Wright State center Cooper Land will likely miss both games in Wisconsin for the upcoming weekend, as per a report by the Dayton Daily News. The Raiders play Green Bay on Friday before making the trip to Milwaukee on Sunday.
With the 6’8” Land out, the Raiders will be looking to replace his 9 ppg and 3.1 rpg. Despite the fact that he is their most potent post threat, the rebounding will actually be much easier to replace considering the Raiders are a rebound-by-committee team that already rates tenth in the conference on the glass.
In fact, rebounding has never been much of a problem in the past for Wright State because of their deft shooting touch the past several years. This season, however, their field goal percentage of 42% ranks ninth in the Horizon League, a number all the more scary when you see the Raiders are allowing opponents to shoot 46% from the field, the worst team in the conference in that category.
The loss of Land could be devastating to the front line, who will now look to Johann Mpondo to lead the charge. The junior transfer is leading the team in 3.9 rebounds per game, a number that will likely spike now that he’ll be on the floor more than 17 mpg this weekend.
It could not have come at a worse time for the Raiders, who face their easiest road games left this weekend. It’s funny to call it easy, since the Raiders have won one road game in Wisconsin (at Green Bay) in the last decade.
After that, the Nutter Center is home for three games against the bottom of the Horizon League barrel before the Raiders take on a Murderer’s Row of Valpo and Butler on the road and Cleveland State and Detroit at home.
Personally, I’d be surprised if the Raiders went so much as 5-4 the rest of the way; they can be chalked up for wins against the two Chicago schools and Youngstown State, but every other game left on their schedule is a tough one, especially when Green Bay and Milwaukee, who may not be as good as Wright State, get the Raiders at home.
Redemption weekend? – After some discussions with players the past few days since the Butler game, some of them are viewing this weekend as sort of a “Redemption” weekend. The last time Detroit visited the Cell, the Titans embarrassed Milwaukee. And while the Panthers did beat Wright State the last time the Raiders came to Brew City (in fact, the last baker’s dozen), the Raiders squashed the Panthers in Dayton.
The big question that remains on my mind is this: if the shots don’t fall to begin the game, will the Panthers pack it in and take blowouts at home again? I know that this team has the talent to win the Horizon League Tournament, but I don’t think that can happen until they find the willpower to get it done night in and night out.