Most likely, tomorrow's game will be your typical early season non-conference game. Purdue will play at home, take an early lead, and beat a low major team by 15-30 points. Given the battles we will face during the Big Ten season we will welcome this relatively easy win. If it is not an easy win, we'll be in trouble. The Ospreys are probably a lot like Austin Peay in that they are alright for their conference, but not on the same level of us.
That is not to say there is nothing to learn from this game. We still need to get Terone Johnson out of his slump. We're still hoping to get the Hanson Brothers some run and have at least one emerge as a guy that can give a few quality minutes. We still want to see if Lewis Jackson and Kelsey Barlow can continue their offensive flow from Tuesday night. This is also the last chance to get the guys some work before the Finals break.
2009-10 Record: 13-18, 8-12 Atlantic Sun
2010-11 Record: 4-4, 1-1
Postseason result: None
Blog Representation: None
Series with Purdue: First Meeting
TV: 6:30pm on Big Ten Network
North Florida has done about what you would expect out of them this season. They have lost to the good teams they have played and beaten the mediocre. The four losses have come against Florida State, Missouri, Pittsburgh, and Stetson (a conference loss) and the wins have come against Wyoming, Prairie View A&M, Morgan State, and Florida Gulf Coast. This is only their sixth full season at the Division I level, and Florida Gulf Coast is a D-I newcomer as well. Morgan State is a MEAC team, and Prairie View is a SWAC team. Therefore, their wins have come against some very weak competition.
The overall numbers are greatly in our favor. They shoot just 43.8% from the field and they are 241st in scoring. This is a team that cannot score consistently, and now they must face our defense that is known for wearing teams down. They are 208th in rebounding, 224th in assists, and with no one taller than 6'7" they lack anyone that can defend JaJuan Johnson inside. This is the absolute perfect game to play Sandi Marcius, Patrick Bade, and Travis Carroll some big minutes just to see what they can do. JJ is going to have such an advantage by himself he may just kill someone. The Hansons, therefore, need to get some run and experience if only to gain confidence for later.
Parker Smith and Andres Diaz are their only scorers averaging in double figures. Diaz is a 6'7" forward and Smith is a 6'3" guard. Both are seniors on a very young team. Brad Haugabrook is the lone senior that sees regular playing time. Matt Sauey and Jimmy Williams are the only juniors, while the rest of the rotation is freshmen and sophomores.
I would be very, very tempted to not even play JJ and E'Twaun at all in this game just to minimize injury and give experience to everyone else. It is the type of game we should win without them. Those two have nothing to gain by playing in this one, and as we saw with Maurice Creek and Evan Turner last year, you can lose a lot in these relatively meaningless non-conference game.
Here are some more ugly numbers: The Ospreys average 19 turnovers compared to 12 assists per game. They only get 6 steals and three blocks per game. Jerron Granberry and Smith are their only real perimeter threat, but they shoot just 35% as a team from long range.
Too many things are in our favor to expect anything less than a comfortable win. This has to be another game where, like Howard, Austin Peay, and Alcorn State, we get everyone involved and look great for stretches of play. Carroll and Marcius combined for 20 points against Alcorn State, so I would like to see at least 10 out of them tomorrow. We should be able to name our score in this one.