Monday, January 29, 2018

Bobcat Preview

And the beat goes on.  Conference basketball is tough, game after game, with no breaks and no bye weeks.  You lose Saturday night, you have two days and then you're back at it and when you're BG, there are currently literally no teams that you can count on beating.  Every game is uphill.

The Falcons are playing poorly, as poorly (over the past two and a half games) as they have in years.  You gotta figure things are going to turn around at least a little.  They have two games this week at home, which should help, although we haven't really seen that too much this year.

OU is on an off-year, despite being a consistent MAC power.  Antonio Campbell graduated and then Jaaron Simmons transferred to Michigan (where he is playing 8 minutes a game) and they were left with much less talent than expected.

They are 9-11 and 2-6 in the MAC, and have lost 5 out of their last 6, with the only win being @EMU.  They also beat NIU at the Convo.  They have a loss to Buffalo in addition to UT.

BG lost big to OU last year, both times.  One was by 24 at the Stroh during the suspension game and then by 20 at the Convo later in the year.

Nevertheless, this would appear to be an opportunity to get a win.  However, as we always say, OU feels the same with us on the schedule.

So here's the deal.  OU is literally the worst offensive team in the MAC and BG is 11th in defense.  So something has to "give."  Who's worst will be better?  On the other side, BG is 10th in offense and OU is 6th in defense.  BG has to begin to play better on both sides of they ball or they aren't going to beat anyone.

On offense, OU does very little well.  They are 11th in shooting, 10th in turnovers and 12th in offensive rebounding.  BG is a little more concentrated in its poor play.  They are 12th in defending the shot, but are 6th in allowing turnovers and 4th on the offensive boards.  In other words, the key here is for BG to find some way to defend the shot--as in, not allowing 13 consecutive scoring possessions--and they can keep OU off the scoreboard.

In a worrisome trend, OU doesn't try a lot of 3FGS--10th in the MAC--but they do make them---#2.  Somehow, I think they are going to be trying a few more 3s than normal.  They are dead-last in 2FGs.  Also, they are #8 in FT%.

Flipping things around, the biggest issue here will be at the FT line.  OU has done a great job keeping teams off the line and BG relies on it, so that will be a test.  Other than that, they are #7 in defending the shot, #7 in forcing turnovers and #9 allow offensive rebounds.  BG needs to start to make some shots against all defenses to get back into a winning mode.

Teyvion Kirk, a freshman, leads the Bobcats in scoring in MAC games, with a rough 14.9 on 42% shooting.  He also averages 5.4 RPG and 2.6 APG.  He's 6'3" and a strong contender for freshman of the year.  Mike Laster is the second-leading scorer at 14.3 PPG on 45% shooting and 44% from 3FG.  He's a 6'5" Sr. G.  Jordan Dartis is averaging a rough 10 PPG, shooting 41%.  Doug Taylor, a 6'9" JR leads the team with 5.5 RPG and 6'7" swingman Gavin Block leads the team with 3 assists per game.

One thing that will be interested to see will be whether BG changes the starting lineup, something that Coach Huger intimated in his last game.  The most likely scenario would be Plowden starting for Frye or Koch.  It would also not surprise me if Lillard got the nod in front of Frye.  Obviously, something has to be shaken up because this team is better than we have seen over the past two+ games.

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