Before we get to a quick preview of tonight’s game against UNC Wilmington, let me apologize again for the sporadic nature of this week’s posts. It’s been a crazy few days between the snow, a surprise work assignment and a few other unpredictable happenings. Hopefully the zaniness begins subsiding as we rev up for the final couple weeks of the conference season.
Tip-off in snowy (!!!) Wilmington is just 40 minutes away as I type this, so let me just say that this is one time when a coach is right in declaring that the most important game of the season is the next one. A loss in either of the next two games against the scuffling duo of UNCW and Delaware could undo all the progress the Dutchmen have made over the last two weeks.
A team that harbors hope of surprising people in Richmond in March must continue the maturation process by beating the Seahawks and Blue Hens. And this is a tricky couple of games—back-to-back roadies separated by a plane ride home. How the Dutchmen fare tonight and Tuesday will say as much about them—maybe even more—than the win over Drexel Wednesday.
“All you can think about is one game at a time here,” Tom Pecora said late Wednesday. “We need to get some separation—the term we use is ‘climb to glory.’ We put that on the board a few weeks ago and always [list] the standings in conference. Things are going to tighten up a bit and we’ve got to be playing well going into the tournament. I think, the way our schedule plays out, if we can continue to win, we can become a consistent team, which we haven’t been all year. That’s why we’re .500.”
UNC Wilmington is coming off its first win under interim coach Brooks Lee and the Seahawks will surely be revved up for the Dutchmen after suffering that 39-point loss in Benny Moss’ final game Jan. 27. The Dutchmen will need Charles Jenkins to remain as aggressive as he was Wednesday and, as Litos noted yesterday, for Chaz to outduel Chad in what sounds like an intramural matchup between frat boys. Another quality performance from two of the Dutchmen’s three big men would be a, well, big help, too.
Expect a typical Dutchmen-Seahawks nail-biter but for the Dutchmen to eke this one out in the final minute. Either way, follow along on Twitter with me as well as UNC Wilmington beat writer Brian Mull at @BGMull and stop back for a recap Monday. No, really, Monday.