Saturday, December 01, 2012

Penguin Preview...

The homestand continues with the Youngstown State Penguins coming into the Stroh Saturday for a second straight Horizon League game.  This is a return game for the bracket buster two years ago, which the Penguins won.

One thing I saw today in the game notes.  BG is 14-4 so far at the Stroh.  That's 78%.  It is a little early, but we do seem to have a pretty good home court advantage.  According to this, the average is about 67% in D1 over the past ten years, and we are well above that.  So, if that's true, it would be nice to see us work that over the next few games.

College Basketball Prospectus picked them to finish 5th in the Horizon and they were 4th in the media poll.

They are 3-4 this year.  They won their first three.  They won @GW (down this year), @Georgia (down this year but still impressive) and then beat St. Francis of PA in Y-town.  From there, things got tougher.  They have lost by 3 to a really good North Dakota State team, by 1 to James Madison, (both on neutral floors), by 10 @Duquesne and then they took Kent into OT before losing by 7 (home game for the 'Guins).

They are scoring 1.04 PPG, which is good if not great.  They play at a high pace, and hardly ever turn the ball over (only 15% of possessions).  They are shooting the ball at 48% (effective FG%) with a pretty high number of 3s.  They aren't great on the offensive boards and they do shoot a good number of free throws.

On defense, they feature Damian Eargle, a 6'7" senior who is blocking 3 shots a game, which is 9th in the NCAA.  As a team, they are 8th in the nation in blocked shots.  They are also committing 20 fouls per game, which is the top quarter of the country.  They allow 1.02 points per possession, which isn't too bad, but their overall statistical performance is pretty average.  It almost looks like the blocked shots are the differentiator.

Scoring wise, they are led by Junior G Damian Perry, who is averaging 18.9 PPG, which is 51st in the nation.  He also gets 4 assists per game.  Blake Allen, their best 3-FG shooter is scoring 12 PPG and 6'7" Kamren Belin is scoring 10 points and getting 4.5 boards.  Eargle also scores 12 PPG to go with his blocks and leads the team in rebounding.  Neither of their big guys is a good FG shooter and Eargle is lousy at the line.

They don't play a ton of depth, using only a 7 man rotation and playing their top 5 quite a bit.

This is not an especially big team and they aren't long on the wings, so that helps make it a better matchup for the Falcons.

They are a pretty good team, I think.  I'm not sure if they are better than Detroit, though.  I'd like to think that if BG can control the pace and take advantage of their softish defense.  I do think it will be tough going inside, so BG's guards are going to need to be able to score.  I think we'll need some support off the bench and Black and Holmes will be key on the inside defensively.

When I saw these guys beat Georgia, I was like, yeah, maybe that is going to be tougher than I thought.  They took Kent into OT.  Still, the game is at home.  We have played pretty well the last two games, and I'd love to see us start to settle into a more productive routine on the way to a team that is improving heading through the early part of the schedule.

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