This is Halifax’s last shot at the defending ABA champions. They’ve played four times before and this will be the third distinct line up that Vermont has faced. By contrast, Vermont has only made minor tweaks to their line up this season. edit: The Herald has an article on tonights game. It’s available online.
At this point I think we all know what Vermont have in their favour:
Experienced minor league players
The ABA’s best coach who knows how to exploit mis-matches
Crazy depth and players who all buy into a team first system and lots of role players surrounding a few studs
Very strong pressure defense and at least three different full court presses
Two incredibly gifted offensive players (Konare and Green) who create huge match up problems.
Halifax simply have been unable to match up with them this season. The game in Halifax on Jan. 9th was the best home game of the season with Halifax playing them tight, mostly because of Anderson’s ability to get the ball up the floor consistantly with almost no help. Without his ball handling I don’t know what this game will look like, but Sunday’s 123-78 thrashing is a good indication.
Halifax has added three new players who Vermont haven’t seen, though: a PG, a strong shooting combo guard and a monster of a big man. I think the key here is new guy Tyler and workhorse Crookshank scoring in bunches downlow. Vermont have had a bit of trouble with teams going inside consistantly and have shown a willingness to leave the perimeter open to try to contain overly strong post players. If Silverhorn and Clark can hit open shots then the Rainmen have a shot at this. Halifax also need to play with a toughness and grit that they haven’t shown yet this season – it’s toughness and an inside/outside game that have given Manchester the edge over Vermont in their wins over the ABA champs.
I think Halifax has the potential to put a huge line up on the floor now – Tyler, Crookshank, Richard/Oliver, Silverhorn and Clark. This could cause huge match up problems for anyone. The new faces mean that I honestly have no idea how this will play out on the court.
Off the court I can see this being a huge success. Weekend games have drawn well, the promotion machine is cranked up for Q104/Semi-Pro night, and the Heaves are a great team. If people come through the door tonight they will be impressed by the level of basketball. Speaking of Semi-Pro night: first 100 people through the gate get free passes to see the Will Ferrell movie, and at half time people will be competing for an insane prize pack. I predict 2500+ people tomorrow. I hope I’m not wrong.
In other news: The Metro actually had a decent article on the new Rainmen signings.