Monday, January 25, 2016

WMU Preview

So after a tough week on home floor, BG takes on an even tougher assignment, which is two straight road games.  Of course, BG has a couple road wins under its belt, but that's not something you'd like to tempt.

The opponent this time is WMU.  The Broncos are off to a tough start this year, which was hijacked before it began by the loss of Conner Tava.  They are 8-11 this year, 6-11 in D1 games and 2-4 in MAC play.  Their big win was over NIU in K-zoo....and they beat Buffalo at home, too.  They have lost to Kent and Ball State at home and @Akron and @OU.  BG won in Athens but lost to Kent on its home floor.

WMU has played three of the toughest teams in the conference, which impacts their record.  In their last game, they beat Buffalo by 20.

BG has won the last 4 games between the two teams, including 2 on the road.

Looking at the stats...and from here on in we are using MAC-only stats, you can see what I have been talking about, which is BG's sliding defensive production, which is about .1 points per possession lower than it had been earlier when BG was playing a relatively soft non-conference schedule.  On the plus side, BG has been scoring.

WMU has pretty much the stats you'd expect.  They are sub-par on both sides of the ball, a little bit worse on defense.  They play slightly up-tempo at 70 possessions per game.  This would be a good chance for the BG defense to get healthy after playing some of the better offensive teams in the MAC.

Looking next at the inside stats, WMU's biggest issue is that they struggle to make shots, at #11 in the MAC.  On the other measures they are good...they take care of the ball, get decent offensive rebounds and get to the line effectively.  They are only average at 72% from the line.  Their biggest problem is that they only make 43% of their 3FGs, which is the worst in the MAC.  They are average in attempting and taking 3FGs.  The biggest threat to BG here is offensive rebounding.  WMU typically has a pretty physical team and BG has been weak on closing out with a defensive board of late.

Flipping things around, WMU is very good on its own defensive boards.  However, they are 9th in the MAC against the shot, don't force an especially high number of turnovers and give up a lot of FTs.  The opportunities for BG are to put together a game where they shoot effectively for 40 minutes and also where they convert some FTs.  BG is 8th in FT%.  Also note that BG's offensive rebounding is pretty good...that number is 2nd in the MAC.  WMU is 7th in the MAC defending the 3FG.

Individually, WMU is led by Thomas Wilder, a 6'3" SO and one of the top young players in the MAC.  He's scoring 20 PPG and adding 4 rebounds and about 2 steals per game.  He's efficient, too, shooting 48%.  Tucker Haymond is their 2nd leading scorer at 15.5 PPG, but in reality he is slumping in MAC play, shooting only 35%.  He is a 6'6" JR.

Anthony Avery JR. a 6'8" SR is their leading rebounder at 6.1 RPG.

So, that's how it stacks up.  BG has a tall road ahead with 3 home losses already, and this game is the kind you need to climb out of it.

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