Delaware (0-0) at Richmond (0-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 8, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Robins Center (6,721) -- Richmond, Virginia. Television: Local. Home Record: Delaware 0-0, Richmond 0-0. Away Record: Delaware 0-0, Richmond 0-0. Neutral Record: Delaware 0-0, Richmond 0-0. Conference Record: Delaware 0-0, Richmond 0-0. Series Record: Delaware leads, 2-1.
GAME NOTES: A renovated Robins Center is open for business tonight, as the Richmond Spiders entertain the Delaware Blue Hens in the season opener for both programs.
The Spiders may have lost more than 2,000 seats in the reconfigured facility, but Richmond still considers the move to be an upgrade as head coach Chris Mooney heads back to the bench for the squad. Returning eight of their top 10 scorers, the Spiders are coming off a 2012-13 campaign in which they posted a 19-15 overall record and broke even in 16 Atlantic 10 Conference outings.
Richmond lost to Charlotte during the conference tournament last season, 68-63, yet was still invited to take part in the CBI Tournament, although that ended rather quickly with a 57-51 setback to Wright State in Ohio.
As for the Blue Hens, members of the Colonial Athletic Association, they are under the direction of head coach Monte Ross who guided the group to a 19-14 record a season ago. The squad tied for second in the CAA with 13 wins in 18 chances, defeating Hofstra (62-57) in the league tournament before suffering a 58-57 setback to James Madison.
Delaware leads the all-time series by a 2-1 margin, the last meeting being a 57-53 victory for the Spiders at home back in 1995.
Delaware is the only Division I program that features a pair of scorers who appeared in the nation's top-50 a year ago in Devon Saddler and Davon Usher. Saddler, who has started all 96 games during his first three seasons in Newark, already holds the record for consecutive starts for the Hens and figures to run the number throughout 2014 if he continues to score close to 20 ppg.
An All-CAA selection, Saddler led the league in scoring in 2012-13 with 19.9 ppg.
Usher, a transfer from Mississippi Valley State, is eligible to play immediately for the Blue Hens after being named Second-Team All-SWAC after he posted 18.8 ppg and 6.1 rpg.
A preseason All-CAA choice, Jarvis Threatt was the second-leading scorer for the Hens last season with 13.0 ppg, adding 5.7 rpg and a team-best 97 assists to go along with 54 steals, even as he missed three games due to injury.
The strength for the Spiders this season should again be their backcourt, with Cedrick Lindsay being the cornerstone who is a preseason All-A-10 Third-Team selection. Lindsay has watched his scoring output increase every year at Richmond, starting out with just 4.4 ppg as a freshman, building to 11.2 ppg a year later and last season coming out at 12.2 ppg as he shot 44.7 percent from the floor and an impressive 82.1 percent at the free-throw line.
Despite being listed as a reserve for the opener, expect major contributions from 2012 Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year Kendall Anthony who averaged 11.5 ppg a season ago. Along the front line, the Spiders also have Derrick Williams ready to lend support after he put up 11.4 ppg and cleared 5.4 rpg.
With so much scoring power returning for the Spiders, and the fact that the squad set a new program record for home wins a season ago with 15, the hosts certainly have the advantage on many levels tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Richmond 71, Delaware 62
11/08 10:40:24 ET