After a tough 65-61 loss to Weber State last week, it's probably safe to say the Seattle University Redhawks are looking forward to their home game this evening at 5 p.m. PST.
Despite struggling on the road this season, the Redhawks have won two in a row in the cozy confines of KeyArena and their scrappy intensity has made them exciting to watch almost independent of the strength of their competition.
Today's game figures to be another winnable one for them.
The visiting Idaho Vandals who are 5-3 but are close to the Redhawks in the RPI rankings (Vandals are #249 vs. Redhawks 261) and have a significantly weaker strength of schedule. Regardless of whether there's any additional significance to playing a WAC opponent given ongoing expansion talks, continuing the home winning streak would definitely be significant for the team as they continue to make progress.
Key statistical battleground: turnovers
At their best, the Redhawks' snappiness translates into turnovers, sloppy play, and ultimately exactly the type of game they want. The Vandals tend to turn the ball over more than their opponents overall and that would seem to be among the easiest thing the Redhawks can exploit, even if they have another off shooting night.
Luiz Toledo, F (6-foot-8, 225, Jr.)
One of Idaho's strengths this season has been offensive rebounding and Toledo has been their leader with 2.5 per game in addition to getting to the free throw line at a rather strong rate.
Shawn Henderson, G (6-foot-3, 178, Sr.)
However their leading rebounder is actually Henderson, who averages a team-high 7.3 per game in addition to being the team's most efficient ball handler. Seattle U has done well rebounding in their last few home games, but not necessarily against a team with a guard that gets as many rebounds as Henderson.
Although turnovers could certainly be a deciding factor for Seattle U in this game, Idaho's rebounding could help them get the road win.