Saturday, December 17, 2016

San Jose State Preview

Picked last in MWC  not close.  And it was one step ahead of mac  BR picked them 8th.

9-22 last year.  Haven't won 10 games in 6 years.  Were 2-28 the year before that.  Coach has a 18-74 record coming into year.  Since 1988-89, only 2 winning seasons.

Made the 1996 Big Dance with a losing record, lost to #1 seed KY in round one. Also made it in 1980.

5-4 this year.  2 non d1 wins.  However, they won @Washington State and @Idaho.  They also lost by 19 @Montana and at home to Portland and Denver.  Their Kenpom is 206 and BG's is 201.

San Jose State is one of the worst offensive teams in the country...#304 in points per possession.  They are a good defensive team, ranked #92.  As you can see, their defense is as good as BG's offense is poor.  The key will be whether BG's defense can take advantage and hold the Spartans in that .97-.95 range to have a good shot at winning.

So, why is San Jose a poor offensive team?  Mostly, its shooting.  They are #301 in EFG%, shooting just slightly worse than BG has all year.  They take above-average care of the ball, but are below average in offensive rebounding and getting to the line.  They only shoot 68% from the line when they do get there.  They don't try many 3s and they are #271 in the nation at making them...and @78 at making 2FGs.  They are as shot-challenged as BG.  In fact, very similar to BG.

Looking at it the other way, San Jose State is just average defending the shot, which is unusual for good defensive teams.  They are, however, good at forcing the top 60 in the country, and very good on the defensive boards, at #41.  Those things often don't go together.  They also defend the 3FG very effectively.  I have a feeling the game will be very low scoring.  The test for BG might well be whether they can avoid turnovers and get enough shots to or two possessions might make a big difference.

Individually, it is important to know that San Jose State plays a very deep rotation.  They have 11 players averaging more than 10 minutes a game and only four of them over 20 minutes.  Their leading player has 28 minutes a you aren't going to see eye-popping numbers necessarily.

Their leading scorer is 6'8" SO Brandon Clarke.  He scores 13.8 PPG on 54% shooting, 7 rebounds per game and 17 blocks (not per game).  Their second-leading scorer is also a SO, 6'9" F Ryan Welage.  He scores 12.9 PPG, but is an outside threat, leading the Spartans in 3 point attempts.   He also averages 5.4 rebounds per game.

These two guys are a concern for BG, as they present length that could be difficult for BG to match.  In fact, while they don't give big minutes to any really big guys, they have a lot of 6'6" to 6'8" guys which will present a problem for BG.  For example, their 3rd leading scorer is Jaycee Hillsman, a 6'6" G, also a SO.

This is a pretty even match up, but being on the road and a length struggle for BG might make it a challenge.  BG has a couple guys who play up in size, like Denny.  Coach said after the last game that he wasn't changing his lineup, but it will be interesting to see if Frye and Caldwell continue to play a bigger role and if Lillard and Ali rise to the challenge, which might be the biggest benefit.

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