Team Profile: 2007 BracketBuster Preview: Holy Cross at Hofstra

by Matthew Stevens | February 11th, 2007

We could easily see both of these teams in the NCAA Tournament, despite the fact that neither has a powerful enough resume to make it as an at-large. Hofstra was the hot preseason pick in the Colonial Athletic Association, but fizzled early, starting the season 0-3. Holy Cross, meanwhile, was always expected to challenge Bucknell for the Patriot League title, but few thought they’d keep pace with the Bison so closely. A three-point loss in Lewisburg is the only thing between the Crusaders and a perfect conference season.The outcome of this game might be defined by which team is able to establish its preferred tempo, but unfortunately for Holy Cross, Hofstra (19-7, 12-3) proved it can win a half-court game in the 60s at George Mason last Saturday. The Crusaders (19-7, 10-1) could be in for a long day against Hofstra’s three-headed perimeter monster of Loren Stokes, Antoine Agudio, and Carlos Rivera, no matter the tempo.

Key Matchup: Holy Cross’ Tim Clifford vs. Hofstra’s Chris Gadley
The biggest matchup problem for the Pride and Hofstra head coach Tom Pecora is a big man that can score. If Clifford can establish dominance in the paint early, Pecora’s man-to-man defense may be forced to double down low, opening up the outside for HC’s guards. Hofstra is shallow inside, with Gadley and Arminas Urbutis being the only post players with significant experience. Foul trouble for either one could be big trouble for the Pride.

Prediction: Hofstra 72, Holy Cross 58
Hofstra is just going to be too quick for Holy Cross, particularly on the perimeter. The Pride are also 8-1 at home this season, having defeated Old Dominion and VCU, among others.

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