Opponent Preview for 1/10/19: The Citadel

On Thursday, January 10th the Bucs take on the Citadel Bulldogs, who is now 9-5 and ranked 204th in Kenpom. They had a brilliant 9-2 start with their only losses coming on the road to Clemson and Texas, and which included road wins over #240 JMU and #154 South Florida. But they are coming off a 3 game losing streak which started with a bad home loss to #247 Longwood, 94-110, and continued with 2 expected road losses to #54 Wofford and #112 Furman. 

Citadel hopes to get back on track at home against the Bucs: they are still 6-1 at home with Longwood being the only loss. Best home wins have been over #175 Mercer 79-69 and #233 High Point 112-87 – the home schedule has not been strong. 

John Hooper’s article, is a fair summary of the strong points of Citadel, discussing shooting guard 6-2 160 Sr Matt Frierson (ranked 2nd now nationally in made 3’s per game with 4.50 for 15.6 ppg), leading ‘big’ man 6-7 220 Sr Zane Najdawi, a native Jordanian now from Midlothian, VA, who plays a great all around game with 13.9 ppg, 7.4 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and a steal, and the big addition, 5th year Senior point guard 6-1 200 Gr-Tr Lew Stallworth who has exceeded every expectation, ranking 11th nationally in assists with 6.7, with 18.0 ppg and 6.9 rpg. He’s an upgrade in every way over the departed Frankie Johnson.

But note that all of these key players graduate this year. If they don’t make a mark this year, Baucom will be trying to reload next year. 

As usual they play super up tempo, leading the nation in points per game with 96.8, but allowing the second most points with 86.9. Turnovers are -1.5. They lead the country making 13.8 three’s per game, hitting .367. 

They have neither length nor muscle up front: Najdawi is the big man at 6-7 220, backed up by 2 6-6 guys, 6-6 185 Kaiden Rice and 6-6 215 Hayden Brown. They get outrebounded by -1.9. The advantage to the Bucs here is pretty obvious. But they were just as small last year and upset several of the top SoCon teams including ETSU and Furman.

Kenpom expects a close game with ETSU favored by only 5 points, 85-80. This is a better Citadel team than the one that beat us last year. Don’t overlook them and continue to improve. 

Guards:
#13 6-1 200 Gr-Tr Lew Stallworth; 31.1 minutes, 18.0 ppg on .308 from 3 (8 makes all year), 5.9 rebounds, 6.7 assists, 3.1 t.o.’s, 1.0 steals
#03 6-2 160 Sr Matt Frierson; 31.0 minutes, 15.6 ppg on .438 from 3 (3.9 makes per game), 1.2 steals
#12 6-4 190 Gr-Tr Connor Kern; 23.3 minutes, 8.4 ppg on .404 from 3 (1.5 makes)
#02 5-11 170 Sr Quayson Williams; 13.1 minutes, 4.7 ppg on .259 from 3
#23 6-4 220 Jr Kaelon Harris; 15.5 minutes, 4.4 ppg on .211 from 3 (4 all year), 4.6 rebounds 

Front Court:
#34 6-7 220 Sr Zane Najdawi; 27.0 minutes, 13.9 ppg on .300 from 3 (0.7 makes), 7.4 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, 1.0 steals
#11 6-6 185 So Kaiden Rice; 19.5 minutes, 13.1 ppg on .387 from 3 (3.1 makes), 2.9 rebounds 
#25 6-5 210 So Alex Reed; 18.9 minutes, 8.6 ppg on .378 from 3 (1.0 makes), 3.6 rebounds
#33 6-6 215 So Hayden Brown; (only 6 games) 13.7 minutes 7.0 ppg on .250 from 3 (2 makes all year), 3.8 rebounds

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