By Ed Morrone
STONY BROOK, N.Y.- With the men's basketball season a third of the way done, here are some questions (and answers) to ponder as the rest of the season unfolds:
Q: Hofstra lost its first three games before proceeding to win its next five-what version of the Pride should I expect come March?A: Right now, it's hard to say. Hofstra seems to have, for the most part, worked out all the kinks from that 0-3 start (stupid turnovers, poor free throw shooting, failure to rebound, etc.) and is starting to look a little bit more like the team everybody expected. However, problems do remain, mainly a lack of depth and inconsistency in the frontcourt. The Pride will need players like Chris Gadley and Arminas Urbutis to step up big time if the team wants to win the conference tournament in March.
Q: Speaking of which, is Hofstra still the favorite to win the CAA?A: Probably, but they won't be the runaway favorite many originally thought. The CAA is showing it is still a rock solid conference, despite the loss of many key players. Old Dominion has looked the strongest so far (with a win over then No. 8 Georgetown), while VCU, Drexel, Towson and George Mason have all played well. The Pride will need to step it up big time if it wants to come anywhere near its 14-4 conference mark last season.
Q: Zygis Sestokas has been outstanding so far, but can he keep it up all season?A: Again, this is something that we'll find out over time. Ziggy averaged just over one point a game last season, so the fact that he's averaging 10.3 points per game and shooting a lights out 54 percent from behind the arc (22-for-41) has head coach Tom Pecora beaming. Still, Ziggy is averaging close to 27 minutes per game as a starter and is a liability both on defense and in rebounding the basketball, so he will have to improve those facets of his game. Time will tell.
Q: Enough beating around the bush. Will Hofstra win the CAA Tournament and move onto its first NCAA Tournament since the 2000-01 season?A: Maybe. Hofstra is realizing now that it's not that much better than the rest of the conference, but that fact should push the team to work harder once CAA season really starts in January. It won't be easy, but with Loren Stokes and Antoine Agudio playing at the top of their games and receiving help from guys like Sestokas and Carlos Rivera, Hofstra has just as good a shot as anybody else.