Thursday, February 20, 2014

Rocket Rematch

So, it is time to do the battle of I-75 again.  The first game was played a couple weeks ago up at Savage.  BG fell way behind early (21-8) and then battled back into the game and ended up giving the Rockets all they could handle.  UT is an offensive juggernaut, but BG actually out shot them.  In fact, the game only fell apart for BG at the line.  UT had 11 fouls and BG 24, and the Rockets made 29 FTs to BG's 7.  Also, UT was pretty dominant on the offensive boards.  I have no evidence of this but I think that it offensive rebounds often end in a the two could be correlated.  Anyway, here is how the game played out.

Since then, UT is 2-1, including a big win against OU and then a nasty loss to EMU Saturday...something I'd just as soon had not happened, from our perspective.  BG has had three nail-biters since the UT game, going 1-2.

You have some real contrasts here, that can lead to an interesting game.  UT is a very good offensive team.  These are conference games only so the EMU debacle (for UT, 44 points) has more weight than the other games.  Even so, they lead the MAC in offensive efficiency and they are 11th in defensive efficiency.  BG is 10th in offense and 4th in defense.  Anyway, BG did a great job defending the shot--especially the 2FG--in the first game and that allowed it to be close and they will need that again.

UT is just a very solid offensive team.  They are 4th in EFG and 1st in turnover % and offensive rebounding % and 4th in FT Rate, which only measures getting to the line as compared to FG attempts.  They lead the MAC in FTs made and attempted and are 4th in %.  In game 1 this was decisive, so BG needs to keep UT off the line.  Also, BG is the worst team in the MAC at protecting the defensive boards and that's going to be vital, too.

Like many teams that are good on offense, UT is not great on defense.  They are 10th at defending the shot and 8th at creating turnovers, which is not a great combo.  They are average on the boards and just a little below average on letting opponents get to the line.  As you can see, they are pretty close to BG's offense on most measures.  The key difference would be BG making some FGs to exploit the UT defense, and then getting to the line and converting, unlike the first game.

Individually, they have some very good players.  Juice Brown is scoring 16.3 PPG (again, conference only) on 41% shooting, 86% FTs, 37% on 3FG and 5.6 assists per game, which leads the MAC.

Justin Drummond is scoring 13.5 PPG on 47% shooting and 5.2 rebounds.  Rian Pearson is scoring 12.3 on 43% shooting (and almost all 2s, so that's not terribly efficient).  He also gets 5.5 rebounds.  Finally, OSU transfer JD Weatherspoon is scoring 11.5 PPG on 56% shooting and grabbing 7.8 rebounds a game.

Anyway, UT still has to be favored in this one.  The pressure is on them, too.  They are in a 3-way tie for first and only two of those teams will get a bye, so they need every win they can get.  BG played them tough at Savage and has been playing everyone close, so let's home the Falcons get the Stroh-mojo going and pick up a sweet arch-rival in.

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