Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
1.) You would have taken an eight-point lead at intermission two hours ago, but the Dutchmen seemed ready to blow Rider out after runs of 10-0 and 8-0 gave them a 24-8 lead. But Rider has the momentum after cutting that 16-point lead in half with a 10-2 run that included three 3-pointers. The Broncs, who entered the game shooting 49 percent from beyond the arc, missed their first 11 shots from 3-point land.
2.) This is another fascinating maturation test for the Dutchmen. Rider is too good offensively to not come up with another run or two. Will the Dutchmen be able to withstand the Broncs’ flurries, continue clamping down on Rider outside and finish off a potent opponent on the road?
3.) It’s a very good sign the Dutchmen are up eight despite another rough first half for Charles Jenkins (five points on 2-for-9 shooting). If he has a second half like the one he did Friday, the Dutchmen are in very good shape.
4.) Dwan McMillan has been outstanding, racking up a team-high 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field and running the point efficiently. According to the WRHU announcers, the offense seemed less smooth once Jenkins replaced McMillan at the point late in the half. McMillan also committed a smart foul in the waning seconds, which effectively forced Rider to reset its offense and limited the Broncs to a desperation 3-point attempt at the buzzer.
5.) The first half could have ended better for the Dutchmen, but they are doing what they have to do to win—keeping this game on pace to play in the 60s. If that continues, the Dutchmen win.
1.) This is a good test for the Flying Dutchmen. Rider was picked fifth in the MAAC preseason poll but looked like it might be the best team in the conference when the Broncs recorded double-digit wins at Southern Cal and over TCU and Loyola Marymount at the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off. Rider cooled off when it fell to Siena in the MAAC opener Friday, but the Broncs still seem to be a legitimate NCAA Tournament contender and will be a good barometer for where the Dutchmen are in the maturation process.
2.) This will REALLY be a good test for the zone defense. Against Wagner, the Dutchmen were content to take away the middle and force the Seahawks to beat them from outside—which they almost did thanks to a superhuman performance from Latif Rivers, who was draped most of the night but was still 6-of-10 from 3-point land. Rider, which fell to the Dutchmen 92-89 in overtime in the Bracket Buster last year, is averaging 72.2 points a game this year on almost 50 percent shooting from both beyond the arc (49.1 percent) and overall (49.5 percent). The Broncs have three starters who stand at least 6-foot-7 but nobody taller than 6-foot-8, so a reverse of the Wagner game plan may be in order. It will be a very good sign for the Dutchmen if this game is played in the 60s.
3.) How will Greg Washington respond to Friday’s forced benching? Washington didn’t get off the bench in the final 17:40 due to foul trouble, but the Dutchmen stormed back from an eight-point deficit and beat Wagner thanks in large part to the stellar play of freshman Stephen Nwaukoni. In four games against Division I foes, Washington is averaging just 2.5 points and 4.0 rebounds. He had no boards at all against Wagner. Mo Cassara has no choice but to give Washington, one of just two players on the active roster who started a game before this season, plenty of opportunity to assert himself, so a demotion doesn’t seem likely quite yet. But Nwaukoni’s performance Friday should have Washington looking over his shoulder and doubly inspired tonight.
4.) Conversely, how much will Nwaukoni and Yves Jules be rewarded tonight? Nwaukoni and Jules were the most unlikely members of the unlikely quintet that pulled marathon duty down the stretch Friday. Nwaukoni was already cementing a role for himself but Jules played half as many minutes Friday (16) as he did in the first four games combined. His defense tonight will be a vital part of limiting the Broncs’ damage from outside.
5.) Will the real Charles Jenkins show up from the tip, or will it take a half for him to shed Cyber Monday Charles? Jenkins’ line about Thanksgiving Charles playing the first half Friday was one of the great quotes of the year, but the Dutchmen can’t win many games if he’s only the real Charles for one half. Expect a far more normal 25-point effort from Jenkins tonight.
Friday, November 26, 2010
1.) How messed up was this half for Hofstra? The five players on the court at the end of the half were Shemiye McLendon, Dwan McMillan, Yves Jules, David Imes and Stephen Nwaukoni. That’s three newcomers to the program and two players who barely got off the bench last year. Charles Jenkins (two points on 0-6 shooting, unofficially, and two fouls) and Greg Washington (no points, two fouls) have been invisible. Whatever is ailing Jenkins, he has to shake it at the half because the Dutchmen have no shot if he can’t emerge from his funk.
