If you’re the bizarro world version of me and need to find a babysitter in order to go to the Arena tonight to watch the Flying Dutchmen take on UNC Wilmington (that is the most extreme of inside jokes, by the way), I suggest you lock the hard-working teenager in for four hours. The Dutchmen and the Seahawks have gone to overtime in Hempstead three times in the last four seasons, including a three-overtime classic in 2006. And the one year in which the two teams didn’t need overtime at Hofstra (2007), they needed two extra sessions in Wilmington.
Even if the game only goes 40 minutes, chances are it’ll be a nail-biter: The last seven games between the two schools at Hofstra have been decided by seven points or less, and that seven-pointer was last year’s overtime duel. The school should employ that old monster truck rally saying in trying to lure people to the Arena tonight: “You’ll pay for the entire seat—BUT YOU’LL ONLY NEED THE EDGE!!!!”
(Also, I enjoy watching the Seahawks and will miss them once Hofstra bolts the CAA, so this doesn’t bother me, but can anyone explain to me how Hofstra and UNC Wilmington—separated by roughly 3,000 miles—have played each other twice a year every year since the CAA expanded to 12 teams and went to the unbalanced schedule? Why do the Virginia-based schools take turns playing Hofstra just once a year while Hofstra plays an annual home-and-home with its second-most remote rival?)
This is the first game of the spring semester, so hopefully there are a few more people occupying entire seats, though the Dutchmen’s recent skid has me fearing most of the campus has forgotten the school even plays Division I basketball. Tonight also marks the beginning of the second half of the conference schedule, during which the Dutchmen will play six games against teams that were 3-6 or worse in the first half. So theoretically, at least, there will be plenty of opportunity for the Dutchmen to make an upward move, or at least solidify the seventh seed in the conference tournament.
But it’s hard to assume anything given how resoundingly the Dutchmen lost to Drexel Saturday—especially against a UNC Wilmington squad that once seemed to be on the edge of falling apart but which has since lost by two to ACC leader Virginia last Monday and snapped its own five-game losing streak by edging James Madison Saturday.
On the other hand—if not now, when? The Dutchmen finally get to be home for a week and are finally at something resembling full health. The Seahawks are not: Their star guard, Chad Tomko, continues to battle a nagging foot injury. And at some point soon the Dutchmen have to enjoy a game in which their layups fall in instead of rolling out.
Tom Pecora said yesterday he’s not giving up on his veterans, but I would be surprised if Nathaniel Lester is in the starting lineup tonight and I still think Yves Jules and David Imes—who will likely be back for the Delaware game Saturday—will end up getting a ton of minutes down the stretch at the expense of Lester, Cornelius Vines and/or Greg Washington.
Check out the UNCW perspective from Wilmington Star News beat writer Brian Mull (that’s right, kiddies, some teams in the CAA are covered, home AND away, by the local newspaper!), who, like me, has gotten into a car accident while on the road this season. And also check out his interview with some goofy ass Hofstra blogger. Seriously, thanks to Brian for the opportunity and for calling this blog “excellent.” Someone’s angling for a Colony Diner burger tonight!
Either way, don’t expect the Dutchmen to cover the 6 ½-point spread (for entertainment purposes only, as Mull says!), but they better win, because I’ve already got my victory Tweet lined up (John Sterling would approve). See you there. I’ll be the guy making dated taunts about Brett Blizzard.