As I tweeted on Friday, my inner sci fi nerd tied up my inner sports nerd and dragged me to Tron IMAX 3d. And the movie just so happened to be at the same time as the Oregon game. When I got home, I was greeted with two surprises.
- Virginia had beat Oregon 63-46.
- They had done so without Mike Scott.
Apparently, Mike had some damage cartilage removed from his ankle and sat out the game. Already shorthanded in the front court, the Hoos played most of the game with 4 guards on the floor at the same time.
The result? A low scoring game in which the Hoos shot 50% from the field and allowed Oregon to shoot 34.5%. It worked because we were able to shoot consistently all game and the Ducks didn’t have anyone over 6-9 on the floor. And while we had some great preformances (KT’s 20 points and Sammy’s 12 off the bench), there are a couple of concerns we have.
The obvious one is the lack of interior scoring. Sene has alway been known as a defensive presence, but the other two guys we have been rotating in (Regan and Mitchell) are still 1st years and have yet to develop their inside scoring ability. But more importantly, we need to keep these guys out of foul trouble. Sene, Mitchell, and Regan all had 4 fouls by the end of the game. If a team was to dump the ball in down low and keep drawing fouls, they could force the Hoos to go even smaller.
Luckily for the Hoos the next 2 games before Christmas are against lower caliber teams. Tonight’s opponent, Norfolk State, comes in with a 1-7 record, and have not won on the road this season. They shoot 40.7% on the season, which is 279th in Division I. And while they have a legit inside presence with Kyle O’Quinn (15.4 ppg, 11.8 rpg), they will be relying on their guard play as well. Wednesday, the Hoos play independent Seattle University, who will be wrapping up the first half of their schedule already. They come in with a 4-10 record, and have yet to win a game on the road this year either. This is not their first trip on the east coast, as they played Maryland back on November 8th, but they were decimated 105-76. They are a very offensively balanced team, with four players averaging in double figures. Forwards Alex Jones (10.9 ppg) and Aaron Broussard (14.9 ppg) and guards Sterling Carter (13.1 ppg) and Cervante Burrell (12.5 ppg) allow the Redhawks the ability to use a variety of players to create baskets. And they have a couple of decent wins on the season, most notably Oregon State and Navy, it is still a long way to go to play a basketball game.
Look for the Hoos to win both these games and with the 8 day layoff before a strong Iowa State team comes to town, it should give Scott plenty of time to heal.