The Flying Dutchmen basketball team is just a few hours away from knocking off top-ranked Kansas, so I’ll cut the usual yakkety yak and just give you the basics (I know, I know, what a concept!).
First a couple links: The New York Daily News’ Sean Brennan has a preview of the game and the upcoming season here while KUSports.com profiles Charles Jenkins here.
And now a couple quotes about the game and the challenge ahead from Jenkins and Tom Pecora, each of whom we spoke to this week:
Jenkins: “My thing is I just want to keep it one possession at a time. If we can play one defensive possession at a time, then we’ll be good. But once [the Jayhawks] get going, it’s hard to stop them, especially when they have 20,000 fans screaming at the top of their lungs. It’s going to be hard to get them out of their zone once they start going with the sixth man they have and the great players that they have on the floor. So we just want to take it one possession at a time.”
Pecora: “They’re good. They’re really good. It’ll be fun. It’ll be a great challenge. It’s going to be a great atmosphere. It’s going to be a great learning experience—for everyone, but the young guys especially. As a point of reference for the rest of the year, we’re not going to play in a tougher environment than Allen Fieldhouse, and that’s why we scheduled it. There’s a method to our madness. I wanted it to be the first game of the year. I thought it would get the most publicity and obviously get Hofstra’s name out there. It’s served that purpose, obviously. We anticipated them being the preseason no. 1 and they are. So in that sense it’s going to be great for us.
"Over the years, we’ve played some tough teams. Obviously, [Kansas’] size and their athleticism and their skill level—and obviously they’re tremendously coached, a very well-coached team. Very often, as a coach, you try to find what your opponent doesn’t do well and make them do it. With a Kansas, we try to find what they do least best, because they do everything very well.”
I’ve spent a ton of time the last few months anticipating a victory, but part of that—OK, fine, most of it—was with tongue planted firmly in cheek. Even in mid-November, it’ll take a nearly perfect effort to knock off the no. 1 team in the country. Litos has a pretty good take on how the game will unfold.
If the Dutchmen can hang tight in the first four minutes, withstand the initial effort of the leatherlungs at Allen Fieldhouse and the first flurry of punches by Kansas (symbolic, that is, after all, there won’t be any football players on the court!), they’ll be OK. But the last thing they can do is stumble out of the blocks like they did against George Mason or Georgia State last season.
I’d expect to see a lot of the five veterans, with the newcomers used sparingly in lower pressure situations. Expect Chaz Williams to get the most PT of the rookies.
Barring an injury or a thoroughly one-sided drubbing, this is pretty close to a no-lose proposition for the Dutchmen. The prediction here is the Dutchmen do in fact enjoy a lead at some point and will be within shouting distance for most of the first 30 minutes before the Jayhawks pull away and win, but by less than 25 points.
Either way, stop back in the morning for the first game recap of 2009-10. I’ve got a new wrinkle I’ll be introducing tomorrow. And if you can’t wait that long, follow us all night long as I’ll be live tweeting the game from a barstool at Miller Ale House. If you’re there, stop by and say hello. I’ll be the guy yelling about Tom Marich.