Monday, January 30, 2017

Miami Comes to the Stroh, MBB preview

The Men's Basketball Season rolls out with January's last game.  In this game, BG plays the only team in the MAC with a worse rating than they have.  And it is at home.  Failing to win to this one is going to hurt.

I cannot believe that Miami still has John Cooper at the helm.  He came in when Coles retired.  This is his fifth season and he has yet to win more than 13 games in a season.  For those of us who are a little older, Miami has been a traditional power in basketball (and football for that matter) stretching back decades.  This level of struggle has just been unheard of.

Miami is 9-12 and 2-6.  There are 2 non-D1 wins in there.  Their best non-conference win was over #197 IUPUI and #70 UCF was the best team they played.  They have yet to win on the road this year.

In the MAC, they beat NIU in the opener, then lost to @Toledo, @BSU, Akron, @NIU and @CMU. Then they nipped Buffalo and on Saturday lost by 17 @EMU.

Last year, BG and Miami split the series, both winning on home court.

So here is what it looks like when the two worst teams in the conference play.  Miami is 9th offensively and defensively and BG is 12th on offense and 9th on defense.  Those kinds of spreads weirdly show an evenly matched game, since neither team has effectively produced anything on either end of the floor to date.

When Cooper first came in he jacked the tempo up a bit--though from Coles there was only one direction to go--but now they are back to playing relatively slow and BG is playing the #4 tempo in the conference.

As mentioned, Miami is #9 in the MAC in offensive efficiency.  They are #8 in shooting, #9 in turnovers and #9 in offensive rebounding.  Their only area of offensive success is getting to the FT line, where they are #5, though they are #9 in making them.  BG's biggest weakness on defense is defending the shot.  They #10 in field goal defense.  The Falcons are #5 in the other three areas.  (This number is slightly impacted by OU's shooting Saturday in a non-typical situation).

Miami does not shoot a lot of 3s.  They are 9th in the MAC in 3FG attempts as a portion of overall shots and 8th at making them.  They are 6th in making 2FGs.  BG is 11th in the MAC in defending 2 FG attempts.

So what happens when a team that struggles to shoot plays a team that is easy to shoot against.  We shall see.

Looking the other way, Miami has only one strength on defense, which is forcing turnovers.  They lead the MAC in it.  They are 10th or 11th in all of the other 3 areas.  There will be a premium on BG taking care of the ball,  something BG has done fairly well this year.  BG's shooting struggles are tough.  BG is last in the MAC in effective FG% and #303 in the whole country (out of 351).  They are last in the MAC in 3FG shooting and #11 in 2FG% and 9th in making FTs.

So take care of the ball and then sink some shots.

Miami is led by a young man who is almost for sure the top FR in the MAC.  Michael Weathers is scoring 15.9 PPG and is 2nd with 6 assists per game.  (MAC ONLY).  He also shoots 45%.

He is joined on the team by the MAC's second best FR, his twin, Marcus Weather.  Michael is a 6'2" G and Marcus is a 6'5" F.  Marcus scores 12.6 PPG on 61% shooting and 5.7 RPG.

Their other double figure scorer is Logan McLane.  He's a 6'9" JR who has never really contributed until this season.  This has been a breakout year for him.  He's scoring 14 PPG on 56% shooting and 8 rebounds a game.

So, that's how they stack up.  These teams view each other exactly the same--as a chance for a badly needed win.  We'll see who gets it.

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