Quinnipiac Basketball Notebook: 12/1/16

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Quinnipiac Basketball Notebook: 12/1/16

Morey Hershgordon

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Photo courtesy Quinnipiac Athletics

Throughout the entire college basketball season, the Q30Sports basketball beat will bring an exciting and informative notebook-style, weekly update every single week. This will will the go-to spot for all things Quinnipiac basketball. Feel free to tweet us your ideas, questions or topics for future editions.

Men’s basketball (1-4)

Last week: L 82-62 vs. Gonzaga, L 90-79 Seton Hall, W 80-77 Indiana State

This week: Dec. 1 vs. Monmouth, Dec. 4 vs. Marist, Dec. 7 vs. Hartford

Dylan Fearon (@DylanFearon_): The matchup to watch for against Monmouth

Quinnipiac’s big men really impressed against Seton Hall and Indiana State in the Bobcats’ final two games of the Advocare Invitational.  Abdulai Bundu averaged 13 points and 10 rebounds per game, while Chaise Daniels averaged 13 points and seven rebounds, plus the game-winning shot against the Sycamores. Much improved efforts by those two after starting the season a little slow.

But standing in their way of crashing the boards and dominating inside Thursday night against Monmouth is Chris Brady. At 6-foot-10, 250 pounds, Brady has been extremely efficient all season long, averaging 12 points and 6.7 rebounds in just 22.8 minutes per game. Did I mention he’s shooting 64 percent from the field? You read that right.

King Rice may not always go to Brady as a primary scoring option, but the senior is always ready when his name is called and his production against Quinnipiac last season was through the roof. The Greenlawn, New York native averaged just 19 minutes per contest against the Bobcats last year, but still managed to put up 13.5 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks per game. He should have a big role in Thursday’s game after posting 21 points and six rebounds against Holy Cross in just 25 minutes on Sunday.

Look for Brady to battle it out with the Quinnipiac bigs all night long. Let’s face it, the Bobcats’ guards are just not as good as the Hawks’. Monmouth boasts 2015 All-MAAC first teamer Justin Robinson, Micah Seaborn (13.0 PPG), Je’lon Hornbeak (8.3 PPG and a former Oklahoma Sooner) and Josh James, a senior who gives King Rice 25 minutes a night. Quinnipiac has to dominate inside all night if it wants any chance at beating Monmouth. Daniels, Bundu and Donovan Smith have to play very well, it’s as simple as that. If not, Monmouth will really beat up on Quinnipiac in front of big crowd that’s expected at the TD Bank Sports Center.

Tom Cunningham (@TomCunny13): First two MAAC games

The Quinnipiac men’s basketball team took a trip down to Florida last week to play in the AdvoCare Invitational with some of the top college basketball programs in the country. Quinnipiac fell to Gonzaga in the opening round, 82-62, dropped a tough match against Seton Hall, 90-79, and picked up its first win of the season in the team’s third game of the tournament in an 80-77 win over Indiana State. Quinnipiac went to Florida as a team struggling to find its identity, looking for a sign of life. The Bobcats showed they can compete with some of the toughest competition in the country on a national stage in this tournament, a good sign for Tom Moore’s team as it now opens up MAAC play this week. On Thursday the Monmouth Hawks come to Quinnipiac in the first conference matchup for both sides if the year. Monmouth has been one of those teams gaining a lot of national recognition, and was picked to finish a the top of the MAAC in the Preseason Poll. The trio of Justin Robinson, Micah Seaborn, and Je’lon Hornbeak will cause problems for the Bobcats’ backcourt, especially since so many of the Quinnipiac guards are new to the program. For Quinnipiac to have a chance to knock off Monmouth, they need to work the ball down low and use players like Chaise Daniels, Abdulai Bundu, and Donovan Smith to its advantage with the size of those players in the paint. Marist comes to Hamden on Sunday in the second MAAC game of the year. The Red Foxes have been a thorn in the side of the Bobcats over the last couple of seasons, including taking out the Bobcats in the first round of the 2015 MAAC Tournament. If Marist gets hot, they could pose problems for Quinnipiac in this matchup. After such a strong showing in Florida, in order for the Bobcats to consider this first MAAC weekend a success, they must split with Monmouth and Marist. If Quinnipiac really wants to begin to turn heads in the MAAC, they need to come out and take out the Hawks, and follow it up with another victory over the Red Foxes. If freshmen Peter Kiss and Mikey Dixon continue to progress and continue their hot shooting, don’t rule out a 2-0 start to MAAC play for Tom Moore and Co.

Chris Dacey (@Chris_Dacy85): A look at the Marist Red Foxes

Don’t get me wrong, the Monmouth game on Thursday is a huge game for the Bobcats but let’s not forget the opponent they have on Sunday, Marist. Since the Bobcats and Tom Moore joined the MAAC, they have gone 3-4 against the Red Foxes including a loss in the 2015 MAAC Tournament.

Last season, the Bobcats finished third from the bottom right above Marist and Niagara. The Bobcats and Red Foxes also split their season series last year. However, things have changed. Quinnipiac welcomed six new faces and Marist welcomed two new players to their squad.

