For every young basketball team, there seem to be more challenges looming than normal.|
The very young Augustana Vikings will be facing a new obstacle this week as they prepare for tonight's 7:30 nonconference clash with the visiting University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Titans at the Carver Center.
Coach Grey Giovanine and his Vikings will have as little time to prepare for a game as they have had all season, coming off Tuesday's 69-57 victory over UW-Platteville.
"I think the big challenge is the quick turnaround," said Giovanine. "One day of prep and can we get our guys refocused and energized again is the big challenge. It's not so much what are they going to do and what problems do they present, it's dealing with just one day between games.''
Adding even another layer to the preparation dilemma is because of academic schedules, the Vikings will not even have a game-day walk-through. And that will be another new twist for a team featuring eight freshmen. On other game days this season, the Vikings have been able to actually practice, tape and work up a good sweat, according to Giovanine.
Giovanine, though, is hopeful this group continues being effective and efficient in its preparations. The veteran coach already has seen the tremendous attitude and work ethic pay dividends in the form of a 4-0 start.
"We've had some tough environments," said Giovanine of the early season schedule.
One of those was last week when the veteran coach said his team had only Thanksgiving day off. The Vikings beat St. Norbert on Tuesday, not getting back until late and then practicing on Wednesday before scattering for a day. He said Friday's practice went well as did Saturday morning's workout before boarding the bus for the Chicago and a 70-52 victory over the hosting Chicago Maroons.
"We got in good work the day of the Chicago game," said Giovanine. "That's what veteran, high-caliber teams can do. … We talk about 'anyplace, anytime.' You have to be able to focus and concentrate and give good effort in any different environment."
This week's tight turnaround left the Vikings combining two practices into one on Wednesday with both film review of Tuesday's game and the scouting session for Oshkosh. In fact, preps for tonight's game actually started right after Tuesday's victory.
"We talked about it (Tuesday night) before we left the locker room," said Giovanine. "We said, 'We don't have time to celebrate or pat ourselves on the back because we have to come back (Wednesday) and show some real maturity.'"
The coach said that "so far, they have done a good job'' in those unusual circumstances.
He hopes the Vikings can come through again in a less-than-ideal situation.
UW-Oshkosh (1-2) at Augustana (4-0)
Tonight: Augustana hosts Wisconsin-Oshkosh in nonconference men's basketball action at the Carver Center at 7:30. There is no junior-varsity game. Tuning in: This game can be heard on the web at www.augustana.edu/vikingsvideo. Twitter updates: @TJ_DA.
UW-Oshkosh: F: Dylan Wurtz, 6-4, Jr. (9.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg); C: Andre Wallace, 6-5, Fr. (4.3, 5.7); G: Jade Royston, 6-0, Jr., (16.3, 2.7), Sean Wise, 6-1, Sr., (5.7, 2.3) and Cory Nickel, 6-1, Jr. (8.0, 4.0).
Augustana: F: Tayvian Johnson, 6-6, Fr. (3.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg) and Ben Ryan, 6-5, Fr. (13.0, 7.3); C: Brandon Kunz, 6-7, Sr. (7.5, 7.0); G: Dan Jurgutis, 6-0, Soph. (14.0, 2.5) and Brandon Thompson, 6-1, Soph. (7.8, 3.3).
The series: This is the seventh meeting between the two schools with Augie winning all six games up to this point. Augie won last year, 80-72, in Oshkosh.
Game notes: UW-Oshkosh is coached by Pat Juckem, who is in his first season at Oshkosh after seven season at Coe College. … The Titans lost their first two games of the season before Tuesday's 64-54 overtime victory over Edgewood. … UW-O is averaging 55.3 points per game and allowing 66.3. Augie is averaging 74.5 points per game and allowing 62.8.
Augie's next game: The Vikings are not in action until hosting cross-river rival St. Ambrose on Wednesday back at the Carver Center at 7:30 p.m. A JV game is tentatively scheduled for 5:15 p.m.
-- By Tom Johnston, firstname.lastname@example.org