Leading up to UAB at FAU we reached out to Chuck King of FAU Owl Access to get the inside info on Thursday’s match up.
The Michael Curry era has had it’s ups and downs since he took over the reigns in 2013. What have you seen from a coaching point this season that leads you to believe he has the Owls in position to be competitive in C-USA.
Well, they’ve had a pretty good run during the pre-conference slate, but no one is suddenly predicting a championship spurt from the Owls. FAU lost back-up point guard Payton Hulsey to a high ankle sprain a few weeks back and the offense hasn’t enjoyed the same zip without him. Though the backup, Hulsey was playing more than starter Anthony Adger – and was certainly more effective. It doesn’t appear Hulsey will return on Thursday. FAU finally has the personnel to play the way Curry likes – two big guys in the post and a pressing defense. When the offense clicks, they can surprise. But this is a middle-of-the-standings team at best.
FAU has the luxury of having one of the better true centers in C-USA in Ronald Delph. What have you seen from the senior this season that has been an improvement from the past seasons?
Delph has excellent touch for a big man. He can put the ball on the floor and create his own shot. Curry’s desire for a second big man on the floor has stopped defenses from sagging on Delph. Starting forward William Pfister played last year, but the Owls were so thin when it came to big men that Curry felt he couldn’t have both on the floor at the same time. Pfister can crash the boards, allowing Delph the freedom to block shots on the defensive end.
Offensively you have to love having the 3-point threat of Gerdarius Troutman who has hit 37 this season. Outside of his and Delph’s offensive production, who or whom do you think the Owls will look to against UAB specifically?
FAU will need Troutman to score both for the points and to open the inside. If the Owls are going to keep Thursday’s game close they’ll need production from Troutman, Delph and at least one other player. At times shooting guard Justin Massey, the Owls sixth man, has been that guy, but Curry and the Owls really need starting forward Jailyn Ingram to begin playing to his potential. Ingram is a slasher who can create his own shot or collapse defenses, prompting a kick-out for an open three.
In FAU’s impressive road win at FGCU the Owls dropped 92 points at a tough venue to win in. What did the Owls do in that game to come away with such an impressive win?
For starters, FGCU is having a down year. In that game FAU enjoyed balanced scoring – five players in double figures and another, Ingram, with nine points. Hulsey came off the bench to score 19 points in 27 minutes. That was probably the most complete game the Owls played all season.
In what areas do you think FAU can exploit UAB in Thursday’s game and what do you expect the outcome to be?
FAU needs to play another complete game. The Owls will try to get the ball to Delph down low. Troutman will need to hit his 3-pointers and Adger must find a way to be effective at point – on both ends of the court. Pay particular attention to the rebounding. In games where FAU struggled this season the boards were an early indicator of their impending downfall. FAU may keep this one close early. UAB is the better team.