Saturday, December 13, 2014

Cleveland State Preview

So far, I would expect that Cleveland State isn't where they thought they would be.  They were picked to win the Horizon and have 4 starters back from last year's team.  To date they are 4-4.

Some of that is understandable.  You'd expect to lose to Louisville and Iona, but you wouldn't necessarily to lose @Savannah State and you'd probably have thought you could beat Toledo on your home floor.  Meanwhile, they don't sport any quality wins--Tiffin, Jacksonville State, Marshall and Western Illinois.

So at 4-4, they start off a little slower than I am sure they hoped.  Now, Charlie Lee, their PG was suspended for the first six games and he is back, although he played 25 minutes in the Toledo loss.

The Vikings are scoring only 1.03 points per possession, which is average.  How they get there is pretty unusual.  They are only shooting 41.8% overall on FGs, but it is a very 3FG-heavy mix.  They are in the top 20% or so in the country in making 3FGs at about 37% and only 35 D1 teams are getting more of their points from the 3-ball.  So, to an extent, you'd expect a lower overall FG% with that many 3FG, a situation that effective FG% is perfect for.  They have an EFG% of 48.5 which is nominally below average.

They are also very good on the offensive boards (36.%).  However, they are pretty turnover-prone (20.9%) and are one of the worst teams in the country at getting to the line, though when they do get their they make them (72.5%).

On defense, the thing to watch for is steals.  They force turnovers on 26% of possessions, which is among the top 10 in the country and they are 8th in steals percentage.  Once teams do get a shot off, their EFG% is 48.4%, which is nominally above average.  They are average at protecting the offensive boards and give up a lot of FTs---one of the ten worst teams in terms of FT Rate allowed.

So, BG needs to take care of the ball and then make FTs in order to compete, as well as defend the perimeter effectively.  I am not sure how many pressure defenses BG has played, so this will be interesting to see.

Also, limiting the damage Trey Lewis does would be nice.  He's averaging 18 points a game on 42% shooting--that's 42% on 2FG and 42% on 3FG--to go with 4 rebounds and 3.75 assists per game.  He is a transfer from Penn State, and is a dangerous scorer.

Anton Grady is a 6'8" JR who scores 11.75 PPG on a team-high 5.75 rebounds per game.  The one interesting thing about him is he is only shooting 38%, which is unusual for a big man.

Marlin Manson, a 6'6" JR, is scoring 10.5 PPG on 58% shooting (see?) and 5.4 RPG.

In his two games back, Lee is averaging 3 assists per game.

Last guy to watch is Andre Yates.  The SO Creighton transfer averages 2.4 steals per game, which is #40 in the country.

So, after the encouraging loss at Dayton, this is the Falcons playing what is expected to be a pretty good team.  On our floor, you want to win this one, even against a tough team as another proof point of the team's improvement and progress.

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