Merry Christmas from everyone at South Orange Juice! All we want for Christmas is a can of Raid.
Why? To vanquish the Spiders, of course.
There is no polite way to put this- this is the last chance the Pirates have to get into the NCAA Tournament. Their non-conference schedule has been a disaster to this point. They have exactly ZERO quality wins in a non-conference slate that was full of chances to get one, and considering that Big East play starts on Tuesday, .... well, you get my point.
Richmond is a completely different team from Dayton. Here's the full report:
2010-11 record: 9-3
2009-10 record: 26-9 (13-3 A-10, 1st round NCAA)
Key losses: David Gonzalvez, Ryan Butler
Key returnees: Kevin Anderson, Justin Harper, Darien Brothers, Dan Geriot, Francis Martel, Darrius Garrett, Cedrick Lindsay (freshman), Derrick Williams (freshman), Josh Duinker, Kevin Smith
As I was saying, Richmond is a completely different team from Dayton. The Flyers rebound very well, but don't shoot well. The Spiders are the opposite- they are not a very good rebounding team, but the reason is because they shoot almost 50 % from the field AS A TEAM. Head Coach Chris Mooney runs a motion offense that is very patient and works to get a good shot every possession. As a result of so many good shots, one might expect the Spiders to shoot a high percentage, lowering the opportunities for rebounds. Justin Harper is their leader in this category at 6.2 REB.
The main story here is Kevin Anderson, the Spiders' point guard. An All-America candidate, Anderson is putting up unreal shooting percentages from the field and from deep (47% from the field on a team-leading 142 attempts, 45% on threes), and leads the Spiders in scoring (16.3 PTS) and assists (3.7 AST). He makes this team go, but he certainly has some help.
Harper is regarded as an NBA prospect, and is second in scoring to Anderson at 14.3 PTS. At 6'10", 225 pounds, Harper will be tough to deal with, especially since he can stroke it from deep (44% from 3 on just 3 fewer attempts than Anderson's 49). Dan Geriot, who was all-conference last season at center, not only contributes on the glass and the scoreboard, but is also second on the team in assists. Geriot also happens to be 6'9", 235.
This is a pretty deep team, going as many as 9 deep into the bench. But this is a very well-coached team, and one that will require the Pirates' best efforts and patience on defense to defeat. This is a team that has wins over Purdue and Arizona St. on its resume, and it's the reason why the Pirates' meltdown against Dayton was crucial. Of Dayton and Richmond, Richmond is the more difficult to defeat.
The Spiders' offense is methodical in that it usually results in a good shot. Oftentimes, that shot is a three-pointer. The Spiders have FIVE players shooting it at over 40% (Anderson, Harper, Darien Brothers, Geriot and Cedrick Lindsay), and defending the perimeter is imperative in this game to ensure that the Spiders don't get many open looks. The Spiders also play good defense, holding their opponents to under 40% from the field.
If the Spiders have one noticeable weakness, it is the fact that they are giving up almost 40 percent to their opponents from deep. They also don't shoot extraordinarily well from the free throw line, but then again, neither do the Pirates.
PIRATES WILL WIN IF:
- They defend the perimeter and don't let the Spiders get a ton of open looks at a 3.
- Jordan Theodore can keep the Pirates patient and under control on both ends of the floor.
- They rebound. (Yes, it's not as crucial as in the Dayton game, but the Pirates still should outboard the Spiders and try to beat their defense down the floor often).
SPIDERS WILL WIN IF:
- They make free throws
- Kevin Anderson proves too much for Keon Lawrence and Jordan Theodore to handle
- They get a lot of second chances from offensive rebounds (They don't get many as it is, but if they somehow have an off day, offensive rebounding will sap the Pirates' confidence).
No one said this would be easy. No one said this would even be difficult. This is one hard task without Hazell. The Pirates margin for error is slim, as is many fans' patience. Plus add on the fact that this is the Pirates' last chance to do something and get a quality win before the Big East gauntlet starts, and.... you get a ton of pressure. Hopefully the Pirates can dig down deep and overcome it.