Thursday, February 21, 2019

To the Convo We Go.

Next up are the OU Bobcats.

Rough times in Athens.  The Bobcats are a traditional basketball power in the MAC, with a huge fan base and a great track record of support.  John Groce took them to the sweet 16 and was replaced by Jim Christian, who won 70% of his games.  The last coach to leave the school with a losing record was in 1989.  When Phillips replaced Christian, he had been an unqualified success at North Dakota State and won 20 games in his second and third years.

The next two years are not so pretty.  They are 10-21 in MAC play over the past two years, have lost six in a row, including a record loss by 47 points to Buffalo in their last game.

I searched online and people were demanding his head last year and it hasn't gotten any better.  Phillips is in the last year of his contract, as well, making it very precarious indeed.

Last year was tough with injuries but this year he has guys in the lineup, it's just going really poorly.  I'd suspect that Phillips is a pretty good coach but there is probably a tough situation, as it relates to an extension.

The two teams played in early January and BG won easily, by 19 points.  BG shot 57% and 48% on the way to the win.

So, here's the way things stack up.  OU is the worst offensive team in the MAC and they are 11th in defense.  BG is 2nd in offense and third in defense.  In fact, for the year OU is #316 in the nation in offense, and their MAC offense is worse than their entire season.

So, how does that happen?  Well, they are 11th in shooting....that's a good/bad start.  They are 8th in taking care of the ball, 9th on the offensive boards and 10th in getting to the line.  As noted, BG's defense is very good, and when BG plays defense they have held their opponents to roughly the same average OU scores, across the board.  So, if this rolls as the records suggest, these numbers should be how it plays out.  OU takes an average number of 3FGS, but is 10th in making them and 9th at 2FG.  They are also last in FT shooting, making 55% in MAC games, which is just awful.  For the year, their FT shooting is one of the 5 worst in the nation.

Flipping it around, we also see that BG's offense is about as successful as the OU defense is unsuccessful.  They are 10th in defending the shot.  They do force some turnovers but are just average on the defensive boards and at keeping teams off the line.  They are last in allowing 3FG%, which is a good matchup for BG.  They are 6th in defending the 2FG%.  Same thing here.  If things shape up as they have, this is what you will get.  OU will need to do something to change this dynamic to win....which does happen.

Jason Carter is their leading scorer, with 15 PPG.  He's shooting 45% and 39%, so decent.  He leads the team with 7.3 RPG.  Teyvion Kirk is scoring about 13 PPG but shooting 40% and 20%.  They have no other double figure scorers.

So, look, on paper BG should win this game.  Having said that, just when you think one of these sneaks up on you.  With a win, BG clinches a bye.  They should win this one, even at the Convo...and let's watch to see if they take care of business.

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