Welcome to the new age of Hofstra basketball. Saturday's 73-47 loss to SMU will probably be more the normal result than an aberration as the season goes on, a result of the sad situation confronting the team and the university.
The Pride will be playing for pride this season thanks to the deep cuts in their depth on the floor. Case in point: Darren Payen, who had yet to play a minute through Hofstra's first seven games, came off the bench for 22 minutes against SMU.
He clearly wasn't ready for that amount of time, at least not with his shooting. He went 1-for-6 from the floor and missed his only free throw. His other contributions were a little better -- five rebounds and two blocks -- but this is what Hofstra basketball is going to look like.
Teams will concentrate on stopping Taran Buie, because they don't have to worry about Jimmy Hall, or Shaquille Stokes. Stevie Mejia is going to have to do more scoring, something that he has never done well during his college career.
Hall was the top HOOPWAR player so far, and on pace for a 4.8 HW30. That isn't player of the year range, but it is all-conference level.
He was also dominating the defensive end for Hofstra, particularly on the boards, but also through his ability to get blocks. He had huge numbers on the value side for a freshman, especially one outside of the major conferences.
And it might have gotten bigger. Against the lower half of the conference, you could expect an even stronger performance than Hall could give against better opponents. There is the major loss for the Pride, as you could see in the way the Mustangs ran all over them.
Stokes was also a positive contributor so far for the Pride, albeit on a lesser level.
What is left can't compete over a 30 game season. What is left couldn't compete in just the conference slate. This is a team that has no depth, and no real replacement for the minutes they are losing because of the arrests and suspensions.
If you look at the combined project HW30 score for the projected starters the rest of the way, you have a 2.86 mark. If you look at what the starters through the majority of the season were headed for, that would total 5.77.
At the beginning of the year, Dan Hanner's ratings predicted about 12 wins total for the Pride. In conference, possibly seven. That is looking more like nine and four given the loss of so much value from the starting lineup. Without a bench, I am not sure you can even count on that much. After all, look at what Payen was forced into because of this.
The sad part is that the Colonial looks even more down than what was expected of the league based on the results so far. The Pride might have been able to translate the value they had been getting so far into some upset wins, and maybe a decent standing within the league.
Now it is more likely that Hofstra will be battling Towson for the basement of the conference, a spot that seemed unlikely given the changes and talent on the roster.