Talkin’ Fort Wayne (Part One)

Your South Dakota Coyotes travel on the road to IPFW (Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne…whew say that 5 times fast) in a clash against the Mastodons. It seems crazy given the unbelievable surge the Coyotes had last season, but Fort Wayne was in the Top Two of the conference for three straight years before slipping to 4th last season.

Review

Last time out, the Coyotes fell to North Dakota State 79-84 at home. While losing a home game is not devastating for the hope of repeating as conference champions, losing Carlton Hurst indefinitely to a hand injury raises major red flags towards already glaring weaknesses in the athleticism and defensive ability of this team. While the team roared back in the late stages, the hole was already dug.
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While Matt Mooney played exceptionally well (23 points), the stars of the show were NDSU’s Hunter and Miller dropping 35 and 24, respectively. Granted, I do not expect many teams to shoot 50% from downtown, but the level of concern is high given the performances in the Western Illinois and NDSU Game.

The Opponent

Fort Wayne hit the road on Saturday and crushed Denver pretty handily 82-63. Their only loss in conference was dropping their conference opener to Oral Roberts (yes folks, Oral Roberts). Fourth-year head coach Jon Coffman continues to show how Fort Wayne can beat any team in the Summit League at any time.

Led by Summit League preseason picks John Konchar (First Team) and Bryson Scott (Second Team), this is a team with considerable fire power that can light up the scoreboard as they average just north of 80 points per game. Bryson Scott has looked all the part of a star for the ‘Dons with 22.6 PPG including a hot 26 in a 92-72 win over rival Indiana (their second consecutive win in the matchup.

While Konchar’s numbers may not seem extremely gaudy, any player with the ability to pull in 8 rebounds a game has the potential to be devastating with the lack of depth. In addition, Kason Harrell, the 6-2 junior guard has been a mild surprise and has the ability to go off at any night.

X-Factors

The clear X-Factor of the game has to be Tyler Hagedorn, this is a game that will be won in the paint given the depth of Fort Wayne. Hagedorn has been non-factor since his broken nose, seemingly bothered by the mask. If Hagedorn can get into the low double-digits in scoring and bring in close-to 10 rebounds, I feel good about the Coyote’s chances.

I think the Coyote’s ability to shut Harrell for the ‘Dons will be critical, when he gets going, this team has the ability to be one of the best teams in the conference. When Harrell is shut down similar to the Oral Roberts game (had 6 points in a 16 point loss)… the ‘Dons do not have the same flow and cannot get their offense going. The Coyotes have a chance to make a statement road game following a rough loss at home.

Look-Alike

I find it to be unbelievable that Ron Livingston has given up on his acting career to coach an obscure, unpronounceable school in the middle of Indiana.

I liked him better in Office Space.

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Prediction

The Coyotes will finally put together their first complete game of the year, overcome the loss of NDSU and win by 2 on the road.

Final Score: Yotes 83 – ‘Dons 81

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