Longing for Home
What: Florida Atlantic (3-4, 0-0) vs Mississippi State (4-0, 0-0)
When: Tuesday, Nov. 30th @ 8:00 PM EST
Where: Humphrey Coliseum
Live Video: Bulldog Pay Per View
Internet Broadcast: Here
Live Stats: Bulldog GameTracker
Mississippi State Team Site: Here
G Alex Tucker 10.9 ppg
G Dennis Mavin 11.4 ppg
G Greg Gantt 16.0 ppg
F Kore White 9.9 ppg
F Brett Royster 6.9 ppg
G Twany Beckham 3.3 ppg
G Ravern Johnson 27.3 ppg
G Riley Benock 9.3 ppg
F Kodi Augustus 15.3 ppg
F Elgin Bailey 3.8 ppg
The two teams will meet for the first time on Tuesday night.
FAU at a Glance
Playing the second of three guarantee games for 2010-11, the Owls will cash in on Tuesday night with an $80,000 check win or lose. However, with an already difficult non-conference schedule this is one of the toughest stretches overall - three potential tournament teams on the road before concluding with a home contest versus the Big East's South Florida on Saturday.
Coach Mike Jarvis says he is using the stint as an opportunity to evaluate the team in unfavorable situations.
"You grow through adversity, and that develops your character. When you develop your character, that's when you win", said Jarvis. "So that's what this is about, is finding out whose character we can develop through a little bit of adversity and a lot of perseverance."
And, despite the Bulldog suspensions, the Owls' game plan will be the same - as if they were going to be on the floor.
"Usually when players miss games, that allows other players to step up ", Jarvis said. "So, we are preparing for them exactly the same way as if they were playing."
Ray Taylor, who averaged 14.2 ppg last season, is still playing catch-up heading into Tuesday's contest at 8.8 ppg thus far. His minutes have been fewer, but the main difference for Taylor has been at the three point line where he posted 38.6% in 2009-10, and is currently 23.3% in 2010-11. Overall, the Owls are down in the category from 38.1% to 32.1% respectively.
Greg Gantt is currently 8th in the league with 16 ppg, while Dennis Mavin continues to lead all freshman with 11.4 ppg. Alex Tucker is 2nd in both assists (4.3 pg) and assist to turnover ratio (2.3:1).
Mississippi State at a Glance
The Bulldogs needed overtime to pull out a 92-83 win over fellow Sun Belt member Troy last Friday. “Obviously, we were very fortunate to win the basketball game,” said Bulldog head coach Rick Stansbury. “To our credit, in overtime, we made some plays."
Senior off-guard Ravern Johnson, who leads the SEC and is fifth nationally in scoring, poured in a career best 33 points (7-of-11 3PT) to seal the deal for MSU.
With the NCAA suspensions of expected starters Renardo Sidney and Dee Bost, Johnson has steadily carried the scoring role so far this season for a challenged roster. Sidney, a 6'10", 270 lb McDonald's All-American, must sit out the first nine games of the year, and Bost (13 ppg, 4.4 rpg 2009-10) will miss up to 16.
“Right now, I realize most of the scoring load is put on me,” Johnson said. “That is something I am glad to accept."
Despite the vacancies, Johnson and fellow guard Riley Benock combine for an impressive 28-of-54 from beyond the arc (51.9%).
Gone from last year's squad is the NCAA's all-time leading shot blocker Jarvis Varnado, who was selected by the Miami Heat in the first round of the 2010 NBA draft but failed to make the roster and is now playing overseas for the Italian League's Carmatic Pistoia.
“Florida Atlantic is a good team. They played at Florida last week and had chances to win. We need to come out more focused than we did the last time, mentally and physically", said Stansbury.
Owl's Nest Prediction
FAU catches the Bulldogs at a good time given the inaccessibility of Sidney and Bost, however MSU is still a very solid bunch without them.
Florida Atlantic will have its hands full once again on Tuesday, but the Owls could keep things interesting with two trend changes: A solid effort defensively in the front court, and better shooting from long range.
There have been no trackbacks yet