Archive | November, 2014

11/29 Saturday evening thoughts

29 Nov

New Mexico St @ Wyoming

NMSU has been most effective in transition this year, but Wyoming just grinds transition games to a screeching halt. NMSU also relies heavily on pounding the offensive glass, so we have the 4th best offensive rebounding rate vs the 4th best defensive rebounding rate. Exciting. Wyoming is not only completely shutting down transition opportunities, but they’re executing at an extremely efficient level in the half court offensively. Their assist rate is through the roof, assisting on an absurd 82% of their field goals. With Nance seemingly 100%, this looks like Shyatt’s best Poke team.

Albany @ UNLV

Dave Rice continues to talk about playing faster at UNLV, while they actually continue to play slower and slower. He’s mixed in a few different zone looks as well, which has made them even slower. Albany will keep it close if Hooley and Baker hit some 3s, which will be available, and they’ll be in a zone as well vs UNLV’s superior height and inconsistent shooting.

Missouri State vs Washington St

The Bears have to be gassed having played the entire Alaskan Shootout extremely shorthanded. Is it worth it for Lusk to play Marshall if he isn’t 100%? The Bears might be on the bus already to the airport already. This could be a dreadful one to watch as poor shooting Wazzu will continue to jack up the 3s against Mo State’s packed in defense, and the Bears are likely to do the same.

Murray State vs Valpo

The Racers have to hit the glass better, especially defensively, so they can live up to their name and get out in transition and negate Valpo’s superior height. If Valpo is able to dictate the pace, they’re going to have mismatches galore in the halfcourt. Valpo has won the past two meetings in last minute comebacks.

UCSB vs Colorado St

Bryson and Harmon have to be able to shoot more consistently because the 3 will likely be the only thing available to them. Eustachy will collapse down and go under screens all night if it means limiting Al Williams, especially on the glass. With Vincent out, those guys absolutely have to be able to hit these open 3s, and they’ve struggled from outside early this year.

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11/29 Saturday early evening games

29 Nov

Tulsa @ Wichita State

The Shockers are well rested, while Tulsa is off a Vegas tournament, and their 4 guard lineup doesn’t stand much of a chance today vs Wichita St’s aggressive and physical perimeter defense. The Shocker defense is designed to push guards into two point jump shots and threes, and Tulsa is a bad jump shooting team. I think eventually Wichita St’s frontcourt gets exposed, but Tulsa has zero lane presence, so it’s not going to happen today.

Youngstown St @ Illinois St

Marcus Keene has been on fire of late, and that’s resulted in the Penguins’ 3 game winning streak, but I’m sure Muller sticks with a zone, and maybe even a matchup zone to single out Keene, since there is still a definite lack of shooters for YSU.

CS Fullerton vs FIU

Solid backcourt vs a solid frontcourt in Spartanburg. Johnson/Harris/Morgan will outplay FIU’s guards, but Fullerton doesn’t have anyone who can matchup with Diaz in the paint. Expect a Titan zone, and for Morgan to check undersized bulldog Dennis Mavin. We’ll see how deep these benches go, particularly FIU’s after an OT win vs aggressive Wright St.

Manhattan @ George Mason

Although Jalen Jenkins hasn’t really developed like I thought he would this year, GMU still has nice size that could challenge Manhattan inside, especially since Jermaine Lawrence was last seen in a walking boot. Now this is assuming Holloway and Moore can handle the high pressure zone. Outside of Holloway, they don’t have great shooters. GMU is also a poor FT shooting team, which doesn’t help because the Jaspers’ physical style will put you on the line at an alarming rate.

George Washington @ Seton Hall

The Pirates are home after a nice tournament run and title at the Paradise Jam. They might be due for a letdown, and GW isnt the team you want to face in that situation. The Pirates offense was reliant on a ridiculous performance from Gibbs during their tournament run, and Lonergan is a master of switching defenses and forcing teams to use secondary players to beat him. The good news is that Seton Hall just saw a 1-3-1 from Illinois State, but GW should be in a good spot for another road win. Watch out for Yuta Watanabe. I don’t think Seton Hall has someone who can match his height/athleticism combo.

