Maroons head coach Mike McGrath experienced one of his most devastating losses as a coach for the Maroons on Sunday against Brandeis.
“I went into the locker room after the game, and it’s been a long time—it’s been a long, long time—since I felt that way after a loss,” McGrath said.
With three losses in the UAA and nine games left in the conference season, McGrath said that wins are necessary for an attempt at the UAA title. Last year, Rochester took the title with only two losses.
“Four losses might win our league; three, I think, definitely would,” McGrath said. “If we want to compete for the UAA championship this year, we need to play well this weekend, and we need to get a win on Friday.”
For the Maroons (9–7, 2–3 UAA), winning on Friday will be very tough, given that the Emory Eagles (15–1, 4–1) only have one loss on the season.
But it is not Emory’s record about which McGrath is mostly concerned; it is the Eagles’ mobility on the court.
“In the 20 years I’ve been in the league, they have a very unique style,” McGrath said. “They play faster than anybody who [has] been in our league before.”
Emory’s mobility stems from point guard Austin Claunch. The Sporting News 2011–2012 Honorable Mention All-American averages 18.1 points and 6.5 assists per game.
“For my money right now, they have the guy who is playing better and will be the MVP of our league in Austin Claunch,” McGrath said. “He’s a tough matchup for any team.”
However, a team ranked fourth nationally must have more than one prolific player, and this is exactly the case for the Eagles. Currently, forward Jake Davis averages 19.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. Three other players (forward Michael Friedberg, guard Alex Greven and guard Alex Gulotta) average over eight points per game.
McGrath said that the high scoring averages are due to the quickness of the Eagles’ offense.
“The speed with which you score and they come right back at you is really pretty impressive,” McGrath said. “It’s a lot because of [Claunch,] and we really need to be ready for that.”
Sunday’s match against Rochester (11–5, 2–3) is going to feature another explosive point guard in John DeBartolomeo. The d3hoops.com, Sporting News, and D-III News preseason All-American averages 16.8 points and 5.6 assists per game.
“He shoots when he should shoot, passes when he should pass, and drives when he should drive,” McGrath said.
At the same time, McGrath said that Rochester does not have the mobility that Emory does.
“They don’t play with the same speed,” he said. “It’s kind of a cross between what NYU does and [what] Emory does.”
The Maroons are concerned about their own execution on the offensive end. Chicago has averaged 44.6 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from behind the arc at the Ratner Center this season.
“I think we’re getting good shots that we can make,” McGrath said.
The Maroons tip off at the Ratner Center on Friday at 8 p.m. against Emory and on Sunday at 12 p.m. against Rochester.