Friday, February 12, 2016

Broncos Ride to Town....

On a cold Saturday, the Western Michigan Broncos will arrive at the Stroh Center to take on the Falcons.  The game will feature two of the bottom four teams in the Mid-American conference...and therefore a game where both teams will be eyeing the other as a chance to pick up a rare and badly needed win.

This is the second time the teams will meet.  BG beat WMU in KZoo 79-78 in better days for our season.  BG was 13-7 and 4-3 walking out of University Arena that night....and in fact have not won since, losing four straight.

In the first game, Matt Fox hit a huge 3 in the last minute to win the game WMU had led most of the way but BG never let them pull away and played outstanding defense down the stretch to win the game after battling to get back into it.  Wesley Alcegaire (14), Rasheed Worrell (11), JD Tisdale (11) and Spencer Parker (10 and 12) led BG as the Falcons were led by different players than normal.

The difference in the game was offensive rebounds and turnovers.  The team's were similar in shooting, but BG tried 15 more FGs and the extra possessions allowed BG to make up for being -12 at the line.  BG committed 24 fouls and WMU committed 17.

Since that game, WMU is 1-3.  They beat EMU, lost @UT and @BSU and then lost at home to Miami in a 45-44 leather ball game.

When we look at the stats, we do not see any surprises.  WMU is 9th in offensive efficiency and 10th in defensive efficiency...while the Falcons are 10th and 7th, respectively.  These are the numbers you expect from teams in the bottom of the conference.

Looking at the four factors, WMU is only bad at one of them....shooting.  They are strong in turnovers, offensive rebounds and ft rate...but they are 11th in EFG%.  The factors are placed here as most important, left to right.  The Broncos are 4th in the MAC in FT% but only 8th in their rate of attempting them.  They are the worst 2FG% shooting team in the MAC at 41%.  The first step for the Falcons is to keep WMU from getting well from the field.  BG is 6th in the MAC in defending the shot and that needs to assert itself.

Flipping it around, WMU is 11th in the MAC in defending the shot and only 10th in forcing turnovers.  The question here is how well positioned BG is to take advantage of that weakness, as the Falcons are #10 in the MAC in shooting.  WMU is 11th defending 2FGs, and that's where BG likes to shoot, so that might be the real opportunity.

Oh yeah, based on the numbers there are going to be a lot of FTs shot.  WMU is 6th in the MAC in FT% and BG is 12th.

Individually, Thomas Wilder, a SO G, is having an All-MAC season.  He leads the MAC with 21.2 PPG in MAC play on 44% shooting, 39% from 3FG and 79% from the line.  He also adds 4.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists.  He's the 4th most efficient player in the MAC and the top guard.  He scored a bumpy 17 in the first BG game, shooting poorly but making 10 of 12 FTs.  Tucker Haymond is their only other double figure scorer, scoring an inefficient 14 PPG and adding 5.3 rebounds.  AJ Avery leads the team with 6 rebounds in 25 minutes.

So, this is a team BG beat and now has at home, where the Falcons have had nearly no success.  Both teams look at this game to get a win they are hungry for.  Let's hope it is the Falcons.

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