Hofstra has broken 100 points in a regulation game for the first time since 1992. They are for real.
Offense Dominating: Since their heartbreaking loss to South Florida, Hofstra has playing with a chip on its shoulder. The Pride are not just winning games they are destroying teams. Hofstra won its games this week by an average margin of 24 ppg. The numbers on offense are quite stunning too. The Pride are 17th in the country in points per game, fifth in the country in 3-point percentage, 28th in assist-turnover ratio, 74th in assisted basket ratio, 40th in assists per game, 15th in points per possession, and 57th in overall field goal percentage.
With Hofstra’s offense clicking on all cylinders, it has become apparent that the Pride are more focused on offense than defense, as their 65.4 ppg allowed ranks 163rd in the country. That stat aside, they are outscoring their opponent by an average of 16.2 ppg over the season and will rely on their offense to win games. Still, when Joe Mihalich’s team faces the tougher teams of the CAA, such as Northeastern and James Madison, they will have a very difficult time winning if they cannot play defense at the end of the game.
Speaking of the CAA, with between seven and 10 games played, it’s time to take a look at how Hofstra stacks up. Hofstra is first in the standings currently at 7-2. They are first in the conference in: points per game, assist-turnover ratio, points per shot, points per possession, and points allowed per possession. In addition to the team accolades, there are many player stats where Hofstra is on top: Brian Bernardi leads the conference in effective field goal percentage, points per shot, and true shooting percentage; and Juan’Ya Green leads the conference in assists per game, assist/turnover ratio, and efficiency. Hofstra’s conference schedule begins at UNCW on Jan. 3, as they look to start their journey for their first regular season title in the CAA and their first NCAA tournament berth since 2001 when Jay Wright was at the helm and new assistant coach, Speedy Claxton, was their star.
The End of Lackluster Competition (Get Ready To Slow Down…): Hofstra can’t get complacent with the wins they got this week. The opponents just weren’t very good. Unfortunately for Hofstra, a team with NCAA tournament aspirations, these are not the kind of games that prepare you for the conference season or the post-season. Hofstra’s next two opponents, Columbia and La Salle, have an average RPI of 171. Columbia shocked the country Wednesday night by leading Kentucky in Lexington for the entire first half and will be a really entertaining matchup on Dec. 20. La Salle is on a four-game losing streak, but two of the four teams they lost to are currently ranked in the top 10, Virginia and Villanova. Both of these teams are going to be a major test for Hofstra. Columbia and La Salle play a very different style than Hofstra as evidence by their team possession stats.
Hofstra ranks 45th in the country in possessions per 40 minutes with 71.9, while La Salle is 253rd in the country at 65.8 possessions and Columbia is dead last in the entire nation at 351st, averaging 57.8 possessions per game. Hofstra likes to run the floor and play an up-tempo style with quick shots and great transition passing. La Salle and Columbia like to use the entire shot clock, run their offenses, and shorten the game by having long possessions on both ends of the floor. Hofstra’s defensive issues could become a major problem here, as they are going to be forced to defend for much longer than they have become accustomed to this season. However, this could also play into Hofstra’s favor, as their shooting percentage is higher than both opponents and with fewer possessions, their opponents will be forced to make more shots as long as Hofstra can keep the pressure on. Both games should be hard-fought and entertaining.
Here are this week’s stats. I have added a new column called “FPTS/G,” this is short for fantasy points per game. To calculate it you add points, rebounds, two times assists, and three times blocks and steals, then subtract two times turnovers and divide by games played. ((pts+reb+2*assists+3*steals+3*blocks)-(2*TOs))/GP.
Stats that stand out: Ameen Tanksley has been on fire. Tanksley has scored 22 ppg while shooting an astounding 60% from three-point range this week. He was one of four players that shot over 45% from three. Green had another great week, as he averaged 17 points, six rebounds, six assists, and two steals per game. He does it all and his 22 efficiency and 37 fpts/g show just how good he’s been.Malik Nichols stepped up with Rokas Gustys and Moussa Kone not playing and averaged 10 rpg this past week. Tanksley and Nichols both need to work on their free throw shooting. Tanksley’s three-point percentage is almost as good as his free throw percentage. Hofstra had a short bench this week, so this chart covers the six players that played over 20 mpg.
Hofstra has a long 10-day break before the short trip to New York City to face Columbia on Saturday, Dec. 20.
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