Saturday, January 21, 2012

DA Bulls

So, the Falcons wrap up their first swing through the East with a game against Da Bulls, still coached by the old Buzzer Banger, Reggie Witherspoon.  I think this has the potential to be a really good one and, under the new MAC format, you really have to hold court at home.  I think its really put some heat under the regular season.

The Bulls are 9-6 but they have played the #104 schedule in the country.  They are 2-2 in the MAC with both wins at home.

That schedule thing is a little over-rated, maybe.  They did beat Dayton at UD, and decent Youngstown State and Niagara teams, but they also beat really bad St. Peter's, Cornell and Canisius.  Their non-conference losses were @Princeton, St. Bonaventure, @BYU and @Temple, the last 3 of which all have two digit RPIs.

They bring a very strong front court game.  Javon McCrea is the 2nd leading scorer in the MAC (all stats conference games), and is 2nd in offensive rebounding as well.  He's 6'7", plays taller and is a true stud.  He was freshman of the year last year, and had some serious run with the national U19 team.

He is joined up front by 6'10" Mitchell Watt.  He is a senior who is averaging 13 PPG and 8.5 rebounds, which is tied for first in the MAC.  He leads the MAC with 3 blocked shots per game.  He is also shooting 58% from the floor.

Then, there is Titus Robinson, who comes off the bench to score 9 points and get 5 rebounds per game.

Their backcourt has some players too.  They are led by Zach Filzen, one of the top 3 FG shooters in the MAC.  He has struggled for most of the MAC season, through he did heat up in their last game.  Their PG, So. Jarod Oldham, is 2nd in the MAC with 5.5 assists per game.

Their struggles in MAC games to date have been related to scoring the ball.  They are 10th in the MAC in offensive efficiency at .94 PPP.  They are 7th in effective field goal percentage and last in turnover percentage...they are turning the ball over on 27% of their possessions.  They are third in offensive rebounding, which helps, but should also be showing up in their shooting.  They also do get to the line---they are 3rd in the MAC in free throw rate.

They have been last in the MAC in 3-FG shooting, though Filzen's struggles are a part of that.

So, we can see what the Bulls will be thinking about improving.  They showed better offense than this in the pre-season, so they have to be looking to get back in the groove.

And it presents an opportunity.  If BG brings defensive chops, this team clearly can be defended.

Now, Buffalo has been playing really good D themselves.  They are 3rd in the MAC in defensive efficiency, allowing only .92 points per possession.  Teams against them have only a 44% EFG%.  Like Miami, they don't go for turnovers.  They are in the middle of the pack on the defensive boards---they give up a lot of offensive rebounds but there are a lot of missed shots, too, so they end up in the middle of the pack in the conference.

They do foul a decent amount and give up the 3rd highest free throw rate in the MAC.

I think this has the potential to be a very good game.  BG has played so well at home, and Buffalo is hungry for a road win.  BG needs to play strong down low, which especially means watching to see if Cam Black continues to emerge on the inside.  I'd say there's a shot that 3 of the top 4 seeds will go to the East, and if you are BG and Buffalo you need to win this game to get into that conversation.

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