Friday, November 29, 2019

Dartmouth Preview

Back to basketball now.  BG returns home to play the Dartmouth Big Green.  Let's see what we can expect.

BG has played Dartmouth twice but not since 1968.  So, you know, we haven't made the NCAA tournament since the last time we beat Dartmouth.  Speaking of which, while they have twice finished as runner-up in the NCAA Tourney, they actually have a longer dry spell than BG...they have not appeared in the tournament since 1959.

Dartmouth was 11-19 and 2-12 last year, finishing last in the Ivy League.  They returned all their starters from that team and are picked to be 6th in the Ivy this year.

For all that, they are off to a 5-1 start.  Two games are of interest to BG fans.  Dartmouth opened the season with a win at Buffalo, and that's not nothing.  Buffalo had won 26 straight games at home.  Obviously it was their first game under Whitesell with a ton of new players and people in new rules...still, it was a big upset.

Their other game of interest was Jacksonville.  That's a team BG beat by 16 on a neutral floor and Dartmouth lost by 20 to the Dolphins, also on a neutral floor.

So, make of that what you will.  Dartmouth also Florida Gulf Coast (by 6, #282), Merrimack (by 9, #272), UMass Lowell (in OT, #252).   Also a non-d1 win.

We know where BG is except this...according to Todd Walker from Lima, the Falcons will be without Justin Turner, who was injured in the Virgin Islands.  It's said to be a hamstring injury.  Those injuries can tend to be you want to make sure you get it taken care of before the real season begins.  There's not going to be an at-large bid, so keep our eye on the ball, as it were.

Having said that, I have no idea when they are expecting him back.

Let's look at how the game stacks up.  The charts below are from this year's season, so keep this in mind.  Dartmouth accumulated those results against the 275th ranked schedule, to date.  BG's are against the #32 schedule, but with one additional non-D1 game.

FWIW, scoring is down to date in D1.  Counting only D1 games, the NCAA is scoring .99 points per possession and last year it was 1.04.  If you are curious, the 3FG% has only fallen from 34.4% to 33%, so that's not it.  The 2FG% is also down 2%.

Anyway, with you can see what is match up.  BG has been successful on offense (#102) and on defense (#121).  Meanwhile, Dartmouth is decent on defense (#136) but really struggles to score (#269).

DU has been poor at everything.  Remember, these are placed against good BG numbers.  They are ranked #234 or below in all four of these categories.  They shoot poorly, turn the ball over, don't offensive rebound or get to the line.  They are below average on 2FGs and 3FGs and are #328 at the line, making fewer than 60%.  This means they could have trouble exploiting BG's biggest defensive weakness, which is allowing foul shots.

On defense, Dartmouth is actually pretty good.  They are #77 against the shot, they are #15 on the offensive boards and #55 in keeping teams off the line.  Even the turnover percentage is right at D1 average.  They are very good in defending the 3FG (#42) and right in the middle of the pack against 2FGs.  BG has struggled on its shooting (#278 overall and #313 on 2FG).  Again, the schedules are not equal, but BG needs to make shots.

Dartmouth is well above average in terms of bench minutes played.  In a related note, and this was thought impossible, but DU is actually MORE conservative than Coach Huger in playing guys with 2 fouls in the first half.

Individually, they are led by Chris Knight, who is scoring 12 PPG but shooting 44%.  He's a 6'7" JR from Madison, WI.  He also averages 6.2 RPG and leads the team with 14 assists, though he had 18 turnovers.  He was second-team All-Ivy least season.

That's their only double-figure scorer.  Aaryan Raj, a 6'6" JR who is from Canada nearly gets in double figures at 9.7 PPG, 54% shooting and 6.7 RPG.  Ian Sistere is a G but averages 6.3 RPG.

For trivia purposes, Cam Krystkowiak is on this team and his Dad coaches Utah Jazz.

They are not tall, 267 in the nation while BG is #187.

On we go.  BG should win this game at home and it could be the start of a significant winning streak until conference plays begins.  The team will need to adjust to playing without Turner but there is plenty of depth and we have a couple players who are off to cold starts who could fill in the gap.

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