Monday, February 27, 2012

Know Thy Foe: No. 6 Hartford Hawks

By Shep Hayes/DFP Staff

Welcome to 
Know Thy Foe, a new feature appearing twice daily this week in advance of the America East men’s basketball tournament. Know The Foe will help you, an undereducated fan of America East basketball, become an expert on every team in the conference. It's also possible you'll know less than when you began reading this. A 50-50 proposition, to be honest. 

What would be the name of this school? The University of Hartford. Much like New Hampshire, simple and to the point. I can get behind this school. 

Where is it located? Hartford, Connecticut, a lovely city. And I’m not just saying that because I’m going there this weekend for the America East tournament and I don’t want to offend the locals in advance. I’m saying that because I truly mean it. No other city has such a definitive insurance company named after it, and I think that reflects well on Hartford, a great city to live and visit. 

When was it founded? 1957, when three schools in the Hartford area merged.  The university has a timeline up on its website so you can find out about all the major dates in it’s history. Very technologically savvy, these Hartford folks. 

How large is the campus? 350 acres total, in a location that’s actually in three different towns. Hartford leads the acreage count at 193, with Bloomfield behind at 133 acres and West Hartford eating dust with a mere 24 acres. So sorry, West Hartford. Better luck next time. 

How many people go there? 7,025, mostly undergraduates. A pipsqueak of a school in America East terms, but I’m sure they have a large heart or another cliché that makes up for the small student body.

Who is their coach? John Gallagher, in his second season. During Saturday’s game, our own Craig Meyer said Gallagher looks a little like Bill Simmons of ESPN, an idea I can be one board with.Their voices are a little different, however. Both are a bit nasally, but Simmons has a little more of that while Galleger speaks in a scratchier tone. It may also have been the fact that I usually hear one while he’s doing a podcast with important people and the other right after he’s finished yelling as a basketball coach, but I think there is a true difference.

Where do they play? Chase Family Arena, home of the quarter- and semifinals of this year’s America East men’s and women’s basketball tournament. According to KenPom, it seats 3,508 and is the 274th largest arena in D-I. Again, because I’ll be there this weekend, I’m sure it is the nicest arena in the America East. There must be no better place to hold a basketball tournament. Seriously, no place like Chase place. 

How did they do this year? 8-21, 7-9 in America East.

What is their rank and who will they play in the conference tournament?  Hartford is the six seed, and will face No. 3 BU on Saturday.

Who are their basic statistical leaders? Senior guard Andres Torres (11.6 points per game, 4.1 assists per game, 1.8 steals per game), freshman forward Nate Sikma (4.2 rebounds per game), freshman forward Mark Nwakamma (0.7 blocks per game) 

Does this team have any notable wins? We’re in the bottom half of the conference, where notable wins are harder to come by. Their best win was probably at Maine, 64-49. 

Does this team have any notable loses? at Brown, 59-52; at Central Connecticut, 92-58; vs. Binghamton, 62-60

How did they do against BU? The Hawks lost at home to the Terriers in their first meeting of the year, 65-46. Darryl Partin had 22 points and Dom Morris contributed 12 boards, nine defensive and three offensive. The second meeting of the year between the schools was BU’s senior day and the final game of the year for both teams. The Terriers emerged with a 64-55 win.

Do they have a token non-Division-I opponent? No, although perhaps they should have one. The Hawks lone non-conference win came in BracketBusters against St. Peter’s, 67-51. Hartford went 0-12 in its regular out-of-conference schedule.

Do you have some statistic from KenPom presented without any context whatsoever? 23.2 defensive turnover percentage

What about a random factoid from the game notes? Freshman guard Yolonzo Moore is a “II,” not the more typical “Jr.” I salute his originality.

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