Quinnipiac (20-11) at Yale (15-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, March 19, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: John J. Lee Amphitheater (2,532) -- New Haven, Connecticut. Television: None. CIT Record: Quinnipiac 0-1, Yale 0-1. Series Record: Quinnipiac leads, 4-0.
GAME NOTES: Local rivals will meet in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament as the Quinnipiac Bobcats visit the John J. Lee Amphitheater to take on the Yale Bulldogs on Wednesday.
The Bobcats led the nation in all three major rebounding categories: rebounds per game (45.5), offensive rebounds per game (16.8) and rebounding margin (11.8). Since 2000, not one NCAA program has recorded a +12 rebounding margin through an entire season. Despite Quinnipiac's dominance on the glass, it finished the regular season tied for third with Canisius in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference standings. Coach Tom Moore's squad had its quest for an NCAA Tournament berth end on March 9 as it dropped an 87-68 decision to the eventual MAAC champion Manhattan Jaspers.
Yale bounced back from a shaky performance during its non-conference slate to finish second in the Ivy League standings to Harvard. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, no conference tourney eliminated the chance of a second chance following their regular season. Yale lost four of its last five games to arrive at a 15-13 overall ledger. Coach James Jones' team may hold its own versus the Bobcats on the boards since it has outrebounded its last 11 opponents.
Yale and Quinnipiac are playing for the fifth time, and the Bobcats have won the first four. The last meeting was a 68-62 Quinnipiac victory in 2011 in Hamden.
The Bobcats are also ranked 26th nationally in scoring offense at 79.1 ppg due to a strong group effort. Senior forward Ike Azotam is the go-to-guy with averages of 16.5 ppg and 10.2 rpg, while the 6-foot-9, 235-pound junior forward Ousmane Drame also averages a double-double with 13.7 ppg and 10.9 rpg. Junior guard Zaid Hearst contributes 15.7 ppg and 6.7 rpg. Senior guard Umar Shannon has connected on a team-high 60 attempts from beyond the arc for 14.3 ppg off the bench. Quinnipiac also has reason to be optimistic for the future due to the presence of freshman guard Kasim Chandler, who nets eight ppg and 2.7 apg. The Bobcats are 16-0 when scoring 80 points and 15-4 when holding their opposition under the 80-point mark.
Two Bulldogs received All-Ivy League accolades. Sophomore forward Justin Sears, who paces the team in scoring (17.1 ppg) and rebounding (7.2 rpg) was named to the first team, while junior guard Javier Duren earned honorable mention after handing out 81 assists and knocking down 31 attempts from behind the 3-point line en route to 12.4 ppg. Yale plays at a much slower pace than Quinnipiac, which led to an average of only 66.6 ppg on 41.7 percent efficiency from the floor. However, the Bulldogs are much more sound defensively as they swipe 6.1 steals per tilt and limit their foes to only 66.1 ppg.
Neither of these teams have been in action since March 8, so whichever side can get back into a rhythm quicker will have an advantage. The Bobcats are a much more physical team, but their decision making can be questionable at times. Yale's backcourt will need to step up its play to give the hosts a chance of advancing. The long break will be beneficial for both teams, who had less than spectacular endings to the regular season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Quinnipiac 76, Yale 70
03/19 10:34:41 ET