Saturday, February 22, 2014

Redhawk Redux

So, the Falcons and the Redhawks do battle one more time (probably) at Millett tomorrow.  There's a lot of things that could happen, but with BG's closing schedule, it pretty much stacks up like this:  without a win tomorrow, BG has a long road up to get a home berth in the MAC tournament.

BG lost the first time to Miami at the Stroh.  RPI wise, it was BG's third worse loss of the season and worst loss at home.  Miami won by 5 but was ahead by 9 late, so the game was actually not that close.  As you can see on the chart below, free throws was all that separated the two teams--in fact, BG was the stronger team in most of the categories.  BG committed 21 fouls giving Miami 26 free throws and they made 22, while BG was 9 of 17.

Jehvon Clarke had 22 points and Anthony Henderson had 15.  For Miami, Will Sullivan and Willie Moore both had 16.

BG and Miami are tied for 9th at 5-8.  A win gives Miami a one-game lead and the tie breaker over BG, in essence making it a 2-game lead with 4 to play.  BG doesn't have to beat Miami to get home court, but they were already behind Kent and NIU heading into the weekend.

Neither team is playing well.  You are familiar with BG's struggles and Miami has lost their last 5 and 6 of their last 7.  That includes losing at home to Buffalo and Kent.

Miami plays a different style than BG.  They are only 8th in the MAC in offense but they are 10th in defense.  BG is a stronger defensive team and not as good on offense.  And that's where the game will be decided.  Can BG get stops against Miami and can BG exploit a Miami defense that has been porous this year?

Looking first at the Miami offense, on the top two categories, they are average.  They are 8th in shooting and 6th in turnover%.  They are the worst offensive rebounding team in the MAC--a matchup aide to BG--and they do not get to the line effectively.  They are the best FT shooting team in the MAC (and 2nd in the country) so that does help.  In general, this looks like a good matchup for BG, especially given the defense they played against a much better UT attack.

On the other side, you have a team that does a good job turning teams over, but defends the shot very poorly--11th in the MAC.  So, if BG can take care of the ball, they should be able to score.  Note, though, that Miami's turnovers allowed and BG's turnovers committed are not that far apart and so we have a good idea what to expect. Miami is the lowest fouling team in the MAC, and BG does not typically draw a lot of fouls, so you can't expect to see much advantage there for BG.  The Falcons should be able to score against Miami, but they will need to take care of the ball.

Individually speaking, Will Felder is their leading player, scoring 15.5 on 56% shooting and making 6.8 rebounds per game.  Will Sullivan is scoring 10.6 PPG and is shooting 46% from 3FG.  PG Quinton Rollins has 3.5 assists over 2.3 turnovers, which is good but not great.  Oregon transfer Willie Moore, who had 16 against BG the first time, has only hit double figures ONCE since then.

Anyway, for whatever goals remain for this team, tomorrow's game is pretty important.  It is winnable and Miami is a good matchup for the Falcons.  If BG can remain resilient, you have to think they will be rewarded at least once in a while and tomorrow's game would be a good place to start.

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