|We see you too, Tony|
On the other hand, though, a convincing argument could be made that the Tribe should be 9-1, at the very worst 8-2. W&M was within a basket in the final minute at Wake Forest, and led Richmond by 5 points with less than 90 seconds to play in overtime on the road. The latter loss, in double overtime, leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of Tribe fans. (Though Spidey's coming conference affiliation reckoning has the sweet smell of schadenfreude upon it.)
I attended a Tribe Club reception last week (and got berated by Shlara for pestering W&M AD Terry Driscoll about conference musical chairs), and while most of the cognescenti were realistic about W&M's opposition to date, there was an unmistakable whiff of optimism in the air. To be fair, much of that positivity derives from never-better one in seven CAA Tournament odds, but even seasoned Green and Gold observers sung the praises of Tony Shaver's squad. (And many are even more excited about the 2013-14 Tribe, citing what might be the best overall recruiting class since the Jimmy Moran/Billy Phillips coups of the mid-90s.)
With the Big Three of Marcus Thornton, Tim Rusthoven, and Brandon Britt playing at a very high level, and fourth option Kyle Gaillard gaining confidence with each outing (and leading the CAA, shooting 63.6% from the field), the Tribe is a increasingly deep team on offense, if untested on defense.
|Tim Rusthoven may be in for a long afternoon|
Junior guard Terone Johnson leads the balanced Boilermakers with 12.2 points per game, with four others averaging between 6.7 and 9.6. Massive (7'0", 280 lbs) freshman A.J. Hammons scores 9.6 points and grabs 5.7 boards a game. W&M has nobody anywhere near his size, which will present a challenge to Rusthoven and his mates on the interior - at the same time, Rusthoven's experience and post savvy will test Hammons' youth. (Thanks to Tribe SID Kris Sears for the latter insight.)
Even the most rosy-lensed Tribesmen* don't expect a win today, but we think W&M will give a mediocre Purdue team a run. We'd certainly be surprised if the Tribe becomes the third straight CAA team to get dumptrucked by the Boilermakers. In any event, we'll know a lot more today about what we've actually got here.
* Our online friend @WM_VA_Josh was casting about on Twitter for ideas for his new personalized license plate. We dropped knowledge on him. And the rest, like the Tribe's destiny, is history: