A big thanks to Brad over at Spartan Fans Nation, one of our sister sites at the Palmetto & Pine Sports Network, for doing a Q&A with us for Friday’s game versus UNC Greensboro.
Alright…let’s get this out of the way. This has been a game that has been circled on the calendar since this summer because of the Nik Brown effect. Brown was one of the most polarizing dudes to come through Farmville in quite some time. We know he hasn’t played this year so what’s his status?
Who knows at this point. I had originally heard he was still suffering from whatever injury sidelined him last year at JUCO. In the game notes for the past 2 games, he was been listed as out with “illness”. So, I guess it’s a “take your pick” type situation with him.
UNCG has played in two close games against very different opponents. What were your key takeaways from the 1-1 start so far?
This is one of those situations where the score can be deceiving. I thought neither of those games was very close. The refs (and their 60 fouls called) kept the Chowan game from getting out of hand. Plus, I think Coach Miller was really playing with lineups the entire second half. Our second contest with Wilmington really felt like a blowout and at no point did I feel any confidence that UNCG could come all the way back.
What I took away from both of those games was that UNCG is big and physical. RJ White (who I’ll talk about again later), Kayel Locke and Ben Dickinson are an absolute load for teams to contend with in the post. In both contests, UNCG opponents racked up a ton of fouls trying to guard those guys. Some of that is refs with quick whistles. But a lot of that is based on the fact that these are 3 big guys (Kayel is only 6’5″, but built like a NFL football player) that all attack in the post and on the offensive glass.
Unfortunately, the other thing I learned is that the Spartans are brutal on defense. UNCW shot over 65% from the field and most of those shots were wide (and I mean very wide) open looks. Quick PG’s have given UNCG just huge fits. Chowan caused the Spartans to rack up hand check fouls and UNCW’s guys just flat out ran past UNCG defenders. Wes Miller teams haven’t really been known for locking in on defense anyway, but this year’s version appears to be exceptionally bad. I don’t expect that to really change any time soon.