Friday, January 10, 2020

Next Stop Athens

So, BG heads down to Athens for the first MAC road game of the year.  Ohio U. has a new Coach this year after the Saul Phillips experiment was called off.  Jeff Boal, a former Bobcat, coaches there now.  They weren't expected to be great this year and they haven't been.

They are 9-6 with a #206 Kpom.  They have two non-D1 wins in there.  Their best win was over St. Bonaventure (#116) in the opener, and they lost a couple rough ones...Campbell (#228) to end the pre-MAC season and WMU (#268) to start the MAC season.  They did rebound with a win over EMU at the Convo on Tuesday to be 1-1 in the MAC.  According to kenpom, their home court advantage is #59 in D1.

Looking at the matchup, we wouldn't expect a ton of surprises here.  National average is 1.001 points per possession, so when OU has the ball, both teams are right around average and we'd expect things right around there.  When BG has the ball, you have a slightly better offense for BG and even a little worse defense for the Bobcats.  Essentially, all of BG's losses have come below 1 point per possession and/or over 1.03 points per possession on defense.

OU shoots well.  That's the #89 shooting team in the country.  They shoot almost 45% 3FGs, which is #32 in the that's a lot of 3FGs.  They make 34%, which is above average and they make 52% of 2FGs, which is good.  This is worrisome, because BG has been terrible defending the 3FG (#306) in the country.  Beyond that, the rest is pretty evenly matched.  OU turns the ball over more than they should and is poor on the offensive boards.  The other difference is that OU doesn't get to the line but BG does give up FTs.  The Bobcats shoot 68% from the line, which is below average.

One note...BG is #1 in the MAC in not turning the ball over in MAC play...but they have forced so few turnovers that they are actually still losing the turnover battle for those two games.

Flipping it around, OU's shot defense is right smack-dab on the national average, while BG shoots below the national average.  Both of the MAC games have found BG at about 47%.  This has been an issue all year, and the Falcons have compensated with a very low turnover rate, something which has continued.  Neither team is very good on the offensive boards and OU does put people on the line...whereas BG has not been great at getting to the line.

Here's an interesting thing.  OU's opponents are shooting 81% against them from the line.  That's the best in the nation.  You don't see that...but it's totally bad luck, right?  You don't like to see that...because "regression to the mean."

Honestly, this game matches up to be pretty even.  The key is that BG has shown its ability to score more if it can get Turner going and then have Frye going in the open spaces.

Individually, OU is led by two members of last year's all-FR team.  (These two guys are part of why I thought it was weird that Phillips was let go.)  Anyway, Jason Preston is scoring 15.4 PPG on 49% shooting and 34% from 3FG.  He also averages 6 RPG and 7.7 APG.  He's an all-around star.  Those assists are over 4.4 TPG.

Ben Vander Plas was also All-MAC FR.  He is scoring 13.7 PPG on 51% shooting.  That goes with 7.1 RPG.

Jordan Dartis is also scoring 13 PPG, who leads the team in 3FG attempts and makes 35% 3FG.  He missed some games in December but has been back for the last 2 MAC games.

One guy to watch is Lunden McDay, a true FR G from Akron St. Vincent/St. Mary.  He has started every game this year.

This is a winnable game for BG.  In fact, the kind of road win you need to get to get a home seed.  It isn't a great matchup for BG but you'd still like to close this one out.  Last note...OU has a wealth of young talent.  If they can keep the guys from transferring, they'll be good in years to come.

No comments :