11/29 Saturday afternoon thoughts

29 Nov

EIU vs Southern

I’m not certain that Chris Olivier is healthy, or maybe he’s in the doghouse. He came off the bench vs Creighton, but I thought maybe that was a matchup issue to get Piatrowski in vs Artino, but then he only played 10 minutes yesterday vs NCC and wasn’t in foul trouble. Regardless, the offense really struggled without him, and NCC was able to key in on Trae Anderson. Southern is off an OT loss yesterday, but they have distinct size advantage and go 9 deep. The problem is they’re not a good shooting team, and EIU is going to certainly throw a zone out there.

Georgia State @ IUPUI

Ron Hunter makes his return to Indianapolis, and IUPUI’s offense is a bit better than people think with PJ Boutte at PG, but they don’t have the perimeter shooting to burn Georgia State’s zone, or the height to exploit Washington/Crider behind the zone.

VCU @ Old Dominion

An undermanned and inexperienced Old Dominion team actually played well for a half last year vs Havoc, but eventually wilted and VCU ran away. This year they have way more depth and versatility, and most importantly, a PG in Trey Freeman. The Monarchs are coming off a trip to the Virgin Islands where they got off to a slow start in every game. They’re much more equipped to handle Havoc this year, and VCU can certainly be shredded in the halfcourt, but they can’t afford another slow start. ODU is also very good on the defensive glass, which you have to be to beat VCU. It allows you to get up the floor before VCU can set up their press. ODU has a chance here.

Nevada @ Omaha

Nevada is playing at the 336th slowest tempo in D1 (due in large to their opponents, I don’t think they’ll play this slow all year), and UNO is currently the fastest team in the country. First true road game for the Wolf Pack, and they’re going to face a high pressure zone and dual PGs that push the pace at every turn. AJ West absolutely has to stay on the floor. He’s 6th nationally in offensive rebounding rate, and keeping Rostampur and Thurman off the defensive glass and stopping transition early is vital.

UNC Wilmington @ Davidson

Been really impressed with the job Keatts has done and how quickly his style has taken hold at Wilmington, and he’s had a week to prepare for this one. I think we’ll quickly see that Keatts is one of the better coaches in the country with extra prep. The problem here is that Davidson has just a 13.5% turnover rate through 4 games, and they will absolutely shred UNCW’s zone after handling the press. Additionally, Sherwood is questionable, and the offense will struggle if his ankle is too bad to go.

UMass @ Harvard

First true road game for UMass and Lavietes will be rocking. UMass will struggle against teams with height and the ability to get back in transition, and Harvard can do both (although I said the same thing about Northeastern, and that didn’t end up too well). I think Saunders’ mid range game poses a significant challenge for UMass. He’s too big for Gordon and too quick for Lalanne to be guarding him away from the rim. Maxie Esho has to be able to check him for UMass to win.

11/28 Friday

28 Nov

Going to the Arizona State/Arizona football game…so I won’t have time to update the site, but will try to rattle off some bullet points on twitter @jorcubsdan

Thanksgiving early evening thoughts

27 Nov

Xavier vs San Diego

Xavier hasn’t exactly fared well in holiday tournaments under Chris Mack (2-4) and they’re traveling for the first time this year, and it’s all the way across the country and just a short trip for San Diego, who is basically playing a quasi home game. The Toreros have had major issues with turnovers and interior defense. Xavier has been particularly efficient in their transition offense, and the Muskies certainly have the bigs to dominate inside and on the glass. Sanadze is back, and he’ll be needed to at least try and contain Bluiett, but I’m not sure of Brandon Perry’s status. He didn’t play against WMU, and he would certainly be needed inside tonight.

Indiana State vs Illinois

I haven’t been impressed with ISU’s offense thus far post-Jake Odum. Smith and Brown tend to marginalize Gant offensively with constant one on one and isolation plays. The Sycamores currently rank 346th in assist rate. Getting Gant involved vs an underwhelming Illinois interior is key. The defense has been solid, but that’s more than likely a result of competition, although they have looked above average in chasing teams off the 3 point line and fighting through screens, which is of course a necessity against Rice/Starks/Cosby. Leron Black might be the guy who goes off for Illinois today though. I don’t think anyone on ISU has the foot speed to effectively defend him.

