Carleton sports information assistant and student broadcaster Adam Rossow '07 gives us an inside look at tonight's NCAA Tournament first round game.
Carleton: Jake Phillips, Ht: 6-2, Yr: Jr.
UW-Stout: Greg Chaisson, Ht: 6-1, Yr: Sr.
Both players at the point guard position are veteran leaders who lead their respective squads in assists, but their contrasting styles of play should make for an interesting matchup. The 2006 All-MIAC selection Phillips is counted on more offensively for Carleton, as he is the Knights’ third-leading scorer at 12.7 points per game and he also leads the team in three point accuracy at 45.3 percent. Chaisson is averaging just 7.6 ppg, but he leads the Blue Devils in steals and is third on the team in rebounding at 5.8 rpg.
Carleton: Brian Sharkey, Ht: 6-1, Yr: Sr.
UW-Stout: Adam Chandler, Ht: 5-10, Yr: So.
At the shooting guard position, the key will be to see how Sharkey is able to defend Chandler, who is averaging 10.6 points and 3.6 assists per game for Stout. Chandler is a two-time all-WIAC honorable mention selection, recently notching that award for the second year in a row. The Shark attack is not counted on a lot for Carleton on the offensive end but he will get open looks as teams will make him beat them from long-range because of Carleton’s strength inside. He shot 0-for-5 in the loss to St. Thomas and the Knights will need him to find his stroke to keep the Blue Devils honest on defense.
Carleton: Tommy Drake, Ht: 6-5, Yr. So.
UW-Stout: Ryan Stangl, Ht: 6-0, Yr: So.
This will be the most entertaining battle of the game as it will be Stangl’s quickness and shooting ability against Drake’s strength and length. Stangl is the Blue Devils’ leading scorer at 13.2 points a game and was recently named All-WIAC honorable mention. He is also the leader in three-point shooting at 42.6 percent. Drake has given players like Stangl problems in the past because of his deceptively quick feet and his length. Drake will also need to step up his game offensively as the Blue Devils, like St. Thomas, will have trouble matching up with Drake’s length on the offensive end.
Carleton: Zach Johnson, Ht: 6-5, Yr: Fy.
UW-Stout: Terry Farmer, Ht: 6-3, Yr: Sr.
This matchup is the fabulous freshman versus the experienced senior, as Johnson and Farmer are opposites in both their background and styles of play. Both were recently named to their respective all-conference squads. Farmer is a slasher who loves to get to the basket and as he has attempted just three career 3-pointers. Johnson is a more traditional post player with an array of moves with his back to the basket. Johnson, although he stands two inches taller than Farmer, will have his hands full with Farmer’s quickness, experience and strength. Will is be a match-up where where the senior shines and the rookie shakes in his boots, or will the precocious first-year player rise to the occasion?
Carleton: Dan Forkrud, Ht: 6-5, Yr: Sr.
UW-Stout: Jacob Nonemacher, Ht: 7-0, Yr: Jr.
A battle of all-conference players will headline the matchup in the paint in this contest. Forkrud, Carleton’s leading scorer and rebounder, is giving up five inches to the seven-foot Jacob Nonemacher, who averages 3.7 blocks a game. Forkrud is a quicker and more gifted all-around player than Nonemacher, although a key will be keeping the Blue Devils big man off the offensive glass. He is averaging three offensive rebounds per game, many of which have translated into easy putbacks for Nonemacher, who is averaging 12 points per game. Forkrud was also named to the All-MIAC defensive team this season as not too many players in the country can matchup with his mixture of strength, quickness and pure basketball savvy.
The Carleton’s bench is shorter than Manny Ramirez’s attention span, which is a cause of concern against Stout. The trio of Mike Kootsikas, Jay Melson, and Tucker Schieck will be counted on to give some solid minutes off the bench if the Knights are to come out victorious. Melson was just named to the All-MIAC first year squad, along with Zach Johnson. Stout’s bench is about four or five players deep, which suits their up-tempo pace very nicely. The five non-starters for the Blue Devils average around 15 points per game to only seven points per game for the three Knight reserves.
Both programs are making their first NCAA tournament appearances, which could come as a surprise considering the success each of these programs has had over the years. The beginning moments of the contest could be tense and neither team is laden with a large amount of upperclassmen. The burden will be on the coaches to keep each team focused and loose in the opening moments of the game.
UW-Stout has taken on two MIAC opponents this season, winning 91-90 in overtime over St. Thomas and defeating Macalester 64-55, as both games were played in mid-November. Carleton played just one WIAC school, UW-LaCrosse, in late December, falling 82-64. Both teams also defeated Bethany Lutheran College in mid-December, with the Knights winning by eight and the Blue Devils winning by seven.
I would throw these results out the window, as neither team was playing their best basketball in November and December.
All signs point to a pretty even contest between Carleton and UW-Stout. If the Knights are able to turn the game into a half-court affair, keeping the game in the 50s or 60s, then look for Carleton to advance. The Knights will also need to limit turnovers against the Blue Devils’ full-court defensive pressure and make Stout work for every basket. On the contrary, if the Blue Devils can push the ball, create turnovers and create second- and third-chances on the offensive glass, it will move on to the second round.
–Adam Rossow '07
Sports Info Assistant