Monday, February 12, 2018

WMU Bronco Preview

So, the Falcons are 6-6 in the MAC and now actually in a position to play for something that can be built on....a winning record and a home game in the MAC.  Even more is within reach, but let's take one thing at a time.

According to Kenpom, BG has played the weakest schedule in the MAC to date, as in our conference schedule has been the easiest.  We have six games left, two of them against the best team in the MAC to date, the Buffalo Bulls.  So what does that mean?  It means if BG needs 9 wins to be sure of a home game, they need to set the table by winning 3 of those other four.  Obviously, you could beat Buffalo, but you have WMU and Akron at the Stroh and then Kent and OU on the road, both of which are not what they normally are, and you'd like to pick up 3 of those to get to 9 wins. It won't be easy.

Tuesday's game against WMU will be an excellent test.  I'm really looking forward to it.  The Bronocs are a good team but the game is at BG and I am really enjoying BG figure out how to win games.

WMU is 7-5 in MAC play, which is just 1 game ahead of BG.  They have won 4 out of their last 5.  3 of those wins were at home, and then they won @EMU and lost @Buffalo.  They are 2-3 in MAC play on the road and have 4 out of their last 6 on the road, so they have challenges as well.

This chart indicates that this should be an interesting game.  WMU is #3 in the MAC in offensive efficiency and BG is #4 in defense.  So that would appear to be a pretty good matchup.  Meanwhile, BG is 10th in offense and WMU is 8th in defense, so that's a battle of a different stripe.  I think the big test is whether BG can play more solid defense for a longer period of time.

WMU gets to that #3 offense in the strangest way ever.  They are #11 in the MAC in effective FG%.  It is just incredibly unusual for a team to get to #3 in offense without shooting well and especially when shooting that poorly.  They are 8th in 3FG% and 10th in 2FG%, and are 11th in the MAC in terms of % of 3FG that are taken.  In other words, they are a 2FG-focused team that is 10th at making them.

Now, they are #1 in the MAC in not turning the ball over (#25 in the nation) and they are #2 in offensive rebounding.  Both of those generate additional possessions, which you need if you shoot poorly.  (Note, the offensive rebounding number means they get 3 out of 10 out of the available rebounds).  They are 2nd at getting to the line and #5 at making FTs.  So, those things make up for the shooting struggles.

Looking at the other side of the coin, you see that while BG is last in the MAC in shooting, WMU is #9 in defending the shot.  Here, I think the key is that if BG can get stops (which will be largely determined by controlling the boards against a very physical WMU team) and then get some transition baskets to help that percentage out.  Beyond that, it all looks pretty even.  It would be great to see BG get to the line as they did against EMU, which has been lacking from their game.  BG is 7th in making FTs, so it would be great to see them pick it up a little.

Individually, WMU is led by Thomas Wilder, a returning All-MAC player.  He's third in the MAC in scoring at 19.7 PPG, shooting 44% and 35% and making 82% of his FTs (#2 in MAC).  Add 5 RPG and 4 assists to that, and you have an All-MAC player again.

Their number two scorer is Junior Josh Davis, who was the top player in the Detroit PSL his senior year.  He's a junior now and is coming into his own.  He's 6'5" and appears to be an Anthony Stacey like player.  He's scoring 12.3 PPG on 52% shooting, 44% from 3FG and 6.3 RPG.  

Next is Reggie Jones, who was All-MAC FR last year.  He's 6'6" and is scoring 10.6 PPG but not efficiently, with 40% and 25% shooting.

As always, this is a big, physical team, much like EMU is.  This is a nice test for the Falcons.  They actually competed with Miami playing with a relatively small lineup, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out, but either way, this is one you'd love to see the Falcons pick up on home floor.


Anonymous said...

John.. this is a great blog! I am a huge UT fan but I love following BG sports through your blog. You post very honest stories with great inside information! I hope both UT and BG remain viable educational institutions for years to come with solid athletic programs.

Kind regards,
Ned Wright

Adam said...

FYI, per your Twitter comment about BG having played Temple at the Palestra a few years ago, it actually wasn't at the Palestra, it was at McGonigle Hall, which is Temple's old on-campus arena. It was a "throwback" game that Temple hosted. The Palestra is actually on Penn's campus, not Temple's.

Orange said...

Adam, thank you, I knew it was something like that. Just think it might be cool to have a throwback game at Anderson!

Adam said...

I agree, I would LOVE to see some games back in Anderson Arena! I remember NC State doing something like that, they’d play one non-conference game a year back in old Reynolds Coliseum for awhile.

Ken said...

Something is missing at the Stroh it seems. The Box Score attendance for WMU last night was 1421 but it didn't seem like it was that much. Not much student attendance. One big difference between Stroh and Anderson or the Ice Arena is they have placed the students behind the basket. At Anderson and at the Ice Arena students got/get to be right on top of the action and help create a more active atmosphere. I asked about this for Stroh and the answer was related to season ticket holders getting better seats. It feels like catch 22. You want the funds from season ticket holders but without student involvement, it is harder to sell a duller atmosphere. Until the end last night, the Stroh felt quite dull compared to what I remember at Anderson...

It would seem if you gave students good seats on one side or even part of a side, there would still be plenty of room for season ticket holders. The formula they have not doesn't seem to be working.

Ken said...

Per the above, found this interesting article from 2009. The "attendance woes" mentioned here had an average attendance the same as for this WMU game and contrasted it with better attendance years where the average was over 3000 and the average student attendance was 800-1000.