Reply To: Re: Lehigh @ Navy Nationally on CBS College Sports THU

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Just prior to the Seton Hall game, the Navy press was quoted as saying, "Navy will be without starting center Mark Veazey tonight after the 6-foot-11 junior suffered a foot injury in practice this week. An X-ray revealed no fracture, but Lange said Veazey will likely miss several games. Jeremy Wilson, a 6-foot-10 junior who is averaging 3.1 points and 1.2 rebounds per game, will start in Veazey’s place." If you believe the Game Notes, it appears that Veazey is still MIA. Good news for LU; bad news for the Midshipmen. He big guy had been a solid contributor, averaging 23.1mpg, 8.4ppg and 4.2rpg before going down with the injury. Missing now for five games, Coach Lange has increased the playing time of 6’10" junior center Jeremy Wilson and called upon the relatively untested talents of four other big men (none averaging more than 3 ppg) – Smith, Topercer, Newsome and Brooks – in managing the "center by committee" approach to each game. If Veazey can’t go tonight, Lange might be tempted to start Wilson down low and one of the other four big men (all 6’6" or more) at the 4 to counter what has proven to be the bread and butter combination play of Carrington and Knutson. To date, the power forward position has belonged to Romeo Garcia, a 6’4" junior who averages 8.0ppg and 5.5rpg. "Going small" (four in the game – none taller than 6’4"), as Navy so often does, may not be an option tonight. And, Navy’s troubles don’t end there. In a recent report, Coach Lange was quoted as saying regarding the play of Harris and Avworo, "We need more consistent play out of our backcourt, especially in the areas of ball-handling and decision-making. Chris and O.J. are basically both point guards and should not be turning the ball over that much." While the turnovers are there so, too, have been the points…19.6 for Harris and 5.9 for Avworo. As you might expect, Navy has turned repeatedly to its guards to put points on the board. And, for the most part, they haven’t disappointed -certainly not in their attempts from beyond the arc (71 over the past four games). In fact Navy leads the PL in "Made Threes" after 16 games with 7.8 per game. They have also taken more 3’s than anyone else in the league with 364 over the 16 games played to date (22.8 attempts/game) yet have converted on just 34.3% of their shots (7th in the PL). While LU hasn’t won that many rebounding battles this year, Navy presents us with an opportunity to do just that and hopefully score some easy put back points on offense (a newfound specialty of John Adams) . It seems the Midshipmen have been outrebounded in 5 of their last six game by an average of 28 to 37. Going back further in time one will discover a game in which Navy actually pulled down 40 boards. Only problem, Maryland Eastern Shore had 48 that night.

Those in the know call the game a toss-up. Sagarin has it at "Navy-1" and Pomeroy calls the final: Navy 77-Lehigh 76, giving the Midshipmen a 53% chance of posting the "W." Hard to argue with that, especially having to play this one on the road and before a national television audience (CBS College Sports has the call of the game). No doubt there’ll be some nervous energy on display tonight. With preseason favorite Holy Cross dropping its second straight last night to start league play, wouldn’t it be nice to escape Annapolis with a win and go 2 and 0 – good enough for a share of first place with – as LFN calls them – "that team from Easton."

PS Lafayette invades Stabler next Saturday.