Thursday, November 13, 2008

UNCG (0-0) @ Charlotte (0-0)

When: Friday, Nov. 14 8:00 pm
Where: Halton Arena (9,000)
TV: None

Charlotte Athletics
Charlotte Forum

Spartan Notes:
- The Spartans return 2 starters from a team (19-13) that finished 3rd in the North division of the SoCon.
- UNCG was picked to finish 4th in the North division by both the coaches and media. No Spartan player was single out for any individual or all-conference honors.
- The graduation losses were pretty significant. The starting back court and Kyle Hines are now gone.
- As opposed to playing any exhibition games, UNCG opted to play closed door scrimmages against NC A&T and South Carolina (according to the N&R) or Winthrop (according to the athletics website).
- Landon Clement scored 19 points in the annual Blue-White game. Freshman Damien Eargle scored 14 and Mikko Koivisto scored 16 in the game (2 15-minute halves).

49er Notes:
- The Charlotte 49ers were picked to finish 5th by the A-10 media and coaches.
- Senior Forward Lamont Mack was tabbed 2nd team all-conference.
- The 49ers return 4 starters from last year's squad (20-14) that finished 4th in the A-10.
- Charlotte beat Pfeiffer 122-85 in an exhibition game last week. 4 of the 5 starters scored in double figures, but reserve Ian Andersen led the way with 24. The 49ers shot a ridiculous 57% (16-28) from 3 point range. They out rebounded Pfeiffer 46-39.
- During an exhibition trip to Canada, Charlotte scored over 100 points in 3 of 4 games.

My Thoughts:
This is an interesting game b/c I feel like these two programs should be playing often in several different sports (i.e. baseball). However, this may be a bad year to open with the 49ers in basketball. I really feel like as the season goes on, UNCG is going to get better. Maybe a lot better. As for the first game, though, it may be ugly. Having 3 new starters, one likely to be a freshman, is not a recipe for winning in a hostile environment.

I'm expecting this game to be a high number of possessions game. I'm also expecting UNCG to shoot a huge number of 3 pointers. In order for the Spartans to be successful, they are going to have to turn this game into an ugly "turnover fest" and hit a high percentage of their 3's. They're also going to need to play solid perimeter defense. Keeping close with the 49ers on the boards is almost a must.

While all of those are some big "if's", the major thing that needs to happen in this game or very early in the season is that players are going to need to step up. Kyle Hines is gone, but there are still plenty of solid players with experience on the roster. When everyone figures out their roles, I think this team will surprise people. Hopefully it happens Friday night.

Go Spartans !!!

- Game preview from From the game notes it appears UNCG will use a very odd starting lineup of Landon, Kendall, Ben, Eargle and Pete Brown. I'm very surprised not to see Oliver or Mikko starting. Guess the other 5 have shown Coach Dement something extra in practice.