Saturday, January 22, 2011

Five pre-game thoughts: College of Bill Lawrence

May William & Mary shoot as badly as Turk today!

1.) The first game of the Flying Dutchmen’s “four in eight” is a scary one. The easy thing is to call it a trap game, especially with James Madison (Monday), VCU (Thursday), Drexel (next Saturday) and George Mason (Feb. 2) all on the horizon and the Dutchmen probably needing to go at least 3-2 mark in the crucible in order to stay in the driver’s seat for a bye. But William & Mary (2-5 CAA) is as hot as a two-win team can be with routs over Drexel and Towson in its last two games. The Tribe are also young and exceedingly well-coached by Tony Shaver, an increasingly dangerous combination as March approaches. This can’t turn into one of those games that leave the Dutchmen saying what if come the first weekend of March.

2.) The Dutchmen took at least one step to avoid an ill-advised hiccup by leaving Long Island via bus Thursday instead of taking the chance that their flight Friday would be delayed by snow. The bus trip was another epic one, and not in the good way, for the Dutchmen, who hit a ton of traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike and needed 10 hours to get to Williamsburg, but at least they were able to spend a full and productive day in Virginia instead of fretting about flights and getting there mere hours before the first tip. Playing William & Mary 12 hours after arriving in town would be a lot more dangerous than playing Northeastern 12 hours after arriving in town.

3.) William & Mary has done a better job than any other CAA team of bottling up Charles Jenkins, who has averaged just 14.3 points and has yet to produce a 20-point game against the Tribe in four career games. (Props to Jeremy Kniffin for that cool nugget) But the matchup is a ripe one for Jenkins: William & Mary starts a pair of freshmen, Julian Boatner and Brandon Britt, at guard, and it’s a fair guess to say they haven’t seen someone like Jenkins yet.

4.) The matchup is also a good one for Hofstra in that William & Mary ranks last in the league in offensive rebounding (8.1 per game). I’m not much of a betting man, but if I was, I’d wager on another double-double for David Imes. Almost as importantly, this could be a good chance for Greg Washington (2-for-9 from the field and three rebounds in his last two games combined) to get untracked as well as for at least two of the Stephen Nwaukoni/Paul Bilbo/Roland Brown triumvirate to get some valuable playing time and confidence before the showdown Monday against James Madison and the beastly duo of Denzel Bowles and Rayshawn Goins.

4b.) I can't lie: I just like using the word triumvirate.

4c.) I can't lie: I had to spell check it to correctly spell triumvirate.

5.) William & Mary also ranks last in the CAA in turnover margin (minus 4.11). With a surely snarling James Madison squad coming in Monday night, the best-case scenario this afternoon is an easy, stress-free victory in which Jenkins can grab some pine in the final four minutes. The Dutchmen will need to create plenty of turnovers—and they rank second in the league in turnover margin (plus 2.28)—in order to get the type of win that is tough to come by anywhere in the CAA.

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