Thursday, November 24, 2011

Northwestern Ready to Host Stony Brook in Post-Thanksgiving Game

If you’re looking to take a break from post-Thanksgiving shopping tomorrow you might want to stop by Welsh-Ryan Arena at noon to see Northwestern take on Stony Brook. Now, you first reaction might be to assume that this game wouldn’t be all that entertaining, but the fact is Stony Brook is a respectable team that could give Northwestern a challenge. Of course, Northwestern should win the game, but the Sea Wolves played close with Indiana for a half and are projected as an NCAA Tournament team. Therefore, a win over Stony Brook would give NU wins over three potential NCAA teams in their first five games. Hopefully, that fact makes the ‘Cats focus as this could be a trap game with the ACC/Big Ten Challenge against Georgia Tech coming up on Tuesday.

Stony Brook is one of the most balanced offensive teams I’ve ever seen. They manage to score more than 70 points per game, but don’t have a single player who averages double figures. Instead, they have seven players, including Chicago’s Al Rapier, who average more than 6.5 points per game. Looking at those numbers it becomes hard to decide who to focus the defense on. Hopefully, NU can play man-to-man and work on that defense.

Stony Brook has some good shooters in Anthony Jackson, Bryan Dougher, and Ron Bracey. I’d think that given that fact the 1-3-1 won’t be a defense NU plays much in this contest. The only possible reason to consider the 1-3-1 might be because Stony Brook isn’t the greatest ball-handling team ever. Guard/Forward Tommy Brenton has a 16-to-6 assist to turnover ratio, but most of the rest of the Sea Wolves are turnover prone.

I’m hopeful that this game will present Northwestern the chance to use some of the bench a bit more. If Nick Fruendt and Tre Demps are going to play any sort of a role for this team they need to get some action on the court before the Big Ten starts. This could be a chance to do so. Also, given that Tuesday will be another road trip and the ‘Cats still aren’t 100% healthy I’d like to see if some of the ‘Cats who aren’t feeling their best don’t have to play 30+ minutes. That might limit the scoring a bit, but I’ve still got a fairly easy Wildcat win. I predict: Northwestern, 77 Stony Brook, 54

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