Monday, March 04, 2013

Flash Preview

BG will play its final road game of the season tomorrow in Kent.

And we can be thankful for that.

The road has not been kind to our Falcons.  BG is 1-11 on the road this year.  That's one win over NIU...and losses to everyone else.  There was at least one close call--triple OT against USF--but there were also losses @CMU and @Miami that you'd like to think you could have gotten.

Anyway, as we covered earlier in the week, BG does not have any wiggle room.  If they hope to get a #4 bye, they need a win over Kent and if they lose to Kent, there shots of getting even a #5 bye are pretty fleeting.

It won't be easy for a team that doesn't play well on the road.  Kent has won 5 of the last 6 in the MAC Center against BG.

On the other hand...Kent has normally been dominant at home, but this year they are 10-6 and 4-3 in MAC play on their home floor, neither of which are anything to brag about.  Now, those three loses are to Akron, OU and Toledo....anyway, Kent is not the top-tier MAC team they have been in the past.

Also, BG beat Kent at the Stroh, and by 15 points in what was one of the strongest performance of the season.  BG held KSU to .83 points per possession and Chauncey Orr chipped in 18 points as BG scored 1.06 points per possession in cruising to the victory.

Here are the four factors for that game.  One other note---Kent was only 3 of 17 from beyond the arc in that game while BG was 6 of 14.

So, with those two caveats, we move toward the game in Kent, where the Flashes are favored by 8.  Kent lost to BG in the midst of a 4-game losing streak....which went Akron, @BG, OU, and @NIU.  At that point, Kent seemed to have bottomed out--maybe the Mad Dialin' Rob Senderhoff was the wrong guy to continue the Kent legacy.

Since then, they have feasted on a softer schedule, winning 6 of 8 and losing only @OU and @WMU, but beating Miami twice and CMU once, for example.

We covered the Flashes when they came to the Stroh and not too much has changed since then.  They are 17-12 and 7-7, with an RPI of 171 and a kenpom of 118.  Here's the preview I wrote at the time.  Coming into the game, Kent was #3 in offensive efficiency in the MAC and #6 in defense and that's pretty much where they stand now.

Here are the four factors for the season....

One thing has been the streak Chris Evans has been on over the past 8 games.  He's averaging 18 points a game over that period and the 6'8" Sr. is making a very solid case for MAC First team if not POY.  For the year, he's averaging 17 points a game and shooting 50.5% and averaging 7.5 rebounds.  He's 4th in scoring and rebounds and 7th in offensive efficiency.

The other double figure scorer is Randal Holt who is scoring 14 points per game, with a perimeter profile.  They don't have a big assist guy, but they do have 3 guys who are averaging a couple of assists per game.

So, there it is.  BG is a severe underdog in this game and you can't be too surprised or argue too much.  BG will need to play its never best game to beat the Flashes Tuesday and they need a win relatively badly.  It can always happen--that's what keeps people tuning in--and maybe it will be this time.  That would certainly be exciting, wouldn't it!

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