2.) That said, David Imes was an absolute beast this half, and the best player on the court—either team—by a wide margin. He had 11 rebounds, four more than his career high entering the game. He also has four points and a resounding block. Bill Thieben’s single game record of 43 boards is probably safe, but we are witnessing the coming out party for Imes.
3.) We’re also seeing an emergence of sorts by Stephen Nwaukoni, who is displaying the work ethic and determined nature that has Mo Cassara raving about him. Nwaukoni, who is aggressive under the basket and repeatedly putting the ball back, has six points and has hit his last three free throws after badly missing his first three free throw attempts.
4.) Foul trouble is going to be an issue for the Dutchmen in the second half. Mike Moore, who hit two early 3s to keep the Dutchmen in the game, has three fouls and Yves Jules also has two fouls.
5.) First to 60 wins. The Hofstra single-game record for points in a game—118 vs. Wagner in 1972-73—is quite safe. The Dutchmen’s zone defense has rendered taken away the inside game from Wagner, but the Seahawks are draining all their open looks from outside (4-of-6 from three-point land). The Dutchmen have to figure out a way to minimize the damage from beyond the arc in order to win.
1.) We don’t condone betting here at Defiantly Dutch—mostly because we suck at it—but if you’re wagering on tonight’s game, take the under. The Flying Dutchmen allowed 62 points in each of their final two Puerto Rico Tip-Off Classic games while Wagner has given up 58, 73 and 54 points in its first three games. Each team also has three new starters under a first-year head coach, so it may not be the smoothest of games, especially on Nov. 26. Add it all up and this should be what Tom Pecora used to dub a rock fight.
2.) Charles Jenkins is going to have a big game. The senior superstar looked spent Sunday, when he took just 10 shots in the loss to Nebraska. Jenkins was surely grumpy after the 0-3 trip to Puerto Rico, so focus won’t be a problem. And the few days off should have him primed for a classic box score stuffer.
3.) This will be a good test for Dwan McMillan. The junior point guard looked much better Sunday and was one of the few bright spots in the loss to Nebraska, but Wagner coach Danny Hurley was McMillan’s coach at St. Benedict’s and knows his former player’s strengths and weaknesses as well as anyone. It’ll be a good sign if McMillan continues his improvement against his old coach.
4.) Greg Washington has to get involved. Don’t be surprised if Jenkins gives Washington the same kind of pep talk he gave him before the Farmingdale game, when Jenkins promised Washington he’d block the first shot of the game. The Dutchmen cannot succeed if Washington is scoring two points a night and is merely adequate on the boards.
5.) Why aren’t there more weekend night games at Hofstra? Not really related to this game, just a personal rant. This is only the second Friday night home game in the last 10 years. Part of that is because the CAA rarely plays on Friday nights, but you’ll notice the Dutchmen never play conference games on Saturday nights, either. The best way to actually boost attendance at Flying Dutchmen home games and get the students on board is to turn these into weekend night events. Sorry, but there’s a lot more buzz to a 7 or 8 pm start than a 4 pm start. And yes, “buzz” might be the operative word among the students who arrive for a night start, but it’s not like a game on campus is going to inspire students to do something that students have done, every single night of every single week of every single year, since the dawn of time, or at least 1935. Explain there will be a zero tolerance policy who try to turn this a basketball game into Happy Hour at Fezziwigs (Google it, kids!) and enjoy the heightened anticipation and better atmosphere that nighttime games provide. Rant over.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
This season marks the first time Hofstra has an entirely new men’s basketball staff since the 1994-95 season. Fans are already well-acquainted with head coach Mo Cassara, but we sat down last week with the rest of his staff—Steve DeMeo, Allen Griffin and Wayne Morgan—to get to know them a little better. We’ll unveil these introductory Q&As once a week for the next three weeks.
