Friday, January 18, 2013

Da Bulls Preview

BG's arduous road swing through the MAC continues Saturday with a long trip to Buffalo to take on the Bulls.

Buffalo swept the season series against BG last year and BG swept it the year before, it is appears to be what you would call an all or nothing proposition.

The Bulls are struggling this year.  They are 5-12 with an RPI of 253 and a of 202.  Furthermore, of those 5 wins, only 3 have come against D1 teams...Milwaukee, Niagara and Evansville.  The wins against Evansville and Milwaukee were on the road, and both Niagara and Evansville have pretty solid teams this year.  They don't have any really disastrous losses, either.  Their worst losses were probably Yale on a neutral floor or @St. Bonaventure.

Like BG, they lost to Temple (scoring 39 to lose by 15) and Miami.  FWIW, those were both home games for the Bulls.

They are only 3-4 at home, which means they have 1 D1 win on their floor this year.

Their strongest feature is that they offer what is probably the best player in the MAC.  Javon McCrea, a 6'7" JR, has developed into a very effective player.  They are very reliant on him.  He leads the MAC in percentage of possessions use and percentage of a team's shots taken (#13 in the nation in the second category) but he is:

  • 3rd in scoring
  • 6th in FG%
  • 3rd in Free throws made
  • 10th in FT%
  • 5th in rebounds
  • 5th in offensive rebounds
  • 3rd in blocked shot

Now, because of the number of shots, he is only 13th in offensive efficiency, but he's not a gunner.  He probably is forced to take low percentage shots sometimes, but he is 6th in FG% which is pretty good.

He had a 33/10 double-double with 4 blocks against Kent...and that was on 9-12 shooting and making all 15 of his free throws.

He is a matchup problem for anyone and BG is going to really have to be ready to roll.

Will Regan is also averaging 10 points a game.

Their other big producer was scheduled to be Jarod Oldham, who was scoring 10 points a game and leading the team in assists.  The junior broke his wrist in practice and will not play again this season.

They play only one senior consistently.

They play at 65 possessions per game, which is 1.5 possessions more than BG, which is relatively consistent.      (At .98 points per possession, their offense is 8th in the conference.  They aren't bad shooters---they are 5th in the MAC in Effective Field Goal%, but they are the worst team in the MAC at turning the ball over--25% of their possessions which is among the 10 worst in D1.

That is partly counteracted by outstanding offensive rebounding...they lead the MAC in offensive rebounding percentage.  Just a little hint...the BG team that got smoked on the offensive boards by Miami--the worst team in the MAC in offensive rebounding--had better be ready to go tomorrow or this will be a killer.

Buffalo isabout at MAC average in getting to the line and slightly below average at making their free throws.

Defensively, they have not been great.  They are 9th in defensive efficiency, allowing 1.01 points per possession.  They are actually pretty decent defending against the shot--5th in effective field goal%--but they are 11th in forcing turnovers, which means that percentage plays against more overall shots.  They are 5th in preventing offensive rebounds and 9th in allowing their opponents to the line.

Overall, I'd say that's kind of odd.  Their overall efficiency doesn't seem to be equal to the sum of the individual parts, which does happen sometimes.

Anyway, that's the lay of the land for the Bulls.  Obviously, they have been far from unbeatable this year, but I don't know if we're going to be the guys to beat them.  BG is 0-6 on the road this year and will have to figure out a way to contain McCrea.

BG does usually take care of the ball but will need to make sure that Buffalo turns the ball over.  They are a decent shooting team and if they get more shots, they will be tougher.  Finally, Buffalo is 0-3 in the MAC, so you don't know if that's a confidence issue or a desperation issue.

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