The Roost: Winter (break) is coming

Nick Blank

the-roost
Graphic by Rachelle Keller

The Roost is back! And it’s not a one hit wonder!

As thrilled as I am to present the winter break slate of games, I lament on the three previous editions of The Roost that didn’t get published due to the following reasons:

  1. Someone glitterbombed the Spinnaker’s office.*
  2. Martin Shkreli bought my family.*
  3. I have the work ethic tantamount to an inebriated sloth.

*This may not have happened.

Anyway, heading into the winter break, the Ospreys sit at 6-4, but it’s a comfortable 6-4. Louisville, Saint Louis, Ben Simmons and Dayton were a staggeringly difficult opposition, and on the road no less.

From Dec. 12 to Jan. 2, UNF see out the rest of their non-conference schedule. The Ospreys play five beatable inferior teams, one mediocre big-conference team they could beat (Arkansas) and one they probably won’t (Virginia Commonwealth). For the sake of time and my sanity, only Arkansas and VCU are getting The Roost treatment. I’ve separated the Ospreys’ opponents into three categories.


“Joey from Friends” Levels of Irrelevance

Coastal Georgia Mariners

Dec. 12, 7:00 p.m.

ESPN3

NAIA school. The logo might remind you of the Sydney Opera House, giving you the exotic illusion that you aren’t actually in Brunswick, Georgia. I know Sherman stopped at Savannah, but he would have done us all a favor if trounced this place too.

Florida A&M Rattlers

Dec. 19, 7:00 p.m.

ESPN3

The Rattlers hail from the MEAC, which must make the Atlantic Sun feel like the ACC.


Mediocre Mid-Majors

Florida International Golden Panthers

Dec. 14, 7:00 p.m.

ESPN3

I bet anyone associated with Florida International go out of their way to stress the “international” part of the name to prove they’re more cultured than everybody else. That’s more pretentious than vinyl and vaping combined.

Austin Peay Governors

Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m.

ESPN3

Their mascot is a Gilded Age tycoon with a monocle. Inspiring stuff. I can only imagine the player’s enthusiasm when they scream, “Go Governors.” Naming a university after a historical figure is lazier than the humans in Wall·E.

@Eastern Michigan Eagles

Jan. 2, 12:00 p.m.

Untelevised

I’m really finding it difficult to care about this one. It’s not on TV, so it’s as if it’ll never happen, right?


Credible Threats

@Virginia Commonwealth Cavaliers

Dec. 30, 7:00 p.m.

Untelevised

Hometown: Richmond

The denizens of the Confederate capital are a proud people, say no more.

The Dirt

The Cavaliers have struggled since Coach Shaka Smart left for Texas. But the teams they’ve lost to are no slouches (Duke, Wisconsin, Florida State). With guard Melvin Johnson (19.1 ppg) and a deep bench, VCU is still one of the toughest mid-majors in the country.

Prediction: VCU 76, UNF 70

I don’t know if UNF has the athleticism to keep up with VCU here.

@Arkansas Razorbacks

Dec. 22, 8:00 p.m.

SEC Network+

Hometown: Fayetteville

Everything I know about Arkansas stems from Winter’s Bone and Deliverance. I’m aware Deliverance is set in Georgia not Arkansas, but who said they weren’t interchangeable? This poll I cherry picked from August shows Donald Trump leading the polls in Arkansas, effectively writing the joke for me.

The Dirt

Arkansas are 4-4 on the season thanks to wins over stalwarts such as Northwest State and Charleston Southern. Their schedule has no consistency. They either wallop tiny schools or face big schools who dominate them. Three players got hilariously kicked off the team spending counterfeit money.

Prediction: UNF 83, Arkansas 81

The Razorbacks haven’t played a team like UNF yet this season.


Spare Thoughts

When they are firing on all cylinders, the Ospreys are very easy on the eye. The three is lethal, and on their night the Ospreys can beat damn near anyone. There certainly are benefits of having a signature style: the players know their roles and are deeply embedded in a system. It’s a truism, but sometimes you might have to find different ways to win because playing this high risk-reward style becomes a problem against the more athletic programs.

Currently, Coach Driscoll plays seven players regularly. There is a noticeable lack of depth, especially with center Romelo Banks still out. The timetable Banks’ injury has been extended, and now the Jan. 6 conference opener vs Stetson is the target. His absence allows physical teams like Louisville and Saint Louis to hone in on perimeter defense and thwart the three because they know the Ospreys don’t present a threat from the post.

Any opposing coach with a formidable front court or a deep bench has to be salivating. UNF are desperately missing a front court presence. Forwards Chris Davenport and A-Sun Defensive Player of the Year Demarcus Daniels are reliable, but it’s not enough. Overall, the Ospreys have been out-rebounded 391 to 352, which isn’t that bad considering most of the negative difference comes from Louisville (outrebounded 53-22) and Saint Louis (46-22).

Coming Up: Conference Preview

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