CS Fullerton vs Wright St

Long trip from southern California all the way to South Carolina on one day’s rest for the Titans after a tough loss at a big brother Pac 12 school. I love the Johnson/Wright backcourt, but Wright State is playing faster this year and spreading the court well with Yoho back. Tough matchup for the Titans in this spot.

Rider vs Michigan State

Rider’s guard trio is starting to impress me, but Michigan State just got done shutting down Brownridge and Clark vs Santa Clara. Matt Lopez can’t stay of early foul trouble, and he just doesn’t look like an effective back to the basket scorer still. Spartans could be looking past a solid Rider team though given the other teams in the Orlando field. The Spartans should be able to extend out on the guards, and exploit the zone offensively.

11/27 Thanksgiving thoughts

27 Nov

Santa Clara vs Tennessee

I think this is a good matchup for Santa Clara. Tennessee is still trying to adjust to Tyndall’s different zones, and Clark and Brownridge should be able to handle any of the high pressure zone looks. Santa Clara will also pack it in, and I’m not nearly as confident in Tennessee’s ability to shoot on an unfamiliar floor as I am in Brownridge and Clark. I think you’ll also see Clark get to the FT line a ton, as Tennessee is still slow to rotate in the zone and fouling at a high rate as a result.

Butler vs Oklahoma

The 53% offensive rebound rate vs UNC is totally insane, but the defensive rebound rate was 67% as well. The Bulldogs just completely dominated the glass, and they’re going to have to do it again to have a chance against Oklahoma. The upside for Butler is that they probably can’t shoot any worse than they did yesterday, but then again that was their best offensive strategy- chuck it up and make the putback. Barlow rolled his ankle yesterday, but still did a fantastic job on Paige. Hopefully his ankle isn’t too swollen today, because he has to do it again vs Buddy Hield. All in all, I don’t think Dunham will go 1-10 from 3 again, Butler can rebound just as well against OU (UCLA stayed in the game because of Looney on glass), and they should be in this game at the end with a chance to win.

Robert Morris vs UL Monroe

I don’t see why ULM won’t have the same issue as yesterday…scoring against a zone. Majok Deng will be a tough assignment for smaller RMU, but I would like to see him in the paint more than hovering around the 3 point line. The Colonials zone will be inviting him to do that. Lucky Jones vs Tylor Ongwae should be a good battle. Lucky Jones is one of the best defenders in the country, and can guard 1-5. UPDATE: Lucky Jones’ hand injury has kept him out of the starting lineup

Kansas vs Rhode Island

These teams are actually very similar. Both rely offensively on high percentage shots around the rim and don’t really look to shoot the 3 at all. They also limit opponent three point attempts and have stout 2PT% defenses that feature plus rim protection. Kansas’ interior defense isn’t quite there yet, and I actually value URI’s interior defense a little more at the moment because of Hassan Martin. Ultimately I think the difference will be Kansas’ length on the wings. I love Terrell and Matthews, but Ellis and Selden will be able to frustrate them into mistakes, which is the achilles heel of the young Rams.

Austin Peay vs Brown

If Indiana State were able to shut down Horton an Freeman, Kuakumensah and Maia should certainly be able to do the same. That puts the scoring onus on the Govs’ poor shooting guards. Dyson is the only legitimate backcourt option to score. Brown can play man to man with the excellent rim protection, or be just fine in a zone should the bigs get in any sortof foul trouble.

UTEP vs Princeton

A little concerned about UTEP’s young guards defending the screening action on the perimeter, but I’m sure Tim Floyd has some defenses prepped for this one. Princeton defensively hasn’t been able to defend quick guards. Omega Harris’ confidence is high after a great second half to come back and beat rival NMSU. I think he and Copper will be able to live in the lane, and the plethora of bigs UTEP is able to throw at Princeton will dominate the paint.

