Friday, February 14, 2020

Ball State, Deux

So, BG had its worst offensive game of the season against Akron, it's first post-Frye game against a team that plays defense. Ball State, tomorrow's opponent, plays the best defense in the MAC.

That's exactly the kind of game it was when the two teams played at the Stroh a little while ago.

If you recall, BG won by 6.  Justin Turner had 10 points in the last 3 minutes of the game to salt it away.

So, the MAC average is 1.01 points per possession.  Ball State is allowing .91 points per possession, but BG got .95 points per possession against them in the first meeting.  The mix you see below was how it played out.  For reference, BG's EFG was 40% against Akron Tuesday.  So, while it was a poor offensive night, BG mixed very average shooting with low turnovers and 15 of 19 at the line to get to that level.

Ball State is 11th in the MAC in offense, and BG was able to maximize that part of the equation to get the win.  They scored .86 points per possession--they average .97--and had the worst shooting game of any BG opponent this year.  Again, that's worse than BG shot at Akron Tuesday.

They have won 3 of 4 since playing BG, winning @Kent and ending NIU's winning streak in Muncie.  Their formula has not really changed. They scored under 1 per possession in each win. They held Kent and OU under .8 per possession--a legit shutdown--and you that's a worst-case scenario for BG on Saturday.

From my viewpoint, BG played its first game post-Frye against UT, a terrible defensive team. Against Akron, a good one, the Zips took Turner away and BG's other players had shots conceded and they didn't go down.

BG has had a few days...some kind of adjustment needs to be made.  One thing:  Ball State is #1 defending the 3FG and #8 against the 2FG.  It seems like BG needs to attack the basket in this one...and do it strong, "drive to contact" as Coach said after the game.  I think if BG is going to try and win on the perimeter, that's not going to work.

With KJ Walton down, Ball State basically has been using a six-man rotation.  They are led by two guys.  Tahjal Teague, a legit all-MAC player, scoring 16.5 on 50% shooting, 10 rebounds, two blocks and a steal a game.  Not a good FT shooter.  Ishmael El-Amin 13 on 41% shooting overall but 40% from 3FG.  Jarron Coleman is their PG, with basically a 1:1 A/TO ratio.

So here we go.  This would be a huge one for BG to get.  You'd get to 10 MAC wins with a road win against a team that has not lost at home this year in conference.  You'd establish some confidence in the team's ability to rebound from Frye's departure--it would just make a statement.

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