UNC-Wilmington Preview

So let’s try this again. The Nittany Lions today will actually try to take advantage of the benefits of playing in an exempt tournament this time of year. The last two were a disaster in their own right. The 2007 Old Spice Classic left PSU dejected and humbled after losing all 3 games. The 2008 Philly Classic last year did nothing but destroy PSU’s NCAA chances. The 2009 Charleston Classic hopefully will be much different. Check out the bracket here.

The first game in the bracket is the North Carolina-Wilmington Seahawks. The game tips off today at 4 on ESPNU. If you’re in State College and you don’t get ESPNU, you should hit up Rotelli’s downtown. $1 slices and $0.40 wings during the game.

UNCW has gotten off to rough start to the season, dropping games to Appalachian State on the road and at home to George Washington. They were also picked to finish last in the CAA. So on paper, they don’t appear to be any good. They won just 7 games last year and went 3-15 in the CAA. Two of their starters from last year transferred, but Chad Tomko, their best player, returned and John Fields, a transfer from East Carolina, is eligible. DeChellis in his post-game Monday was really hyping up UNCW as the best team we would have played so far, but I’m not sure if that’s just ED trying to get his guys focused. This game is critical to the non-con RPI. We do not want to end up in the loser’s bracket of this tournament, so I’m not sure how much validity there is to ED’s statements.

UNCW is coached by Benny Moss, in his fourth year. He’s had an up-and-down go of it so far, winning just 7 games last year and his first season, but won 20 games his second season. One would expect that he’s on the hot seat this year. They play at a faster tempo than the first two opponents, averaging 71.2 possessions/game last year and 75 in the first two games this season. Last year, they couldn’t get to the foul line and they were terrible on the boards. They gave up 33.4% of their defensive rebounds to their opponents, while only grabbing 25.3% of available offensive boards. They’ve done much better so far this season, however.

Projected Starters:

  • G – #5 Chad Tomko – 5-11 Jr
  • G – #14 Johnny Wolf – 6-3 Sr
  • F – #21 Dominique Lacey – 6-7 Jr
  • F – #24 Will Ohuaregbe – 6-8 Fr
  • F – #32 John Fields – 6-9 Jr

Those are my guesses as starters, but they could definitely change. Tomko is coming off of foot surgery so I’m not sure what his status is. He’ll play but who knows how much, he might not start. John Fields is coming off a one game suspension for a flagrant foul at the end of their first game. Who knows if he’ll start or if Moss will have him come off the bench as a discipline measure. Also, they played 13 guys against Appalachian State and 12 guys against George Washington. They’re obviously figuring out their rotation much like we are.

This will be the first time ever that Fields and Tomko will be on the floor at the same time for the Seahawks. Fields averaged 9.5 PPG and 5.5 RPG in his two years at East Carolina. He dropped 21 points (14 shots) and 7 rebounds against Appalachian State his first game of the year. Tomko averaged 15.6 PPG, 3.7 RPG, and 4.4 APG last season, so it appears the Seahawks got a nice 1-2 punch going on. Tomko scored 13 points off the bench against GW in his first game of the year. Ahmad Grant (6-3 Jr), Montez Downey (6-5 Sr), Darryl Felder (6-3 Jr), and Keith Rendleman (6-6 Fr) will be the first guys off the bench (unless they start).

They have some size and experience, but this is game PSU should (and must) win. I’d personally like to see PSU force more turnovers and crash the boards. UNCW has given up an 86% Free Throw Rate in the first two games, but I’m not sure how much of that is their fault. Both games had over 50 calls combined, plus the games were close so intentional fouling at the end probably occurred. But if PSU is aggressive, it looks like they could get to the line a lot. We would have to convert, obviously, if we do.

PREDICTION: I’ll take PSU 83-66 in a faster paced game than the first two. I guess that means I’ll take PSU to cover the -11 line.

NOTE: Talor Battle is 13 point away from 1,000 for his career



6 Responses to UNC-Wilmington Preview

  1. Sam says:

    This may be the biggest game of the entire OOC schedule. Win and get two games against some decent OOC competition. Lose and get two games against some RPI killers. It was nice to see some other guys step up against Robert Morris. Hopefully Ed can use the OOC as a way to develop some depth to get ready for the B10 schedule. As for today’s game, PSU should win, but I’d like to see a similar spurt to the 2nd half vs RM happen a little earlier in this game…in order to not give this team any hope.

  2. HHV says:

    Where did you find the line at 9.5? Everything I’ve seen said it was 11. No matter though, I’ll be taking PSU to cover myself and so will my buddy John. We’re all 1-0 so far.

  3. Eric says:

    Someone posted that at PSHoops. I trust you, though. Where do you usually get your lines?

  4. HHV says:

    I get them from this site: http://www.docsports.com/college-basketball-lines.html

    Apparently, they bumped the line up to PSU (-12) now.

  5. Blackbeard's Delight says:

    Good call on Rotelli’s. Was a nice surprise last year when looking for a joint to grab a bite at during homecoming.

    Most games I’ve watched live have let me down – soooo I’ve ot the DVR set to tape and will await the outcome before I lay my jinx on the team. UNCW – fast tempo team, should be interesting.

  6. […] Here’s another Penn State-centric preview. Apparently, PSU coach DeChellis is impressed with the Seahawks. At least that’s what […]

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