A pre-holiday tournament continues play this week for the Georgetown Hoyas, with a test against the pre-season favorite of the Big South Conference opening play at the Charleston Classic.
After being picked 8th in the 2009-10 pre-season poll, Coastal Carolina surprised more than a few Big South fans by winning the regular season title and stands to repeat the feat in this year's pre-season picks. The Chanticleers (2-1) started with a pair of easy wins over Division III teams but fell victim to 13 threes in a late loss to College of Charleston this Tuesday. Including its games at the Charleston Classic, CCU will play only one game outside the Palmetto State until January 6.
This is the sixth meeting between the schools, though the previous five all came before John Thompson III became head coach in 2004. Much like Tulane, the Chants are not a big team, but they are a strong rebounding outfit and one which will go deep in the bench. Guard play may well decide this, however.
A three guard offense accounts for about half the points scored to date for the Chants. 6-1 guard Danny Nieman is shooting 54% on the season to date, while shooting guard Kierre Greenwood is at 60% (9-15). Both are averaging 43% from three point range. The big factor for Coastal will be combo guard/forward Desmond Holloway, averaging 18.3 points and coming off a career high 24 point, 9 rebound effort against the College of Charleston.
CCU will look to all-Big South senior Danny Gray to establish the pace of the game in the frontcourt. Gray opened with 22 points in the season opener but has averaged just five points a game in his next two, and needs a better shooting effort to match Georgetown's guard play. Forward Sam MCLaurin had 8 points and 11 rebounds in the loss to CofC, and may test Henry Sims more actively down low than what Sims faced against Tulane.
The Chanticleers can go to any of three junior guards for reserve help, but appear thin up front. 6-11 junior Jon Pack is the only CCU player taller than 6-8 and has scored just four points in the last two games.
Georgetown must continue to rely on guard play and get good efforts inside from Henry Sims and Nate Lubick. This game, in particular, may see opportunities for Hollis Thompson to assume a greater role in the scoring, as CCU was vulnerable to the three point shot in its loss Tuesday. Some other keys to the game:
- Shaking Off The Rust: Thursday at noon is an awkward time to play basketball, but GU must get off to a good start and not offer any early hope for CCU to make a game of it.
- Rebounds: Though Coastal's numbers are inflated against smaller college teams, the Hoyas must be careful not to open up second chance point opportunities.
- Free Throws: Georgetown's free throw numbers have been poor. Sooner or later, it's going to hurt them if they do not pick up the pace.
As first round opponents go in this tournament, Coastal Carolina presents a good test for a Georgetown team that relies on its guards. By the end of the weekend, however, look for the frontcourt to be a deciding factor, however.