It didn't take long for the Washington State men's basketball team to make a statement. They pounded Mississippi Valley State 76-25 (the fewest points allowed by WSU since 1948) in the season opener on Saturday. They don't get much time to celebrate though with Fairleigh Dickinson in town tomorrow.
It's the opening round of the 2008 Legends Classic. WSU, Pittsburgh, Texas Tech, and Mississippi State are all hosting regionals. The tournament concludes November 28th and 29th at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. The four hosts all automatically advance to the championship rounds regardless of the results.
I don't think the Cougars really have to worry about losing tomorrow anyways. Maybe the season opener was a hoax, but I doubt it (not saying I will always expect Wazzu to win by 51).
I'll start with some very basic information about Fairleigh Dickinson. The university is located in Teaneck, New Jersey. They play in the Northeast Conference with other basketball powers like Quinnipiac, Sacred Heart, and Robert Morris (I know I've already used that "basketball powers" joke before, but I couldn't think of anything better). The most famous alumnus (I was even looking for someone without a basketball background...it was a sad list) is Virginia Tech head basketball coach Seth Greenberg.
The Knights are coached by (and have been for the past 25 years) Tom Green. He's the Northeast Conference and Fairleigh Dickinson's all-time wins leader (just eight wins shy of 400 for his career). He's led the Knights to four trips to the NCAA Tournament and two appearances in the NIT.
The Knights played 5th ranked Pittsburgh on Friday and lost 86-63. Forward John Galvin was FDU's workhorse that night. He played all 40 minutes (they only used a seven man rotation), scoring 14 points. Eric Moore (who didn't even start) led the charge with 17 points. Forward Alvin Mofunanya (a senior transfer from St. Joseph's) chipped in 13 points of his own. The top returning scorer (from a team that finished 8-20 overall) is Sean Baptiste, who averaged 18.5 points per game year (he only had nine against Pitt).
The biggest stat that stood out from their season opener was the Knights 20 turnovers. Washington State's defense might eat them alive, but I guess we'll find out tomorrow.
Tip-off is set for 7pm at Beasley Coliseum. Check back here tomorrow night for a full wrap-up.