Thursday, November 18, 2010

Five pre-game thoughts: North Carolina

Still stoked to write that headline. Real quick five thoughts before the Flying Dutchmen set off a riotous celebration on Long Island by beating the Tar Heels!

1.) Greg Washington has to be a factor. Against Kansas last year, Washington played just nine minutes before fouling out with five points, no rebounds and no blocks. He had just two points, four boards and three blocks four days later against UConn. As promising as David Imes is, he’s probably not ready to have a Halil Kanacevic-like game against the Tar Heels, whose front court stands 6-foot-8, 6-foot-10 and 7-feet.

2.) Someone—Mike Moore or Shemiye McLendon—needs to give the Dutchmen a second legitimate scoring threat. Moore had the best game of his Fordham career against the best team he faced (Xavier) while McLendon was very impressive Saturday against Farmingdale. The Dutchmen didn’t have anyone else to rely on last year if Cornelius Vines was cold, which increased the pressure on Charles Jenkins.

3.) Jenkins will get his 25 points, but he must be better on defense. That’s him talking, not us. “I’ve got to keep my man in front of me,” Jenkins said Tuesday. “I was getting rebounds [against Farmingdale] because those guys were missing shots. If I don’t keep the guy in front of me, he’s going to make those shots [for] the teams that we’re going to play from now on.”

4.) Avoid the four-minute surge from UNC. Easier said than done, of course, but the difference in these David vs. Goliath contests is usually that burst the Goliaths can muster in the second half. It took UConn just 4:27 last year to turn a 54-45 deficit into a 59-58 lead. It doesn’t mean Hofstra has to play a perfect game, but the Dutchmen must limit the Tar Heels’ runs.

5.) Don’t get nervous. Yeah, leave that to us! Jenkins and Mo Cassara said the right things this week, but who knows how the rest of the team will react once the ball is tipped. This is the biggest game most of the Dutchmen have ever played, and most of them are playing it with little to no collegiate experience under their belts. Deep breaths. The Heels put on their shorts the same way as the Dutchmen.

Beat UNC. Beat UNC. Beat UNC.

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