Two of the top four picks in the 2013 NBA Draft were Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller. Seawolves fans should be happy that they did not have another year in school, as the duo played for the Indiana Hoosiers, Stony Brook’s opponent on Sunday.
One of the four top seeds in last year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament was Indiana, led by coach Tom Crean. With two of the top draft prospects, the team was expected to go deep into the tournament, but they were upset in the sweet 16 by Syracuse.
As Coach Steve Pikiell and his team head to Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind. for this game, which is being televised on ESPN U, the cream of Tom Crean’s crop has graduated or moved on to the pro game. Ranked 23rd in USA Today’s Coaches Poll, Indiana is not the Goliath that they were mere months ago.
With only one returning starter in Yogi Ferrell, the most dynamic part of this team is its frontcourt, with an established star in Will Sheehey and one of the brightest up-and-coming players in college basketball. Ranked 13th in the Class of 2013 by ESPN, Noah Vonleh will have a tough battle on his hands when he rumbles down low with Jameel Warney and Eric McAlister.
Averaging 14 points and nearly 13 rebounds a game, Vonleh will likely be the toughest matchup for the Seawolves, after they struggle a bit to contain Northeastern’s attack down low, specifically power forward Scott Eatherton. With similar athleticism down low, Vonleh is more dynamic, with decent range from the outside if he needs to take shots, and even more explosiveness under the hoop. Junior Anthony Mayo will be a key to this game, as using his long wingspan and speed on the defensive end compared to Warney could help to contain the freshman.
It seemed as if the rough spill that center Jameel Warney took against Northeastern woke up the sophomore star, as his energy level increased tremendously on both ends of the floor, not allowing Northeastern back into the game with three massive swats of the ball. Being the Jameel Warney from the second half Wednesday night should make this game an interesting one to watch.
So far this season, Anthony Jackson has looked refreshed, confident and dynamic in leading Stony Brook in scoring, averaging 21 points a game. If he could continue knocking down shots, the backcourt could be the x-factor in the game giving the Seawolves an advantage. Ahmad Walker’s athleticism leading to quick rushes down the floor along with his defensive prowess could help Stony Brook show the country who they are. Having fallen in the America East tournament last season after winning the regular season crown, Stony Brook was invited to the NIT, not gaining an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. A win over a team like Indiana will bolster their resume come bubble time in March.