Friday, January 02, 2015

MBB--Chicago State Preview

BG wraps up the non-conference season tomorrow against the Chicago State Cougars.  On paper, this is a game BG should win...but so was Ferris State, so let's keep that in mind.

Chicago State is a member of the WAC (I know, right?) and they are 4-12 on the season.  Those 4 wins include only 1 D1 win, over Nebraska-Omaha.  Their RPI is 330 and their Kenpom is 336 out of 351.  They are 0-9 on the road.

In common opponent land, they lost by 15 @WKU, whereas BG lost by 10.  They lost by 28 @Toledo.  In their last game, they played a very good Green Bay team tough, losing by only 4 on the road.  Two games before that they lost to a very poor SIU-Edwardsville by 25.

They are offensively challenged.  You can see that because they are 318th in the country in points per game, but it is actually worse than that.  They actually play at a very fast pace--74 possessions per game--which is 18th in the country.  So, they are creating tons of possessions and STILL not scoring.  They average .86 points per possession, which is 341st in the country.

How do they do it?  Well, they shoot very poorly--38% and 29%, both in the lowest 50 programs--and they turn the ball over on 24% of their possessions, which is among the 20 worst.  That's a pretty toxic brew right there.  They are only average at offensive rebounding and they are 276th in the country at getting to the free throw line and 332nd at making them.

So sometimes you seen a team like that and you find out they play lock down D...that's not the case here.  The Cougars allow 1 point per possession, which is good but far from a lock down D.  The calling card here is pressure defense.  The Cougars get turnovers on 25% of opponent possessions, which is really high and among the top 25 in D1.

If they don't get a turnover....things start to go bad.  They allow 46% and 39% shooting, both ranked in the 300s.  Like teams that play pressure D, they give up a ton of FTs...they are about average on defensive rebounding.

In that sense, this is a nice opportunity.  BG has historically struggled against pressure D and we have seen that this year as well, even with upgrades at PG.  Coach Jans said earlier this year that BG had to be better about attacking the pressure, and this is a chance to get that done.

Individually, there are no eye-popping numbers, for two reasons.  First, they don't score, and second they run crazy depth.  They have 14 players averaging 8 minutes or more a game and appear to regularly run a rotation of 12 or 13. Their only double-figure scorer is Clarke Rosenberg, who scores about 12 PPG, but on 39% shooting and 26% on 68 3FG attempts (ouch).  Their best 3FG shooter is freshman Anthony Glover.  Their best rebounder is 6'4" Trayvon Palmer.

So, that's the story.  This is a game BG should win....that's why it is on the schedule.  Since we lost the last one at home under similar circumstances...I have a feeling that's not going to happen.  BG will need to handle the pressure and play solid D, convert at the line, but this is a game BG should win.

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