Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Five pregame thoughts: Evansville

1.) After playing in a frenzied big-time atmosphere the last few weeks, the Flying Dutchmen will return to 2009 when they visit Evansville at the 2,500-seat PAC Arena (shouldn’t a facility hold more than 2,500 people to be dubbed an Arena?) on the campus of Southern Indiana. While the Dutchmen will have to adjust to the environment, it shouldn’t present the type of problem they encountered last year, when the sight of 5,000 empty seats at the Arena seemed to suck the life out of everyone.

2.) Evansville doesn’t have a lot of height—the Purple Aces’ center is an ACTUAL Flying Dutchman, 6-foot-10 Pieter van Tongeren, who averages just 6.1 points and 2.3 rebounds per game, and their leading rebounder is Kenneth Harris with an average of 6.2 per game—so this is a good matchup for the Dutchmen and Greg Washington and David Imes, each of whom played well down the stretch. Washington was on his way to perhaps his best game ever before the Southern Bias refs reared their ugly heads against Old Dominion while Imes averaged 8.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game in his final seven games.

3.) The Dutchmen will be focused on Evansville’s best player, Colt Ryan, who leads the Purple Aces with 15.7 points per game. Ryan rolled an ankle in practice last week, and if he’s shut down, whether because of injury or the Dutchmen, then Evansville doesn’t have much else. Nobody else on the Purple Aces averages as many as nine points per game.

4.) Don’t be surprised if the Dutchmen get off to a slow start. The Dutchmen stumbled early against William & Mary after a week-long layoff before routing the Tribe. Between the lack of preparation time for this game and the long rest, don’t panic if the Dutchmen look rusty.

5.) Unlike a year ago in the CBI, playing with a sense of urgency shouldn’t be an issue for the Dutchmen, who have three seniors in the starting lineup and two players, Imes and Mike Moore, who have never started a postseason game before. And, of course, one of those seniors is Charles Jenkins, who is one point shy of 2,500 for his career and by far the best player on the court. If this is close late, expect him to go into Wolf/Beast/Takeover mode.

Email Jerry at defiantlydutch@yahoo.com or follow Defiantly Dutch at http://twitter.com/defiantlydutch.

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