Going to continue the current trend of giving keys to the game in order for URI to win instead of projecting what I think will happen as my scores have been way off.
Defensive Strategies for GW Key Players:
-Isaiah Armwood (#32): This guy seems to be a force and should be the absolute #1 priority for URI on defense. He puts up nearly a double-double every game (12 points and 9 rebounds). He shoots over 50% from the field (mostly because his game is to post guys up and take advantage of his size) and 71% from the FT line which is incredible for a big man. With such high shooting percentages, it’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t approach for defending Armwood. You can’t let him get the ball and go up for a shot because the percentages say he’ll make it. You can’t foul him and make him earn it at the line because he will make those FT’s as well. The only way to defend this guy unfortunately leaves URI vulnerable somewhere else because there is just no real way to play this guy one on one. He’s just too big for Hare, Aaman, or Brooks to guard straight up. The second this guy gets the ball, someone else down low (preferably Malesevic) needs to rotate over and help Hare/Aaman/Brooks smother Armwood and not let him get the shot off and make him pass it. The rotation will unfortunately leave someone open and URI will have to play with fire and hope Armwood does not find that open guy.
-Lasan Kromah (#20): GW’s second leading scorer and their starting SG. Luckily the defensive approach for Armwood does not leave Kroman open so long as Malesevic and Malone are on the court together at the same time (which is highly likely as both play over 30 minutes per game) and he can be guarded straight up by Malone. Malone is more or less the same size as Kromah so there is no mismatch here which is a huge plus once URI rotates help over to Armwood (if he gets the ball). When Kromah has the ball, the defender (most likely Malone but could be Munford when Malone is not in the game) will need to keep him from slashing to the hoop (which is what Kromah likes to do and does very well). Kromah shoots about 48% from the field but only 20% from 3-point range. Granted, as a slasher, he doesn’t take very many 3’s (just 2 per game). The point being, the 17-foot jumpers and longer are the weakest points in his game. Whenever possible, Munford/Malone will need to show off some excellent lateral footwork and keep Kromah from getting past them going to the basket.
-Patricio Garino (#13): See Kromah, Lasan. His stats show that he is the exact same player as Kromah. Hell, Garino is the same height and only 4 lbs. lighter than Kromah. Both are scoring 10 points per game shooting over 40% from the field and 75% from the FT line and around 20% from 3-point (Garino is actually shooting 28% from beyond the arc). The defensive approach will be the same and Munford will likely guard him though he and Malone could switch off frequently between Garino and Kromah, especially if URI plays any zone defense.
Offensive Strategies for URI:
-URI needs to attack this game the same way I thought they needed to attack Charlotte. URI needs to acknowledge that they are at a huge disadvantage in terms of size (both height and weight). Across the board by position, GW’s players are just bigger and heavier than URI’s players. This works for URI because they have incredibly quick and aggressive guards. URI will need to use their quickness to gain some separation.
-Powell will hopefully recognize that, in a half-court offensive set, he will not be able to drive. At all. Waiting for Powell down low is Armwood (6’9” 219) and Kevin Larsen (6’10” 264). If Powell drives, it will most likely result in those 2 padding their blocked shots stat. If Powell uses his quickness as mentioned above, he should be able to get some open mid-range jumpers and 3-pointers to knock down. The same here goes for Munford. If Munford wants to drive, the defense will be forced to play that honestly and should collapse on him leaving others wide open as long as Munford can get them the ball.
-URI should test Malone and Malesevic early on to see if their shots will still fall before letting Munford take over. If URI can get one of those two in a rhythm early, it will allow Munford to get more open looks as the defense can’t just double him up knowing there is no other option.