Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Chip Preview

So, the home stand comes to an end with BG trying to avoid a complete o-fer.  Certainly, the opposition is right, but it was Sunday and when IPFW were in town, too, and that didn't seem to help.

CMU is 7-7 with 2 non-D1 wins that has lost its last 4 D1 games.  Their last D1 win was December 7.  Their best win, RPI-wise, is over Cal-State Northridge (234) and they lost @Jacksonville State (332).  They lost by 7 at home to Miami and then they lost by 15 @Toledo.  They do have 2 road wins.  They lost to Detroit, a team BG beat.

On paper, they are a pretty good offensive team, but that's a little misleading.  They scored 228 points in their 2 non D1 games, so they are scoring 1.13 points per possession for the year, which is well above the national average.  They have several games over 1.18 points per possession (6 of their wins, in fact), so I think it is safe to say they are an above average offense, at least against the competition they have played.

They had 1.04 against UT and .97 against Miami.

If they go play well on offense, it will be an interesting test for BG.  Coach Orr praised his defense in the post-game presser, and there have been some lowing scoring totals for BG's opponents as well (just not as low) but it remains to be seen if BG is playing good defense.  One thing is certain.  They can't allow CMU to score consistently...I'm not sure we want to put ourselves in that position.

Flipping it around, CMU is a poor defensive team.  They have only held 2 D1 opponents under 1.07 points per possession and the allowed UD 1.26.  If BG is going to get well against a MAC defense, this is the chance.  Of course, CMU is sitting up there in Mt. Pleasant saying "if we're going to stop somebody, these guys are the ones."

In the chart below, we can see how CMU gets their production.  They're a pretty good shooting team.  They shoot 45% overall and 30% on 3s, which is not good but they shoot A TON of them.  In one fewer game, they have taken almost twice as many 3s as BG has.  No team has taken more treys than CMU has in the MAC and they are 3rd in made 3s and only 9th in %.  Anyway, they combine that with an excellent turnover rate, and you have strong rankings on the two most important factors.  They average a little above average in offensive rebounds.  Lastly, they don't get to the line a ton by that make 76% of their FT attempts.

On defense, they are allowing teams to shoot 47% so far this year and 35% from beyond the arc.  In short, this game represents a chance for BG to make some shots.  CMU does force a decent amount of turnovers and they are above average protecting the offensive boards.  Finally, they are keeping teams off the line.  In other words, most elements of their defense are pretty decent, its just the shot where they struggle.

They are led by two pretty good players.  First, Chris Fowler, who is second in the MAC with 17 points per game.  He's efficient too, shooting 60% from the field and he's only 6'1".  He's also 3rd in the MAC with 5 assists per game.  He's just a SO, but he's been a very effective player for the Chips this year.

Their second leading player is John Simons who is scoring 11.7 PPG on 52% shooting.  He's also averaging 6 rebounds per game.  He is 6'8", also a SO, but an inside-outside threat.  He's shooting 41% on 63 3FG attempts.

Their other double-figure scorer is Braylon Rayson, a 5'9" FR, who is averaging 10 PPG on 43% shooting.

BG has lost 4 in a row and 3 in a row at home.  This is a winnable game and if BG has any hope of a respectable season--say a home first round game--they need to start to win, especially against teams that are on the lower end of the MAC.  Because of the contrasting styles, it has the potential to be an interesting game, at least.  BG is playing terribly, but they're better than this.  Maybe with Zach Denny getting into the rotation, the Falcons can get some shots to fall against a porous CMU defense and win the game.

I'm not in the locker room.  I suspect they could use it, though.

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