Saturday, January 25, 2014

RedHawk Preview

Having won two games that they were not supposed to win, BGSU now enters a game in an unfamiliar position--BG is now playing a game they are supposed to win.

Supposed to win has not been a great position to be in the MAC this year.  There were the BG upsets, Ball State over Buffalo, etc.  The conference is resisting performing according to form.

BG is riding a 3-game winning streak and welcome the Miami RedHawks to town.  Miami has had some serious issues in the post-Coles years.  A number of players have transferred and the program--traditionally one of the MAC's strongest--has been at an historic low ebb over the past few years.

They are 7-9 and 3-2 so far this year, which is probably ahead of where they might have been expected to be.  They played a very tough opening schedule and lost their first 4, so they are 7-5 since then.  They lost to DIII Wilmington, @Evansville (RPI 218) and @UMKC (194).   They beat IPFW and Wright State (both at Millet), teams BG did not beat.  In fact, IPFW is their best win.

In the MAC, their record is probably a little misleading.  Their three wins are CMU twice and @Ball State.  They lost by 1 against WMU and 7 @Akron.

One of the first changes John Cooper made when he replaced Charlie Coles was to move to a more uptempo attack.  Which wasn't hard, since The Evil Genius ran the untempo attack.  This year, Miami is running at 67 possessions a game, almost exactly what BG is.  As you can see below, they are not great on either side of the ball.  Remembering that the D1 average is 1.05 or so this year, they are 9th in the MAC in offensive efficiency.  They are also 9th in defensive efficiency.

This seems like a good match up for BG.  The Falcons are very effective on defense and just need enough offense to be able to win.  This looks like an attack BG can control and a defense that is soft enough that the Falcons can get the points they need to win.

Looking at the Miami offense against the BG defense, we see that Miami is an average shooting team (6th in the MAC), and average at protecting the ball.  They are not good on the offensive boards (another break for the Falcons) and they the worst team in the MAC at getting to the line.  They are the best FT shooting team by %, but even with the best % they are last in FTs made.  You will know BG is in trouble if the RedHawks are getting to the line a lot.

Flipping it around, we see that the RedHawks struggles really come in just one place...they are terrible at defending the shot.  Last in the conference.  Otherwise, they are not bad.  They create slightly above average turnovers and protect the boards effectively and keep teams off the line.  Even as rarely as they shoot FTs, their opponents have shot even fewer.  The Four Factors are listed L-R in order of importance and it isn't close...shooting is by far the most important.  You can see where BG typically shoots...if they can bump that up even a little, they will be in excellent position.

Individually, Miami's best player is Will Felder.  He's a 6'7" SR who is averaging 15.3 PPG and 7.5 RPG.  He's efficient, too, shooting 55% from the field and 83% from the line.  He's a high quality player and will present a test for our inside guys.

They have gotten a couple guys back who were out, and in that sense they are a better team than they were earlier.  The best example is Bill Edwards, who transferred from Penn State and has had one injury after another.  He returned to the line up 4 games ago, scored 24 against WMU and then settled down a little.  He had 13 against CMU in their last game.  He is a 6'6" SR who helps them a lot when he is in the game.

The other guy that is back is Willie Moore.  He is a 6'3" G who transferred from Oregon, was suspended by the NCAA for selling Duck swag back at his old school.  He has played the last 7 games and been in double figures 3 times and at least gives a short handed team some depth.

As these guys were added back into the mix, there was a subtraction.  Reggie Johnson, Miami's 2nd leading scorer, left the team early in the year and is transferring.

6'3" G Geovanie McKnight is averaging 9.9 PPG on 43% shooting.  Quentin Rollins remains at the point, where he is averaging 4.2 assists and 6.2 points.  Finally, G Will Sullivan is averaging 8 PPG, scored 20 in their last game and leads that MAC with 47% 3FG shooting.

This is a team that seems to have been in a lot of flux all year.  BG has been playing well, but we're all waiting to see if the team can develop some consistency.  This is a good home...winnable game.  Looking forward to seeing BG win it.

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