Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Davidson heads to Kalamazoo to take on WMU

When the Davidson Wildcats take the floor tonight against the Broncos of Western Michigan, they will be in a pretty unique situation. For the first time since 1970, they will be the focus of an underdog opponent trying to knock off a Top 25 team.

The Wildcats were voted into the Coaches Top 25 poll on Monday, edging out Wisconsin by a mere 5 points.

But while the Wildcats have spent a lot of time focusing on the Big Four of their out-of-conference schedule (#1 UNC, #9 Duke, #1 UCLA, #33 NC State), games at Western Michigan and Charlotte will be tough, must-win tests for Davidson.

Davidson played WMU for the first time ever last year when the Broncos traveled to Belk Arena. Hailing from the MAC conference, WMU played a very physical style of play and overcame a 14-point halftime deficit to make the game interesting in the final minutes. Davidson only hit six field goals in the second half, and the Wildcats needed a late steal from Max Paulhus Gosselin to pull out the victory.

The Broncos are led by 6-7 center Joe Reitz. The undersized big man led all rebounders in last year's matchup with 15, and he has been a big part of WMU's success early this season. Named the MAC Player of the Week last week, Reitz is averaging 15.0 points per game and just over six rebounds a game.

Davidson has been led by the preseason AP All-American sophomore Stephen Curry. Curry leads the team with 25.5 points per game to go along with 11 total rebounds. Jason Richards is once again on a tear through the national record books as he averaging 9.0 assists per game, with 2:1 assist to turnover ratio.

Although the Wildcats nearly knocked off the nation's best team last Wednesday, they struggled with the bread-and-butter part of their offense: three-point shooting. The team went 4-22 from behind the three-point arc while Curry only managed two trifectas all game.

The biggest Wildcat story of the last week concerns the left hand of Curry. The Charlotte Observer released a story last Friday saying that Curry needed surgery, but that he would wait until the end of the season to get it. The Wildcats should be fully rested for this game, but the Broncos do play very physically (they committed 30 fouls in last year's matchup). We will see if Curry goes out of his way to protect his hand a little bit.

You can find links to Live Stats and Live Audio at Davidson's official athletics web site.

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