UMass Minutemen (0-0) vs Albany Great Danes (0-0)
2023-11-07 19:00:00 EDT
The Line: Betting Odds: UMass Minutemen -- Over/Under:
(Get latest betting odds)
The hardwood of William D. Mullins Memorial Center is set to ignite as the UAlbany Great Danes visit the Massachusetts Minutemen on November 7. Both teams are at the starting line after falling short last season. UMass, backed by a home-court advantage and favorable additions to the roster, is ready to set the tempo. UAlbany, with an underdog spirit, aims to defy the odds and mark the season opener with an upset.
Prepping for Greatness
The UAlbany Great Danes are gearing up for a resurgence after a challenging 2022-23 season, closing with an 8-23 record. The departure of key contributors has created voids, but it also opens the door for fresh talent and returning talent to make their mark. Head Coach Dwayne Killings is banking on a strategy that emphasizes speed and solid defense, pushing his squad to exploit early shot opportunities while maintaining a robust presence in the paint.
Last year’s roster showcased Jonathan Beagle, the 2022-23 Rookie of the Year, who dominated with averages of 12.4 points and 7.5 rebounds. His court vision yielded 2.1 assists per game, a prime example of his all-around play. Justin Neely, the preceding Rookie of the Year, is back after injury, bringing his 6.4-point average to bolster the offense. Aaron Reddish and Marcus Jackson are also poised to up their game, contributing vital scoring and rebounding efforts to balance the team.
Newcomers are set to inject dynamism into UAlbany’s gameplay. Transfers Sebastian Thomas, Amar’e Marshall, and Tyler Bertram are expected to quickly assimilate to the up-tempo approach, having demonstrated their capabilities at URI, Hofstra, and UAB, respectively. This tactical shift is critical as the Great Danes aim to improve on their 67.3 points per game offense and tighten a defense that conceded 75.2 points per game last season.
The Great Danes face a grueling start with a road-heavy schedule, including their opener against UMass. This trial by fire will test the toughness of the new recruits and the resilience of the veterans. With a keen eye on enhancing their offensive rebounds and shooting efficiency, the team’s performance in these initial clashes will set the tone for their America East campaign.
A Fresh Court Set for Redemption
Last season’s turmoil for the Massachusetts Minutemen, culminating in a 38-point loss against Richmond, set a low bar. Yet, even as star prospect RJ Luis departed and a wave of talent exited, Coach Frank Martin’s intense, fast-paced game plan persists. With key players like Matt Cross and Keon Thompson returning, and Rahsool Diggins expected to bounce back strongly, the Minutemen are poised to make strides. The incoming talent, headlined by Josh Cohen, a formidable force from St. Francis (PA), is expected to inject much-needed scoring into the lineup. Cohen’s rim-finishing efficiency stands out, especially against UMass’s previous struggles in that area, promising to shore up offensive gaps.
Defensively, the Minutemen are doubling down on their physicality with a group of freshmen ready to make an impact. Jaylen Curry and Tarique Foster both have plenty of game, which is expected to bolster UMass’s already dominant rebounding presence. Yet, the defense’s interior might be tested without a proven shot-blocker, posing a significant challenge for Martin’s new brigade.
The emphasis will be on developing the raw talent of these freshmen quickly to establish a formidable defensive front. The outlook for the Minutemen is cautiously optimistic. The keys to a successful season hinge on the integration of fresh faces into Martin’s demanding system and navigating the inevitable growing pains of a young roster. If the team can stave off injuries and the freshmen can adapt to the collegiate game’s rigors, UMass could very well be the dark horse of the A-10.
David’s Pick – UAlbany Great Danes
The UAlbany Great Danes hold the edge over the Massachusetts Minutemen. Despite both teams weathering storms, the Great Danes’ arsenal brims with talent poised for a breakout. Jonathan Beagle, with his rookie year numbers, is a force on the court, primed to elevate his game alongside Justin Neely, whose return from injury spells trouble for opponents. Transfers like Sebastian Thomas and Amar’e Marshall bring proven skills to an already dynamic offense, sharpening the Great Danes’ bite. The Minutemen rely on newcomers to quickly adapt to Frank Martin’s rigorous style, a tall order early in the season. UAlbany’s focus on speed and a fortified defense under Coach Killings promises to outmaneuver UMass’s raw talent. Expect the Great Danes to mark their territory with a win in this showdown.