The Big Green Weekend Primer

by Blaze Joel and Brett Drucker | 1/29/15 5:41pm

This may be Super Bowl Sunday and the week before Winter Carnival, but that doesn’t mean that the big game (or planning ahead) should dominate your weekend schedule, as 14 Dartmouth teams are in action across the northeast this weekend as well. Here, we will refrain from making predictions on the Super Bowl, and instead offer our insight and analysis on three Big Green contests taking place this weekend.

Men’s Hockey vs. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Friday at 7 p.m.)After a successful trip to upstate New York last weekend, the Dartmouth men (7-8-4, 4-6-2 ECAC) return home to the friendly confines of Thompson Arena to take on RPI (9-17-1, 7-6-0) and defending national champion Union College (12-10-2, 4-7-1 ECAC) this weekend. Last weekend, the Big Green broke a five game win-less streak in a big way with a 2-2 tie against then No. 15 Colgate University before dispatching Cornell University 5-2 to vault back into the Receiving Votes category in the latest poll.

On paper, this looks like a favorable matchup for the Big Green, but the Engineers defeated the Big Green early this season 2-1 in Troy. RPI averages under two goals per game and gives up over three, while the Big Green roughly break even – 2.45 for versus, 2.3 against. Goaltender James Kruger ’16 has been having a phenomenal year, and a typical performance should help guide the Big Green to a win.

Last time, RPI used a two-goal third period to knock off the Big Green. This time, look for the home crowd to bolster the Dartmouth men to victory.PREDICTION: Dartmouth 3-1

Women’s Basketball vs. University of Pennsylvania (Friday at 7 p.m.)The women’s basketball team (10-6, 1-1 Ivy) comes off a heartbreaking defeat to Harvard University and stays at home to take on Penn (9-6, 0-1 Ivy). The Dartmouth women have been one of this year’s most upstart teams, needing only one win to match their total from the last two seasons combined. This also marks a down year for Dartmouth’s Keystone State foes, but the defending Ivy League champions are looking for revenge against a Dartmouth team that upset them last season at Leede Arena. The Dartmouth women also post a stellar 5-1 record in the friendly confines, their only home loss being to Harvard last weekend.

Penn only has one player who averages double-digit points — sophomore center Sydney Stipanovich, who averages 10.8 points and 8.1 boards per game. The Big Green only has two, but one of them — Fanni Szabo ’17 – leads the Ancient Eight in scoring at 18.4 points per game.

Where the Big Green should be able to build an advantage is on the defensive end of the floor. The Dartmouth women average 28.7 defensive rebounds per game, including over seven per game from Lakin Roland ’16. The Big Green also limit opponents to 36 percent from the floor, which is 34th in the nation.PREDICTION: Dartmouth 68-60

Men’s Basketball at Penn (Friday at 7 p.m.)The Big Green (8-8, 1-1 Ivy) comes into this weekend series against Penn (5-10, 0-1 Ivy) off a shocking upset win over Harvard last weekend in Cambridge. The team stays on the road to travel to The Palestra for Friday night’s contest. The Big Green have won just 18 games total in the famous Philadelphia arena, including just four of its last 55 contests. The Quakers are also coming in off a big win of their own against Big Five foe St. Joseph’s University.

Penn’s offense is potent, shooting an Ivy-leading 45.2 percent from the floor, including 51.5 percent inside the arc. Tony Hicks leads the Quakers in scoring while Darien Nelson-Henry is the only other Penn player who averages double figures. However, the team struggles from long distance and the charity stripe, shooting a league-worst 31.2 percent and 65.4 percent, respectively. The Quakers also struggle to hold onto the ball, which will benefit a steal-happy Dartmouth team that managed 13 thefts from Harvard last week.

The Big Green are led by the three-headed monster of Alex Mitola ’16, Connor Boehm ’16 and Gabas Maldunas ’15, who all average double figures from the floor. The teams are relatively matched in scoring and assist averages, making this a potential for a very competitive contest.PREDICTION: Penn 65-62