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Longwood Lancers vs. Miami RedHawks: Q&A with Mid-Major Madness

We sat down with one of our favorite folks over at Mid-Major Madness, Parks Smith, to talk Longwood basketball in preparation for the team's Wednesday night game with Miami.

Geovanie McKnight and the 'Hawks are set to take on Longwood Wednesday night
Geovanie McKnight and the 'Hawks are set to take on Longwood Wednesday night
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Hustle Belt: So these two teams come in obviously without having had much success, where is it that you think the Lancers have excelled where the record might not show?

Parks: Our schedule has been pretty brutal, especially in November and especially without Quincy Taylor the first three games. The offense has been pretty good all year, with the exception of last Sunday at UMBC. I think the biggest takeaway heading into Big South play is this team can compete in the conference and has a lot of talent, there just hasn't been many moments this year where everyone is really firing on all cylinders. I think the biggest thing year over year though is this team doesn't get down on themselves and doesn't give up. I just think they need to learn how to win, which sounds weird but is on point.

HB: Are there any weaknesses that the RedHawks possess that the Lancers might be able to exploit? (Miami's smaller lineup most-likely).

Parks: You know, I would definitely say size because of the presence that Lotanna Nwogbo has been at times this year but he actually seems to play better against teams with comparable bigs. Unfortunately he always seems to get some ticky-tac calls in the first five minutes of the game, sits the whole half, and never gets in rhythm. If he can get going early then it will be a huge advantage for the Lancers.

Longwood is also pretty decent at turning the ball over with Quincy Taylor, DJ Allen, Leron Fisher, and others. I think that could help us stay in the game as well, although we turn it over plenty ourselves.

HB: What's the hype surrounding Quincy Taylor this season? He's off to a roaring start now, even after having been suspended for the first three games this season. Does Miami have to contain Taylor to win this game?

Parks: He actually sat out last year after transferring to UAB. Quincy is just a high-level point guard who is quick, can run the offense, shoot, and slash with the best of him. I really think our starting lineup is going to dictate whether or not you have to contain Quincy. Sunday we started Leron Fisher at the point and play Quincy as more of an off guard. I think this setup is really detrimental to our offense and we're more dangerous when Quincy is orchestrating the offense. Honestly, like Nwogbo, Quincy needs to get off to a hot start. He really starts to take a game over the last 10 minutes of the second half where he gets the bulk of his points. He needs to be more of a catalyst for Longwood and get the Lancers going early.

HB: Having not seen them play, can you tell our readers how Longwood likes to play the game? Any key-matchups that you'd look to as deciding factors in this one?

Parks: Coach Gee deems his style of play as PACE, which stands for PRESSURE, ATTACK, COMPETE, ENERGIZE. He's a defensive guy but Longwood hasn't been an effective defensive team thus far this season. I think Longwood is going to be pretty hyped up for this game with Gee being from Ohio and so is Ryan Badowski, Damarion Geter, and Victor Dorsey on our roster. In terms of match ups there are a number of role players on Longwood's roster. We've touched on Taylor and Nwogbo, but there are plenty others. Leron Fisher is more of a defensive specialist and is dubbed the "One Man Press". He is a real threat to force a turnover at any time. Shaq Johnson is a high flyer, a scorer, and Longwood's best on-the-ball defender. He can usually take the opposing teams best two guard or small forward out of a game. Unfortunately Shaq has struggled with turnovers off of bad passes this year and turnovers are really contagious. Badowski and Kanayo Obi-Rapu are two solid freshmen with Badowski being a serious three point threat. DJ Allen is a good defender and had two 20+ point games to start the season but has kind of gone missing lately.

Longwood is an up-tempo team who struggles defensively, rebounding, and with turnovers right now. Obviously those themes are trying to change as we move into conference play. I think for Longwood to beat Miami, everyone is going to have to contribute and Quincy or Nwogbo are going to have a big night complemented by Shaq Johnson. Some timely outside shooting from Badowksi, Fisher, or Obi-Rapu wouldn't hurt either.