Thursday, March 10, 2011

Quick Bronco Preview

The MAC Quarterfinals loom at noon today, and BG will be facing the Western Michigan Broncos, a team which has, by and large, represented a trail of tears for the orange and brown over the past few years.  In fact, the Broncos won 12 of the last 13 between the two teams, including knocking BG from the MAC tournament last season.

The two teams did play earlier this year, and Western won the game at Anderson by 14.  The first few minutes were close, but by the 9 minute mark WMU was up 8 and they led by 16 at halftime.  The Falcons did battle back and get the game within 5 with about 3 minutes left, but a free throw and a putback got WMU back up 8 and that was all she wrote.

Rebounds and free throws got the win for WMU.  They rebounded 50% of their misses on the offensive end, just a crazy number, and they also got to the line 17 times, making 16 of those.

The other elements of the game were pretty close.

Juwan Howard Jr (all-freshman) had 20 points and 10 rebounds and Demetrius Ward had 15.  Their PG, Mike Douglas, had 5 assists.  For BG, A'uston Calhoun had 23 and 7, Scott Thomas had 15 and McElroy had 12.

Western is 19-11 to date and 11-5 in the MAC.  Now, that included some easy games against NIU, EMU and UT, and they even lost to UT, but they also won 3 cross over games (@Miami, @BG, OU) against the West.  They have won 8 of their last 9 games.

This is a very good offensive basketball team.  (MAC games only).  They are the second most efficient offensive team in the conference (1.08 points per possession), 4th in FG%, 3rd in 3%, 5th in EFG% and 3rd in free throw % and free throws made.  However, they lead the conference in offensive rebound percentage, which helps to make them as efficient as they are.  On the downsides, they do turn the ball over a little, and they are only 7th in making 3s.

BG has keyed its last two wins on defense.  This is going to have to be an every possession defensive effort at the Q.  BG will especially need to improve its performance on the offensive glass.  On the plus side, WMU is largely an inside team, which matches BG's style a little better.  (They did make 9 3s out of 20 in the first meeting, it should be noted).

WMU is a solid defensive team, 6th in the MAC at 1.01 points per possession.  They are 4th in EFG% allowed, 5th in FG% allowed and 4th in 3FG allowed.  They are as tough on the defensive glass as they are on the offensive glass, but are 10th in getting turnovers.

This is a winnable game.  WMU had a good conference season against some weak competiton, but they did beat BG handily in Anderson. On the other hand, this blog has noted BG's jekyl and hyde performances this year, and this team is certainly capable of being a very tough out on a neutral court if they defend well, rebound, and then hit some shots on the other end.

I'm really looking forward to seeing how it goes and if BG can break whatever whammy the Broncos have on them.

No comments :