SCOUTING THE WILDCATS
Davidson is an experienced team that isn't going to be fazed by anything the Mountaineers can throw at them. If anything, it would probably be the opposite, as the Wildcats have seen pretty much everything there is to see as they have progressed through their college careers. With three seniors and two juniors in the starting lineup, this team isn't going to be an easy out for anyone, as their win over Vanderbilt and close loss at New Mexico demonstrates.
Southern Conference preseason player of the year De'Mon Brooks has done nothing to cast any doubt on that selection in the early going. Heading into the Old Spice Classic, the junior was averaging an even 20 points per game, and adds 6.3 rebounds per contest. Fellow forward Jake Cohen, a senior, matches Brooks' rebounding total, and contributes 10 points per game to give the Wildcats a solid inside tandem.
In the backcourt, the experience factor continues to show with a trio of upperclassmen. Senior J.P Kuhlman tosses in 13,3 points per game but also distributes the ball, dealing out 5.3 assists per game. Junior Chris Czerapowicz contributes 11 points, while senior Nick Cochran contributes in a complimentary role with 3.3 points, 2,7 rebounds and 3.6 assists.
Off the bench, the experience factor isn't as pronounced, but the Wildcats are still getting good support. Sophomore guard Tyler Kalinoski is getting almost as much run as the starters, and is scoring 11.7 points in his nearly 25 minutes per appearance, while forward Clint Mann averages 7.0 points and 3.0 rebounds per game as the primary frontcourt sub.
Davidson's experience means that it makes fewer mistakes than the average NCAA squad, and that fact makes them much more efficient on offense. Though three games, the Wildcats had just 30 turnovers while forcing 40 from their foes. They've averaged 80 points per game without burning up the nets, as they are shooting just 42.3% from the field.
|Fri Nov 23
HP Field House
West Virginia has to play with poise against Davidson, something that it hasn't shown yet the year. The Gonzaga game displayed a a team unable to cope with adversity, while the Marist win didn't have any such pressure. At some point in the game, Davidson will likely reel off a run and put the Mountaineers under duress. How West Virginia responds will be one of the big keys in the contest.
WVU shot the ball well from three-point range against Marist, making five of its nine attempts, but those makes came well after the Mountaineers had the game under control. The Mountaineers will probably have to take, and make, a few more threes to knock off Davidson. West Virginia was able to get the ball to the rim repeatedly against the Red Wolves, scoring time and again in transition off turnovers and missed shots. Those chances figure to be far fewer against the Wildcats, which means WVU will need to generate some offense in the halfcourt. With the team still struggling to get the ball to Deniz Kilicli, and the big man fighting to find an effective playing balance, the need to hit a few shots from the perimeter becomes even more important.
Eleven West Virginia players are averaging between 27.5 minutes and 10.5 minutes per game. The only scholarship player not to participate yet is Dominique Rutledge, who is sitting out for reported disciplinary reasons.
* * *
Davidson is in the midst of a stretch of six consecutive games away from home. That's the longest run of road games since the 1999-2000 season, when the Wildcats played seven games away from Belk Arena.
* * *
Despite not starting and playing just one half of the Marist game, Aaric Murray is leading WVU in scoring and blocked shots.
* * *
Davidson has dominated the Southern Conference over the past decade, winning eight of the league's last 11 titles. Part of the reason for that is Davidson's challenging non-conference schedule, which continues this year. The 'Cats are 1-2 so far against New Mexico, Milwaukee and Vanderbilt, and still has games against WVU, Charlotte, UNC-Wilmington, Drexel, Duke and Richmond. They are the preseason pick to win the league again in 2012-13.