Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Cleveland State Preview

So, the Cleveland State Vikings are next on the schedule.  This is an opportunity for BG to get a road win, that's for sure.  CSU is 2-7 this year, with wins over Urbana and #342 South Carolina State.  They lost to #222 Samford and #210 IPFW at home, as well as @Toledo (by 12) and Kent at home (by 4).  They also pressed DePaul, trailing by 4 with the ball in the final minute of the game.

They were picked for #6 in the Horizon by Blue Ribbon and #7 by their own media.  With that said, BG has already lost to the team picked to finish last.

They were 12-23 last year and 6-12 in the conference.  A #8 seed, they made a run in the Horizon tourney and almost made it.  They lost 3 starters and a key reserve from that team and have six new players.  Their coach told Blue Ribbon they were "starting over."  Kenpom shows them to be one of the 30 youngest teams in the country.

Tempo-wise, we can hope for an up-paced game.  BG and CSU both move at 72 possessions per game.

It won't be surprising to know that CSU has not been good on either side of the ball.  Looking first at their offense, they are scoring .97 PPP, which is really bad.  National average .93.  They are just as bad on defense, allowing 1.08 PPP.  They are ranked #286 in both on kenpom.

When CSU has the ball, you see why that all is.  They shoot below national average, but turn the ball over more than average and poor offensive rebounders.  They do a good job getting to the line, but are poor FT shooters at 65%, though not as bad as BG (63%).  They love the 3--43% of their FGs are 3FGs--but make them 34% of the time, which is just a little bit above the average.  They only make 48% of their 2FGs.

That would all be comforting except for BG's difficulty defending Hartford, who unleashed a similar attack against BG Saturday.  In fact, BG is #310 in the country defending the 3FG.  Also, BG does not force turnovers so it will be interesting to see if CSU can handle the ball against us.

On the defensive side, they are bad at everything.  They are easy to shoot against, don't turn the ball over, can be beaten on the boards and allow a lot of FTs.  They defend the 3 very effectively but don't defend the 2FG very well.  This should be well-suited for BG, unless we try to match their jump shooting attack, which seemed to be what happened in Hartford.  Teams are going to pack in on Wiggins but jumpers aren't the only answer to that.  Also, BG is not set up to take advantage of their tendency to foul.

Their top player is Tyree Appleby, who is a SO returning starter.  He's scoring 14.7 per game on 41% and 33% shooting, which is not terribly efficient, but somebody does have to shoot the ball.  He has 40 assists (4.4 per game) over 34 TOs.  Their other double-figure scorer is Stefan Kenic, a 6'9" Serbian scoring 10.4 on 43% and 38% shooting.  Their leading rebounder is 6'7" Jalaam Hill, at 6.1 per game.  He's a JUCO transfer.  They also have a FR 6'6" guy named Seth Millner, who is scoring 9.6 per game and shooting 47% and 50%.

They play a deep rotation, with 10-11 guys getting in most games and the most-played player topping out at 30 minutes a game, something to keep in mind when you look at the stats above.

This is a game at the start of the year you would have expected BG to win.  I wouldn't be shocked if BG won but it's far from something that can be counted on, given how BG has played in other games.

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