Monday, March 03, 2014

OU Preview. Here kitty kitty kitty.

The next 6 days will mark the end of the regular season for the BG Men's basketball program.  We outlined the whole deal yesterday...the odds are long against BG ending up on home court.  Still, you play to win the game, and BG has OU coming in. OU is fighting one of the 4 byes to the MAC tournament, so they have plenty to play for.

In game 1, BG pulled a most improbable upset, part of a short period where they beat WMU and OU on the road.  BG is 3-8 since they beat OU at the Convo.

In the first game, BG held OU to .92 points per possession while scoring .95, which is a nice look at what BG needs to do to win. OU had a miserable game turning the ball over and did not shoot well, either. Half of OU's shots came from beyond the arc in the game, and they only made 6. BG sunk free throws and did a good job on the offensive boards for the win.

Looking ahead to tomorrow's game, this matchup is very typical of how BG games are looking lately.  We are playing a team that is 4th in the MAC in offensive efficiency at 1.04 points per possession.  Meanwhile. BG is 2nd in the MAC (24th in D1), allowing .95 points per possession.  There's one battle.  OU is 8th in defensive efficiency, and BG is dead last.  In fact, BG is among the 10 worst offensive teams in D1, based on efficiency in conference games.  That's the other battle.  The .95/.92 mix for BG in the first game would look pretty good in this one, too.

How does that break down.  Well, first, OU is a very good shooting team.  They are 2nd in the MAC in effective FG% and BG is 2nd in defending the shot.  They are an outside-oriented team.  They are 2nd in the MAC in 3s attempted and made and 1st in 3FG%.  As you can see below, they don't do much on the offensive boards and they don't get to the line, so they are living and dying on the outside shot.  As mentioned, they took 22 bombs in the first game, which is well below their normal percentage.

Flipping things around, we see that OU is a good but not great offensive team and BG is a poor defensive team.  BG has to find a way to flip some of these numbers, but I don't think there are any surprises. They have to take care of the ball and make some shots, neither of which they did Saturday against Akron.

Individually, Nick Kellogg is leading them in MAC play with 15 points a game.  He's shooting 43% but more than half of his shots have been 3FGS, where he shoots 35%.  He is also averaging 3.4 assists.  Maurice Ndour is averaging 14 points on 48% shooting and 6 rebounds.  Jon Smith is averaging 6 rebounds.  One last guy to watch is Travis Wilkins, who was quiet much of the year but has been in double figures four times in February and seems to be coming on.

A BG sweep of OU would be most improbable, except that it could happen.  BG has a good shot to be competitive on home floor, but as we have seen, they need to continue to play solid defense and then generate at least sufficient offense to have a shot at winning.

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