Quote by Saint Mary’s, Creighton and the New Order in D-I
The most white and most Australian team in the Ncaa showed just why it deserves to be included in the top 25 for the first time in history in the AP ranking, and why it is destined to stay in it. Only three teams had won at Dayton in the last 40 home games played by the Flyers, one of the best teams in the A10 even when they are missing two players, and Saint Mary’s is now the fourth. The Gaels can count on one of the top backcourt in the nation and on an unexpected 20 points-10 rebounds average from Jock Landale, an Australian center who has been proving in his first year he is more than a big, tough body battling for rebounds.
Coach Randy Bennett‘s boys are always incredibly efficient as a team and they managed to get a 20-point lead in the second half against Dayton before risking to drag the game to overtime. Emmett Naar, uncharacteristically, made plenty of poor decisions in the last few possession, but went on to score the two free throws that iced the game. The lack of meaningful road wins brought the Gaels to be left out of the tournament last year. Things seem to be different right now.
Next man up for Virginia
Virginia first lost Anthony Gill and Mike Tobey, but had found its starting center in Austin Nichols, transferred from Memphis. As of today, Nichols’ experience with the Cavaliers is over, after only one game. “It’s a privilege to be part of this program and Austin has lost that privilege”, coach Tony Bennett said, explaining that the young center has been suspended indefinitely for “violation of team rules”. Nichols was solid in his sophomore year for the Tigers, averaging 13.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.4 blocks. He was then sidelined for the entirety of last season and played only one game with UVA, scoring 11 points against St. Francis Brooklyn.
His suspension will open up more minutes for sophomores Jarred Reuter and Jack Salt, not necessarily a good thing, and for the African freshman Mamadi Diakite, athletic, thin, and with great bounce. Still, it is quite obvious there is now a hole in the Cavaliers frontcourt. No problems so far, and that is a real surprise, because their defense is the best in the nation with a ridiculous 41.8 points allowed per game. Yale came to the John Paul Jones Arena after averaging 94 points in the first two games and finished with only 38, after staying for almost 9 minutes in the second half without a basket. The offense will not be as fluid as it was last season, but their defense is always strong.