p. X-FACTOR: Battle of the Boards
The Tribe must win the battle of the backboards. Jan. 26, in Williamsburg, ODU manhandled junior forward Peter Stein and Co. on the low block. While the Tribe entered the locker room at halftime with a one-point lead, they allowed the Monarchs too many second-chance scoring opportunities in the second half and lost 72-59. ODU out-rebounded the Tribe by 19 in that game.
“We’ve got to do a better job on the boards,” Head Coach Tony Shaver said. “The last time we played ODU, they really hurt us on the offensive backboards.”
KEY MATCHUP: ODU sophomore forward Gerald Lee vs. junior forward Peter Stein
All-CAA second team selection Gerald Lee’s inside presence may spark the Monarchs to victory, but with double-team help, the Tribe should be able to neutralize his scoring abilities. Lee averaged 13 points and five rebounds against the College this season.
“We’re giving up some size in there, just a few pounds,” Shaver said.
After sophomore guard David Schneider led the Tribe to victory with eight points in the game’s final minute Friday, Shaver spoke about getting his starting seniors, Laimis Kisielius and Nathan Mann, relaxed to face ODU in less than 24 hours. All season long, the Tribe has relied on balanced scoring to win close games. Friday, Schneider and sophomore forward Danny Sumner carried the load, while Kisielius and Mann struggled to find an offensive rhythm against Georgia State. The two 1,000-point career scorers combined for 11 points, hitting only three of 17 shots.
In order to beat the more athletic and deeper Monarchs, all five Tribe starters will have to contribute. Expect the duo to excel tomorrow, especially Kisielius, who has played some of his best basketball against the Monarchs. In their last matchup in Williamsburg, he exploded for a career-high 26 points.
FLAT HAT SECOND ROUND PREDICTIONS
VCU 71, Towson 55
Tribe 65, ODU 62
UNCW 69, Delaware 59
Mason 75, Northeastern 74
VCU 68, Towson 54
ODU 67, Tribe 59
UNCW 72, Delaware 57
Mason 73, Northeastern 68
VCU 74, Towson 52
Tribe 68, ODU 64
UNCW 70, Delaware 63
Northeastern 61, Mason 59