So, we're back. Toledo is in the Stroh for a return match. This is not a protected rivalry, so BG and UT only play twice on rotation, same as with any other east-west battle. BG has lost six in a row to the Rockets and would love to be able to get a victory to snap a streak that, including football and both basketballs extends back way too far.
When the two teams played at Savage, there was nothing that gave Falcon fans any reason for optimism. UT held a 20+ lead in the second half and BG never got it closer than 9 in the 2nd half. It was never really a game and a 12-point final.
Since that game, UT is 1-3. They were blown out @Kent, won @OU, lost at home to NIU and @Ball State. The last two games were lost by 2 and 1 point respectively. Overall, they are 11-11 and 4-5.
So, here is the report from the first game. What's interesting here is that this could be the Miami-BG game, except that UT shot well and took good care of the ball. BG was good on offensive rebounds, just as they did against the RedHawks...the other difference is the FTs. UT was +10 in FTs and made only 18-31, or it would have been worse. Hidden in the Miami game was a poor defensive performance by BG, and if they don't defend the shot better Saturday, it is unlikely they get a better result.
It is pretty easy to see how the game stacks up. UT has the 2nd best offense in the MAC and BG is 8th in defense. UT is 9th in defense, but BG is not able to take advantage...the Falcons are last in the MAC in offensive efficiency.
The key thing to the UT offense is shooting. They are 3rd in the MAC in shooting and BG is 10th in defending the shot and UT's shooting is about where BG's defense. UT also takes good care of the ball and they are slightly above average getting to the line. Their biggest weak area is offensive rebounding. They are 5th in the MAC in attempting 3FGs and and 4th in making them. They are 3rd in making 2 FGs and that was the real issue in the Miami game.
BG is last in the making in FG shooting. UT doesn't defend well, so if this is the night the Falcons get some shots to fall, they might have a shot at winning. The rest of it is evenly matched, except FTs, where UT leads the MAC in keeping opponents off the line. BG is 12th in 3FG%, 9th in 2FG% and 9th in FT%.
In the first matchup, UT had five players in double figures. Navigato made 6 of 8 3FGs on his way to 22 and Williams had 20 on 7 of 17 shooting. Sanford had 13, Knapke had 12 and Taylor had 10 and 12 rebounds.
For the year, Williams is averaging 20 PPG, Taylor 15 and 12.5 RPG and Sanford 14.
Look, BG is due for some unexpected success...in this series and in the season. BG has not won 2 in a row in MAC play and could use a win over UT. Maybe we can get a nice crowd and put a good game together with our new lineup and beat a UT team that isn't great. That would certainly make a very good Saturday in February.
Last thing....here is an update on our two injured players.
With 9 reg season games left Michael Huger said today that Justin Turner & Jeff Uju will likely redshirt this yr. Nothing definitive though.— Thomas Schmeltz (@Thomas_Schmeltz) February 2, 2017