Thursday, March 07, 2013

I call Bull....

So, the regular season ends tomorrow with the Falcons and the Bulls playing at the Stroh.  The Bulls still have a shot at the #5 seed to avoid a game on Monday, as do the Falcons, though Buffalo probably has a stronger shot.  Without a win, of course, they have no shot, and they will come in looking to pull the upset.

For a team that has lost 3 of its last 4, they are playing pretty well.  They lost their bracketbuster game at home to Manhattan and they can't be happy with that, but they lost by 2 @Kent, became the only team to beat Akron this year and then probably should have beaten OU but didn't.  Those last two games were at home, true, but contrast the Bulls performance against Akron and OU in Alumni Arena to BG's performance against the same teams in BG.

Buffalo has had a tough season, much as BG has.  The Bulls are 12-18 with an RPI of 215 even after beating Akron and a kenpom of 179.  Still, they seem to be playing well now and have some good players.  I'm feeling "not so fresh" about tomorrow's game.

To wit, when BG went to Buffalo back in January, the Bulls were 5-12 with an RPI of 253, so they are 7-6 since then.

Their offensive production has certainly improved in MAC play.  They were 8th in offensive efficiency when BG and Buffalo played the first time, and they are up to fifth now, at 1.02 points per possession.  They shoot really well--3rd in the MAC in EFG%--but they counteract that by making a lot of turnovers.  They turn the ball over on 24% of their possessions, worst in the MAC and among the ten worst in the country.  Note, though, they have been stronger of late, being under 20% in 5 of their last 7 games...but with the ability to have a really bad game...see Manhattan (39%) and OU (29%).

They are very good on the offensive boards (3rd in the MAC in Offensive rebound %) and they are 5th in getting to the line and 6th at making free throws.

I think that if this team can get to the point where they get a shot, they are dangerous.

They are not a strong defensive team.  They allow 1.02 points per possession which is 8th in the MAC.  They are 4th in defending the shot but worst in creating turnovers, which means that teams are getting enough shots to score, even with the lower %.  (The Bulls are -4 per game in turnovers).  They are 8th in allowing their opponents to the line and 4th in fouls.  They are in the middle of the pack in defending their offensive boards.

Individually, the Bulls feature one of the best players in the conference...Javon McCrea, a Jr F.  He is second (by micro points) in the MAC in scoring at 17.9 PPG, 3rd in rebounding, 3rd in FG%, 2nd in blocked shots, and 2nd in offensive rebounds.  This guy is a beast.  No MAC team has held him out of double figures and he has 6 double-doubles in MAC play.

The team features 3 other 10 point per game scorers.

  • Tony Watson III, who is hitting 44% from 3.
  • Will Regan, a 6'8" So.
  • Jarrod Oldham, who also leads the team with 4 assists per game

They also have a 6'6" JR named Auraum Nuiriankh who is averaging 5 RPG.

In the first game between the teams, Buffalo won by 3 when BG went the last 4 minutes without scoring a FG and Crawford failed to convert on two jumpers when BG had a shot to win the game.

BG shot poorly overall but made 50% of its 3FGs to keep the game close.  In fact, BG had 1.05 points per possession but allowed 1.1 per possession to Buffalo. This despite the fact that Crawford and Calhoun were a collective 11 of 36 shooting.

Other than that, the game was evenly matched.

Anyway, obviously, we're a threat in any game we play at the Stroh.  Having said that, it just feels like you have two teams on different arcs right now.

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