When the Colgate Raiders face off against the Army Black Knights, we are likely to witness a battle of what have proven to be markedly improved defences for both teams in the 2013-2014 season as well as what may prove to be a slight advantage given to the Black Knights. Still, Colgate should not be counted out too quickly.
The Power of Offensive Experience
One of the biggest advantages that the Army has going into this upcoming game is the fact that they boast a great deal of experienced upperclassmen such as the likes of Kyle Wilson, Mo Williams and Kevin Ferguson. These players contribute to what is arguably one of the scariest offences in the league. Currently, Wilson is ranked with an incredibly 91.3 per cent of scored field goals and just under 17 points per game. Ferguson averages 6 rebounds each game while Williams has an impressive three-point average of 38.1 per cent. Also, the Black Knights have been known for their late-game rallies. Although they recently lost against Holy Cross, it should be remembered that players such as Wilson finished the game with a stunning 23 points after having scored only 4 in the first half of the game. Should aggressive Tanner Plomb enter into this equation, it is clear to see why the Black Knights are respected by many in the league.
Colgate: The Changing of the Guard
Many can observe that the Colgate Raiders will enter into this game with a bit of disadvantage and there may be some truth to this belief. We need to realise that it is only the second season for coach Matt Langel. Perhaps more crucially, top scorers such as John Brandenburg and Brandon James have now graduated. Considering that they posted some impressive numbers in the past, some feel that a lack of their presence may impact the ability of the Raiders to compete with the experience and the “comeback” style of the Black Knights, especially when they are down in the second half. The loss of point guard Mitch Rolls has further affected the ability for Colgate to capitalise on sudden opportunities. While they certainly have some holes to fill, we should not discount the prowess of individual players. For example, Clayton Graham sports a respectable 66.7 percentage of field goal points while Luke Roh is capable of scoring nearly 6 rebounds and Murphy Burnatowski averages approximately 15 points each game. Still their 9-15 current overall standing may put a bit of a damper on their hopes of faring well against the formidable capabilities of the Black Knights.
The ultimate question revolves around as to whether Colgate can mount a viable defence and a strong offence against the experience and the sheer player statistics of the Knights. Although the Knights are underestimated by some and their recent track record may be far from perfect (in the recent loss to Holy Cross, for example), their ability to extricate themselves from a losing situation and the talent of seasoned players will tend to push the odds slightly in their favour.