First up: Morgan, who played for Cassara’s Dad, Rich, at St. Lawrence and made such an impression on the senior Cassara that he named his son Richard Morgan Cassara. Morgan, 60, is the oldest coach on the staff and, as the third assistant, occupies a position that is normally held by someone half his age. But Morgan—who has 22 years of Division I experience, including six years as the head coach at Long Beach State, three years as the head coach at Iowa State and 12 years as an assistant at Syracuse—couldn’t be happier to be back doing what he loves after a four-year absence from the sidelines.
What did you do between Iowa State and Hofstra?
I spent four years out of basketball. I owned my own company called Mid-Iowa Satellite. As a matter of fact, let me show you our website—unless my wife took it down. We’re in the process of selling it.
Did you enjoy doing that?
I did OK. I think in 2006, I was Iowa Small Businessman of the Year. But I didn’t enjoy it. I am a basketball coach. I didn’t enjoy it. So when Mo got the position and asked me if I wanted to get into basketball and join him, I actually jumped at the opportunity. I was happy to do it, especially to work with him, because I’ve known him since he was a baby. I played for his father.
Did you ever worry you might not be able to get back into coaching?
That’s always a possibility in this business. That’s always a possibility. [He] was working at the business hard—I tried to be aware of what jobs were open and what friends I had that were getting jobs. But you also wanted it to be the right situation. This was the right situation.
I was born and raised in New York, I’m from the northeastern corridor. I tell people I’ve kind of been on a magical mystery tour, and now I’m home.
Were you embittered at all by the way you were fired at Iowa State and did you take anything from it in terms of the differences between coaching a mid-major and coaching a BCS school?
I worked very hard—bent over backwards—not to be [bitter] because I know so many people that have had bad breaks in their lives and end up being bitter and then chewing their own lives up as a result. And I didn’t want to be one of those guys. I learned a lot from all of the experiences at the various places I’ve coached.
What’s the dynamic like with this staff?
It’s very close. Morgan and I are basically like family. He’ll tell you and his mother and father will tell you he’s named after me. I’ve known Allen since he was 15 years old, I recruited him to go to Syracuse. And I’ve known Steve DeMeo for his whole coaching career. So we all know each other, we all like each other. We all get along well together.
Do you have any good stories about Mo from when he was younger?
I’ll tell you a great story. I was at Mo’s house last week and they had Big East Classics on—1988, Pittsburgh-Syracuse for the Big East championship. Paul Evans is coaching Pittsburgh, John Calipari’s his assistant. And at our end, obviously, Jim Boeheim is coaching. Well, when Rick Cassara, Mo’s Dad, got fired at St. Lawrence University, it was Paul Evans that took his place. So they became very good friends before Paul went and coached David Robinson at Navy and then went to Pittsburgh.
So we’re watching this game at Mo’s house and he goes ‘There’s Wayne. There you are. There’s Coach.’ And he keeps going ‘There you are.’ And he’s saying to the other people there ‘There’s Coach’ And now we look behind our bench and there’s Bob Hurley and Bob Hurley Jr., because I was recruiting him. And then we go to the other end and there’s John Calipari.
And then I go ‘Mo, there’s you.’ He was 14 years old, sitting behind the bench sitting with his father because his father and Paul Evans had become really good friends.
When did you know coaching was something Mo would end up doing?
I knew. We talked a lot. We knew he was going to be a good coach. When I first went to Long Beach State, I offered him a job on my staff. And then when I went to Iowa State, I went up and watched his team play at Worcester [Academy].
What was the Farmingdale game like for everyone?
It was very exciting. It was very exciting. We were glad that we were able to play pretty well. There’s a lot of work that we have to do. I think the key thing that everybody has to remember is when you have a new staff like this—although we have seniors who have played Division I basketball—the system is new to everybody. So it’s like having 13 freshmen and so we’ll be a work in progress all year. We’ll get better as the year goes on and we really probably won’t start playing our best basketball until the second or third week of January.
You need to hang in there and then February—last week of January and the month of February—you need to be pretty good. And I think just the big key for us [knocks on his desk] is just to not get any injuries or anybody hurt. We’re lean. Really, we’re almost anorexic [laughs].
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
1.) Get Charles Jenkins more involved. The Dutchmen didn’t score from the field in the final 9:06, due in huge part to Jenkins being rendered almost invisible. He has just four shots and didn’t even have anything to do with the Dutchmen’s early run, which was keyed by eight points from David Imes. Expect Jenkins to get the ball early and often in the second half as the Dutchmen try to climb back.
