The Charlotte 49ers’ 9-0 start has been a product of a number of factors–tough inside play and strong defense to name a few. The balance of December’s schedule features a few tough games along with some not as tough opponents, so let’s take a look and see what the rest of this month has in store.
On Friday, after finals, the Niners take on Miami, who has beaten Michigan State and is currently receiving three votes in the AP poll (effectively in a tie for 36th at this point with Alabama). Undoubtedly, it’s the toughest of the four remaining games, and Jim Larranaga looks to be putting Hurricane basketball back on the right track. One note: it will be their first game since a win against UMass on December 1. After that, Charlotte gets a “breather” on Sunday against Kennesaw State (whose only wins last year were against West Georgia in an exhibition, Chattanooga, Reinhardt, and Texas-Corpus Christi). Things aren’t going well for the Owls this year, either: their only win as of now is against South Carolina State.
Next up is Radford on the 19th at Halton. This isn’t the same Radford team of last year that was depleted due to NCAA infractions, but even at 5-5, their body of work isn’t that impressive. Finally, to wrap up the month before the Christmas layoff, Florida State comes to Time Warner Cable Arena. The ‘Noles were nearly a Sweet 16 team last year and looked to be on pretty good standing coming into the year, but a season-opening loss to South Alabama and a 5-4 record (with losses to Minnesota, Mercer and Florida) have them licking their wounds. This is far from the same Florida state squad that was on the floor last season.
So where does that leave the Niners? Conceivably, 2-2 is more than achievable and would be expected. 3-1 would be impressive–between Miami and Florida State, I’d take my chances against the latter at this point in time. Either way, a loss to Kennesaw State or Radford, regardless of what happens, would chase away any goodwill surrounding this team. Let’s see what happens and enjoy the ride together.