Despite UAB beating Troy by an average of 15 points over the last nine meetings, the Blazers will have to give their full attention to the best Trojan team they’ve seen during the series.
While Troy has had some decent teams dating back to when this series began in 2008, you’d be hard pressed to find one better than their current squad that is anchored by Wesley Person and Jordon Varnado, and is coming off an NCAA tournament appearance.
Person, nephew of Chuck, has accumulated more than 1,637 points in his four seasons at Troy and looks to be well on his way to being one of their all-time greats. Varnado, cousin to Jarvis who is the SEC all-time blocks leader, has 1,135 points and counting in his junior season. Without looking, I’d imagine there aren’t too many teams with players combining for nearly 3,000 career points in the country.
Scouting The Trojans
This season Person and Varnado are each averaging around 19 points per game, but Varnado has missed the last two home wins versus Delaware St. and UIC due to a foot injury. It’s unclear if he’ll play Tuesday, and the Trojans are really going to need him. He had 15 points and 6 rebounds in Troy’s close loss at Kentucky a couple weeks back.
The team we’ll see tomorrow is practically identical to the one we beat by 23 at home last season. Below you’ll see the starting five for Troy against Kentucky and the starting five for Troy against UAB last season.
Troy is going to shoot a boat load of threes, and if they convert on them early it will really open up for Varnado to work in the paint. He’s undersized at 6-foot-6, but his instincts, technique, and touch around the basket are really good. If we can limit their 3-point attempts and force them to play inside we should have no problem controlling this game.
Check out their highlights from the Sun Belt championship game last season that led to their second ever NCAA appearance.
Three Keys To Victory For The Blazers
- Memphis was able to get some looks from behind the arc in the second half against UAB, but for the most part the Blazers did a fantastic job setting the tone early and running their guys off the line. UAB’s goal will be to make Troy a one dimensional interior driven team where we’ll be bigger, more athletic, and deeper.
- Chris Cokley should be able to get anything he wants in this one. Varnado can’t guard him as we saw last year when Cokley had an effortless 18 points. Focusing on points in the paint early should give us wide open perimeter shots throughout the game.
- If UAB comes out with just half the energy they had against Memphis they’ll win this game. If we play hungry and up to our potential I see this game getting out of hand.