If you read my earlier article from today which featured my latest Mid Majors Baker's Dozen, I stated "A win tonight at Maryland and depending how they do in what is shaping up to be a tough Colonial Conference, you can seriously start considering the Mary for an at large bid." Well, William and Mary went to the Comcast Center and put an absolute beating on Maryland winning 83-77. And no, the game was nowhere as close as the final score.
The Tribe were up nine at the half, 39-30. Then they went up twelve, 48-36 on a Sean McCurdy three pointer. Then the Mary spent most of the second half up by double digits. In fact after a David Schneider layup, the Tribe were up sixteen, 70-54 with 4:58 left in the game. The Terrapins only got the lead into the single digits in the last 30 seconds of the game.
The Tribe at one time were shooting 7 of 14 from three (they ended up only hitting 1 of their last 9 shots from beyond the arc), and shot 47 percent from the field. They also shot 25 of 31 from the line. And the Mary was able to hold Maryland to 4 of 25 from beyond the arc.
Imagine how quiet 16,000 Maryland fans were tonight (the attendance was 16, 418 and I figure the 418 were the William and Mary fans). That gives the Mary now nine wins in a row and road wins over two ACC teams now; Wake Forest and Maryland, plus a home win over Richmond. And of course their conference home win over 8-2 VCU.
And one last thing to think about. The Mary recently won at Radford. George Mason tried to do the same thing tonight..they lost by TWENTY SEVEN. Radford 80 George Mason 53. Think the Mary are still a fluke?
Like I said, if they finish in the top three of the CAA with say 13 conference wins and win a couple of games in the CAA tournament, that will put them with 24 wins (plus there is the bracketbuster). They will have to be taken seriously come selection time if that all pans out. Perhaps John Feinstein was right. Maybe there will be at least two teams from the CAA in the Dance this year (and ODU is making a case for three teams after beating Duquesne tonight in typical Monarch fashion 63-54).
And finally, I can't say this enough. The job Tony Shaver is doing so far this year with basically the same Tribe team that finished at the bottom of the CAA last season is amazing. He is an outstanding coach.
Well the Mary have a big CAA road game on Saturday against my home base, Hofstra. The Pride ended their two game losing streak by holding on against Mike Jarvis' Florida Atlantic squad for a 67-63 road win. I was having dinner with a friend, so for one of the extremely rare times, I was not by computer listening to the WRHU internet feed. Jerry Beach and Defiantly Dutch has a good recap of this.
I will say this, there are two keys for Hofstra the rest of the way. One is finding a consistent second scoring option to Charles Jenkins. Perhaps Nathaniel Lester has woken up from his coma. He had 17 points last night, 14 in the second half when Charles Jenkins was on the bench with four fouls. Jenkins had 17 as well last night, but 15 came in the first half. Before last night, Lester had not scored in double figures in the last five games.
Lester, who is averaging a career high 10.6 points per game on 43 percent shooting (also a career high) needs to stay aggressive and drive the lane and when need be hit short jumpers. When Lester is scoring double figures, the Pride are much more difficult to beat.
The other key for Hofstra is getting good games from their post players. Greg Washington had 13 rebounds and four blocks last night. When Hofstra holds their opponent to 38 percent shooting like last night (and their 38 percent FG percentage defense leads the CAA) and is rebounding like they normally do (among the top teams in the CAA rebounding), they are a difficult team to beat.
We'll see what happens when the irresistible force, William and Mary, meets the immovable object, Hofstra, Saturday at 4:00 PM in the Mack Center. I will be there of course, with live updates on this blog.