2.) The Dutchmen seem gassed. They got off to a good start thanks to Imes, but looked spent during the final 10 minutes and took just nine shots during their half-ending drought. Is it playing a third game in four days or the deadened atmosphere inside an empty Coliseum?
3.) Nebraska’s depth may be too much to overcome. The Huskers’ bench has outscored the Dutchmen’s 20-0 and they’re throwing waves of big men at the undersized Dutchmen, who have been outrebounded 20-6.
4.) So, too, might be Nebraska’s versatility. The Huskers have been equally efficient dumping the ball inside against the Dutchmen’s zone defense and draining threes. Nebraska is shooting 54 percent (13-of-24), including 4-of-10 from beyond the arc. On what do the Dutchmen focus in the second half?
5.) This is pivotal 20 minutes for the Dutchmen. Leaving Puerto Rico off a blowout will negate any progress they made in the near-win over Western Kentucky. The Dutchmen need to bounce back and display the resiliency they showed Friday, even if it’s not enough to depart with a win.
1.) Shake it off: Sound familiar? Squandering a 13-point lead in the final four minutes and falling to Western Kentucky is a far tougher loss to absorb than getting blown out of the arena by North Carolina. But the performance Friday was an encouraging sign regarding the Dutchmen’s resiliency and it sounds as if the day off Saturday did the Dutchmen some good.
2.) Get Charles Jenkins some rest: Tough to do with such a lean roster, but the only time Jenkins sat Friday was after he got hit in the eye. He’s durable but even he can’t be playing 40 minutes a night every night.
3.) Dwan McMillan needs to have a better game: The junior point guard had one of the toughest nights in memory Friday. The emergence of Mike Moore and Shemiye McClendon lessens the pressure on McMillan, who just has to get the ball to the Dutchmen’s scorers. Expect Nebraska to test McMillan early and often with the press, though.
4.) The Dutchmen’s bigs will need to be big: Nebraska has three starters 6-foot-6 or taller, so Greg Washington, David Imes and Stephen Nwaukoni have to crash the boards like they did Friday night against smaller Western Kentucky. And Washington and Imes, in particular, have to contribute more offensively for the Dutchmen to excel.
5.) Forget a 1-2 punch, do the Dutchmen have a trio now with McClendon joining Jenkins and Moore? It says a lot for Mo Cassara’s confidence in McClendon that he was the one who took the last shot Friday. McClendon has been the first guy off the bench in all three regular season games and will be the player who profits most if the Dutchmen can find some regular rest for Jenkins.
We caught up with Mo Cassara last night, 24 hours or so after the stunning loss to Western Kentucky, and got his take on the mindset of the Flying Dutchmen after the Hilltoppers’ late comeback as well as his other thoughts on the first two games of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Classic and this morning’s finale against Nebraska. As always, thanks to Mo for his time and accessibility.
How is everyone feeling the day after?
We’ve got a great bunch of guys. They work hard, incredibly hard. We had a couple good team meetings today and film sessions. Our chins are up and we’re going to use these couple real tough losses to ultimately help us get better. That’s been my challenge for this team everyday, is to get better everyday. And I think we’ve gotten better everyday down here. Now our next challenge and the next step, as I told our guys, is to learn how to win. That takes practice and time and we’re working hard at it. Our attitude is great and we’re going to keep working hard and ultimately the wins are going to come.
Is Friday night what you had in mind when you were talking about this season being a work in progress?
Yeah, I think so. I think we really executed our game plan last night, offensively and defensively, and definitely did some good things. I think our guys are starting to learn our system a little bit better. Ultimately, we weren’t able to finish it off last night, and that’s frustrating. But at the same time, my staff and I, we’re still very encouraged with the direction we’re headed.
Friday was obviously your first close game as a Division I head coach. How much self-evaluation did you undergo and what would you do differently, if anything?
I think as a coach—any coach, whether he’s coached a lot of games or a few—you’re always trying to get a little bit better, get an edge. I’ve watched the film, believe it or not, back-to-back-to-back three full times. The big challenge is I need to get a better feel for our guys and certain situations. Still being a new team and still seeing how some guys reacted in the first real tight situation, some guys we felt did a good job and some guys we thought would do a good job didn’t. And we’ve got to do something, we need to continue to analyze and make [more] evaluations and make sure, in these instances, we do it better [next time].
