Before the first game of the year, I proposed some questions. Now, it’s time to revisit them:
1. Who plays where and for how long?
The North Dakota State game was the most telling game to me: in a close game against good competition expect an 8 man rotation. Guisti, Holt, Walker with Carter off the bench and Levesque, Waldow with Jackson and Hodgson off the bench. Pineau and Paul McCoy could see action depending on foul trouble and how the game is going. While there has been no official word, there is a good chance that highly touted freshman Calvin Hermanson is redshirting this year. As for replacing Dellavedova, Stephen Holt is the primary ball handler who has done four things very well: find the open man, not turn over the ball, get to the rim, and hit clutch free-throws. He still is one of the better defenders in the league and an underrated rebounder. Has a tendency to get to the right place to grab a rebound. In fact, he is averaging more defensive rebounds (5) than Brad Waldow (4.3).
2. Which of the new players has the biggest impact?
I predicted Carter to coming up with big shots, and he lived up to that billing against the Bison. This is not to take anything away from what Jackson has done. Both have been valuable contributors off the bench, as the Gaels depth has allowed them to finish each game much stronger than the other team.
3. Can the Gaels actually do anything to make national “pundits” happy?
Eh. This one is debatable. NBC’s Rob Dauster had a very good post, essentially confirming that once more, the Gaels are not in rebuilding mode. http://collegebasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/11/15/saint-marys-lands-third-straight-solid-win-by-beating-north-dakota-state/
CBS’s Jeff Borzello also pointed out that:
Saint Mary’s now has three sneaky-good wins. Louisiana Tech, Akron, North Dakota State. All three could find themselves in the tournament.
All in all, this is as good of a start as the Gaels could have asked for. They easily could (should) be 7-0 rolling into Boise on Dec. 14th.