Wednesday, March 24, 2010

CIT Semi-Final Preview: The Magical Mystery Tour Continues

To quote the fab five "Roll up...and that's an invitation...roll up for the mystery tour". In this case, Pacific's magical mystery tour has taken it from the beaches of L.A., to the mountains of Colorado and now to the backwoods of North Carolina, where they'll meet the Appalachian State Mountaineers. Yes, the same Appalachian State that took it to Michigan in the "Big House" three years ago. Here is the Spot's take on the Semi-Final match-up:

22-11 overall/10-6 on the road
4-6 vs. teams in the post-season (Wins vs. San Diego St., Nevada, Northern Colorado and Loyola Marymount)

Key Players:
Sam Willard 11.2 ppg/8.1 rpg
Demetrece Young 9.4 ppg/2.8 apg
Michael Nunally 7.8 ppg/4.2 rpg
Joe Ford...defense! defense! defense!

Key off the Bench:
Allen Huddleston
Nykia Williams
Lavar Neufville
Pat Eveland

Appalachian State Mountaineers
24-12/ 14-3 at home
6-5 vs. teams in the post-season (Wins vs. Morgan State, Winthrop, Robert Morris, College of Charleston, Harvard and Marshall)

Key Players:
Donald Sims, Jr. 20.3ppg
Kellen Brand, Sr. 11.6ppg
Issac Butts, Jr. 8.6ppg/8.3rpg
Josh Hunter, Sr. 6.7ppg/5.7rpg

The Spots Semi-Final take: The Appalachian State Mountaineers present an extremly tough match-up for the Pacific Tigers. They are an experienced team with their key players being either Seniors or Juniors, and are coached by Buzz Peterson, a guy who knows a thing or two about post-season play from his previous stops at Tulsa and Tennessee (this is his 2nd go-round at Appalachian State). They are led by Junior Guard Donald Sims and Senior Guard Kellen Brand, both of whom shoot at or near 40% from the 3-point arc. They also have a strong inside presence, led by 6-10 Junior Center Issac Butts who averages 8 rebounds per game. As a team, Appalachian State has out-rebounded its opponents this year by an average of 8 boards per contest, and have out-scored their opponents by nearly 6 points per game.

So what must Pacific do to leave the Carolina Mountain Country with a win? Much like they did vs. Northern Colorado, its time to grind one out. If they can do the same to Donald Sims (averaging 20 points per game) as they did to Northern Colorado's Will Figures, whom Pacific held to 4 points on Monday, then Pacific will go a long way towards a positive result vs. the Mountaineers. Pacific's big men, ALL of them, must also show up to play. The Mountaineers are well balanced inside with three players averaging over 5 rebounds per game and boast front line that is bigger and more experienced than those Pacific faced vs. Loyola Marymount and Northern Colorado. Sam Willard can't do it all himself this time. Michael Nunally and Nykia Williams (coming off the bench) must be able to hold their own against the Mountaineers. If not, it may very well be a long night for the Tigers.

The one x-factor in all this is the travel. In the span of a week Pacific has traveled from coast to coast, a fact that won't be lost on the Mountaineers as they try to push the ball against the Tiger's road weary legs. Due to a freak snow storm in Denver, the game was pushed back a day, giving the Tigers and extra day to rest up, something I'm sure they could very well have used.

Game time is 5pm Pacific, and can be seen online on the B2 Network (and yes, it is a pay-per-view network). So, by this time Thursday night, we'll know if Pacific was able to "Roll make a reservation"...a reservation to the CIT Championship vs. the Missouri State Bears.

To quote none other than Ron Burgundy Himself....Stay Classy Central Valley

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