Know Thy Enemy: American

“Blessing in disguise.” Write that down on a piece of paper and repeat to yourself for the rest of the day. That’s the official stance we’re taking on Mike Black‘s ankle injury that could have a crippling effect on UA until he returns.

Last week, I wrote up a “Ten questions for the season” post, but didn’t have time to get it up.  One question was : “Have we finally beaten the injury bug?” Unfortunately, we received an answer early for that one. Another we’re about to find out about another “question” real soon: “How will the backup point guard situation play out?” We’ll find out that one this week. Hopefully this trial by fire will force Iati or Watts to raise the level of their games, or at least become trusted backups later in the year. Also, Logan and Moore and Ambrose must look to aid bringing the ball up the court.

Also, I wonder if this will serve as a defense mechanism. This allows the team to disassociate themselves from those losses enduring while Black is sidelined, even though we were expected to lose them anyways. At the beginning of the season, the difference between this years team and last years was that this team could win, but after a close call loss (last year’s specialty), we can swallow a “moral victory” with less disdain.

Heal quickly, Mike! But don’t rush back to the court- if his ankle injury turns to a nagging one, the season is over.

As for the American University Eagles, here’s the rundown:

Let’s get the worst case scenario out there: this game could closely resemble Rocky IV when Ivan Drago is dismantling Apollo Creed, with American’s Romanian forward Vlad Moldoveanu excelling in the role of Drago. Vlad, a 6’9  George Mason transfer joined American half way through last season and orchestrated a turn around, and much is expected in his first year- no surprising after multiple 30 point performances. He can stretch defenses with his range and is overall a highly skilled player, and a pre-season All Conference pick in the Patriot League.

American picked first in Patriot League…barely: It’s hard to find less agreement in a poll than the Patriot League’s coaches’ poll: 4 in a 8 team league teams received a first place vote.

No Mercy in the Frontcourt: This game is going to be a must tougher test for for Will Brown’s young frontcourt- there is no doubt that American will look early and often to exploit the Great Danes’ inside. Along with Vlad, the Eagles start 6’8 Stephen Lumpkins, who averaged 13 PPG and 8.5 RPG last season.

From SEC Country: Troy Brewer, a 6’5 guard who transfered in this year from Georgia, could also give Albany fits- not necessarily with his shooting stroke, but his superior athletic ability.

Who’s At the Wheel?: The big question mark for this American team is that they have no established point guard- fitting in that UAlbany will not have its point guard available either. Sophomore Daniel Munoz may have staked a claim to the starting role after coming of the bench and performing will during American’s opener, but the position remains unsettled.

All in All: Any team in their right mind would endlessly pressure our guards with Black on the sidelines, but it will be interesting if American takes advantage of that with it’s thin backcourt.

Albany’s bigs inside will have to bend, not break inside. This is an exciting game for Luke Devlin- he will have a chance to go up against another more experienced foreigner with an explosive offensive game, hopefully he’s taking notes.

A victory would take a heroic effort by Albany- American is designed to abuse teams a step slow or a bit weak inside. Tim Ambrose will have to continue to score, but the key for an upset (along with turnovers, too trite almost to mention) could be Logan Aronhalt’s shooting percentage- it needs a big bump from Friday night.

~ by TheMidRangeGame on November 15, 2010.

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