Game Preview – Florida Atlantic

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by: John Chase

Florida Atlantic is the returning Sun Belt champion, posting a 22-11 record, 13-3 in conference. With 4 returning starters and a line-up with 5 juniors and 3 seniors, the Owls have the experience and skill necessary to take the Sun Belt conference again.

Joe Lunardi currently has FAU in one of the four play-in games as a 16 seed. The Owls return 3 of their top 4 scorers including leading scorer, Greg Gantt, at 14 points per game. Their top two scorers, Gantt and Raymond Taylor, are also their top returning 3 point shooters, each hitting about 33% with 60 or so makes.

FAU does lose their top rebounder, a category they definitely struggle in at only 33 boards per game. With their tallest player standing at 6-8 and Taylor at 5-6 it is no surprise that the Owls have trouble on the glass. This is an area where UW can gain a HUGE advantage using their clearly superior size. FAU will add a 7-1 transfer next season to their roster as he is currently sitting out his transfer year as per NCAA regulation.

Predicted Starting Line-Ups:

Florida Atlantic:

G – Raymond Taylor 5-6 145lb
G – Alex Tucker 5-11 165lb
G – Greg Gantt 6-2 205lb
F – Jordan McCoy 6-6 185lb
F – Kore White 6-8 245lb

Washington:

G – Abdul Gaddy 6-3 185lb
G – C.J. Wilcox 6-5 190lb
G – Terrence Ross 6-6 195lb
F – Darnell Gant 6-8 230lb
C – Aziz N’Diaye 7-0 260lb

Keys to the Game:

  • Rebounding – Washington should and will dominate the glass in this match-up. With such a ridiculous size advantage we can expect the Dawgs to come out with a +15 or more rebounding margin. This is the type of game where N’Diaye and Ross could both go for double doubles with points and rebounds as well as guys like Gaddy and Tony Wroten could possibly double-double with points and assists.
  • Push the Post Option: – This is a great time for UW to get some serious points in the paint, valuable experience for later in the season against bigger frontcourts and tougher match-ups. With N’Diaye having a 4 inch and 20lb advantage and Gant with 2 inches and 50lbs on his man, its tough to see either of them struggling significantly with posting up their man. Ross, Wilcox, and especially Gaddy will also have significant size advantages that will allow them to drive the lane as well as elevate for some nice three point attempts.
  • Force the Backcourt Pressure: – With our frontcourt having definitive size and skill advantages, the Dawgs can afford to push their backcourt defense a bit harder and cheat a little more on cutting off passes. The Owls scoring also finds most of its success on the perimeter so shutting down their guard play with tough, in-your-face defense will prevent many opportunities.

Final Score Prediction: UW-94 FAU-60

As bad as GSU looks, FAU is a much better match-up for the Huskies. Not only is our backcourt anywhere from 4 to 12 inches taller than theirs, our frontcourt also has a huge advantage in size and strength. FAU is similar to UW in that their frontcourt is their weakness and the backcourt is their strength and our strength is much stronger than theirs by any stretch of the imagination. UW should have another dominate victory, but one in which our scoring in the paint will prove to be much more decisive than usual.