Two home games, Thursday night against Missouri S&T and Saturday afternoon against last season’s NCAA D-II national champ Drury.
S&T is just 5-6 and 0-3 in the GLVC. But recall two years ago when it came into the PAC and beat USI — no, it SHOCKED USI — winning 62-55 (then S&T returned to obscurity, finishing the season 7-20, including 6-12 in the conference). Maybe USI coach Rodney Watson should re-run the video of that game. Anybody who doesn’t believe that teams can look past an opponent to the next game, this is exhibit A because USI went on to beat Drury at home one day later, 76-64.
And Drury this season? The Panthers are 11-0, 3-0 in the GLVC. But I’m wondering how they’ll handle this USI team, with its long arms and quickness and deep bench. And don’t forget the immoveable post, Aaron Nelson. Drury’s top three scorers are Cameron Adams (18.7 points per game), Kameron Bundy (16.7) and Ian Carter (10.7).
The key to this game may be rebounding, and if that ends up being the case, USI should have an overwhelming edge. So far, Drury is averaging just 36.7 rebounds per game while giving up an average of 31.4. Compare that to the Eagles’ rebound differential: 18.7 (46.1 rebounds compared to a measly 27.4 by opponents). Adams leads Drury at 5.2 boards per game. Next is Carter at 4.8. Compare that to USI’s Nelson (13.5), Taylor Wischmeier (7.4), Manny Ogunfolu (5.5) and Orlando Rutledge (4.7). The clincher for the Eagles: the height and, subsequently, the length difference. Adams is 6-foot-5, Carter 6-6 (Bundy, by the way, is 6-2). Nelson (6-8), Wischmeier (6-8), Ogunfolu (6-7) and Rutledge (6-6) have them beat by a mile. And don’t forget the athleticism of Gavin Schumann and Alex Marzette.
If Drury only manages to get off one shot each time down the floor, the game may not even be close.