11/20 Thursday thoughts

20 Nov

*Starting yesterday, I will be on the road a lot for the next two weeks. I will try to update the site whenever possible.

Dayton vs Texas A&M

I think the Aggies are flying under a lot of radars right now. When Caruso is running the point, the shortest starter is 6’5. When Robinson runs the point, they don’t lose any athleticism and Caruso moves to his more natural position at the 2. Jalen Jones is eligible and gives them even more depth and length. The Aggies completely undressed an athletic Northwestern State that loves to play fast and press, scoring at 1.35ppp rate and just a 16% TO rate. They’re not a great shooting team yet (I think Peyton Allen changes that), so Dayton’s best chance is to go zone. Billy Kennedy is an underrated defensive coach. His TAMU teams can bring guard pressure, trap, fall back into a zone, or play straight up physical man to man. I think Scoochie Smith makes a big leap for Dayton at PG this year, but this will be a rough morning for him.

Charleston vs UConn

Not much to say here. I think UConn is vastly overrated this year, but they do have Purvis back for this one, and Charleston is still adjusting to Grant. He wants to play more aggressive and force the issue with pressure, but I’m not sure C of C is built like that. Stitt and Chealey might be, but Canyon Barry is too slow with his footwork, and fouls constantly in that situation. If UConn doesn’t sit back and settle for 3s, as they are wont to do, dribble penetration should come relatively easily. I watched Tyler Strange do it for Gardner-Webb all game vs C of C last time out.

USC vs Akron

Even after the Portland State debacle, USC still hemorrhaged turnovers in a 12 point home win over Tennessee Tech. Their turnover rate currently sits at 28.2%. Keith Dambrot almost has no choice but to go small with Jackson and Robotham attacking McLaughlin, Jacobs, and Reinhardt, particularly with Treadwell suspended.  Enfield of course wants to play fast, but I’m not sure this team is ready for that yet. The current Enfield game plan is kind of negating Nikola Jovanovic, who should be able to eat in this one.

Drexel vs Miami FL

The Canes are coming off a big comeback and a thrilling win over a rival in Gainesville. Going to be tough for them to avoid a letdown in an early afternoon game on a neutral court in front of a few thousand people at best. Drexel is essentially playing 6 deep already though, and Tavon Allen’s knee isn’t close to 100% if I had to guess. The Canes could go into a zone and be fine on autopilot essentially for the start of this game, and their depth at guard would eventually wear Drexel out. I think you’ll see Drexel be a little more aggressive to start. Watching the St. Joe’s game, they actually got to the rim via dribble penetration a decent amount, they just missed a lot of layups. I think Drexel takes an early lead, maybe even the lead at half, but eventually wears down.

New Mexico vs Boston College

UNM is still adjusting to life without Bairstow and Kirk. Greenwood has to be willing to take more shots, and Delaney, who reminds me of Tony Snell when he’s aggressive, has to realize he isn’t a role player anymore. BC has been atrocious from outside, so I expect Neal to go with a zone to limit Hanlan penetration and trips to the FT line. Garland Owens is a guy I thought would make a difference for BC this year. His versatility on the wing needs to be featured more and if he gets in the flow, he could have a Moses Morgan type game against UNM. The Lobos had a hard time matching up with his versatility vs Fullerton.

Penn State vs Charlotte

There’s a lot I like about Charlotte. Thorne and Clayton inside are a bruising frontcourt. Henry is still one of the best ballhawks in the country. The backcourt depth is great with Ogbueze, Dorn, and Woods joining Henry this year. Cameron Blakely looks like he could be limited minutes outside shooter for Niners. But their first game against Elon did little to alleviate my fears regarding what plagued this team last year: turnovers and terrible free throw shooting. In what figures to be a close game against an underrated Penn State team that matches up well with them, that could be the difference. I don’t see any reason for Penn State not to play a zone here. It protects their foul prone height (namely Dickerson), and the best shooters are probably reserve bigs Benkovic and Blakely, both of whom can be challenged easily by Taylor, Travis, or Jack. Penn State should move into the winner’s bracket in Charleston.

Hopefully will have some more here on the evening games I find interesting. At the very least, I’ll be posting some thoughts on twitter @jorcubsdan

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