Friday, February 09, 2018

EMU Preview

So, BG has another game against a team in the middle of the standings Saturday when they play Eastern Michigan for the second time this year.  EMU comes in at 14-10 and 5-6 in the MAC.  BG beat them 75-71 in OT in Ypsi earlier this year.  More on that in a minute.

They are the best defensive team in the MAC.  They lead the MAC in points per possession (Not) allowed, EFG% defense, causing turnovers, 3-point defense, blocked shot % and steal %.  They are #2 in 2FG%.  This is just a very tough team to score against.  Given that BG is 9th in offense and last in EFG% in the MAC and 6th in 3FG%, you can see where this could be a tough matchup for the Falcons.

On the other hand, EMU also gets the ball half of the time.  EMU is 10th in offense in the MAC and BG is 5th in defense, so there's a good shot that both teams will struggle to score.

Tempo will be an issue.  They play the slowest tempo in the MAC while BG plays 3rd fastest.

The first game was not unlike the Kent win.  Late in the first half, BG was down 24-13.  BG played very small (and without an injured Dylan Frye) and that's what enabled them to turn it around.  BG's shooting was above what EMU normally allows.  Matt Fox hit for 18.  Basically, BG eventually got comfortable shooting over the zone and got some inside-out going.  They will need to do that again to make it work.

A couple points.  First, if BG can get stops against EMU, they can get into transition and not have to worry about the Eagle zone.  Second, like most zone teams, EMU has trouble on the defensive boards (last in the MAC), and that's something BG didn't really exploit in the first game.  (Of course, they were playing small).  Last thing, EMU is the worst FT shooting team in the MAC and one of the 30 worst in the country.  They shot it well in the first game, but a return to form would help BG out.

In MAC play, Elijah Minnie is their leading scorer at 14.5 PPP.  He shoots 44% and adds. 4.8 RPG.  He's 6'9" and a transfer from Robert Morris.  Paul Jackson is second, scoring 13.6 on a woeful 37% shooting.  He transferred from EKU.  James Thompson IV, a past All-MAC player, is scoring 13.6 PPG on 69% shooting and adding 12.3 RPG, which more or less adds up to another all-MAC year.  He's first in rebounding, first in FG% and third in blocked shots.  He leads in both offensive and defensive rebounds. And he's only a junior.

That's the skinny.  EMU is capable of blowing people out, as they showed with BSU a couple games ago.  They also blew BG out last year.  This is a game the Falcons could really use.  I have no idea on the status of Wiggins, so that will be something to watch as well.

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