Fresh off their win over Ohio State in the ACC/Big Ten challenge, the Hoos return home to face a feisty William and Mary squad. The Tribe are 5-2, including a road win over NC State and a road loss against Howard University. They last played on Tuesday, beating ODU at home by a 55-48 score.
They beat NC State largely by shooting lights out. They were 9/22 from 3 and shot 52 overall. Of course, they also held the Wolfpack to just 38% and actually outrebounded the pack. As ACC fans, we know that NC State isn't exactly world beaters right now, but they would still expect to beat a CAA team at home.
The Tribe are not a big team, but they are a veteran unit. They really only have 1 big man, senior Sean Sheldon. Sheldon has good touch around the rim and is the only guy even remotely capable of handling Gill or Tobey on the interior. The Tribe have 2 other "bigs", both are foul machines who can't really stay on the floor for long stretches. Jack Whitman fouled out against NC State in just 9 minutes. Hunter Seacat fouled out against Hampton in just 14 minutes and hasn't played since. He's just a freshman.
The Tribe will essentially start 4 guards, although 3 of them are 6'5" or taller. The lone short guy is "point guard" David Cohn. I use quotes because all 4 guards will handle the ball quite a bit. The Tribe would like to play up-tempo with their guards getting out in transition.
They are led in scoring by junior Omar Prewitt, who is a good shooter (35% career from 3), but is also a volume scorer. He can get to the rim and he can finish. He's also been good at drawing fouls this year, ranking 40th in the nation in fouls drawn per 40 minutes. He's 6'7" 195 and generally uses his size to his advantage. He won't have that advantage against the size of the Hoos' perimeter players. He'll likely be manned by Malcolm Brogdon for much of the game.
Behind Prewitt are Daniel Dixon and Terry Tarpey. Dixon, a junior is a shooter who has made 43% of his treys in his career. He'll be the main guy the Hoos need to focus on on the perimeter. He made 4/9 against NC State and scored 19 points. Tarpey is a senior who leads the team with over 9 rebounds per game, at just 6'5". He's a slasher who won't shoot much from the outside, but excels at getting to the rim and finishing. He gets to the line, where he generally shoots it pretty well. Despite not being a 3 point shooter, Tarpey was 43rd in the nation in True Shooting % last year. He made almost 60% of his 2s and 85% of his FTs.
Tarpey is also the Tribe's best defender. Expect him on Brogdon. He's big enough and quick enough to give Brogdon trouble. This may be a game for Brogdon to act as a bit of a decoy. The rest of the Hoos should have better matchups. With Perrantes still out, the Hoos' options at PG are all in the 6'5" 205 range, which is a big advantage against Cohn (6'2" 168). Whether that is Devon Hall, Marial Shayok or Darius Thompson, that is a place the Hoos should look to exploit.
Of course, the biggest place the Hoos have the advantage is in the post. Which Sheldon has the size to matchup with Gill, he isn't nearly quick enough to man up on Gill. And that also leaves Tobey guarded by a 6'6" wing player. With Jack Salt and Jared Reuter also checking in with big size advantages on the interior, Tony Bennett could choose to go big and dominate inside. That, though, could lead to mismatches on the defensive end, where somebody (Gill probably) would be forced to guard a smaller, quicker, player. Knowing Tony's preference for defense, we could see a fair amount of Gill at the 5 with Isaiah Wilkins at the 4.
The Tribe also have a couple of sophomores who can light it up from outside. Greg Malinowski and Connor Birchfield are both pure shooters. Birchfield doesn't play much, because he's nothing more than a shooter. Malinowski will play and he made over 45% of his treys last year. He's also big enough to guard one of the Hoos perimeter players.
William and Mary is better than you think. But the Hoos have been playing very well, especially offensively. The Tribe simply don't match up well with the Hoos. Unless the Tribe get hot against from outside and start draining contested 3s, they aren't likely to stay with the Hoos.
The Hoos have too much size, too much experience and too much depth for the Tribe. Especially playing at home, look for the Hoos to pull away late for a double-digit win.