Another aspect to look at is the non-conference schedule of both teams before MAAC play starts. Quinnipiac scheduled games against Vermont, Columbia and played in the AdvoCare Invitational Tournament in Orlando where the Bobcats played Gonzaga, Seton Hall and Indiana State. As for Marist, the team has played seven games so far including a season opener at Duke. The other games played include Rhode Island, Vermont, Brown, Grand Canyon, Dartmouth and UMass Lowell. The Bobcats are 1-5 and the Red Foxes stand at 3-4.

Quinnipiac is expected to win this game according to the preseason MAAC rankings but, don’t expect this to be a cake walk for the Bobcats. Marist only lost by four to a Vermont team that almost beat Quinnipiac by 30 points. The Vermont game was the first game for the Bobcats with five of the six new players making their Division I basketball debuts.

As for the game on Sunday, Thursday night against Monmouth will tell us many things. One thing I will be looking to see is how the Quinnipiac guard play will be in the early portion of the season. Freshman Pete Kiss had a solid couple of games in Orlando registering 18 and 19 points against Gonzaga and Seton Hall respectively.

The guard play in this game will be the deciding factor. It will be interesting to see how Quinnipiac does and it will be a preview of how the Marist game will go on Sunday will go for Quinnipiac.

 

Women’s basketball (4-1)

Last week: L 71-68 at Temple

This week: Dec. 1 at Saint Peter’s, Dec. 3 vs. Siena, Dec. 6 vs. No. 22 Michigan State

Morey Hershgordon (@Mahhersh): Gold Rush must be utilized if Bobcats want to beat high-majors

It’s no secret that Tricia Fabbri likes to schedule tough out-of-conference opponents. For proof, just look at the last few seasons. Quinnipiac has played high-major schools like Notre Dame, Louisville, St. Johns, St. Joe’s as well as compete against very good mid-major programs in holiday tournaments before January. And the same goes for 2016-2017. Temple, Michigan State and a tournament in Las Vegas featuring oregon State, oklahoma State, UNLV, South Florida, New Mexico State, Long Beach State and Santa Clara are all teams Quinnipiac has played or will play in the near future. Not to mention it already beat FGCU and Dayton, regulars in the NCAA tournament. But in order to execute a game plan and defeat the aforementioned teams Quinnipiac needs to play to its strengths using its depth and athleticism. In the Temple game, Paula Strautmane was only able to play 12 minutes due to serious foul trouble from the start. When she or her other teammates are on the bench, the Bobcats can’t produce as well. Part of the reason Ayrn McClure is so lethal is because Strautmane is paired with her on the same line. McClure finished just 1-for-7 from the field.

Bryan Schwartz (@BryanSchwartz15): Strautmane must play a bigger role for her team to succeed

In five games so far this season, Paula Strautmane has averaged only 18 minutes per game. Last season Strautmane averaged 21.3 minutes per game. The 6’0’’ Latvian forward needs to play more and be a bigger factor for Quinnipiac to be able to use their depth to their advantage. In the 71-68 loss to Temple in Philadelphia, Strautmane only played 12 minutes, shooting just two-for-eight from the floor. Two early fouls forced Tricia Fabbri’s hand in taking out Strautmane, which did not let the Bobcats implement the Gold Rush system in the first half. Again in the second half Strautmane committed two more fouls before the end of the third quarter (https://twitter.com/SierraGoodwill/status/802972113263099904), which made Quinnipiac’s usual game plan difficult to use.

Though the use of the depth should not be an issue against two of the Bobcats’ upcoming matchups against Saint Peter’s and Siena, they will definitely need Strautmane to stay out of foul trouble on Tuesday when they host Michigan State. The Spartans will come in with top 25 team talent, so the use of the Gold Rush will be essential to keep up with the number 22 team in the USA Today Coaches Poll. Strautmane’s dominance controlling the boards will be key in the Bobcats competing with Michigan State. The forward has put together three games with five or more rebounds, and is second on the team with 4.4 boards per game this year. As long as she stays out of early foul trouble, Quinnipiac can use their roster’s versatility to their advantage in their upcoming games.

 

Josh Silverman (@JoshMSilverman): Carly Fabbri’s shooting woes continue

Carly Fabbri, the junior captain and starting point guard for the Quinnipiac Bobcats, hasn’t been putting up the same stats she normally does. She has only made two of her 16 shots this season, including 13 from behind the arc (18%). Through five games her sophomore season, Fabbri shot 36 percent from field, on par with her season stats (34%). So what has been different this year?

First, Fabbri is mostly shooting only the three ball. The fact the 81 percent of her shots are three’s has defenses having to guard her up top, but if she continues to miss opposing teams won’t see her as a threat. Right now she’s opening up the court for the forwards, but that could end with if the shots don’t fall.

The missed shots aren’t affecting the team as much as they could, mostly because Quinnipiac has tremendous depth. They were still able to come away with victories when they played Florida Gulf Coast and Dayton, games that Fabbri totaled one and two points, respectively. They are winning the games without her needing to put up double digits. However, when Quinnipiac played Temple on November 27, Fabbri started the game and played 23 minutes, but she didn’t connect on any of her three shots. In a game the Bobcats lost by only three points, every shot counts.

Fabbri is a leader and a defensive cornerstone on the roster, but if she is a liability on the offense the Bobcats might have to think about giving her minutes to someone who’s hitting their shots.