Should Northwestern fear Long Island?

The Long Island Blackbirds come to Welsh-Ryan Arena tonight and I guess there's the possibility that the game could be close, but it shouldn't be. The Wildcats are better than the Blackbirds in almost every phase of the game and thus this shouldn't be too difficult. 

On the other hand, Long Island plays fast - 72.9 possessions in adjusted tempo - so it could be a fun game.
Another thing that the Blackbirds do well is play offense. In fact, they've got the 152nd best offense in the nation, mostly because they turn the ball over a lot. If they didn't do that they'd be a regular offensive powerhouse. Long Island gets to the free throw line often, especially 6'7 sophomore Kenny Onyechi.
One of the great mysteries I've pondered while looking at LIU's statistics is why Onyechi doesn't play more. He's averaging 18.6 minutes per game in nine games, but he's averaging 1.7 blocks per game, 7.7 points per game and 5.4 rebounds per game. Those are really good rates. It might have something to do with his 2.1 turnovers per game, but there's a lot to like there too.

Long Island's leading scorer is Kyle Johnson, who averages 13.6 points per game. That's mostly due to the fact that he's shooting 48.8 percent from distance this season. The Wildcats will have to get out and contain the three-point shot tonight.

Other than that, well there's not much to say. Long Island plays in the Northeast Conference and is 1-1 in conference after a weekend of home games. The Blackbirds are 6-3 overall and those three losses are by a combined 10 points, but none of the teams are as good as Northwestern.
On the offensive side, I'd like to see Drew Crawford have a big game. He's due for one about now. Accuscore's preview ($$) has him going for 15 points, but I'd like to see 20 plus from the sophomore forward.
The other thing I want to see? Lots of subs. Or maybe some JerShon Cobb point guard action. Anything to let Juice Thompson get a bit of a rest considering that the team plays two games this week and the real tests supposedly start against St. John's next week - well, until the Red Storm lost to Fordham and all.
Thus this shouldn't be close, but it should be exciting. Hopefully everyone will come out and support the Wildcats, especially because there might not be too many student there considering they're not in school and all.

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Tags: Northwestern, preview

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