Saturday, September 1, 2012

Raphielle Johnson on the traveling WAC teams

Raphielle Johnson, NBE Basketball West Coast Editor, weighs in with some WAC news:

These are tough times for the WAC, which is likely entering its final season as a full-fledged conference thanks to football-sparked realignment. The two teams that took trips are both entering their first season in the WAC, with Texas State headed to the Sun Belt in 2013. The Bobcats took on competition in Costa Rica, winning all three games by an average margin of 44 points per contest. To say the least the level of competition wasn’t on the level that Texas State will see once November rolls around, but the offensive production wasn’t dominated by just one or two guys.
Leading scorer Matt Staff returns and he capped the trip with an 18-point, 12-rebound outing, and each game featured a different leading scorer with Reid Koenen being another standout. But offense wasn’t the issue last season for the Bobcats, who averaged 76.4 points per game. It was the defense that ultimately led to Texas State going 5-11 in Southland play, as they allowed opponents to score more than 74 points per game. That will be the area in which a definitive answer on Texas State’s improvement won’t be truly offered until they take on better competition.
Seattle will be in China until the day after Labor Day and the trip will feature seven upperclassmen. Just like Texas State the Redhawks didn’t have much trouble scoring last year, but with the departure of Aaron Broussard there are 18 points per game that need to be accounted for. Second-leading scorer Sterling Carter returns for his junior campaign, and junior Clarence Trent should perform even better in his second season at Seattle after transferring from Washington in 2010.
But the trip will allow for Seattle to work on improving defensively, as they allowed opponents to score 75 points per game in 2011-12. Can veterans such as Prince Obasi and Allen Tate show themselves to be capable of taking on added responsibilities? That’s another question that will need answering as the Redhawks enter their first season in the WAC. They’ll get five games in China, and that should be a solid preparation for the coming season.

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