What did you see on the last play?
We drew up a pretty good play, we had a good look at the basket. We knew they were going to run at Charles a lot and we put Shemiye and Mike out to see if we could go to the basket or get a good look at a three. And Shemiye got a pretty good look at he basket. I thought, when it left his hand, it was going on.
Dwan McMillan had a tough game on both sides of the ball. What did you say to him afterward?
He had a disappointing game on a lot of levels. My big challenge to him is he’s got to learn how to be a college point guard and run a team. He’s going to make some mistakes and we’re going to learn through those as he has learn to continue to develop his game and how to run a team. And down the stretch, he didn’t do a very good job. We’re going to work with him and he keeps working hard. His attitude is good. That’s the most important thing to me—his attitude is good, he wants to learn and he wants to be better. He’s got a lot of talent and ability. He just needs more experience.
Down the stretch, do you think Western Kentucky got so hot because it stole the momentum on defense, or did your defense wear down?
I think our defense wore down a little bit. We missed a couple assignments, got out late on a couple of shooters. For about 35, 36 minutes, I thought we did a great job. Our defense was really—with about five minutes to go, they had about 40 points—we did everything exactly the way we wanted to do. There’s a team that goes into St. Joseph’s and beat them by 28 points and our game plan was excellent. We really did a good job I think we got a little tired and part of that right now is we lack some depth between injuries and Brad not playing and some inexperience, That’s part of our issues, especially when you play in a tournament like this. You really feel that when you’re playing two games in a couple days. Depth is an issue for us in a tournament like this.
How pleased were you with the resiliency you guys showed, not only bouncing back from the UNC loss but also the first 10 minutes against Western Kentucky?
I’m very pleased. As a coach, certainly you want to win every game, but I place a lot of value on things that I think are going to really help us down the road as we continue to build and grow. We were able to get right back from a real tough loss against a very good team and come out and perform the way we did against Western Kentucky—obviously, we didn’t come up with the win and we’re all disappointed about that, but I think there’s some real positives to come out of these first couple games.
What were your thoughts on the North Carolina game? Were you guys kind of caught flat-footed by just how hot they were from the field?
Yeah, I mean, they’re a terrific team, and the ironic thing is they come out the following night and Harrison Barnes can’t make a shot. It was just one of those things where we challenged them to make some threes and unfortunately, in the first half, they made 8-of-9. We shot 60 percent from the field [in the first half]. If we didn’t turn the ball over a couple times and let’s say they shot 4-of-9 or 3-of-9 [from 3-point land], heck, we’re not winning the game, but it’s probably a 10- or 12-point game at halftime and you feel like you’ve got a chance. But they shot the ball so well and we got behind and then ultimately their size and speed wore us down and we started to get rushed out there a little bit.
What were some of the other positives you took from the Western Kentucky game?
I really like the way Greg Washington rebounded. I really liked the way that Mike Moore rebounded. I think those guys are going to have to have 7-10 rebounds [per game]. I like the way David Imes rebounded and battled in the backcourt. I really like the way that Shemiye McClendon can continue to score the ball and score in some bunches. He really hit some nice shots for us [Friday] night. I think some guys, on an individual level, did a terrific job, And obviously Charles continues to be one of the best scorers not only in this tournament but in the country.
What is the attitude going into the Nebraska game?
They’re a very good Big 12 team. They’ve got gigantic size in the front court and are just a big, strong team. It’s two teams that have been on similar paths and for certain stretches of time have played very well in this tournament. Against Vanderbilt they looked great and Vanderbilt is a very good team. I don’t think there are any bad teams in this tournament. Nebraska presents a great challenges for us, a big, big front line, a team that we’re going to have to go out and try to execute our game plan [against]. Win or lose, we’re going to walk out of here with some great experience as we move forward and as we get into the meat of our non-conference schedule.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Western Kentucky 62, Hofstra 60 (Or: Mo Cassara told us there’d be days like this, man he wasn’t fooling…)
Friday, November 19, 2010
1.) Very impressive resiliency by the Flying Dutchmen. This looked like a disaster in the making when Western Kentucky raced out to a 16-8 lead and Hofstra opened up shooting just 4-of-20, but the Dutchmen steadied themselves and ended the half on a 16-5 run and turned the Hilltoppers ice cold. Zone defense was quite effective in the final 10 minutes or so.
