As we slowly drift back into the Gregorian era, let’s remind ourselves that a win is a win (is a win). While the victory over Mason is indicative of nothing more than having a pulse, it was a game the Flyers needed to have. The Flyers were up 18 points with four minutes to play in the first half and somehow found themselves down 5 with around ten minutes to go in the contest. While a 23 point swing against a team like GMU is beyond troubling, Dayton made enough stops and plays to come away with their first conference triumph.
With Rodney Chatman out with a hand injury, Jalen Crutcher was tasked with piloting the team for a full forty minutes. Call it addition by subtraction, or whatever term gives you pleasure, as the Flyers were more fluid on offense and even broke seventy points in regulation for the first time this season (Dave Paulsen’s emotional imbalance played a part in this, but, hey, beggars and choosers). The senior UD guard scored a career-high 26 points and dished out a season-high 7 assists. Crutcher posted a 142 offensive rating, which if you don’t take advanced metrics seriously, why would ya, that’s a very inspirational output from the man from Memphis.
While the Crutcher performance was the headline, let’s not fool ourselves — it’s all about Mustapha Amzil. The 6’10” freshman, allegedly from Finland, moved to the US in October, hung out at a random high school in Pennsylvania for six weeks and then headed to the Gem City to ply his trade. Amzil had a bushel of offers from high majors and somehow the Finn picked UD without even knowing where it was located, what conference the Flyers played in and without inquiring about the school’s robust Electronic Media program (the only school Amzil visited was Pitt, which is a pretty good indication of where the Panthers are as a program currently).
Mus stepped on campus last week and has already established himself as a consistent scoring option. While not the strongest defender, Amzil does have a nose for the ball — which is the opposite of alcoholics, who slowly develop a ball for a nose. You certainly can’t teach his height and he has the quickest release I’ve ever seen on a big man. Will Amzil transfer to a bigger school? Will he leave to play professionally overseas? Like any man of mystery, which Mus surely is, the questions only add to the intrigue.
Speaking of intrigue just how fucking bad is Fordham this season? We will find out tonight.
If you have followed the news over the past nine months or so, you’re aware that New York has handled the Kung Flu worst than any state in America. As a result, the Bronx Rams didn’t even play a single game out of conference, they were ravaged by this awful virus that is decimating the old and obese population of America. Fordham finally opened their season last week with a TWENTY FOUR point loss against George Washington. The Rams followed up that shit storm with a THIRTY SEVEN point drubbing at the hands of La Salle. If you are scoring at home, Fordham is currently losing games by an average of 30.5 points.
We aren’t going to get into the weeds here, people. Fordham is terrible, there isn’t a single sensible reason they should be playing this year (think about Grandma!). You need a name? Ok, I’ll give you a name — Joel Soriano. The sophomore forward has racked up consecutive double-doubles, his seventh in eight games going back to last season. Soriano is leading the team in scoring, rebounding, field goal percentage, blocks and transfer potential. Underclassmen tend to break Fordham’s heart. Jio Fontan, Mike Moore, Jeff McMillan, Eric Paschall and Nick Honor all left the Bronx before they even declared a major. An 0-18 season might force Soriano’s hand.
Matt, God bless you for digging up stats for this one.
Last season, Sully wrote a well-reasoned article discussing how Fordham and the Atlantic 10 would both benefit from a future without each other. In the recon before the Flyers match-up with the Bronx Rams last year, I added some supplemental statistics to amplify just how pitiful their recent play in the A10 has been. It seemed the metaphorical stock for the Fordham Rams had hit the floor. Yet somehow the 2020-21 version of the Rams has dug deeper and found a lower floor.
Sure, Jeff Neubauer and company not playing a non-conference schedule could have some effect, but through their first two A10 games the Rams have put forth some truly dog-shit statistics. While I don’t want to cast stones in a glass house, Fordham has put forth these terrible numbers against two teams predicted to finish towards the bottom of the league. I’m sure any Fordham alums who even bother to keep up with the basketball programs couldn’t have thought when their Rams put forth the 343rd ranked effective field goal percentage, 305th ranked free throw rate, their 347th ranked 2-point field goal percentage and 316th ranked free throw shooting percentage last season they could regress further.
Those hypothetical Fordham alums need to dream smaller, as by God the Rams have done it so far. The Rams have an effective field goal percentage of 32.4% in their first two games. Compare this to Dayton’s three-point percentage which sits at 39%. From three-point range, Neubauer’s boyz have hit an scant 14.6% of those attempts. I genuinely think I could do better in a Division 1 game. Their percentage from 2-point field goal range is just as embarrassing, only converting 38.6% of those attempts. I’m going to give you dear readers Fordham’s points per possession at the rim, on midrange jump shots, and for threes and let you make your own jokes as I just can’t be bothered: 1, 0.4, and 0.44. Christ.
While Fordham were a disaster offensively last season as well, they seemed relatively competent on defense. Through two games, this is not the case as the Rams have been equally inept on defense as on offense. GW and La Salle have gotten a 65.9% effective field goal percentage against Fordham, so it’s been easy to score efficiently against them thus far. In their two games, Fordham’s opponents are scoring 71% of their field goal attempts at the rim, averaging 1.44 points per possession on those attempts. They are faring even better from the perimeter, hitting 49% of their attempts. It isn’t even a case of Fordham’s opponents getting lucky from the perimeter, as it seems the Rams don’t seem bothered trying to prevent those attempts from deep. La Salle and GW took 47.7% of their field goal attempts from beyond the line. If Dayton can’t get right and put a good old-fashioned whooping on Fordham, I don’t know who they can do it against.
Instead of continuing to shit on Fordham via statistics, I’m instead going to try something new. I forget who sent the tweet, but I saw someone already adding Fordham sophomore Joel Soriano to the list of former Rams who transfer to Augusta fairway levels of greener pastures. To help Mr. Soriano find a new home outside of Rose Hill Gym, we’ll provide any potential suitors a quick statistical breakdown for him.
The 6’11” forward has plenty of traditional big-man abilities. 42.3% of his possessions end in post ups and he’s been very efficient scoring there where he is averaging 1.63 points per possession. Soriano is pulling down 24.9% of offensive rebound opportunities, the highest in D1! On those offensive rebounds, he’s been able to score an above average 1.14 points per possession on those rebounds. He’s blocking 10.8% of attempts against him, putting him 26th in the entire country. He draws 8.2 fouls per 40 minutes and is a career 68% free throw shooter which isn’t great but hardly Hasahn French territory. He hasn’t shown any of the characteristics that the modern “stretch 4” have so far in his career, but in college basketball there is still a place for a shot blocking, post up, rebounding big man. Soriano probably messed up not getting out of Dodge before this season where he would have gotten cleared to play in hypothetical new team, however a school would certainly benefit from getting two years of solid post play for Soriano once he’s freed from his Fordham prison.
It feels unnecessary to make a prediction for this one. While Dayton certainly hasn’t set the world on fire, it would appear that Fordham has the ability to make any opponent look like a world beater. We have a long-standing vow to shut down the site in the event of a loss to Fordham, which fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your point of view, doesn’t seem like a legitimate threat this season.
I will say this, if Soriano can put up a 40-20 Fordham has a chance. Flyers 77, Rams 59. #LOWD