The Campbell Camels will bring their up-tempo style of basketball to Cassell
Coliseum on Saturday night for the first time since 1979. There probably won’t
be many people in Cassell Coliseum because of the opponent and the Holidays, but
those that skip out on this one will miss a very entertaining game. Probably not
a close one, but a fun one nonetheless.
Campbell plays a fast-paced, wide open game of basketball. As a result, they
are one of the top scoring teams in the nation, averaging 86.5 points per game.
But like any team from the Atlantic Sun Conference, or any small conference for
that matter, they lack size on the inside.
Campbell enters Saturday’s game with a record of 4-4. They have victories over
UNC Pembroke (106-66), Coastal Carolina (83-63), UNC Wilmington (100-94) and
Radford (101-88). Their four losses came at the hands of Radford (87-80, and
yes, they played them twice), Appalachian State (84-71), San Diego State
(119-82) and San Diego (81-69).
have scored over 100 points in three of their four wins. They almost have to
score 100 points to get a victory, because they give up an average of 85.2
points per game. Only two teams have held the Camels to below 80 points this
year. San Diego held them to 69, while Appalachian State (whom the Hokies beat
69-37) knocked off Campbell 84-71.
Campbell’s best player is 6-5 forward Jonathan Rodriguez. He leads the team
in scoring (16.8 ppg) and rebounding (8.5 rpg). Rodriguez can play on the
outside as well as the inside. He has attempted 20 three-pointers this year,
though he has only hit six of them for 30%. He has gotten to the free throw line
36 times, which is second-most on the team.
6-2 guard Ruell Pringle averages 14.8 points per game. Those of you from the
“757” might recognize Pringle’s name, because he played his high
school basketball at Landstown in Virginia Beach. Pringle shoots 53.3% from the
field but only 28.6% from three-point range.
Eric Smith is another dangerous guard for Campbell, although he generally
comes off the bench. He is averaging 11.1 points per game, and is coming off a
career-high 24 points in Campbell’s home victory over Radford.
Campbell will shoot a lot of three-pointers, but interestingly enough, they
aren’t very good at making them. The Camels have hit 61 of their 206 three-point
attempts this year for 29.6%, and they’ve played just eight games. By contrast,
the Hokies have hit 54-of-153 from the outside this year in 10 games, good for
35.3%. So Campbell shoots more and hits more from the outside, but their
percentage is much worse.
The Hokies should be able to out-rebound their opponent in this game. The
Camels are (-2.4) in rebounding margin this season, and they have a very small
lineup that doesn’t have the athletic ability of the Hokies. Look for Tech to
get some opportunities on the offensive glass.
And finally, thanks to Campbell’s fast-paced offense, they average over 18
turnovers per game. They force a lot of turnovers as well, but that shouldn’t be
a problem for Tech’s experienced backcourt. This type of game could play right
into the hands of the Hokies, who have been looking for a chance to run all
year. A player like Deron Washington could be especially effective.
The Campbell Fighting Camels (as if there is any other kind of camel) enter
the Cassell this Saturday night for our Hokies’ final hoops game before our
players catch a couple of days off for a mini Christmas break. Campbell has
averaged 4 wins and change over their last three seasons, so a 4-4 mark after
eight games played must feel pretty good at this point.
Campbell is a run-and-gun team extraordinaire, ranking 8th in scoring offense
in all of D-1 (out of 325 total teams). But such a high-tempo offensive attack
comes with a price. That price is found in the fact that the Hokies will not
face a worse scoring defense all year, as the Camels check in at a lowly 6th
from last in that department. Campbell has yet to win a game on the road this
year, and brings a lowly -2.4 rebounding margin to Blacksburg, Va. But most
importantly Campbell is 302nd in turnovers themselves.
Campbell is led by freshman small-forward Jon Rodriquez, who paces the Camels
in scoring and in rebounding. Campbell has two other double-digit scorers, both
upperclassmen, both G’s, both 6-1 in height … Ruell Pringle of Virginia Beach
fame, and Eric Smith. In fact, only one Camel who is receiving 10 minutes of
playing time tops 200 pounds (Russ Gibson, 220 pounds). In other words, this
might very well be the slightest team the Hokies play all year long, but one
that loves to score.
Other than scoring and ranking 9th in steals, Campbell basically does nothing
else in an above average fashion. In fact the Camels are listed 230th or worse
in seven out of the fourteen categories that I track. This one is not a matter
of will our Hokies win, but rather by how much, and what changes or tweaks will
Seth attempt during the next three games before full-time ACC play gets here.
Virginia Tech 83 Campbell 70