When the Northeastern Huskies visit the Towson Tigers on Saturday at noon in the Towson Center, the contest will feature the two teams that share first place in the Colonial Athletic Association, both at 3-0. But, entering the 2012-2013 season, not many expected either the Huskies or the Tigers to be in such position, let alone both.
Northeastern earned a 14-17 overall record in 2011-2012 and went 9-9 in the CAA. Coming into this season, the Huskies were pre-ranked to finish 5th in the conference. Northeastern was expected to be led by senior co-captain Jonathan Lee and Joel Smith as well as Quincy Ford.
Towson, on the other hand, entered this season with many members of the media having little confidence in head coach Pat Skerry and his club. On media day, it was announced that the Tigers were pre-ranked 10th in the final standings, but it wasn’t unjust. In 2011-2012, Towson finished just 1-31 overall. But now, 16 games into the season, the black and yellow are 8-8, share the lead in the conference standings and are led by an outstanding transfer, Jerrelle Benimon, who looks to be the front-runner for the Conference Player of the Year.
For this big-time matinee contest, keep your eyes on a few match-ups to watch. First, how will sophomore forward Reggie Spencer be able to defend Benimon? Most likely, head coach Bill Coen will attempt to double Benimon as frequently as possible, but slowing down the Georgetown transfer will largely be on Spencer’s broad shoulders. Next, Northeastern will definitely need their deep backcourt to outrun, outscore and out-shoot their Towson counterparts. Finally, both teams play very good defense but Towson also crashes the offensive glass very well. At the end of the game, Will Towson be able to grab more offensive rebounds, or will the Huskies be able to force more turnovers?
No matter what happens, college basketball fans are in for a great game.
Jake Fischer is the CAA Correspondent for Rant Sports-NCAA Basketball. Make sure to follow Jake on Twitter @JakeLFischer.