Monday, February 01, 2016

MBB! Ball State Preview....

Tuesday will bring the Falcons and the Ball State Cardinals together, two teams who are 4-4 to date.  Like BG, BSU bolted out to a 3-1 record before losing 3 of their last 4 to end up at 4-4.  They are 2-2 in the conference on the road--winning @WMU and @EMU (both of which BG did as well) and losing @Buffalo and @OU (which BG did not).  At home, they have beaten Miami (as BG did) and Toledo (which BG did not), and lost to Akron and Kent.

The Cardinal program has been in a historic doldrum for the last couple of years.  In the previous two seasons, they were 12-48 and 4-33 in MAC play.  I have always liked James Whitford, their Coach, and they have given him time to rebuild what was a true mess.  This year they are making some progress.

They are pretty much what you would expect overall, about average with the ball and without it and pretty much where BG is as well.  One note, they like to play at a very slow pace...66 possessions, which is 11th in the MAC.

On offense, their strategy is very clear.  They are the best shooting team in the MAC and this is due to them being the top 3-shooting team in the MAC.  They lead the MAC in making 3FGs (41%) and are 2nd in taking them as a portion of FG attempts overall.  They are 2nd in percentage of points coming from the 3.  They are also good at shooting the 2 (3rd as well).  The reason they aren't better offensively is they don't help themselves out in any other way.  They are 11th in taking care of the ball, 10th in offensive rebounds and 11th in getting to the line.  In addition, they are last in the MAC in allowing steals.

Flipping things around, we have a team that is pretty good defending the shot and getting turnovers--4th in both--average on the offensive boards (6th) and really only show a weakness at the foul line, where the Falcons have been inconsistent at best this season.

Three Cardinals score in double figures.  Their leading scorer (MAC Games only) is Ryan Weber, a transfer from Youngstown State who is 6'6" and scoring 11.9 PPG.  SO G Jeremie Tyler is is scoring 10.6 PPG on 39% shooting.  Bo Calhoun is scoring 10.4 on 45% shooting and leading the team with 8.6 rebounds per game.  Francis Kiapway, of Hamilton, ONT, is their leading 3FG shooter, hitting 46%.  Their assist leader is  Franko House with fewer than 3 assists per game.

BG is 1-3 right now at home in MAC play with the only win coming over Miami.  This is one on your home floor that you need to win.  If they let BSU shoot like CMU did in the first Stroh game, there's not going to be anything better happen.

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