Sunday, January 20, 2013
Is Towson tournament ready?
By Matt Giles
It was tough to watch Towson last season. The squad won one game, against UNC Wilmington, and other than their surprising offensive rebounding percentage, Towson struggled mightily on the offensive side of the ball. However, it was obvious this team would improve in coach Pat Skerry's second season. There were three Big East transfers waiting -- Jerrelle Benimon, Mike Burwell, and Bilal Dixon -- who would all soon join the Tigers' starting lineup, and Skerry and his staff had lined up a solid recruiting class.
While the squad has improved, it was unexpected that Towson would be 5-1 in CAA play -- the Tigers defeated James Madison recently -- and second place in the league. We have to ask the question: is Towson a potential NCAA tournament team? Towson still struggles from the perimeter, shooting a woeful 29.2 percent from deep, but Skerry's philosophy does not really account heavily for three-point shooting. The team is first -- and only -- option is to drive the lane and either convert the two (51.4 percent from within the arc) or go to the free throw line (Towson's free throw rate is ranked second in the conference). Where they excel, though, is on defense; the team doesn't force turnovers often, but since arriving at the school, Skerry has stressed crashing the glass and his team has become a rebounding force.
It will be interesting to see how the team fares the remainder of the season. A recent game against Northeastern, the conference's top team, resulted in a Towson loss but the Tigers.