When previewing Holy Cross, the first thing that you look at is their defense, which is usually one of the tops in the country. In their opening win, Holy Cross held a good Hofstra team to 47 points and 26.5% shooting. Nuff said.
Their backcourt is led by 5-11 junior point guard Pat Doherty who played 24mpg last year and averaged 5.3ppg. He will be called upon to score more this year, and he responded with 18 points in the opener.
The Cruaders lost their top 2 scorers from last year, Torey Thomas at Guard, and Keith Simmons at the SF. They will be hard to replace.
Holy Cross started 6-2 Senior Kyle Cruze against Hofstra, and he responded with a solid 10 points on 2-5 from the arc. Cruze played only 13mpg last year shooting only 30% from the field and 26% from the arc. Andrew Beinert is a highly regarded 6-3 combo guard waiting in the wings.
At small forward, Holy Cross can go with either 6-6 junior Colin Cunningham or 6-8 sophomore Adam May. Neither played a lot of minutes last year, and neither averaged more than 2ppg.
Holy Cross's strength is in their frontcourt where 6-8 junior Alex Vander Bann, 6-8 sophomore Eric Meister, and 6-11, 265lb senior Tim Clifford will likely share the minutes. Vander Bann had 10pts, 15rebs, and 2-4 from the arc versus Hofstra, and could be their best player. Clifford and Meister are strong players off the boards
The Stags seem to be a mirror image of Holy Cross with an experienced point guard, and a strong frontcourt, with quite a bit of depth. Both teams have new players at the 2G and SF that will be counted on to play more significant minutes this year. Both teams focus on defense. This could be a 50-49 game.
Last year, Holy Cross won this game in OT, but 6-7 Greg Nero had 23 points on 7 of 11 shooting, and 6-7 Marty O'Sullivan contributed 14 points. Both players were the recipients of 8 assists from Han, who played one of his better games.