The Dakota Wizards don't really know what they'll be getting when they face the Austin Toros in Game 1 of their best-of-3 quarterfinals tonight at the Civic Center.
The Wizards and Toros split two games during the regular season. In the first meeting, on March 14, Austin was awful in scoring a season-low 73 points. The very next night the Toros lit up the Wizards - making 15 of 25 3-pointers - and eking out a 114-113 victory.
Since then the Toros have added high-scoring Marcus Williams, a 6-7 forward averaging 24.3 points per game. But they also lost Dwayne Jones to the Phoenix Suns earlier this week.
"They're going to probably have a totally different makeup," Wizards coach Rory White said. "It's kind of a crapshoot trying to figure out what they're going to do."
The Toros did just pick up former Wizard Cory Underwood, but filling Jones' shoes will take some doing. He was averaging 17.6 points and a D-League best 16.1 rebounds per game.
"He's a high double-double guy - points and rebounds," White said. "He's physical."
The Toros still have one of the league's best guards in Curtis Jerrells. He is fifth in the league in scoring at 20.7 points per game. In the second game against the Wizards Jerrells had 35 points and seven assists.
"He's a bigger guard ... that 6-2, 6-3 point guard," White said. "He has that physical play where he can get in the paint, draw contact and it's hard to guard him."
Both teams are coming into the game playing well. Austin (32-18) won seven of its last nine. The Wizards (29-21) won five of their last seven.
"I don't think you ever have a team where you want them, but the way we're playing does send a message that we're playing good at the right time of year," White said. "... Hopefully what we're doing now is going to carry over into the playoffs."
n INJURY REPORT: Wizards center Corsley Edwards is recovering from a sprained ankle. He did not play on Saturday, but White expects him to be in the lineup tonight.
"He got some individual work with (trainer Jamel James), and he said that the ankle is a little sore," White said. "But he's been around. He knows what it's all about, and he'll be on the floor. How much he can give us, I don't know, but anything he can give us is going to be a big plus to us."
Edwards is averaging 12.4 points and 5.8 rebounds in 25 minutes per game.
Renaldo Major, who sat out Friday's game at Rio Grande Valley due to back spasms, says he is fully recovered.
"It's feeling good," Major said. "I just slept the wrong way and I had a little tightness in there, a little spasm, but I'm going to be OK. I'm ready to go. I'm healthy and full force - trying to bring another ring here."
n NERVOUS ENERGY: White said he still gets nervous before games, especially before the playoffs. He recalled a conversation he had with former Portland Trail Blazer star Maurice Lucas during their playing careers.
"He said, ‘Once the butterflies go away, it's time to walk away from it.' I still get them before every game," White said. "If I don't get them, I know we're in trouble tonight."
Major said that the anticipation increases for the postseason.
"You're always anxious," Major said. "Something's different about the playoffs. It's just a feeling. It's serious now - no mistakes, and every play is crucial."