1.) This is a matchup of lean teams. Hofstra has a well-defined eight-man rotation while Towson has only played eight men all year. Expect another battle of marathon men.
2.) This will also be another good test for a quickly emerging Dutchmen defense. Towson, which averages 76.2 points per game, is shooting 44.3 percent from the field and 36.6 percent from 3-point land and has four players averaging in double digits, is even more robust offensively than Rider was entering Monday night’s tilt. Towson has also rung up a season-high on two opponents (Coppin State and Buffalo). But Hofstra has been outstanding defensively, limiting everyone but North Carolina to 63 points or less. Towson is more likely than not to exceed that total, but if this one plays in the low 70s, Hofstra wins.
3.) Towson power forward and reigning CAA rebounding and blocked shots champion Robert Nwankwo is out for the first semester due to academic issues, which robs fans of a tasty matchup with fellow All-Defensive player Greg Washington but gives the Dutchmen the obvious advantage down low. Towson has only one starter taller than 6-foot-7 and only one player taller than 6-foot-8. We always declare Washington has to have a big game, but look for David Imes to assert himself early and often.
4.) The CAA opener served as a coming-out party for Cornelius Vines (six 3-pointers) and Greg Washington (a double-double) in 2008 and Miklos Szabo (a career-high 22 points) last year. The guy to watch today: Mike Moore. The Fordham transfer is shooting just 33 percent overall and 27.3 percent from 3-point land, down markedly from his Fordham averages of 38.4 percent and 32.5 percent, respectively. The only game in which he came close to hitting 50 percent of his shots, both overall and from beyond the arc, was against Wagner, when Moore hit both 3-point attempts before heading to the bench with foul trouble. Moore, who ranks second on the Dutchmen with 6.0 rebounds per game, has been an asset even when quiet from the field, but he’s too good to stay quiet for too much longer.
5.) We haven’t done a whole lot of predicting here this year, and it’s always risky to look towards history in a college basketball matchup—especially when one of the teams is basically brand-new, a la Hofstra this year—but this is a game the Dutchmen should win by double digits, even if that big ol’ meanie Mike Litos picks Towson. The Tigers are an interesting team this year, and a 15-point second half comeback against Western Michigan in their last game opened some eyes, but we’ve yet to see them handle prosperity very well and Pat Kennedy, in the last year of his deal and working for a new athletic director, remains the CAA head coach most likely to get Benny Mossed this year. In addition, the track record of these two teams in the CAA opener—Hofstra won by a season-high 20 points in 2008 and racked up another 20-point win last year—suggests a big afternoon ahead for the Dutchmen. Hofstra will be in first place and Mo Cassara will be the winningest coach ever in CAA play by 7 pm!