As with the halftime thoughts last week, we’re trying something new here—pre-game thoughts, the loner brother of halftime thoughts!—that may or may not fly long-term. Let us know what you think. In the meantime, here you go with five things to look for this afternoon against Farmingdale.
1.) More down low, on both sides of the ball, from Greg Washington: Washington had just four points, six rebounds and three blocks in the exhibition against Molloy Sunday. Facing Farmingdale—which has 19 players on its roster, but just three listed as taller than 6-foot-7—is a good opportunity to get Washington untracked on both offense and defense.
2.) A bigger role for Stephen Nwaukoni: The freshman was quite impressive Sunday with eight rebounds in just 12 minutes. He’s still raw offensively, but Mo Cassara would love nothing more than for Nwaukoni to become a regular part of the Dutchmen’s eight-man rotation. Expect to see a lot of Nwaukoni as Cassara hopes to work out his kinks.
3.) A lot of the starting five: The hope, obviously, is the Dutchmen win going away against a Division III foe, but with such a lean bench thus far, Cassara is eager to get his starters into game shape in a hurry. Only two starters played 25 minutes last season against Farmingdale but that game took place Nov. 20, when the Dutchmen had already played three games—including two against Kansas and UConn. Expect 25 minutes from the quintet.
4.) A whole lot of people making their first appearance in the boxscore: As long as the Dutchmen pull away, Cassara will have the chance to empty the bench. How’s this for a summation of a tumultuous off-season: More than half the roster—six players—could score their first career points today in starters Mike Moore and Dwan McMillan, redshirt freshman Paul Bilbo and freshmen Nwaukoni, Shemiye McLendon and Roland Brown.
5.) An excited Cassara: Asked at the women’s game last night how long he’d been thinking of his first official game as a Division I head coach, Cassara said “It’s something that goes through my mind all the time. Counting the hours to do that, to officially get out on the court with a real game and see our fans and see our friends and family that have supported us through this whole transition. I’m excited for our players but I’m excited for our staff. I’m certainly personally very excited and I can’t wait to get out there on the court.”