Friday, January 15, 2016

Eagle Eye: Preview

And the beat goes on...

Next up is a road game against the Eastern Michigan Eagles from Ypsilanti.  The Eagles are always interesting, because they play the most non-D1 teams in the MAC.  You know my theory, which is that you can play 1 every year, but they play 4 and some might be non-NCAA teams.  Anyway, it was a little controversy when he ripped the "media" because he has no money to schedule D1 teams at home.

Anyway.  Overall they are 10-6 with a 6-6 record in D1.  With that in mind, they have an RPI of 75 (D1 games only), which is 2nd in the MAC.  Their average RPI win is 106, which is the best in the MAC.  They have wins over Vermont, and Detroit, non-conference, both in Ypsi and at Nebraska-Omaha.  None of those are stellar wins, both all are in the top half of D1.  They have only one garbage D1 win, over #302 Coppin State.

Point is, they played a lot of non-d1, but at least the D1 teams they did play were good.

They are 2-1 in MAC play, but who isn't?  They beat Buffalo at home, won in Mt. Pleasant and lost to NIU in DeKalb.  FWIW, NIU is starting to be taken seriously and CMU is playing well and won at the Stroh.

In past years, EMU was known for being a very strong defensive team that used a Syracuse 2-3 and did not spend much time worrying about scoring.  This year's team has evolved from that.

Note that the stats below include the non-D1 games.  EMU is playing at about 71 possessions, which is on the fast side, though certainly not crazy fast.  They are scoring about 78 a game (scoring seems way up in the MAC this year), which equals out to 1.07 points per possession which is good and above average.  On defense, they are still good--if not as good as in the past.  More on that in a minute.

You can see right there why this will be an interesting game.  Those nice spreads in both column sets indicates a shot for a game where every possession can be interesting.

So what does EMU do well on offense?  The answer is, actually, nothing really, but they also don't have any holes.  They are not great on the shot but not awful, take decent care of the ball, are slightly above average on the offensive boards...and they get to the line a lot.  They make almost 70% of the FTs, which is just a bit on the plus side of average.  They are not a 3-dependent team...they are 293rd in terms of the contribution of 3s to their scoring.

The calling card of the EMU defense used to be defending the shot.  And while that remains a strength, it isn't a claustrophobic can't shoot type thing.  They are now more of a turnover team---they force turnovers on 24% of possessions, which is a big number.  Typical of a team that's running around and trapping, they are poor on the offensive boards (which was an unusual BG strength in Athens) and they don't foul much, especially for a team getting turnovers.  They don't defend the 3 well and teams take a lot of 3s, but it will remain to be seen if BG can capitalize on this.

Individually, they are led by James Thompson IV, a true freshman who is on track to be MAC FR of the year.  He's scoring 15 PPG on 71% shooting...(90% in MAC Play) to go with a conference-leading 11 rebounds.  He recently tied Torian Oglesby's record for consecutive made FGs.  He's 6'10" and all the way up from Baton Rogue.  With that kind of size and obvious ability, he's going to a handful in the MAC...BG's inside game has been better than I expected but this will be a challenge.

Their next leading is Raven Lee.  Lee was suspended early in the year and has made only 3 starts.  He has played extensively in the MAC games, however, and is producing.  For all games, he has scored 15 PPG on 42% shooting, which is solid.  He is a 78% FT shooter.

The impressively-named Willie Magnum IV is also producing.  He's a JUCO transfer, 6'1" G.  He's scoring at 14 relatively inefficient points, shooting 39% and 31%.  He also has 25 steals.

Brandon Nazione is also scoring 9.9 PPG on 57% shooting and adding 6.4 RPG.  He's a 6'8" Sr who was with the Eagles last year but is a JUCO guy before that.

Other highlights, G Ty Toney and Tim Bond are both averaging about 3 assists per game and have 22 and 30 steals, respectively.  Bond is also 6'7".

Just as a note, EMU has 8 players on their roster that started their college careers elsewhere.

Final note...LaMonta Stone II is a walk-on for EMU.  As you know, his Dad was an assistant at BG and he played at BGHS until the end of the Orr regime.  He plays sparingly for the Eagles right now...

No comments :