12/30 Tuesday evening thoughts

30 Dec

Davidson @ Virginia

Highly efficient offense vs a highly efficient defense, but the kicker here is that UVA’s offense is playing at a high level as well, and Davidson’s defense struggled against the only top 100 adjusted efficiency offensives they’ve played (1.15 ppp at home to Charlotte and 1.23ppp in Charlotte to UNC). Obviously scoring is a major issue against UVA, and Davidson doesn’t have the lightning quick PG off the dribble or big guards who can work their way into the middle of the court against the pack line, but they have the McKillop motion offense working in their favor. With the exception of Ekwu and Barham, everyone who sees significant minutes can shoot the 3, and Kalinoski, Aldridge, and Michelson all have great height outside. Davidson put up a respectable .93 ppp for facing UVA’s defense in the meeting last year, but that was also early in the year and Bennett was still tinkering around with minutes and rotations at that point, plus Davidson had a legit paint presence in Brooks. Brooks didn’t have a good game in that meeting last year, but he was a presence nonetheless. In short, Davidson’s offense is reliant on the 3, and the nature of the pack line itself can lend itself to 3s being shot against it, but since it’s by design, those shots are always highly contested and not the spot you want them to be in. The motion offense might be able to create enough space to get some clean looks, but then I don’t trust the Davidson defense enough, even if the offense is working.

Prediction: Davidson +16.5

Iona @ UMass

To beat UMass you have to limit them in transition opportunities and keep them out of the lane and off the FT line. Iona can probably hope to do one of these things tonight. Iona loves to shoot the 3 obviously, but you don’t beat UMass with the 3 ball. You have to be able to work it inside consistently and pound them around the rim. Tough for UMass to come all the way back home after the OT loss in Provo, but Iona for however great they are offensively, isn’t necessarily set up to beat them. Sure, they can run with UMass, but that’s not the proven way to beat them. Try to get Laury going, throw a zone at UMass in the halfcourt, then see if you can open it up a bit with Casimir and English. Interesting game that should be a good one, unless Iona’s 263rd rated transition defense completely lets them down.

William & Mary @ UNC

I think William & Mary can slow this one down enough to stay with a few possessions at the end. They’ve played one game with pace in the 70s all year (71 vs WIU), while UNC has played just 3 that weren’t (1-2 against Florida, UK, Iowa, obviously better competition). William & Mary’s modified Princeton combined with their ability to get back in transition (rarely go for offensive rebounds), should slow this down enough to keep them competitive.

Prediction: William & Mary +16.5

Oral Roberts @ Detroit

Have to wonder who, if anyone, cares enough about this game to win. Both are starting conference play later this week, but I can’t imagine ORU is too thrilled with a holiday trip to Detroit right now. Detroit is off some much needed week long rest after a crazy travel schedule, and the zone should be enough to make ORU care even less about attacking the rim (although Detroit does tend to foul out of the zone with alarming regularity, and the FT line is essentially the only way ORU scores).

Prediction: Detroit -4

UNC Wilmington @ Ohio

Bobcats coming back from Hawaii, but should be able to handle UNCW’s guard pressure, plus the Seahawks look like a team that needs an extended break. Been playing at a high pace with no bench.

Have to go blurbs from here on out…

I think Charlotte has a bit of a chance tonight if Thorne and Clayton can stay out of foul trouble to back end the zone. If not, Georgia Tech will bully them inside. Prediction: Charlotte +5.5 

Florida’s interior defense is rounding into usual form with the addition of Murphy and Francis at practice as well. Going to be a massive struggle for FSU to score, because you eventually have to be able to hit some shots from outside given Florida’s propensity to help on almost all penetration by bringing a big up, and like I said, the interior is rounding into form. Prediction: Florida -6.5 

Charleston’s a good shooting team, but could have some issues against Miami’s extended zone, and Baru isn’t enough of an offensive threat inside. Of course I said that same thing about EKU.

Weird spot on the schedule for George Washington, but they have the best eFG% transition defense in the country, and the extended guard pressure out of several different defensive looks really takes away the 3. So no transition and no 3s. How does VMI score? GW wins easily if they care enough to play 40 minutes after coming home from the Diamond Head victory.

LaSalle isn’t turning teams over a ton, but that hardly matters given Penn’s TO issues vs anybody, and the Explorers still extend their guards way out to take away the 3. Can Hicks get the ball consistently to Louis and DNH? Tough to rely on that.

Simply put, you can’t trust UL Monroe at all vs a zone, particularly Georgia State’s. Still love Ongwae, but when teams limit his presence in the middle of the floor, ULM tends to struggle offensively. Georgia State had trouble with that in the first meeting last year, so a little hope?

I think you’ll see Kansas live at the FT line tonight, won’t find enough scoring from the interior/Jimmy Hall slashing to keep Kansas from being more aggressive pushing them off the 3 point line than they normally are.

Weird schedule for Cal Poly, and IPFW should be able to find enough spots vs matchup zone, even without Forbes to provide an interior presence.

Dayton a far better zone busting team than people realize, and I think you’ll see them win big, even shorthanded and even if Jarvis Summers plays for Ole Miss. Prediction: Dayton -6

Quick turnaround off 3OT loss vs big brother rival, and Mercer isn’t built to fare well vs a team that can use a high pressure zone, like Texas A&M. Aggies should clean up on offensive glass too. This one could get ugly. Prediction: TAMU -12

I’ve talked about how underrated Bocoum and Livingston are for Arkansas State in the past, and they should be able to dominate smaller, shorthanded USA inside. No bench for Arkansas St, but they’ve had a week off. Prediction: Arkansas St -2.5 

Who hits more 3s vs whose zone? That’s what Georgia Southern and UT Arlington could boil down to. Possibly no Bilbao for UTA, which represents most of their height.

UALR doesn’t turn the ball over, but that’s not how ULL gets in transition. Trojans are a poor rebounding team, and you’ll be able to see ULL dominate the glass and get out and run, 2nd in transition attempts in the country off a rebound, and UALR can’t beat them inside. Prediction: ULL PK

Texas State was able to get behind the Troy zone in San Marcos with Grant last year, and having Naylor back helps, but the offense has been dreadful on the road. Not sure how much you can take from second meeting last year in last game of the season with nothing on the line though. More of a watch and learn with Texas State tonight.

All I had time for tonight.

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