The Hoo head into Thanksgiving with another home game against a lower caliber team. This time, they face the Lehigh Mountain Hawks. Lehigh is 0-4 this year, though they lost to Syracuse by just 10 points at the Carrier Dome (that's a bit misleading as they trailed by 20 at halftime in that one). This past Sunday, they lost to Columbia to 27.
Lehigh is a half-decent offensive team, but not a very good defensive one. They have a lot of shooters, including senior Jesse Chuku who is a "stretch-4". The Hoos, as we've seen, have struggled with stretch-4s so Chuku will be a big factor in this game. The Hawks other big man is Tim Kempton, a 6'10" junior who was the leading scorer a year ago, and he is so far this year. He's a high usage player and a good defensive rebounder. He's a good post scorer, but he's not going to bully his way around down there, especially against the Hoos. He's also capable of facing up and knocking down a jumper, as he's 4/5 from 3 in his career. Keeping him from getting good looks will be the main key for the Hoos' defense. Also, keeping him off the foul line, since he's a pretty good FT shooter. I could see Tony Bennett starting Jack Salt again, in an effort to be physical with the 225 pound Kempton. Plus, that will (hopefully) help keep Mike Tobey out of foul trouble.
Kahron Ross is the PG. He's a pass first guy, but he made 32% of his treys last year. So far this year, he's just 1-11 though. He also shot 80% from the stripe last year and he's at 41% this year, so maybe there's something wrong with him. Ross' backcourt mate is junior Austin Price, Lehigh's second leading scorer. Price is a shooter, knocking down almost 40% of his treys for his career. He can also get to the rim. He'll see a lot of Malcolm Brogdon, who should be able to slow him down quite well.
Those 4 guys each average over 30 minutes per game (and other than Chuku, they averaged 30 last year as well), because this team isn't very deep. The SF position will be manned by seniors Devon Carter and Justin Goldsborough plus freshman Kyle Leufroy. Carter has been starting, but Leufroy has seen more playing time so far. None of them are really much of a threat on the offensive end.
Defensively, Lehigh will probably use a fair amount of zone. They know they can't match up man-to-man against the bigger, stronger and faster Hoos. The Hoos have shot the ball well for the past 3 games, and that needs to continue again. Also, the Hoos could have an edge on the offensive glass. Despite having one of the top rebounders in the nation, this team is undersized and has given up almost 45% offensive rebounds to their opponents this year.
This game is another mismatch, but as mismatches go, this a tough matchup for the Hoos. Lehigh is the kind of team the Hoos don't really match up well with, so this is probably a good test. They are going to see better teams with similar profiles, and it'll be good to get some experience before that happens.