Friday, January 11, 2019

MBB Chips Preview

Saturday, the only matchup between unbeaten MBB teams in the MAC will take place at McGuirk Arena when BG takes on CMU.  Let's take a look.

First, CMU is always hard to predict. The Chips are 13-2.  However, as usual, that can be a little misleading.  First, they beat 3 non D1 teams.  And then second, according to kenpom, they played the 351st ranked non-conference schedule in all of college basketball...that's out of 353.  It doesn't even count the non D1 wins.  I straight up admire the ability of CMU to schedule such a high proportion of lousy D1 teams.  It's a feat.  Their BEST non-conference win was over the #174 (Bakersfield) team on a neutral floor.

So, you get thinking about all of that and they open 2-0 in the MAC.  That's a road win @ Miami and an OT win over Akron at home.  Larry Austin scored with 2 seconds left to seal the second of those wins.

So, it will be interesting to see.  From BG's perspective, the Falcons are playing really well, including one game on the road.  Winning on the road is tough in conference play, but who knows?  BG is playing at a level we have not seen in quite a while.

CMU has beaten BG 5 of the last 6, with the only BG win coming in the Huger Year One tourney run.

Looking at the matchup, and keeping in mind CMU's soft schedule which does impact numbers, we can see how this will shake out.

CMU plays their normal style, which is high offense and low defense.  They play 72 possessions per game, which is slightly more than BG.  So, there's no big secret here.  BG needs to execute what it has been doing, which is to play the defense they have been playing which seems to key them into making shots.  (It is only 2 games, but in MAC play BG leads the conference in defensive efficiency).

CMU does everything well on offense.  They are ok shooters, but #34 in protecting the ball, #52 on the offensive boards and #13 getting to the line.  In three of the four areas below, there appears there will be a real contest.  BG needs to succeed on the boards and kept the Chips off the line.

Speaking of which, CMU would be dangerous if they could make FTs.  They make 64% which is among the 30 lowest in D1.  In fact, it seemed to me that a lot of MAC teams are poor FT shooters, and in fact in MAC play the conference is 30th out of 32 in FT%.  Still early on that.

CMU shoots 37% of its FGs from 3 and the average is 38.7%, so a little below.  They make 52% of their 2FGs and 35% of their 3 FGs, both slightly above D1 average.  This is a solid team that has played effective offense in all parts of the game.

They also scored efficiently in both their MAC games, for whatever that is worth.

On the other side, CMU defends the shot decently, creates turnovers and keeps their opponents off the line.  Their weakest area is BG's strongest, which is on their own defensive boards.  (Sometimes happens to teams trying to force turnovers.)

They defend the 3 really well (#61), but aren't great against the 2FG, so BG will need to get the ball inside to score.

Individually (remembering both the opposition and the fast tempo), the Chips are led by Grad Transfer Larry Austin.  He came from Vanderbilt.  He's scoring 18.2 PPG on 52% shooting.  Even at 6'2" he's an inside player, not a lot of 3FGs.  He averages 5.7 RPG and averages 5.4 assists per game, too.

Shawn Roundtree is scoring 15.8 per game, shooting 48% and 32%, which is less efficient.  He's also a senior guard.

Kevin McKay is scoring 13.1 per game on 57% shooting and a team high 7.3 RPG.  He's a 6'5" JR.  Scored 16 against BG last year.

David DiLeo is scoring 11.5 PPG on 42% 3FG shooting.  He's their best distance threat.  Also averages 5.5 RPG.

Lastly, JUCO transfer Rob Montgomery is 6'6" and scoring 10.3 per game on 45% and 41% shooting and adding 5.5 RPG.

CMU plays without a true big man for almost the entire game, but adjusts with tempo and playing strong all-around offensive basketball.

It's been a great 6 weeks to follow this team and I'm looking forward to what we might see tomorrow.

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