Saturday, February 26, 2011

Five pregame thoughts: Delaware

1.) A regular season full of unique and unexpected challenges ends with the most unlikely one yet. The Senior Day festivities are sure to be the most stirring and emotional in memory as Hofstra honors Charles Jenkins, Greg Washington and Brad Kelleher and retires Jenkins’ jersey, but just a few minutes after those goose bump- and tear-inducing moments, the Flying Dutchmen have to, you know, PLAY a game that is vitally important, both cosmetically and otherwise. Expect the Dutchmen to get off to a roaring start, but keeping them focused for the full 40 minutes against a pesky Delaware team that trailed the entire way in Newark two weeks ago but still only lost by three will be the task of the day for Mo Cassara.

2.) No matter what happens today, of course, the Dutchmen are assured a bye in next weekend’s CAA Tournament (holy hell, how did that get here already?). But it’d be great for the psyche of the program—not to mention Cassara’s Coach of the Year candidacy—if the Dutchmen could knock off Delaware, tie the program’s best-ever record in the CAA (14-4) and assure themselves no worse than the no. 3 seed, which would also match the best in program history. A Dutchmen win and an Old Dominion loss to William & Mary would allow Hofstra to finish second. A win today would also be the 20th of the season for the Dutchmen and would mark the fifth time in seven years the program has reached the magic number. In addition, a win in front of a sellout crowd would be the perfect way to sustain the momentum Cassara has created with Hofstra fans this year (it would also help him sleep better: Cassara took the loss to Drexel in front of a sellout crowd Jan. 29 quite hard). Either way, who could have imagined we’d be typing this paragraph last May?

3.) Will we see Dwan McMillan today? The one-time starting point guard, who hasn’t played since before Christmas due to a fractured eye socket, was back in practice this week and sporting a new mask. The Dutchmen desperately need all the depth they can find and the addition of McMillan, a strong defender, would be a huge one heading into the CAA Tournament, where the Dutchmen are likely going to face multiple up-tempo teams.

4.) It will be a very good sign for the Dutchmen’s CAA Tournament hopes if David Imes continues to play as if he’s got his second wind. Imes had 12 rebounds and six points against Delaware two weeks ago to begin a four-game stretch in which he is averaging 11.5 rebounds and 9.0 points per game. He has pulled down 10 or more rebounds three times in his last four games after recording 10 or more rebounds just four times in his first 25 games. An active Imes would be a huge asset for a Dutchmen squad that is likely to face James Madison or Drexel in the quarterfinals and, if they advance, Old Dominion in the semifinals.

5.) The Dutchmen’s last four home games have been decided by a grand total of 13 points. Is it too much to ask for Jenkins to put up 30 or so points (probably not) and for the Dutchmen to be winning by enough in the final minute so that Jenkins can be pulled and receive one last boisterous standing ovation? OK that sounds unlikely, but hey, Jenkins will be playing today in a uniform that has already been retired. Anything is possible.

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1 comment:

Mat Shelton said...

Solid reporting Beach, nice work.