Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Time for some Bobcat hunting....

We don't get very many scoops here at the Falcon Blog, but we have found the Falcon's playbook for the game at Ohio tomorrow.  I have scanned the cover in and published it here.

So we should be good.  I mean, with the book and all.

Well, in reality, its going to be a tougher assignment.

BG beat OU earlier in the year at Anderson Arena, in what was BG's best D1 offensive game of the season. OU was not playing especially well at the time, and have won 6 out of 9 since then, while BG's fortunes have been going in the opposite direction, as has  been well chronicled.  Historically, OU is tough to beat in Athens, one of the true basketball bastions in the MAC, but this year it has not been so true.  They have, in fact, lost 3 times at home inside the conference.

They did pick up at win at Buffalo, and then they did pick up a win at Winthrop in the Bracketbuster, holding on after losing a 30-12 lead.

To date they are 14-13 with an RPI of 181.

In Bobcat land, the dominant narrative is that they are doing what they did last year, which is rallying back after a slow start to be dangerous when tournament time starts.  Time will tell.  They have yet to show they can compete with Miami and Kent, and will now have to show it on the road.  Also, they lack a truly big talent like Armon Bassett to play alongside DJ Cooper.

OU is a high-scoring, low-defense kind of team.  (Following stats are conference only).  They lead the MAC in points per possession, as well as being 2nd in FG% and 3FG% and Effective FG%.  They are 3rd in getting to the line and in FT%.  They are ranked low in total rebounds, but since they don't miss very much, they are actually 7th in offensive rebound percentage.  Put very simply, this is a very good offensive basketball team, and if BG plays the kind of defense they played against Akron and Youngstown State, OU will score a ton of points.

Now, the flip side is that OU does not play good defense--remember, BG had its top offensive game of the season against them.  They are last in the MAC in FG% and 3FG% defense, 11th in defensive efficiency and 10th in protecting the defensive glass.  In fact, the only thing (on paper) hanging between winning and losing is that they they average 23% turnovers a game, and those added possessions are probably the difference.

Chart below is for all games.

Offensively, they are led by DJ Cooper, one of the best guards in a conference when it seems like forwards are a little stronger right now.  He is scoring 15.3 points per game in conference games (9th in MAC) to go with 7.3 assists (4th in NCAA) and 5 rebounds per game (3rd on team).  He is not a great shooter from the field, but is 4th in the MAC in getting to the line and 12th in FT%.

He has a good supporting cast.  DeVaughn Washington is a senior power forward who is scoring 12.6 points with 5.2 rebounds a game, and Ivo Baltic, who is scoring 10.6 points and getting 6 rebounds a game.  Add to this mix Tommy Freeman, the second best 3 point shooter in the MAC and the second most efficient offensive player.  

I looked it up because I was curious.  Alex Wolf is the most efficient offensive player in the MAC, and Freeman's teammate Nick Kellogg leads the MAC shooting 54.8%.

As I said, on offense this is a prodigious team, and for that reason, a test for a BG team that has not been guarding well.  BG won the first time by scoring and by holding OU to .95 points per possession, largely thanks to 17 turnovers.  The offensive efficiency in that game was their 2nd lowest of their MAC season this year.  That is the kind of thing that will be needed to win this one on the road.  If BG does not guard, I do not think they can outscore the Bobcats.

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