After a huge win against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, FIU (11-11) goes on the road to face the Charlotte 49ers (13-8).
The last time these two teams faced, Charlotte was one of the best teams in Conference USA and the Panthers took a huge win against them. This time around, the 49ers find themselves lower in the seeding than FIU and are now 13-8, but 4-6 within the conference.
What to Look out for
In the last meeting between these two schools, forward Aly Khalifa take over for Charlotte as he led the team in points and assists. FIU was able to hold leading scorer Brice Williams to under his points per game which is impressive and very telling of how much the gameplan on defense is usually put towards the top scorer. Still, the Panthers slipped up and allowed the second-best scorer, who in this case it is Khalifa, to go and have a better game than expected.
STEP BACK ALY!!!!!
WE ARE TIED!!!! pic.twitter.com/wd7O2phj7U
— Charlotte Men’s Basketball (@CharlotteMBB) January 27, 2023
A key matchup to watch for will be Khalifa v. Mohamed Sanogo who has been one of the most improved players this season. Sanogo is second in blocks behind seven-footer Seth Pinkney who has also been playing crucial minutes for FIU. Expect to hear both of those names called on a lot on Thursday.
Keys to the Game
Fast Paced Offense will Win the Game:
As we saw in the last game MTSU, FIU ran a rather quicker offensive tempo which worked as they won in convincing fashion and forced Middle Tennessee to break down offensively due to their attempts to trying to keep up.
▶️ 10.5 PPG
▶️ 6.5 APG
▶️ 6.0 RPG
▶️ 3.5 STLS/G
A2 stuffed the stat sheet last week en route to our three-game win streak 📈 pic.twitter.com/TUECL2rk3h
— FIU Men's Basketball (@FIUHoops) January 30, 2023
Full Court Press once again:
In the MTSU game, FIU ran a full-court press which was on the gameplan and it ended up casing 16 turnovers for the Blue Raiders and the Panthers had 10 steals in the game. If FIU were to go full court again then it would provide pressure for Charlotte to run a quicker offensive tempo and try to keep up with the blue and gold.
MVP: Denver Jones