Coastal Carolina @ Chattanooga

Chaos shouldn’t be an issue for Coastal to handle with their tremendous guard depth and Cliff Ellis will almost certainly go zone 100% of the time to try and negate Tuoyo. The good news for UTC is that they faced a zone yesterday, and Pryor, White, Robertson, and McLean are able capable and somewhat lengthy shooters.

Wisconsin vs Georgetown

Jackson vs DSR is a good matchup, but the Badgers’ ability to draw Georgetown’s bigs out of the lane will be the difference. Imagine Josh Smith chasing Hayes or Kaminsky around.

11/26 Wednesday day game thoughts

26 Nov

UNC vs Butler

I might be crazy, but I think Butler sticks around in this one. Obviously UNC’s bigs are a major issue, but I think Rosey Jones on Marcus Paige is an interesting matchup. If Butler can keep this game to halfcourt battle for the majority of the 40 minutes, Jones will start to wear Paige down with height and physicality. Now, keeping the game a halfcourt battle and limiting possessions vs UNC is incredibly tough, but if you’ve seen Butler at all this year, they’ve been prepping for this game in their first three games by totally eschewing offensive rebounds and getting back in transition at all costs, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see a matchup zone from Holtmann as well, with Jones on Paige. Butler either stays competitive or they get obliterated inside. I think they hold this to a couple possession game most of the way.

Robert Morris vs UT Chattanooga

No chance you see RMU get away from their zone in this one, especially with Tuoyo lurking inside. White and McLean are capable of hitting the outside shot, but the strength of RMU is also at the wings with Lucky Jones and Rodney Pryor. Key matchup here is the lengthy ball hawk Casey Jones on Kavon Stewart. Jones could dominate that matchup and let Will Wade play the Chaos he prefers and not be flustered by RMU zone.

Marist vs Fresno State

Fresno looks rudderless offensively without Guerrero, as the wings are forced to play out of position, but Marist is completely reliant on Chavaughn Lewis, and he threw the Red Foxes on his back yesterday. With Edo, Watson, and Harris, Fresno has several options to check him though, and I don’t see anyone capable of secondary scoring. Should be an ugly game.

Northeastern vs UMass

I really like this Northeastern team so far. Obviously the turnovers are still an issue, but Williams and Stahl just faced a Manhattan team that brings pressure better than UMass, so they’ll be a little more prepped today. The Huskies dominate the defensive glass, get back in transition, and guard you for 18-20 seconds. UMass has struggled offensively against teams who are capable of this under Kellogg. Additionally, Northeastern has a legit back to the basket scorer in Eatherton, and doesn’t rely on the three, which UMass takes away by extending their guards in halfcourt. I think the Huskies have a real shot to win this game.

Denver @ Belmont

Belmont was blown out last year in Denver, but they were shorthanded playing in elevation in the middle of a long, tough road trip. Classic pace battle, and both teams shoot a ton of 3s. I think Belmont gets revenge here, but the 3 will be available for Denver off their sets, as Belmont is 291st early in defensive 3pt rate (that’s a touch inflated because they played Lipscomb twice).

Oklahoma vs UCLA

I think you’ll see Looney and Parker get in foul trouble early against the super active and physical bigs of Oklahoma. Spangler and Thomas are demons on the glass, and I don’t think UCLA is prepared to face that. Early foul trouble will force Alford to go zone, and Oklahoma will light it up. In man to man, Powell can stay with Hield, but it could take a toll on his offense the longer they’re in man. UCLA has a ton of talent and will get better as the season progresses, but this is a favorable matchup for the Sooners against a young team away from Pauley for the first time.

Coastal Carolina vs UL Monroe

Interesting game. Coastal has the advantage in the backcourt, but Williams and Ongwae could dominate inside for ULM. Cliff Ellis is the master of various zone looks, and that could frustrate ULM who has capable shooters, but doesn’t like to rely on the three. I’ve been very impressed with Nick Coppola’s development at PG for ULM, and I think he’ll be able to handle his own vs CCU’s guard depth. Richard has been running a lot of motion offense and trying to limit possessions with no bench, so we’re going to see a low scoring affair. Coastal has been shooting the ball horribly to start the year, so you almost have to zone them. Ultimately, I think Ongwae proves to difficult of a matchup for CCU.