The Weekend Slate: Fires Burn and Cauldrons Bubble…

So much is starting to brew as we turn fully into the second half of the season. It usually does, but for whatever reason there are more subplots brewing of Shakespearean Magnitude.

For instance, Old Dominion has somewhat scuffled its way through the year–certainly unexpected–but has an opportunity for sweet redemption and that momentum mover tomorrow. A victory over the team that just beat the best team would be huge for Blaine Taylor’s troops.

As for Poor Bill, his Huskies embark on a two-game roadie that is a mettle-tester: at ODU on Saturday, and at VCU on Tuesday. Both are tough teams, and those are the two most difficult buildings to travel and play. The Huskies enter this stretch in exactly the place they’d like to be, if they got to choose in October: coming off a huge win, 7-1 in conference, and their lone loss remains in the rearview mirror. Playing with confidence and recently humbled is a good combination.

What’s more, Nor’easter fans are cranking up their own bandwagon to greet the team. We’ll detail the  shovels and hard hats and gist of what is occurring later today or Monday, but they’ve created a rallying point.

It is the kind of rallying point that fans, players, and coaches can use to help motivate or give a backbone to their efforts. It is similar to the “linking up” chain for VCU two seasons ago.

What they need is athletics department support and it could take off.

Oh, and VCU (7-1) hosts George Mason (7-1) on ESPN2.

Bubbling, I tell you.


Nor’easter at ODU: 7:00 tip, CSN teevee. Hangover? Hangover? Trap game? ODU as a trap game? Sorry, that’s the best I could muster, given there’s a pile of ODU/NU written above. ODU can match Nor’easter’s size on the wings and on the baseline, but Chase Allen and Matt Janning will make Darius James and any backcourt mate look like smurfs. Plus, the Nor’easter zone will make it doubly-difficult on Gerald Lee. I think we will see a pile of zone from both coaches.

Nor’easter 57, ODU 55.

Georgia State at Delaware: (cough, cough)…Delaware 78, Georgia State 67.

The College at Drexel: If there were an upset to pick, this is it. How can this be true, given Drexel is rolling and at home and The College is anything but rolling, except the bus up I-95? There’s your reason. But I must reshape that to a “don’t be surprised” note.

Drexel 64, Tribe 56

UNCW at Towson: There won’t be an upset here, though The Mossmen will give a hopeful performance. UNCW matches up well, to be honest. PK has a bunch of middle-sized athletes that like to run, paired with a freshman point guard and a guy that never met a shot he didn’t like. That is much better than watching Daniel Mercer try to face down two behemoths, or Chad Tomko try to score over Allen/Janning. Dom Lacy showed a little something last time out, too.

Flying Tigers 81, Grounded Seahawks 74.

Hofstra at JMU: I believe it to be a shame this game is being played on Saturday. It is an absolute battle royale that is lost in the shadows of NU/ODU and GMU/VCU. The Pride’s defense and size against a freshman point guard and The JYD. A supposedly inferior team playing with confidence against a supposedly more talented team that is up and down. A team not really good defensively against a team not good offensively.

Today’s “holy mackerel” stat: Hofstra is allowing just 63.8 points per game in conference play. You will win a lot of basketball games holding your opponents to 64 points (and 38% shooting, as the Pride are accomplishing). Get this: 63.8 is good for NINTH in the conference in points allowed. NINTH! Six teams are giving up less than 60ppg.

Good luck with that offensive slump in this league.

This one is subplot city bay-bee, and I imagine it is too late to get them to move it to Sunday. JMU 66, Hofstra 61.

George Mason at VCU: 4:00 tip on ESPN2. With the success of these two programs over the past several seasons, you would think they’ve played taught thrillers, overtimes, and Instant Classics. There would be controversy. You would be wrong. Other than the 2007 CAA Championship, the Maynor Game, the last time these two teams played each other and the final score was less than double-digits was February 2005.

John Vaughan wants to play and that is a wonderful sign. However anybody that actually allows him more action than retrieving loose balls (by walking slowly, mind you) during the pregame shootaround should be fired. That includes doctors, coaches, players, timers, toll booth attendants, and you.

His absence is not trivial because it adds a layer of interest to the game. Dre Smith will undoubtedly assert himself in Vaughan’s stead. Will we see the JMU Dre Smith–the NCAA record-holder–or will we see a Clangathon? He will force tempo, but really is it good for Smith to wildly penetrate into VCUs defense? What’s more, VCU will likely put The Kirilla and Terrance Saintil on Darryl Monroe. Expect a healthy war with Monroe getting his, but tiring late.

This will be nip and tuck for 32 minutes, then a late surge by the home team. VCU 64, Mason 59.


~ by mglitos on January 23, 2009.

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