Monday, November 24, 2014

Other RedHawks Arriving at Stroh

On Tuesday, BG has an excellent chance to run its start to 3-0.  By the modest recent success of this program, even 2-0 is a good start.  It is the first time BG has won 2 straight to win the season since 03-04 and that was a year in which both of the first two wins were non D1 wins and BG went on to lose its next 5.  The last time BG had a real start to the year was in 99-00...that sad, star-crossed, half court shot year of heartbreak.  That year, BG won its first 6.

Anyway, the next opponent for BG is Southeast Missouri State...the RedHawks.  Let's just dispense with this right away.  They are coached by a guy named Dickey Nutt.  I'm sure he has heard them all.

The RedHawks play in the Ohio Valley Conference, where they were picked to be 2nd in their division of the OVC and Blue Ribbon had them the same.  While they are 2-2, there are a ton of unanswered questions and for what it is worth, I think playing BG on the road is their toughest test to date.

They played their first two games without their pre-season all-OVC Jarekious Bradley, who was injured, and 6'7" Sr. John Langford, who was suspended.  They proceeded to lose to @Loyola Marymount and San Diego (neutral floor), two mid-range West Coast Conference teams.  They beat Hannibal-LaGrange (obviously non D1) at home and then went back on the road to beat Central Arkansas by 6....Central Arkansas is historically one of the weakest D1 programs with four sub 300 RPI seasons in the last 5 years, and the fifth was 287.

So, we don't really know what we have.  I suspect they are better than their record looks but how much better remains to be seen.

As mentioned, Bradley is 6'5" and a good player.  He scored 19 PPG on 49.8% shooting and 38% 3FG shooting.  He also had 6.3 RPG.  He's only played 2 games this year, but he does seem to be moving in the same direction now as he gets healthy.

The RedHawks do have some size.  Their 2nd leading scorer is 6'9" Nino Johnson, who is scoring 14.5 PPG on 69% shooting and 6 RPG.  Antonius Cleveland is 6'.5" and scoring 12 PPG on 54% shooting and 5.5 RPG and the formerly suspended John Langford is 11.5 PPG on 67% shooting.

Their leading rebounds is actually Aaron Adeyoe, who gets 6.25 RPG. I'm not sure if anyone keeps track of this stuff, but Adeyoe might hold a unique place in Falcon history...because if he plays on Tuesday he will have played against BG in 3 different uniforms.  He started at Ball State, transferred to Western Kentucky and now to SE MO.

This team might well remind you of a lot of BG teams.  They shoot a high overall % (46.7%), but it is heavily 2FG based and they are hitting only 27% of their 3FGs.  The overall mix is an average EFG%, but size is the one thing BG does not have, however, and for this reason the RedHawks might present a matchup issue for the Falcons.

Defensively they have been pretty good, at .932 points per possession, but that is partly schedule dependent at this point.  They are vulnerable to the 3FG--allowing 42% to be made, so the new look Falcons would hope to be able to take advantage of that.  They are getting turnovers on 25% of their possessions and they have been very effective preventing offensive rebounds.

So, if you want the positive, this is not the best team in the OVC and the MAC has been doing well against the OVC in recent years.  They have shown nothing this year that indicates they are a particularly strong team, but they could still be putting things together and getting the chemistry arranged and their depth inside will test the Falcons.  On the other hand, BG is stronger at the guard and with some outside shooting, and should be able to take advantage.

It will be interesting to see, but I do like BG's chances of making it 3-0.

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