IPFW has built their attack around a classic inside-out combination. Performing the tough work inside is 6-10, 250-pound center David Simon, who averages 13.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Despite his bulk, Simon is also nimble around the basket, as his 16 blocks suggest.
Helping Simon on the front line are Rick Wyand (6-7, 235) and Keion Henderson (6-5, 195). Henderson, who can swing to a guard spot as well, averages 6.9 points per game, while Wyand averages 9.6 points and 4.0 boards per outing.
The backcourt is led by Terry Collins (6-0, 190) who averages 12.8 points per game. He's complemented by Beau Bauer (6-3, 180) , a strong defender who has 18 steals so far this year, and also runs the 'Dons offense, averaging 6.9 points and nearly three assists per contest.
This battle in the paint (and sometimes outside it) will likely have a great effect on the Mountaineers' play against the Mastodons.
|Sun 12/28 2:00 p.m.|
WVU 5-3, 0-0
IPFW 2-8, 0-0
WVU - 77
IPFW - 216
|Margin: WVU +19.5|
Simon is no slouch on the defensive end either, so look for Fischer, if he gets the ball, to use a variety of moves and shots against his opponent. D'or has show the ability to either shoot the ball from the perimeter or put it on the floor and drive to the basket, so it won't be a surprise to see him use all those weapons and try to force Simon to play him all over the court.
Although Fischer has become used to picking up the slack and helping out against opponents that are typically much taller and bigger than WVU's forwards, he might not have to do as much of that in this game. IPFW's forwards are 6-7 and 6-5, which are reasonable matchups for WVU's Tyrone Sally and Drew Schifino. As a result, Fischer may be able to devote even more attention to his man in this game. If that is the case, he could be headed for a great performance.
This is a game, quite bluntly, that the Mountaineers should win. Tht's not intended to fire any disrespect at IPFW, just an honest assessment of each team's relative strengths.
While the 'Dons will try to exploit WVU's problematic interior by feeding Simon early and often, WVU will be looking to get their patterned offense back on track after the derailment it suffered at the hands of Florida's pressure defense last week.
WVU should also be better able to match up in man to man defense against the 'Dons, especially when Fischer is on the floor.
With two games in three days, WVU will be looking to get back into a winning groove before starting the Big East schedule after the new year. And while the Mountaineers can't afford to overlook anyone, if they play their game and execute offensively with their customary crispness, they should be able to take the first step on that path successfully.
Nine of the Mastodons 15 players are from Indiana.
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Patrick Beilein is 13-31 from three point range (an excellent 41.9%), and 2-5 from all other locations on the floor. That could be the highest ratio of three-point shots to non-three pointers in the NCAA.
Beilein is also a perfect 13-13 from the line this year.
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Last year, WVU got away with being outrebounded because they protected the ball when they did get it and maximized their shot opportunities. that isn't happening as much this year. The Mountaineers have just six fewer turnovers than their opponents. That has meant even more offensive chances for the enemy, and was a major contributing factor in two of WVU's losses.
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Like their bretheren at IUPUI, IPFW wants to build an image using their initials. References to IUPUFW, IP-Fort Wayne, or any other form of their name is strongly discouraged by the school.
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Despite the intention of getting a bit more rest for the starters this year, Drew Schifino is still averaging 35.8 minutes per game. It will be interesting to see if the Frank Young is able to provide Schifino with a few more minutes of rest as the season progresses. Schifino, along with several of his teammates was worn to a frazzle at the end of last year, and even a couple more minutes' rest per game could make a big difference come March.