Tom Zomanski is journalism major at Temple University. Also a credentialed media member for both Delaware and Drexel Basketball programs, Zomanski is the CAA columnist for CityOfBasketballLove.com. RantSports.com’s own CAA columnist, Jake Fischer, asked Zomanski 5 questions about Delaware men’s basketball entering Saturday’s game vs. Northeastern.
Jake: Northeastern forces 17.6 turnovers per game, largely out of a three-quarter-court 1-2-2 zone trap that falls back into a 3-2 half-court zone trap. How can Delaware avoid costly turnovers?
Tom: For Delaware to avoid costly turnovers they will need to get the ball into the hands of Devon Saddler or Jarvis Threatt. Even though Saddler has a 0.86 assist/turnover ratio, he still has the best handle on the team. Threatt has a 1.06 assist/turnover ratio and would say he is the second best ball handler on the team. If Northeastern can force Jamelle Hagins, Josh Brinkley, or freshman guard Terrell Rodgers to handle the ball, than the Huskies will be able to generate turnovers.
Jake: Northeastern most commonly uses a four-guard lineup. Who will benefit from this? Delaware’s length or Northeastern’s speed?
Tom: I would say Delaware’s length would have the advantage over Northeastern’s speed. Hagins is the top shot blocker in the CAA and is an athletic big man. Brinkley and Carl Baptiste have the ability to clog the lane with their size as well. Plus, Saddler has been playing superb defense and has been doing a great job this year with shutting down the opposing team’s top guard. However, if Northeastern’s guards can knock down threes it will present a problem for Delaware as Brinkley and Baptiste are not the most mobile bigs.
Jake: Anyone who follows CAA basketball knows Jamelle Hagins and Devon Saddler. Who is someone the Huskies should also watch out for?
Tom: A guy to keep an eye on is Jarvis Threatt. The sophomore guard is third on the team in scoring with 12.1 points per game. On offense, he is the second most explosive player on the team behind Saddler. Threatt is the type of player when his jump shot is on he can easily score 20-plus points. On defense Threatt has been a nice compliment to Saddler on the perimeter. He also leads the team in steals with 1.9 steals per game.
Jake: Devon Saddler is leading the CAA in scoring at 23.8 points per game. Can he be successful against a bevy of talented Northeastern guards?
Tom: Saddler is a special player who can score on just about any team as he proved by dropping 32 points against Kansas State at Madison Square Garden. The problem with Saddler is if his shooting is off, the Blue Hens will suffer. For example, last game against Towson, he scored 16 points but shot just 4-13 from the floor. He is not afraid to take any shot because he has the skillset to knock it down from anywhere on the floor, but it can sometimes hurt his team.
Jake: Delaware ranks last in the CAA in offensive rebound percentage. Is crashing the offensive boards a key to a victory on Saturday?
Tom: The keys to a Delaware victory on Saturday are for Saddler to make his shots and for Hagins to dominate the glass. If Saddler can shoot around 40-45 percent while taking quality shots, then the Blue Hens will not have to worry too much about offensive boards. Hagins needs to control the paint on both ends of the floor, but especially on offense. If the senior can get easy buckets down low, it creates open shots from the perimeter for their guards. The key for Northeastern to win is to hit their threes because Delaware has struggled to shoot from long range. The Blue Hens are shooting just 29 percent from three-point land and were 0-8 on Wednesday against the Tigers.
Click here for Jake’s answer’s to Tom’s questions about Northeastern.
Jake Fischer is the CAA Columnist for Rant Sports-NCAA Basketball. Make sure to follow Jake on Twitter @JakeLFischer.