Saturday, February 25, 2017

Falcons Notch 7th MAC Win @Miami

For all the unexpected nature of this year's season, this is one that went just as it was supposed to.  BG was playing Miami, the worst team in the MAC and it isn't close.  BG isn't great, but coming off the win over Akron you'd hate to lose this one, no matter where it was played.

And the Falcons did drama-free fashion, 70-54 and going away.  Miami never led.  The game was tied a little bit in the second half.  Miami cut the lead to 5 with 7:30 left at 50-45, and then from there on in BG outscored them 20-9 to get the victory.

I saw Vegas had Miami as a 2-point favorite.  You'd have to wonder about that.  Too bad I don't gamble...anyway, this is one BG should have won, needed to win, and won...and did so without any craziness.

More at the end of the post to reset BG's shot at home court, which has improved.

For the game, the key was defense.  It was no work of art for either team when it comes to making 3FG.  Collectively, the two teams were 5 of 42 from long distance.  That's not good at all.  Miami, the worst offensive team in the MAC, had .76 points per possession.  The only BG opponent to be less efficient was Morgan State, not counting Notre Dame.  Anyway, Miami only had an EFG of 41%, which means 63% on 2FG and 8% on 3FGs.  That is also BG's second best outcome in D1 this year, best in the MAC.  

BG didn't have a great offensive game.....98 points per possession and an EFG of 50%, which is pretty much average.  However, they were significantly better than the RedHawks and then more or less even on turnovers, better on the offensive boards and at the line.  BG had a great game with FTs, making 17 of 19 while Miami made only 8 out of 16.

BG was led by Antwon Lillard with 16 points.  He was about as efficient as you can be, making 4 of 6 FGs and 8-8 FTs and adding 9 Rebs.  He has certainly been in a sophomore slump.  Since the Ball State game, (the first one), he has only been in double figures twice, UT and this game.  I still believe he can be a contributing player and I hope he does, too.  Doesn't have to start, but I think he can still help us win.

Rasheed Worrell also had a big game, scoring 11 points making everything.....4 FGs and 3 FTs.  He also added 6 rebounds and 2 blocked shots.  He has been coming on.  Until the suspensions, he had not played 15 minutes in any MAC game, but he has been over 20 in 3 of the last 4.  Wiggins is seeing a little less time, with 2 points and 3 rebounds in 18 minutes.  I think he's struggling on the defensive end and he is having his own little slump.  Still have confidence in him, too.

Denny and Ali, for their parts, had pretty inefficient 10-point games.

So here's the reset.

BG is tied for the last home berth.

If BG wins both of their remaining games, they need NIU to lose one of their last 2, which I think is likely.  There might be some other scenarios with 3-4 way ties from one of the 9-7 teams, but with 9 wins I think BG would be hard pressed not to get the home game.

Now, if BG only wins one of the games, then they need NIU to lose both of their games, which could happen.  If that happened, BG would be at home, probably against NIU.  If UT lost out and tied BG and NIU and 8-10, NIU, BG would still be 9th.

So, BG needs help.  Their last 2 games are tough.  Kent is playing really well, just watched them rally to beat OU and Buffalo is playing well, too.  Two wins would be huge, but is going to be tough, and one win is not going to be a picnic.  But that's what is ahead of us.

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