2.) That said, it could have been even better for the Dutchmen, who were just 2-of-6 from the line and frittered away a couple offensive opportunities late in the half.
3.) Dwan McMillan is having another rough game. He started off strong by drawing an offensive foul in the first minute, but he’s made three of the Dutchmen’s five turnovers and is just 1-of-5 from the field, including a couple ill-advised shots.
4.) Mike Moore: Volume shooter. He went from 0-for-5 from the field to netting five points in about 30 seconds. He also has seven boards, putting him on pace for his second career double-double.
5.) David Imes seemed to warm up at the end of the half with a spirited sequence on offense in which he recorded two boards and finally put one back for his first points. The Dutchmen will need him in the second half with Greg Washington (four boards but two fouls) potentially limited.
1.) Shake it off. Lopsided loss to North Carolina aside, this can still be a productive and positive weekend for the Flying Dutchmen. In fact, it was two years ago this weekend that the Dutchmen bounced back from a one-sided loss to an ACC foe (98-69 to Clemson) to win two games at the Charleston Classic. That loss to the Tar Heels will sting a lot less if the Dutchmen come home 3-1 or 2-2 instead of 1-3.
2.) This is a good matchup for the Dutchmen: According to the Western Kentucky game notes, the Hilltoppers have only one starter as tall as 6-foot-6, and Juan Pattillo played just 18 minutes last night against Minnesota. This could be a confidence-boosting game for Greg Washington as well as David Imes’ coming out party.
3.) Look for all five starters to play at least 28 minutes. Only Shemiye McClendon played as many as 15 minutes off the bench last night in a 44-point loss, so Mo Cassara seems committed to riding his horses as much as possible—out of necessity—until Brad Kelleher is freed from NCAA prison. Expect McClendon, Yves Jules and Stephen Nwaukoni to get the most time among the reserves.
4.) Mike Moore has been solid in two games, but he’ll need to be more accurate from 3-point land to really give the Dutchmen that 1-2 punch they have lacked since In Guards We Trust. A 4-of-9 shooting tonight would go a long way towards ensuring a win.
5.) Dwan McMillan needs to show the form he displayed against Molloy and Farmingdale. McMillan’s first Division I game was against UNC, so his struggles were entirely understandable, but he’s the Dutchmen’s only answer at point guard until Kelleher returns so McMillan will need to channel Chaz Williams, circa early last season, to settle the Dutchmen in the early portion of the non-conference schedule.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
1.) Wow. North Carolina is good. There’s not much the Dutchmen can do when the Tar Heels are shooting 54 percent from the field and an ungodly 8-of-9 from 3-point land. Harrison Barnes is a man among boys. See you in the pros, kid.
2.) See you there too, Charles Jenkins. The one bright spot for the Dutchmen is Jenkins crushing this audition on the national stage: He’s got a game-high 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting. He’s creating and hitting shots even though the Tar Heels are obviously keying on him. He’s not just a future pro, he’s a future first-round draft pick.
3.) It looks as if the Dutchmen have the “2” in their 1-2 punch with Mike Moore, who has 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting and showed off his willingness to bang down low with his 6-foot-5 frame by driving for a basket and drawing the foul.
4.) The Dutchmen have no answer, none at all, for the Tar Heels’ bigs. No shame in that, but it didn’t take long for the worst-case scenario to come to fruition as Greg Washington picked up his first foul 17 seconds in. Washington has no points, two blocks and two fouls. The Dutchmen are being outrebounded, 21-13, and their best chance to stem the tide on the boards, Stephen Nwaukoni, has three fouls in limited duty.
5) With UNC up by 25, the only bits of suspense in the second half are whether or not Charles Jenkins can become the first Hofstra player since Speedy Claxton to score 40 in a game and whether or not the Tar Heels will break the Defiantly Dutch Era for points in a game (108 by Drexel in the 1995 NAC tournament). Most points by a Hofstra opponent in the last 30 years: Brigham Young with 119 in 1983-84. Back then, I angered the Mormons by accusing them of running up the score.
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.