Saturday, February 26, 2011

A visit to the Lair of the Evil Genius....

The day of reckoning has come.  From the day in which the Falcons took on the evil genius and sent him returning to his lair defeated.  Look at him.  He seems to know what is coming...and he is already steeling himself for his revenge.  In the meantime, he has been up to his old tricks, giant pots of bubbling liquids.  Players are injured and replaced, as if by magic.  The team's suicidal pre-season schedule seems to have left them as some kind of title-seeking zombie herd, not dead, not fully alive.

This is where we go on Saturday.  Into the lair of evil genius.
Secret cave drawings from lair which detail extra-evil practice drill

What are we likely to find there?

Miami is playing the Coles model....they are 14-14 overall, but played one of the ten toughest non-conference schedules in D1.  This is what they do....the whole thing is designed to build the team up so that they are very sharp for the conference season.  Some years it works better than seems to be working this year.

They are 9-4 in the MAC. .  At one point, they were 4-3 in the conference, but they won 5 straight, including a home win over Kent, before losing @ James Madison in the bracket buster and then a scorching Akron team this week.  Still, they appear to be a good bet for a home game in the tourney, and they are always dangerous from there on in.

They suffered a blow that might have been deadly to most teams with Senior Guard Antonio Ballard was injured in the CMU.  The Evil Genius made a sarcastic remark about some of his players who had been whining for playing time, and into the lineup they went.  So. Allen Roberts picked up minutes right away, and has scored in double figures in 6 of his last 7 games.

In the first game, BG forced 20 Miami turnovers and committed only 9 fouls on the way to a 9 point victory in which BG closed the deal effectively in the final few minutes.  Four Falcons were in double figures for the game and Jordan Crawford had 8 assists and 5 steals.

This Miami teams play a little differently compared to its predecessors.  Normally, Miami is a defensively-oriented, slow paced team.  This year, that has been tuned up a little.  They are 5th in the MAC in pace (conference games only), 3rd in points per possession, 2nd in attempting and making 3s and 3rd in 3% and effective FG%.  They are (close your eyes, Falcon fans) 3rd in offensive rebound percentage as well.  They rarely foul.  They lead the MAC in FT%.  If they have a weakness on offense, it is turnovers...they are 9th in the MAC in turnover percentage.

On defense, it is really an unusual team.  They are allowing 1.06 points per possession which is 11th in the MAC.  They are 10th in allowing effective FG% and 11th in 3FG%.  They are 10th in 3 pointers allowed as well.  Bottom can shoot on this team.  That might be OK if you forced turnovers, but they don't.  They are last in that too.  They do take care of the boards (4th), so when they do get a missed shot, it is more likely to be going in the other direction.

Chart is for all games.

Individually, Jr. Julian Mavunga leads them with 14.6 PPG and 7.5 rebounds.  Nick Winbush gets 12.5 points and 6.7 rebounds. Two other players are averaging 8 points a game, and one of them is Roberts, as mentioned above, who has scored more once he started to get more minutes.

In many ways, this is a very similar profile to what the OU Bobcats showed, except Miami is winning more.  BG will need to guard the shot as well as they did in Athens, and then turn the rebounding around.  OU was an average rebounding team.  Miami lives on the offensive boards and will eat the Falcons for brunch if BG doesn't compete around the rim.

Final news Update:  The Blade reports Luke Kraus will not be suspended.

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