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Know! Your! Foe! - George Washington.

For the first installment of what will hopefully become an ongoing series, I exchanged emails with Andrew from Colonial Hoops, who was kind enough to answer my questions about Princeton's next opponent - the George Washington Colonials. If you cover a team the Tigers will face down the line, let us know. We'd love to talk with you.

Aaron Ware leads the team in scoring coming off the bench. What sort of player is he?

Ware is a fast, high energy, slashing guy, and is kind of a do-it-all - defense, rebounding, etc. However, with this team there isn't much difference between starters and bench players, as [head coach Karl] Hobbs substitutes a lot and the team goes very deep.

How much of a factor is youth for this year's George Washington squad? Going into Saturday's game versus UMBC, the team's top three scorers are two sophomore and a freshman.

It's pretty big. There's a lot of contributions from the newcomers, but some returnees are having surprisingly big roles. Big man Jabari Edwards was virtually absent last year, but he's playing great as a defensive stopper and rebounder. The freshman are led by Lasan Kromah, who's been a big time scorer so far - 21 points in about 11 minutes against UMBC, while the other freshman have had important roles. Senior Damian Hollis was thought to be the star going into the season, but hasn't had to do too much thanks to contributions by the frosh. I expect Hollis to lead the team in rebounding and maybe scoring by the end of the season.

What does George Washington need to do to beat Princeton?

Play the Hobbs game: play strong trapping defense, force turnovers, get easy baskets off breaks and alley-oops and hit open looks from outside. The Colonials also hit the boards very well as a team against UMBC, outrebounding them 57-27. That's a key.

What does Princeton need to do to defeat GW?

If the Colonials got stuck in a half-court offense in the last two seasons, they were pretty easy to beat. The half-court offense often seemed to consist of passing it around the perimeter lazily and hoping somebody got open. Against UMBC the half-court seemed to have more energy and there were better entry passes, but if Princeton can stop that, it could get ugly for GW. GW also can struggle against wide bodies down low and free throw shooting has been an issue.

The Colonials have not shot the ball well two games in, yet they're 2-0. What's been the difference in these games?

Depth is a big factor - GW can go 12 deep and just wear out other teams. If one guy's off, another guy has stepped up - a lot of times a player will score in double figures one game but not another. I would guess that makes it hard to plan against the team.

What sort of expectations are there for George Washington this year, both from local media and fans?

Not much! The team missed the A-10 tournament for two years in a row, so hopes were not high at all. There was a lot of anger from GW fans after last season, with some demanding Hobbs be fired, but after the recruiting class came out that's died down. The local media basically forgot about the team, what with Georgetown, Maryland and even George Mason doing well lately (though a lack of outreach during GW's good seasons didn't help). I'd be happy if the team finised the year at .500, though after these three games, there's a bit more optimism. The athletic department has also done a great job getting fans excited, too.

While Princeton is coming off a disappointing loss to Army, GW had a convincing win over UMBC on Saturday. Tell me about the game.

A great game! GW played the Hobbs style well, forcing 15 UMBC turnovers and scoring 27 points off them, and freshman Lasan Kromah was nasty, scoring 20 points in the first half, hitting four threes in a row over less than two minutes. Pretty much the entire team contributed and as I mentioned before, they crushed UMBC on the boards. The crowd was really into it, ten players had at least 5 points and every non-walk on scored. As an example of stepping up when somebody else is down, Aaron Ware only had two!

Any memories of the last time these two teams met eight years ago?

I was at the game at the MCI Center [a 60-57 Princeton loss in the consolation round of the 2001 BB&T tournament - JS], and I remember that Greg Collucci, one of our shooters, had a monster game. Collucci is now an assistant for the team. All-time leading scorer Chris Monroe was on that team too. I think that was Karl Hobbs' first year.

Thanks for your time, Andrew! Princeton and George Washington tip off at 7:00 pm ET on Tuesday night at the Charles E. Smith Center.

Rodney Johnson said,

November 24, 2009 @ 9:49 am

Princeton had 27 turnovers (and only 12 assists) against Army, and Army didn't press.

Taking care of the ball will be critical for the Tigers.

Jon Solomon said,

November 24, 2009 @ 9:58 am

Army must be doing something right defensively. Yesterday Harvard turned the ball over 30 times against the Black Knights.

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