UNC-Wilmington (9-22) vs. Hofstra (9-22)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, March 7, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Baltimore Arena (14,000) -- Baltimore, Maryland. Television: CAA.TV. Home Record: UNCW 6-8, Hofstra 7-8. Away Record: UNCW 3-14, Hofstra 1-13. Neutral Record: UNCW 0-0, Hofstra 1-1. Conference Record: UNCW 3-12, Hofstra 5-11. Series Record: Hofstra leads, 15-14.
GAME NOTES: A couple of teams held to single-digit victories during the regular season get together for the first round of the 32nd annual Colonial Athletic Association Tournament, as the Hofstra Pride clash with the Seahawks of UNC-Wilmington at Baltimore Arena.
The Seahawks, the ninth seed in this event, finished dead last in the CAA standings with a mere three wins in 16 chances. But more than that, UNCW went from a 3-2 start to the 2013-14 campaign to winning only three times since the first week of December. The squad closed out the regular season with a 70-57 setback at home against conference-leading Delaware last week.
Eighth-seeded Hofstra, which won just one true road game and just two times away from home overall during the regular season, did manage to snap a five- game slide last Saturday with an 82-71 victory against James Madison in order to match UNCW for total number of wins on the campaign with nine. However, just like the Seahawks, positive outcomes have been hard to come by in recent months as the team is just 2-10.
Hofstra, which owns a 15-14 advantage in the all-time series with the Seahawks, won both meetings this season. The first triumph was on the road in January by a score of 69-64, followed by a 61-52 win in New York the following month.
In terms of their respective histories in this tournament, the Seahawks have the most titles of any current member institution with four, although the most recent of those came in 2006. While UNCW has a record of 32-24 in the tourney over the years, Hofstra is just 9-12, losing its only championship decision against this same UNCW squad in that 2006 meeting, 78-67.
The survivor of this round advances to the quarterfinals on Saturday to take on the Delaware Blue Hens.
Unfortunately for the Seahawks, the team was last in the league in offense with a mere 62.8 ppg, and while it was middle-of-the-road when it came to holding down the competition, allowing 69.1 ppg, the minus-6.3 ppg margin was the worst in the CAA. Cedrick Williams was the only player in double figures on a regular basis, averaging 11.8 ppg, not to mention leading the program with 6.7 rpg, but his mere 27.3 percent accuracy behind the 3-point line brought the entire squad down to a league-low 27.0 percent. Opponents made good on a more respectable 33.9 percent out on the perimeter, making a total of 73 more triples over the course of 31 games.
As one of two players to have started every game for the Pride, it only makes sense that Zeke Upshaw would also be the leading scorer for the program with his 19.6 ppg. Of his 184 field goals, 84 came down from 3-point range where he was 34.3 percent accurate. Dion Nesmith checks in with 13.2 ppg and was even more of a sure thing out on the perimeter with 40.3 percent, even though he was just 38.4 percent accurate from the floor overall. Another reason to have Nesmith on the floor as much as possible is his passing ability, which translated into a team-high 119 assists, more than twice as many as anyone else on the roster.
The Seahawks may have a double-dose of revenge as a motivating factor for this meeting, but without much of an offense, UNCW would have to play a near- perfect game to keep the season alive.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Hofstra 69, UNC-Wilmington 61
03/07 10:32:30 ET