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The St. Francis Terriers travel to NC State in need of inspiration and talent and size and coaching

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The St. Francis men’s basketball program has been disappointing God since 1901. Just like the Republican Party!

St Francis of Assisi Receiving the Stigmata Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images

It occurs to me that Catholic schools all seem to have disappointingly mundane nicknames, when there’s all kinds of religious imagery and terminology they could be drawing from. NC State’s opponent Saturday afternoon, for instance, is St. Francis — the St. Francis Terriers, that is.

Mind you, I am not a dog guy. Never owned one, know next to nothing about ‘em. Maybe terriers are the guiltiest-looking of all dogs when they do something wrong like poop in the house. I can only speculate. But surely they can do better than Terriers. The St. Francis Stigmata has some zazz to it, I think. Could be an XFL franchise also.

Shoot, why not see what the wiki entry for St. Francis of Assisi has for us:

Another legend from the Fioretti tells that in the city of Gubbio, where Francis lived for some time, was a wolf “terrifying and ferocious, who devoured men as well as animals”. Francis had compassion upon the townsfolk, and so he went up into the hills to find the wolf. Soon, fear of the animal had caused all his companions to flee, though the saint pressed on. When he found the wolf, he made the sign of the cross and commanded the wolf to come to him and hurt no one. Miraculously the wolf closed his jaws and lay down at Francis’ feet.

”Brother Wolf, you do much harm in these parts and you have done great evil”, said Francis. “All these people accuse you and curse you ... But brother wolf, I would like to make peace between you and the people.” Then Francis led the wolf into the town, and surrounded by startled citizens made a pact between them and the wolf. Because the wolf had “done evil out of hunger, the townsfolk were to feed the wolf regularly. In return, the wolf would no longer prey upon them or their flocks. In this manner Gubbio was freed from the menace of the predator. Francis even made a pact on behalf of the town dogs, that they would not bother the wolf again. Finally, to show the townspeople that they would not be harmed, Francis blessed the wolf.

St. Francis subduing a wolf? Well I can hardly see how that’s relevant.

Okay, I’ve spent enough time on this, and now that the ball is rolling, I trust that the school will take the next steps. What was I talking about, again? Right, right, I hadn’t started.

Ahem. St. Francis. A school with a basketball team.

St.Francis’ 2019 Factors — Offense

2019 Terriers OE (rk) eFG% TO% OR% FTR
2019 Terriers OE (rk) eFG% TO% OR% FTR
Offense 96.1 (315) 48.5 (276) 17.6 (117) 26.9 (223) 28.6 (288)

The Terriers have been in a rut lately, as they haven’t finished better than 275th in the Pomeroy Ratings since 2015. They have one of the more experienced rosters that NC State will see this season, though I’m not sure the veteran nature of the roster is going to end up being much of an advantage for St. Francis, which has already lost games to Longwood and Fordham.

St. Francis was one of the shortest teams in the country last year—340th in average height—which created a host of problems: poor interior shooting compounded by getting a lot of shots rejected, to go with poor offensive rebounding. It was also a below-average three-point shooting team, which was extra damaging under the circumstances.

Maybe they’ll shoot it a little better in 2020, but there’s still no getting around—but plenty getting over, am I right—the fact that these guys are short.

The leader of this lollipop guild is 5’8 point guard Chauncey Hawkins, who assumed the highest workload on the team last year and looks like he’ll do so again. Is it a good idea for Chauncey Hawkins to do that? No, no probably not: in 2+ college seasons, he’s made 39.1% of his twos and 29.3% of his threes.

Forward Deniz Celen was a rare bright spot for the Terriers last season and seems to warrant more touches, especially since he actually makes twos at a decent clip. I don’t see much risk in letting the career 62% two-point shooter get a few more looks every night. Not when the point guard needs a step ladder to reach the top drawer of his dresser.

Senior wing Rosel Hurley also was effective inside the arc in 2019, which is good since he’s got no range whatsoever. I wonder how many other 6’5, 190-pound guys in college basketball took seven times as many twos as threes last season. Can’t be a lot of them out there.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention guard Unique McLean, whose name is Unique McLean. That dude is my hero.

St. Francis’ 2019 Factors — Defense

2019 Terriers DE (rk) eFG% TO% OR% FTR
2019 Terriers DE (rk) eFG% TO% OR% FTR
Defense 105.6 (195) 48.9 (88) 19.2 (123) 28.5 (190) 39.3 (314)

Hey, give the Terriers credit for managing to be average on the defensive glass. Plenty of bigger teams were worse. Their 2FG% defense wasn’t too bad either, but I should note that the Terriers play in the NEC, which is a bottom-five D-I conference in terms of quality. Just one assortment of incompetents after another in that league. The Terriers happened to be less incompetent than a sizable portion of their schedule. And nobody will ever take that away from them.

The Pomeroy Predictor likes NC State by 23.