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"I" of the Tiger

“Uh, yeah, those guys are good.”
– Mike Mazur (NE)

Despite a valiant double-digit comeback, NE was no match against NI in last week’s season-opening intramural basketball game. To call NI loaded is a bit of an understatement: this team is both talented and deep, with size, strength, and quickness from top to bottom. Start with Harbus Pre-Season All-Stars, Kareem Benjamin and Chris Crawford. Both had sick games last week, scoring 12 points a piece with Kareem pulling down 11 boards. Jason Glass was an intimidating presence down low as well, dominating the glass to the tune of 12 rebounds and 2 blocks. Ask anyone in NI where their strengths lie, though, and it’s all about T-E-A-M, starting with:

Guard Play
Arguably the best one-two punch on campus. With Chance Cuffe driving and slashing, and Chris Crawford spotting up for the open 3, this team’s old-school backcourt sets and clears the table.

Sharpshooters
Clark Shields and Scott Greenberg are instant offense. Call them the Vinny Johnsons of our generation. Though each is capable of putting up a lot of points individually, both displayed remarkable patience in last week’s win – letting the game come to them, rather than forcing their shots.

Size on the Bench
At 6′ 2″ and 225 lbs., Big Andy Wattula overpowers opponents in the post. Seriously, don’t piss this guy off. The team also leans on partner Lou Waldorf (6′ 3″) for crunch-time defense and rebounding.

Flexibility
With long-arm guys like Kareem that can play center, power forward, and small forward and a deep and versatile bench, NI has the ability to go big or small, exploiting match-up problems on both ends of the court.

And, what about that other pre-season favorite?

After watching ND play there’s a healthy respect between the two teams. But, NI is confident they’ll match up well when the two teams meet up deep in the playoffs. “They’ve only got one true guard, Matt Louie. Everything else they do is dictated by their big men”, says one anonymous NIer. The smart money says that when the two teams eventually meet, NI will try and leverage their quickness and versatility. “We’ll go small, play run n’ gun, tire out their big men, hopefully get them in foul trouble, and finish them off with our bench”, says Cuffe. Bold words, perhaps, but this team has the look of a champion.

January 31, 2005
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