American vs. Northwestern basketball preview

AMURRRICAN!

Cause I'm proud to be writing a preview post about American University's basketball team, where at least the players play for free, something something yeah I'll shut up.

I was gonna write a 1-3-1 post yesterday but I've been feeling like death for a few days so, I didn't exactly feel like scrolling back and forth through ESPN3 of the NU Georgia Tech game for an hour, so, that didn't happen. Sorry. I pieced this together though, enjoy - and get mad, American University fans! Long Island people didn't hate on me at all! Disappointing. Surprising too, considering that LI people are generally foolishly proud of their home.

Juuuuuuuump!

Are they good?: Best in the Patriot League!

American University is in the Patriot League? Yeah, them, Army, Navy, and some other, less patriotic teams like Lafayette and Holy Cross.

So are they good?: No, not really. Their six wins are against some of the worst teams in the country, four of whom are ranked below 324 by Kenpom. They started off 5-0, then followed that up with a loss to Columbia - the Lions! - and a pair of 20-ish point losses to No. 16 Florida and West Virginia. They're not on the same level as major conference teams.

Who they got?: Their leading scorer and focus of their offense is George Mason transfer Vlad Moldoveanu. Moldy, as I call him and always have, has averaged over 18 points a game in both his years at Amurrican - BUT AT WHAT COST?!?!?! When he's on the floor Moldoveanu is the final player on 34 percent of American's possessions and the shooter on THIRTY-NINE percent of their shots, the ninth and second highest figures in the country. (Yes, he takes a higher percentage of shots than anybody in the nation except one other human being out of at least 3000 D-I athletes playing men's basketball.) The 6-foot-9 power forward shoots 40 percent from the floor and 28 percent from beyond the arc, so, good lord, Moldy, pass the rock. He's had three games where he took more shots than he had points, which is bad, because he hasn't taken less than ten shots in any game on the year. However, his presence - and ballhoggery - is necessary: his one game out this year, against Columbia, was an outlier loss for the Eagles where they scored only 62 points against a terrible Columbia team. American is the third team NU has played not to list any players as centers on their roster, so, height is to NU's advantage again. The team's leading rebounder is the phenomenally named Stephen Lumpkins, who brings down 8.5 boards per game. Both are seniors.

Vlad Moldoveanu? Is he even from - : No, he's not American. One of two foreign imports on the team, the other being Daniel Fisher, a backup forward from Australia.

Isn't that hypocritcal?: Well, you could also argue Moldoveanu's status as the top scorer on a team called "American University" is representative of the American ideal of being a beacon of hope the world over, the American dream. As the son of an immigrant, American University's basketball recruiting seems to me to be shouting out to the world, bring us your tired, your poor, your huddled 6-foot-9 masses, and we will allow them to hog the ball and shoot way too much.

Where's he from, Moldov-: Romania.

Us and them?: First meeting between the two schools, because we don't hate our country.

Difference between the amount of times they have been to the NCAA tourney and the amount of times NU has been: Two. For a long time, American was a member of the same club as Northwestern: that of never having been to the NCAA's. But props to head coach Jeff Jones: after taking over in 2000, the school switched from the CAA to the Patriot League in 2001, and he's dominated the league since: four regular season conference championships and six trips to the conference championship game, but the school lost its first four appearances, and the streak continued. However, in 2008, the school finally made the Dance, and the next year, nearly pulled off an upset over No. 3 Villanova, holding a 14-point lead in the second half before falling short. The school's most famous basketball alum is Kermit Washington, who is best known for nearly killing Rudy Tomjanovich with the most vicious on-court punch in NBA history.

So what makes them so damn American?: I have compiled a list of reasons:

1) American University is the alma mater of television actress America Ferrera. She applied to the school presumably knowing that her name was America and the school's name was "American University" and the admissions office also knew both of these things, and yet the still attended and graduated from the school. If your first name is "Northwester" and you're in high school, send in that application.

2) It's in Washington, which is the capital, and all sorts of political type people, like Senator Robert Byrd and reporters David Gregory and whatever it is Neal Cavuto does went there. The school is one of the better ones in the country for international relations/service, if that's your schtick.

3) When things go bad, the government and the army use American as their own playground. The site was used as an army base - Camp American University - where early chemical weapons were tested and live munitions were used during World Wars I and II. The Army Corps of Engineers is still at work making sure there are no more random WWI-era mustard gas canisters lying around, which is something they probably don't mention on the tours.

Good names? The go-to choice is Stephen Lumpkins, who sounds really jolly, also, one letter off from a deviant sexual activity.

Anything to look for? If I was American's coach, I'd have a sit-down with our apparent star player and tell him not to shoot on any given possession until he's already passed it at least twice, like we used to do back in sixth grade. If I'm NU, I put John Shurna on him and just let him hoist as long as he wants. Offensively, NU is in a groove - nothing American could throw at the Cats should be able to stop them

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