Wednesday, January 01, 2014

IPFW Preview Brings PTSD from last year

The IPFW Mastodons will make the short trip over to the Stroh tomorrow for a final bracket-buster return game.

On paper, you see that IPFW is 10-5 and you might think this team is a little better then they are.  When you look at who they have beaten however....

2 wins against non D-1 teams
1 win over Texas Pan-American (RPI 338)
1 win over Tennessee Tech (RPI 278)
1 win over Keenesaw State (RPI 288)
2 wins over Eastern Illinois (RPI 317)
1 win over Dartmouth (RPI 280)
1 win over Bradley (RPI 246)
1 win over SIU-Edwardsville (RPI 347)

They have played, to date, the #332 schedule in the nation.

Their worse loss is to Texas A&M Corpus Christi (RPI 306) and they also loss to Miami and Eastern Kentucky, Dayton and Illinois.

They do have 3 outright road wins, including @Bradley.

Last year's Bracket Buster game definitely had that "not so fresh feeling" for BG.  The Mastodons shredded BG for 1.18 points per possession for the game and led by 17 at halftime, and cruised to a 13 point win.  Coach Orr after the game:  "We didn't guard."  A'uston Calhoun was benched for the entire second half.

Last year's tempo was really upbeat at 74 possessions.  This year, IPFW is running 67 possessions per game, which is a pretty average pace.  They are, however, a scoring machine, at least against the schedule they have played.  They are averaging 1.15 points per possession which is in the top 40 in D1.  They are shooting 49% from the field overall and 40% from beyond the arc.  They shoot a lot of 3s...they are 50th in the nation in 3s attempted and 28th in converting them.

They also take good care of the ball, are above average on the offensive boards and find their way to the line pretty often, even if they shoot FTs only as well as BG does.

They are a decent defensive team.  They allow 1.03 points per possession, Opponents are shooting 45% and 35% against them and they don't force a large amount of turnovers.  They do an above average job on the offensive boards and they don't foul too much.

Still, the the way, they played another non-D1 team on Saturday.

If you want the best comparison, they lost 94-87 @Millett.

Individually, they are similar to Wright State, if not so extreme, in that they play 9 guys over 10 minutes a game and only one player gets 30 minutes.  Points are distributed in a very even manner.  Their leading scorer is Luis Jacobo, who scores 13.8 in 25 minute with 46% shooting.  Their other double figure scorer is Steve "Flax Tax" Forbes, who is 11.3 points in less than 21 minutes.  He is 6'9", shoots 65% and gets 5 rebounds per game.

Both of these players started at Stetson, went JUCO and then ended up with IPFW.

PG Pierre Bland scores 9.8 points and adds 4.3 assists per game and leads the team with over 30 minutes a game.  In limited attempts, Bland is shooting 47% from 3FG.  5'11" Fr G Mo Evans also scores 9 points a game on 47% 3FG shooting.

In total, they have 7 players who have attempted at least 1 3FG per game.

This is an interesting mix of two teams.  These teams with soft schedules are really hard to don't know how good they are.  Still, if Miami was +7 at their place, I'd like to think BG could be +7 at the Stroh.  It is a clear clash of styles which was very ugly for BG last year, but hopefully we can be better prepared.  Finally, with our short rotation, you always worry about playing teams with this kind of depth.

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