Opponent: Hofstra Pride
Conference: Colonial Athletic (CAA)
Head Coach: Mo Cassara (2nd season)
Last season record: 21-12, 14-4 in conference
Went to CBI
Player to watch out for: Mike Moore (6-5 Senior. 14.9 ppg)
Hofstra is probably going to take a tad step back. That's what happens when you lose power guard Charles Jenkins, who not only averages 20 points a game but was also a key ballhandler and clutch shooter for the team. However, they are a team that should not be underestimated, not just because they were 21-12 (14-4 in conference) last season en route to a CBI.
For one thing, they have Mike Moore, a 6-5 senior who averaged 15 ppg and can drill the long ball and use his large frame to go to the hole. Alongside him is Nathaniel Lester, another 6-5 wing guy who missed 2 years but scored 33 points in the win against Long Island (OK, Long Island plays fast, but 33 points on 15 shots should not be trifled with still). The last player that should be noted is David Imes. He's the second best returning scorer, but more importantly is the best rebounder in the Pride bunch (almost 7 a game last season). As for PGs, Dwan McMillan and Stevie Mejia will try to fill Jenkins' void. McMillan was solid in the 11 games he played (7 ppg, 3.3 apg) while Mejia was a University of Rhode Island transfer who could dish the rock (3.5 apg the last time he played). Both look solid but not spectacular
Probably the biggest weakness is size. Hofstra does have 4 players that are 6-7 or higher, but they are bit contributors, leaving wing player-esque forwards like Lester and Imes to man the post and gobble most of the boards. Theoretically, this will leave the Pride unable to outboard opponents (though they did outboard Long Island) often.
This game will be the first legitimate opponent for Coach Rob and the Beavers. I am interested to see how the backcourts play against each other, especially if Jared Cunningham and Moore are going to guard one another. I think the frontcourt can dominate the glass, because Angus Brandt, Eric Moreland and Joe Burton are taller than the Pride frontcourt, but who knows what they will do there? My guess is that if the backcourt can hold its own and then some, while the frontcourt continues to take offensive rebounds and beat up Hofstra inside, the Beavs are going to win.
From an intangible standpoint, the Beavers also have homecourt advantage, which helps, but Hofstra has key seniors that contribute like Moore and Imes.
Hofstra isn't VCU, George Mason or Old Dominion, but they have good players that will give OSU problems. The things I am watching for:
- Who will contribute from the bench (except for Moreland)?
- It's no secret that Hofstra can be an explosive offensive squad, so can the Beavs stop them with a man-to-man cover? (If we limit them to 41% FG, 32% 3 PT, that should be enough)
- Can the frontcourt dominate? They have the potential to do so
- Can the backcourt hold its own against a good Hofstra backcourt?
- If the game comes down to the wire, can Coach Rob and the Beavs still execute well enough to pull away?
Prediction: Beavs win by a hair... But I won't be surprised if the Pride steal this one at Gill.