Team: Charleston Southern Buccaneers
Date/Time: 11-20/6:00 pm
Where: Ferrell Center, Waco, Texas
Coach: Barclay Radebaugh (yes, that is his real name)
Number of returning starters: 4
Key losses: Mathiang Muo, Jeremy Sexton
Key returnees: Saah Nimley, Paul Gombwer, Arlon Harper
"We've won 19 games for back-to-back seasons. I think we've been good. But how do you become great? It comes down to physical and mental toughness. It's not related to size … That's the next step for us." - Radebaugh
Barclay Radebaugh enters his 9th year as head coach of the Buccaneers, returning 4 starters and 4 of 6 major contributors. Last year's team won the Big South regular season, but lost in the finals of the Big South tournament. So instead of an NCAA tournament bid, they landed an 8 seed in the NIT and lost in the first round to 1 seed Southern Mississippi. Overall they went 19-13 and 12-4 in conference play. So far this year, their only losses are in overtime to North Carolina Wilmington and to #22 New Mexico - the Bears will look to make it a third straight loss for the Buccaneers.
As far as their returners go, as poorly as they match up against the Bears in the paint, CHSU has arguably one of the most formidable backcourts in all of college basketball. I'm not even joking. Saah Nimley and Arlong Harper both return, and while Nimley (at 5'8" with a streaky jumpshot) will have you believing for a second that Pierre Jackson is still playing in college, Harper will be finding yet another crease to the bucket. Expect both of them to push the floor, but don't expect either one to sit down for very long. Combined Nimley and Harper accounted for 32 points and 10 rebounds a game last season and don't be surprised if those numbers go up this year.
All of their games so far have been high scoring due in large part to their push-the-floor mentality. Expect this one to include a lot of fouls early on, but even if our bigs get in foul trouble, there is hardly a unit we could put on the floor that would be undersized in comparison. All in all, this should be a win for the Bears, but yet another quality win for RPI on down the line.
SIC 'EM BEARS!