last 23 home games). That’s 43-3 at home in the past two years, and two of the three losses were inflicted by the other team in this series.

(Quick trivia: the other team to win on Long Island? Drexel.)

And in my best Ron Popeil, “wait, there’s more!”

Six of the eight regular season meetings between the schools in the last four years have come down to the final seconds. ODU has missed winning or tying shots just before the buzzer three times, and Hofstra missed last year’s game-ender at home and also missed three tying three-point attempts in the closing seconds of a 71-66 defeat in Norfolk in 2003-04.

And if you order in the next 30 seconds, I’ll throw in, absolutely free, the fact that ODU has knocked Hofstra out of the CAA Tournament in each of the last two years.

Adrian Uter is giving it a shot in practice today. His high ankle sprain is beginning to feel better. With Uter back and ODU playing better and better each day, this one appears to be set up to add to the budding romance, er, rivalry.

Northeastern(5-2, 9-6) AT George Mason (6-1, 12-4)
Speaking of new teams…all we seem to hear about from Boston is JJ Barea and Shawn James, and justifiably so. But any coach will tell you every player on a team has to understand his particular role in order for the team to be successful.

It appears Bobby Kelly knows his role. This will go a long way to making Northeastern not just a contender, but a known quantity. As much as Ron Everhart believes, again justifiably, that his work is increased because everything is new, the reverse applies to coaches preparing for the Huskies. It’s all tape.

Mason used a balance attack to subdue Northeastern and grab a valuable road win at the beginning of this month, helped immensely by two missed free throws from Barea with less than a minute to go. In fact, Mason is 4-1 on the road so far and THAT is a telling statistic the closer we get to February.

It will be interesting to see how Everhart chooses to defend Mason. In the last meeting, Everhart allowed the GMU post men to catch the ball. The strategy was effective in that without open looks, Lamar Butler and company managed to hit just three of 16 three pointers. But the Human Second Helping had a big day, and Will Thomas chipped in 12 points. Pick your poison…

Mason won’t shoot that poorly from the perimeter this time around, and Will Thomas is about three times the player he was in early January. Last game finished 71-68. This one should make the high 80s.

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~ by mglitos on January 18, 2006.

2 Responses to “One is the Lonliest Number”

  1. One extremely nervous UNCW fan here! Towson is not a pushover anymore!

  2. See, once again you show your VCU bias. Oh, wait. You didn’t mention VCU.

    ????????

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