Monday, January 21, 2019

EMU MBB Preview

BG will hit the court for their sixth MAC game and a nine-game winning streak and a two-game lead over the next teams (other than Buffalo).

The next on the menu is EMU.  As always, they are hard to judge.  They are 8-10, but that's with 4 non-D1 wins.  It also includes losses at Kansas and Duke.  They also lost to Detroit, as BG did.

They are 2-3 in the MAC, but they have played the toughest schedule to date in the conference.  They've played Buffalo twice, @ Ball State, Kent and @ Akron.  Their wins are Ball State, and Kent, who they beat by 34.

BG beat EMU twice last year--both in overtime, once in Ypsi and once in BG in the MAC tourney.  In the last 10 games, EMU has won 6 and but BG has a two-game winning streak at EMU.

They play the Syracuse 2-3 zone, which is their signature.  They play it right.  They were picked to win the West after an 11-7 MAC season last year and adding a big-man transfer from Grand Canyon.  To date the results aren't what they might have hoped for, but again they have some tough games behind them.  (For reference, Kenpom is the source for them playing the toughest MAC schedule to date.  BG is #11).

Following stats are MAC games only.  BG is #2 in the offense and #1 in defense in the MAC to date.  EMU is #5 in offense and #6 in defense.  They have a lot of size.

The first thing about how EMU plays is that they play at a slow pace.  SLOW.  They are last in the MAC and in the bottom four of all D1 for all games.  They play at a full 5 possessions below the national average.  They do ALMOST everything well on offense.  They are the 4th in shooting, 1st in offensive rebounding and 4th in getting to the line.  Their only weakness is turning the ball over, in which they are last.

They don't take many 3FGs on average, though when they do they are 2nd at making them.  Notwithstanding their big men, they are 9th in 2FG%.  They are 11th in FT shooting.

One huge key is going to be rebounding.  EMU is #1 in offensive rebounding and #14 in the country and BG leads the MAC in defensive rebounding.  That will be a key battle, as well as BG forcing misses to start with.

Flipping it around, EMU's strength is forcing turnovers.  That zone can be very tricky to move the ball around on and EMU has a long team.  BG will need to take care of the ball.  EMU is not great against the shot, which is unusual.  They are 6th in EFG% defense--that's 4th against the 3 and 9th against the 2, if you get inside the zone.  They are poor on the defensive boards and on preventing teams from getting to the line.  In general, this has not been the EMU lockdown D we have come to know in the past.

Their leading scorer (again, MAC play only) is Elijah Minnie, scoring 16.8 per game, shooting 47% and 46% from 3, which is really good.  He also averages 6 RPG.

Paul Jackson is their second-leading scorer at 14.4 PPG.  He shoots 39% and 27%, which is inefficient.  He does average 5.4 assists per game.

James Thompson IV is usually their top scorer.  He is scoring 12.8 PPG on 73% shooting to go with 12 rebounds.  Their transfer is Barbecar Toure, who came in from Grand Canyon as a grad transfer.  He's scoring 9.4 PPG and 8.8 RPG.

They are a big team.  They are in the top 10% of teams in terms of effective height on kenpom.  This will put pressure on BG's bigs, from Wiggins through to Uju and even possibly Mattos.

 EMU is also experienced, #30 in the team on that measure.

Every game is a new test for BG.  You can't sleep on EMU, that's for sure, especially in Ypsi.

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