Friday, January 22, 2016

Kent State Preview

So Saturday afternoon the Kent State Golden Flashes come to town.  The Falcons have now lost 2 straight conference games at home and this is going to be a tough one to break the streak on.  Kent, of course, is one of the MAC's more consistent programs, and they are 4-1 so far this year and a first place team.

Kent as 13-5, 12-5 in D1 games.  They don't have a lot of great wins...their top win was @Penn State.  They have 7 wins against teams with an RPI over 200 (non-MAC).  

They have the same "Huh" game everyone in the MAC has, with a home loss to Buffalo.  Their MAC wins are over Ohio, Miami, @Ball State and @WMU.  As such, they have yet to face any of the MAC's top teams, so they might well be punching above their weight at this point.

Kent plays at a pretty much average tempo. They are a good offensive team but less good on defense, though not awful.  As BG hit the conference schedule, the defensive efficiency has steadily crept up, which we might have expected.  BG has played some high-powered offenses, but it seems to me that our best shot at winning is to get some stops and take the pressure off the offense.

Kent gets their strong offense in a slightly different method than most teams.  They are a good or average shooting team, but they are excellent on all the other measures.  They protect the ball, they are very good on the offensive boards and get to the line a lot.  For BG defensively, the challenge is going to be on the boards and not giving up FTs.  The Falcons are not really dependent on turnovers on defense.  They are not a strong 3FG% shooting of the 30 lowest percentage of points coming on a 3FG.  They shoot 51% on 2FGs, however, and they are about average on FTs at 68%,

Remembering that BG and Kent were very close on efficiency, the numbers below are not a surprise in that they are pretty evenly matched.  The key difference is at the line, where BG tends to get some shots but would need to make them.  Kent's defense defends the 3 effectively, as well, so BG is going to have to get inside to win.

Individually, they are led by Jimmy Hall, who's 6'8" and is actually only a junior, which is less than comforting.  He is scoring 15 PPG on 50% shooting and grabs 6.7 RPG per game.  He leads the team in scoring and rebounds.

Kent loves transfers, and their 2nd leading scorer is Xavier Pollard, a transfer from Maine.  He is scoring 13 PPG--17 in MAC games--and shooting 48% and 40%, which is good for a 6'4" G.  Their third leading scorer is Kellon Thomas who scores 13 PPG on 42% shooting.  He's their PG, without a huge number of assists but a really nice A/T ratio.

Finally, Khaliq Spencer and Chris Ortiz are averaging around 5 rebounds per game.

It will be interesting.  I'm expecting a pretty good crowd for the Centennial celebration and it would be a great time for BG to reassert on home floor.  Kent is a strong team but they have been feasting on the weaker part of the MAC, so let's see if BG can expose them with a win at the Stroh.

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