Next up on the Pirates' three-game road trip is Longwood, one of three D-1 Independent basketball teams. And therefore, the Lancers are pretty much unknown to most fans. College Basketball Prospectus' entry on them is literally a paragraph long. But here's all I know about the Lancers (literally):
2011-12 record: 4-7
All-time series record: 1-0
Last meeting: 12/13/10 (78-51 W)
The Lancers play in a bandbox called Willett Hall that seats less than Walsh Gym does (yipes!), and the Pirates are the highest profile team to EVER visit the Farmville, Virginia campus. That makes this kind of the biggest basketball game in school history.
That being said, when you think of Longwood, think of VMI- all offense and no defense. The Lancers last season finished second to last in all of D-1 in adjusted defense. Not only that, they were the shortest team in D-1, which led to a whopping 57% field goal percentage for their opponents inside the arc. OOF.
What Longwood does have is some offensive firepower, as they play an up-tempo style that generates buckets based solely on that high tempo (a la VMI, who the Lancers actually beat this season). They are led by senior center (although he stands just 6'6") Antwan Carter, who gets almost 17 PTS and 9 REB per contest. Three more seniors flank him in the starting lineup- Jeremiah Bowman, a slashing guard, runs the show for Longwood averaging over 13 PTS and 5 AST, while Martiz Washington (the Lancers' best three-point shooter) joins him in the backcourt. Jan Van der Kooij joins Carter up front and is actually the tallest starting Lancer. Sophomore guard Tristan Carey rounds out the starting 5 averaging a respectable 12 PTS and 5 REB per game.
The offensive numbers are very good for the Lancers: 76 PTS, 45% FG shooting, 37% on threes, and assists on more than half their baskets. The defensive numbers? Ugly. 84 PTS allowed per game, 49% shooting from the field, 43% allowed behind the arc (!).
Seton Hall will win if:
- They defend. Longwood hasn't faced a defense like Seton Hall's this year, and last season, the Pirates held them to their lowest point total of the entire season (51). If the Pirates defend like they know how, they'll win this game easily.
- They avoid the "trap game." This is the very definition of a trap game for the Pirates, coming off a big win with a big-time showdown against #1 Syracuse on Wednesday. Focusing on this game and only this game will help out the Pirates in this one.
Longwood could win if:
- They use the momentum of the crowd. This is the biggest game in Longwood's history. No team the level of the Pirates has ever visited them. The crowd should be capacity and maybe more, and the Lancers will need all the help they can get.
- They enforce their tempo. The Lancers play fast, and the Pirates have had only one off day between Dayton and this game. Running may not be beneficial to Seton Hall, and if the Lancers do it too often, the Pirates maybe (maybe) could tire by the end.
That's it for now. Watch for the 5 Thoughts tomorrow. And, as always, GO PIRATES!