Tonight at 7:00 pm ET, the 3rd ranked Louisville Cardinals (1-0) will host the Hofstra Pride (1-1) in their first of four games in the Basketball Hall of Fame Tipoff. The Cards are 33 point favorites in this game and should not have too much trouble fending off the Pride, who have gone 17-47 the last two seasons and are picked last in the Colonial Athletic Association this season.
Who is Hofstra?
-Located in Hempstead, New York
-Founded in 1935
-Colors: Gold, White, and Blue
-Want to attend Hofstra? If so, it will cost you somewhere around $37,000 per year for tuition. Oh you want to live on campus too? Make that around $50,000.
-Famous Athletics Alum: Speedy Claxton (former NBA player), Willie Colon (NY Jets offensive lineman), Marques Colston (Saints wide receiver). Speedy Claxton is now a Special Assistant to the Head Coach on Hofstra’s staff.
-One more famous alum that deserves his own line: Christopher Walken. (best quality video there is with this)
The last time these two teams played was on November 27, 1997 in the Puerto Rico Shootout. The Cards won 75-66. Here are some throwback names for you: the leading scorers for Louisville that day were Marques Maybin (22), Alex Sanders (14), and Eric Johnson (12).
About the Game
Hofstra enters the game with a 1-1 record after losing to Monmouth 88-84 and beating Fairleigh Dickinson 80-58. Moussa Kone is a 6’7 220 lb forward/center from the Bronx, NY. He has a double-double in both games this season, averaging 12 points and 11 rebounds per game. He has done this in only 23.5 minutes per game because of foul trouble. So the good news is that he is prone to foul; the bad news is that if he doesn’t get into foul trouble, the Pride have a big man who could go for 20 points and 15 rebounds.
For the Cards, the big news yesterday was that Chane Behanan is back with the team and Luke Hancock has been cleared to play. Coach Pitino said they are unlikely to play, which I take to mean they will both start and play 40 minutes (kidding, sort of). There are some things that we obviously already know about this team. We know Russ will be Russ. We also know Montrezl Harrell is going to bring energy and try to tear down the goal. There are 3 things I will be looking for tonight in a game that the Cards should win easily:
1) Chris Jones– We all have been wanting to see how Jones would be after coming in to replace Peyton Siva. He seems to be more of a scoring point guard, which is fine. His biggest stat from Saturday was 0 turnovers. So if he can continue to take care of the ball, that will be huge for this team.
2) Mangok Mathiang– Perhaps the biggest surprise from Saturday was Mathiang’s 7 points and 10 rebounds. We don’t expect him to all of the sudden be like junior year Gorgui, but if he can get rebounds like that, show the hustle that he did, and just alter some shots in the paint, the Cards may have an answer at the center position. And until he develops all the way, I am just fine with Stephan Van Treese living up to his “Big Hustle” name and getting nearly every rebound that comes off.
3) Wayne Blackshear– Although he struggled from the field on Saturday (3-14), it was good to see Wayne be aggressive and do the other things well. He played 37 minutes and 6 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 steals, and was active on defense. Let’s see if that was a one-time thing, or if Blackshear comes out tonight with that same aggressiveness. I don’t care if he shoots 14 shots again, but just be heavily involved in the game on both ends. That could be a big key as well for the Cards this season.
When it’s all said and done, Louisville should take care of business against an over-matched Hofstra team. This is likely not an NCAA Tournament team like College of Charleston, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this one is in the bag early. And if Hofstra decides to hang around a little bit, they will just be the next team to get “boomed” by the Cards.
*Rick Pitino will be honored in a pregame ceremony beginning at 6:45 pm for his enshrinement in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.*