Just back from Annapolis, where Navy held on for a five-point defeat of Wofford.
This was a superb all-around game for Navy, which nevertheless showed how vulnerable it can be to a team with any sort of interior presence. The Terriers certainly had that, and it’ll be interesting watching from afar how they fare in the Southern Conference with Noah Dahlman (22 points) and Tim Johnson (20 points) as a pair of excellent inside options.
Whenever a team can lose its leading scorer and still play well – as was the case with Junior Salters‘ absence for the Terriers – it means it is worth monitoring in the longer-term. Too bad for Wofford that it plays in the same league as Davidson, but it has only one senior logging any sort of serious time. Don’t be surprised if you hear about the Terriers down the road, quite possibly as a SoCon factor next season.
But back to Navy (and I’ll have even more on the Mids tomorrow morning). The Mids (10-4) have been a top-heavy team for the last couple seasons, first with Greg Sprink, Chris Harris and Kaleo Kina last year and then Kina and Harris this year. Now, there’s nothing wrong with having a couple highly reliable scorers, but loyal readers will know how much balance is valued here.
Navy had five players in double figures, which doesn’t happen every day in Annapolis. The last time the Mids did that was Dec. 4, 2006, against Howard – a span of 65 games.
In general, the Mids know Kina will score, know Harris will score, know Adam Teague will score. It’s when Clif Colbert, O.J. Avworo and Mark Veazey can all offer something of a threat on offense that Navy will be at its best the rest of the way.
Coach Billy Lange mentions something about “offensive harmony” after nearly every game. While that doesn’t entail a specific point total for everyone on the floor, things sure do look better when everyone is a legitimate threat to create headaches for opponents.
Navy already has 10 wins to its credit, and should be in the mix in the balanced Patriot League. If the Mids stay balanced, they very well might chase down an NCAA tournament spot for the first time since 1998.