I don’t know about you, but I really needed basketball back. The TBT started off with a bang, with Big x beating D2 79-74. For a team that was entered a day before the tournament started, D2 played a lot better than expected against an experienced Big X team. The game was a lot closer than expected, but Big X was able to get ahead at just the right time when the Elam Ending went into effect.
Obviously this game mattered to the Dayton fan base because the winner was to play the Red Scare. Let’s get into Big X and what to expect when they play our boys in red and (light) blue.
About Big X
As you may or may not know, Big X is just Big Ten but with a roman numeral for 10. They consist of alumni from around the Big Ten’s past. But just like every other team, it’s not totally true, as there are players from Butler, Wake Forest, Fairmont State and Holy Cross on this year’s team. So yeah, not all Big Ten dudes.
Big X is in their third year in the tournament. They have won only one game each of the past two years before bowing out in the second round. They got into this year’s tournament because of those two wins, but they aren’t mighty enough to earn a first round bye.
You probably remember A-10 and Saint Louis legend Javon Bess, who is indeed a Michigan State player. He handles the front court and part of the scoring for this team along with center Nick Ward, another Michigan State alum. Ward led the team with 18 points and 5 rebounds in their victory against D2, while Bess added 11 points of his own. Expect those two to be the main show for Big X, a really solid guard-forward tandem.
The next big player for Big X is CJ Jackson, an Ohio State alum. He played 22 minutes while adding 7 points as a point guard. Not a big scorer, but another nice option other than Bess. Khalil Iverson and Trevon Hughes round out the lineup and main 5 for Big X. Iverson is a power forward from Wisconsin who is a force on the boards, pulling down 11 rebounds against D2. Hughes, another Wisconsin point guard, add 9 points of his own in the first game. Even if these guys are not the starting 5, they will most likely play the most minutes.
Other Big X notables include Dan Dakich’s son Andrew, who is technically the GM but also lists him as a player, Kellan Dunham from Butler, Trevon Hughes from Wisconsin, Jehyve Floyd from Holy Cross, Vitto Brown from Wisconsin, Jamel Morris from Fairmont State, and LD Williams from Wake Forest. The best player from this list is a crap shoot, but it appears to be Jamel Morris. He has 9 points with 6 rebounds and 3 assists against D2.
Watching this Big X team, they have a stud on the inside and a stud on the outside. Nick Ward and Javon Bess are the main focal points of this team. D2 could not stop Nick Ward, but they did limit Bess to an extent since A-10 fans know how good he can be. Bess will no doubt be guarded by Kyle Davis. Jalen Robinson and Trevor Thompson will be given the tall task of limiting Ward. Tough defense against those guys will surely result in a win for Red Scare.
Second thing to watch for is the rebound battle. Big X has dudes who can box out and clean up on the boards. Nick Ward is especially good on the offensive glass. He pulled in 4 of them last game. Khalil Iverson is tough on the defensive glass. He grabbed 7 of those last game, along with 4 on the offensive glass. Big X won the rebound battle against D2 43-35. Red Scare need to limit them on the boards. It’s like an ode to the Dayton team from this past season.
The biggest thing to watch for is how rusty the Flyers look in their first game playing basketball in months. Big X had the first game back, which gives them the slight advantage of having real game experience. You could see on the side of Big X that rust may have had something to do with how close that game score was against a team that had next to no preparation time for that game. Big X theoretically should have blown out D2, but, alas, that’s why they play the game. Hopefully our Flyers do not show that same rust.
One potential problem I see for the Red Scare is the point guard position. Rob Lowery is no longer playing, so it’s Kyle Davis playing at point guard. Hopefully someone can step up and spell KD some minutes, most likely Darrell Davis.
Big X has some tough dudes that were good in their playing days in the Big Ten. However very few played together while in college. That could very well be a huge factor against alumni teams that played together, like the Red Scare.
I really like the Red Scare’s chances in this game, even with the losses of Pierre, Pollard, Tillman, and Lowery. They have enough pieces and scorers that they don’t need to rely on one or two guys to score. If these guys still play anything like how Archie Miller and Anthony Grant coached these guys, it will be a nice mix of efficient offense and tenacious defense.
Red Scare wins this one, 82 – 70.
Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Line: Red Scare -6
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