Monday, February 08, 2016

Akron Juggernaut Rolls Into Town

So, this sentence has been bad news for BG over the past, oh, 10 years or so:

We're playing Akron.

Bad news.  Like, 21 out of the last 22 games have gone to the Zips.  Except for one game in 2009 when Brian Moten hit a wild 3 to put BG in position for its only regular-season title in the post-Dakich era...except for that, Akron has rolled over BG with merciless efficiency over the past 22 games.  The last two at the Stroh have been close, one of them a 1-point deficit and another a 2-point deficit.  But, the record is pretty pure.  I doubt BG has a similar losing streak to any team in its long history.

To make matters worse, the Zips are good.  They are 19-4 and 8-2 and they have an RPI of 47, the only MAC team in the top 50.  By that measure, they will be the best team BG has played this year the minute they walk onto the floor.  UC has an RPI of 67.

The Zips have won six straight since losing to Toledo in the middle of January.

Not to be doom and gloom, but BG will need their best performance to make this one work.  But, hey, things like this happen in college sports every night.  Why not this one?

Akron has the kind of point advantage you'd expect out of an 8-2 MAC team.  They are #2 in the MAC in offense at 1.13 points per possession while allowing 1.05 points per possession, which makes them the 6th best defense in the MAC.

So, how does Akron get to those 1.13 points per possession?   Well, it is interesting.  They actually have fewer FGs than their opponents...but they make up by living and dying (mostly living) on the 3FG.  They lead the MAC by taking 51% of their FG attempts from beyond the arc, and they are 4th in converting them.  They score 44% of their points from 3FG, which is the highest in the MAC and 2nd in the country.  You are going to have to guard out there.  They are 2nd in the MAC in effective FG% and also 2nd in turnover percentage, which is a potent combination...lots of shots and you are good at converting them to points.  From there they can afford to be average, #8 in offensive rebounding and getting to the FT line.  They are also 9th in FT%.

This is far from the best defensive team Dambrot has put on the floor.  They are 6th in defending the shot, but 11th in forcing turnovers and 8th in defending the defensive boards.  They don't give up a lot of FTs--they are 4th in keeping their opponents off the line.  They are 2nd in the MAC in defending the 3FG and last in defending the 2FG, despite leading the MAC by blocking 11% of the shots against them.

Individually, it is important to remember that Dambrot spreads minutes very evenly.  Only one player on the team averages 30 minutes a game and even he barely makes it.  That said, their leading scorer is Isaiah Johnson, a 6'10" and 295 lb aircraft carrier.  He scores 13.9 PPG on 60% shooting and also gets 6.9 rebounds per game, which would be impressive enough if he wasn't doing it in 24 minutes a game.

Next is Reggie McAdams, who is scoring 12.4 PPG on 46%/42% shooting as well as 4.1 rebounds per game.  So. G Antino Jackson--who is 5'11" and from Houston--averages 11 relatively inefficient points a game.  He shoots 37% and 31% and adds 3 assists per game.  Noah Robotham is scoring 9.7 PPG on 47% and 44% shooting and 4 assists per game.  Off the bench, they have Jake Kretzer, FR Josh Williams (40%+ 3fg) and Kwan Cheatham, Jr and Pat Forsythe, both of whom average a blocked shot per game.

Look, on paper you'd expect this game to be just another in a long line of Akron wins.  They have a style that makes them hard to beat and they are very deep and experienced.  BG is playing poorly on top of that and has struggled at home.  But, hey, everything has to change sometime.  Maybe this one is now.

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