Towson (3-2) at Delaware (5-0) – Noon – Comcast SportsNet
If Towson had completed the rally and won against Northeastern, this game would have even larger implications. Still, it’s a matchup of two contenders. A win here would put the Blue Hens firmly in the CAA’s driver seat, and well on their way to building a Northeastern-esque lead.
Northeastern’s 3-2 zone (and foul trouble) kept Jerrelle Benimon from getting into any sort of rhythm on Wednesday. He scored his fewest points (6) since the home opener. Now he’ll face off with a Carl Baptiste-Marvin King-Davis frontcourt that’s played very well recently.
If Baptiste is chasing Benimon out to the perimeter, Delaware might be in trouble. Expect the quicker King-Davis to take the first stab at defending Benimon. If Benimon doesn’t have one of his trademark huge games, Towson probably might not have much of a chance in this one.
This game also features some of the league’s best three-point shooters (Kyle Anderson, Davon Usher, Four McGlynn). Delaware has a hefty advantage in the backcourt, but if McGlynn starts scoring exclusively by the threes (as he often does) all bets are off.
It’s hard to go against Delaware here though. Devon Saddler is playing too well, and this team is actually starting to share the ball. Get out and support, UD fans.
Delaware 73, Towson 66
Charleston (3-2) at James Madison 1-4—2:00 — Comcast SportsNet
Both teams most recent wins came against UNCW. The main difference is that JMU’s last win came three weeks ago, and Charleston just won Wednnesday night. Nori Johnson hit seven 3-pointers in that one.
Johnson torched the Dukes in the first meeting, and it seems likes when one of the Charleston guards has a great game, this team can play with anyone.
The Cougars have quietly worked their way to a 3-2 record in the conference. I like the word quietly when it comes to the Cougars because they’re truly winning in team fashion. No one player averages more than 12 points per game, and seven players are averaging at least seven points per game.
The Dukes have dropped four in a row, and come in dryer than the Harrisonburg air, dryer than the salt slowly eating away at my car’s frame—you get the point. They’ll be playing this one without Charles Cooke. Considering how well Cooke played in the first game between these teams, Charleston fans can feel good about that.
Taylor Bessick will need to play with physicality to limit the touches of a Charleston frontcourt (Willis Hall, Adjehi Baru) that averages over 20 points per and almost 17 rebounds. Tom Vodanovich has the gritty play Bessick lacks and could at least prevent some touches inside to those two while grabbing a few long boards.
Andre Nation (averaging 17.5 points per game since returning) has a big game in front of another solid student crowd at the Convo, but Cooke’s absence plus recent struggles will make it five straight losses for JMU.
Charleston 68, Madison 58
Northeastern (3-3) at Hofstra (3-1) – 4:00 – Audio/Video
These teams are rendering their nonconference records irrelevant. It’s mainly because they both have players vying for the CAA Player of the Year award, and for each team the challenge revolves around getting solid performances from the supporting players.
Against William & Mary Dion Nesmith posted his most efficient game of the season (15 points, 10 assists), and Stephen Nwaukoni had 13 points and 14 boards. That trio of seniors can keep this team competitive in every game, and when the underclassmen shine, the Pride are a sneakily dangerous team.
In Northeastern’s past two road games, David Walker’s star has burned brighter than any in the final minutes of the game. Most recently, he hit a game-winning buzzer beater from waaay downtown on Wednesday night (not to mention that Northeastern had just let Towson come back from 21 down, AKA no momentum).
For a Northeastern team playing this year’s schedule with next year’s team, it’s great to see he cerebral Walker emerging as a potential 1B beside Eatherton in the offense. By the time he graduates, opposing coaches will be about as sick of him as they were of that other Husky whose last name rhymes with Manning.
As much as I love Hofstra’s nice mix of veterans and young talents, I like Northeastern in this spot. This team is starting to build some confidence in road situations.
Northeastern 71, Hofstra 68
W&M (2-2) at Drexel (2-3) – 4:00 – Audio/Video
On Wednesday, William & Mary made a rally to get within one point of Hofstra before halftime. Then, the Tribe took a page from last season’s book and…well, just read Jared Fortek’s writeup at Shades of 48. It was one of the classic Tribe lapses that scares us.
It was the Tribe’s second worst offensive showing of the season (in terms of effiency – the worst was WVU). This team has been electrifying at home, but has struggled, particularly in the second half, on the road. Logic says the Tribe couldn’t possibly repeat the scorching offensive show from the first meeting, but Drexel’s defense is certainly trending in the wrong direction.
The Dragons have had five days to rest up, and you know they’ll be hungry avenge their loss to the Tribe earlier this season. It’s been great to see Rodney Williams and Mohamed Bah play solidly in expanded roles, but we need to see Dartaye Ruffin back on the floor dominating the paint (defensively).
I like a rested Drexel home team here. The Tribe offense has showed signs of cooling off on the road, Drexel should benefit from having Ruffin actually play here. Big games from Frantz Massenat and Chris Fouch get Drexel back in the win column.
Drexel 67, W&M 63