So here we go. Could be the final outing for the Falcons this year. Last year, they salvaged a rough year with a tourney run. Such a thing would be great this year...and, for that matter, all the better because who it would entail beating...UT.
BG and UT split the games this year, both winning at home. In the first game, UT pretty much cruised to the win, 85-73 and not as close as that. BG won the game at the Stroh in what was an operatic double OT thriller before BG ended up breaking a six-game losing streak to UT.
UT has to be disappointed with the results they are getting. Their 2014 probably should have won the MAC--but got blown out by WMU in the final. They are 17-19 in the MAC over the last 2 years. Kowalcyzk had a bunch of really good players and transfers at the beginning, but hasn't been able to sustain it and didn't get the big win he needed to land a bigger job. This year, they were hampered by an injury to Zach Garber, one of their big men, and then needing to dismiss jUCO transfer Daniel Dzierzawski. They have good players, but have had only an average season.
So, below are the stats from game 1 and game 2 between the two teams. UT is the best shooting team in the MAC and BG is the worst team defending the shot. So, it is no surprise that in both games UT shot very well and pretty much the same. The thing is, UT is not as good on defense--#6 overall and defending the shot. BG is 11th in shooting...so you got what you pretty much would expect in game 1. In game 2, BG made shots out the ass. That's their best shooting game of the year...and the next best was 60% EFG against Norfolk State, the #304 team in the nation.
So, you want something to start with? BG will need to make some shots. The other difference (major) between the two games was free throws. In the first game, UT was 18 of 31 and BG only 8 of 12 at the line. In the second game, BG was 21 of 32 and UT was 14-24. The Rockets shot FTs poorly in both games, partly by BG's hack-a-Taylor strategy. He was 4 of 19 in both games.
So, if you want a formula to win, it is going to need to involve making some shots. As Coach said after Buffalo, BG just tends to miss a lot of open shots and this has been a problem for the program for a long time. BG hasn't finished higher than 9th in the MAC in shooting since 2012, when they were 5th. You can talk about defense all you like, but I still contend that the program has not recruited enough offensive playmakers.
UT is led by Jonathan Williams and Steve Taylor--both seniors. Also, Nate Navigato rarely misses a shot against BG. Jaelen Sanford is also a SO and an excellent player. Overall, this UT team is less than the sum of its parts. Kenpom gives them an 82% probability of winning this game and you're going to need to see the Falcons bring their very best effort--on the road--to get this win.