So, Tuesday the game at CMU will feature two teams with 2-4 records. CMU has gotten to 2-4 by beating UT and Miami in Mt. Pleasant, while losing @NIU, @EMU, @Ball State and at home to Akron.
CMU brings the leading scorer in the nation to the game. Marcus Keene, about 5'9" and a transfer from Youngstown State, is leading the nation with 29.8 PPG. The next guy has 22.3 PPG. He dropped 50 on Miami last time out. He's a scoring machine. Obviously, he shoots a lot, but he doesn't shoot crazy. He makes 47% of his overall FG attempts and almost 40% on 3FG. He's a solid shooter and the most notable player in the MAC this year. He is #4 in the nation averaging almost 4 3FGs per game. He will be the biggest challenge facing the Falcons on defense.
Here can we see the contrast this game will offer. CMU plays at 76 possessions a game, which is 2nd in the MAC. They are third in points per possession on offense and dead last in terms of defensive efficiency. To that point, when BG has the ball, the MAC's least efficient offense will face off against the MAC's least efficient defense....a movable force meets a movable object. We'll see how it plays out. BG is 8th in defense, but has the opportunity to put two strong defensive games together after playing well against a very effective Ball State game. (When BSU-CMU played, it was 98-83 for the Cardinals.
CMU gets the offense by shooting well and taking good care of the ball. They are 4th in the MAC in shooting and 5th in turnovers. They are not good on offensive rebounds---that number, though on the national average, is 10th in the MAC, one of the best offensive rebounding conferences in D1. They get to the line and they are 3rd in the MAC in FT%.
This is a team that will live and die with the 3FG. They lead the MAC in 3FG attempts as a % of their total shots and make 40%, which is 2nd in the MAC. They get 47% of their points from the 3FG, most in the MAC. They are last in 2FG%. Overall, they are a good offensive team playing against a BG team that has on average been a poor defensive team. BG is 6th in the MAC in allowing 3FG%.
Flipping it around, you see what it looks like when the worst defense plays the worst offense. Everything BG does poorly is something that CMU allows team to do. So, who breaks out of that mold? It will go a long way to seeing who wins.
Beyond Keene, the Chips have Braylon Rayson scoring 19 PPG. (Individual stats are all games). Rayson is a lot more inefficient than Keene. He shoots 36% and 35%. David Dileo is scoring 10 PPG a game, on 40%/40% shooting. He is a 6'7" Fr. Cecil Williams leads the team with 6.3 RPG, ...he's a 6'6" SO. Keene, BTW, leads the team with over 5 assists per game...overall he has 100 assists and 82 turnovers, which is not a great ratio.
Anyway, this is a winnable game for BG, though they will be strong underdogs. Having said that, we keep waiting to see BG bring strong defense for consecutive games, and if they do it this time they have a shot at picking up this win on the road.