The Falcons finish their tour of the MAC West Wednesday with a home game against the NIU Huskies. The Huskies are an interesting team...their season looks like this....
- They started the season 2-8.
- They won their next 6 (including @Ball State and WMU)
- They lost their next 6 (including a total o-fer against the East).
So, at 8-14 and 4-6, they come into Anderson Arena, on a six-game losing streak, four of them by double digits.
Looking at the numbers, let's compare BG's Offense against NIU's defense...the first thing we see is that NIU is not a particularly good defensive team. They are 11th in the MAC in scoring allowed and 11th in defensive efficiency. This chart shows us why....people make shots against them and they foul a lot, sending their opponents to the line. They don't force turnovers and they are average on the boards. Clearly, this game is a chance for Bowling Green to do something it hasn't done in a while, which is put together a couple good offensive performances in a row.
Now, flipping the coin, we find a team that is 6th in scoring, but, tempo-free is 9th in the MAC in offensive efficiency...meaning that BG has an excellent opportunity to strangle the pace and get a nice advantage. As you can see here, they don't shoot especially well (last in FG% and 10th in EFG%), and are 9th in the conference in Turnover % and last in total turnovers. (Their pace is a little above average, helping to mitigate those numbers a little). They do hit the offensive boards very hard (leading the MAC, 3rd on tempo free numbers) and they do get to the line.
Their leading scorer is Xavier Silas, a 6'5" swing guy who transferred from Colorado (following Coach Patten). At 19.5 PPG, he is second in the MAC in scoring. He also averages 5 boards a game. Darion Anderson averages 11 PPG and leads the team with 6.8 boards, despite being, you know, a 6'2" guard. They do have a legit big man in 6'11" C Sean Kowel, with 9 ppg/5.7 RPG.
(Silas, BTW, is a perfect example of how stats don't always tell the story. Yes, he scores, but he also shoots 37% and uses up a Martin Samarco-type number of possessions to get there. He has been cold the last three games as well).
I guess I would say this...they are a poor shooting team, and we should be able to take big advantage of that. That won't make the game easy--BG will need to control pace, and do a very good job rebounding and preventing second chance baskets. We will also need to shoot effectively at the line to take advantage of Northern's propensity to foul. This is a good match up, and we can really use a win after the last few games. NIU is 3-8 on the road this year, and it would be a nice opportunity to close a win out and stay competitive in the middle of the MAC standings.