12/28 Monday Thoughts

28 Dec

On the road today, so just have time for a quick rundown of today’s “tough to gauge” post holiday slate…PREDICTIONS (632-477-28):

Scheme wise, UNC Greensboro is going to have a chance to stay quasi competitive at the Dean Dome tonight. The Spartans are a team that relies on jump shots for almost all of their production, which is ok in this scenario because you’re not going to score at the rim against UNC. In the past Roy has generally called off the dogs late against Wes Miller, so I don’t envision a total laugher tonight, especially if Smith and Locke can actually knock down some shots alongside Troy and Alonso. UNC GREENSBORO +27.5

Shorthanded Rutgers struggles enough with turnovers and shooting the ball that I think UMass-Lowell’s high pressure zone will keep this one close throughout. UM Lowell is the second smallest team in the country, so that high pressure zone has to generate turnovers, or else they get shredded, but 6’2 Jahad Thomas is one of my favorite players in the country to watch. He’s one of the best “position rebounders” in the game. UM LOWELL +6.5

Same situation for IUPUI. If they don’t turn Butler over when Gardner extends Barksdale and Henderson, they won’t have a chance. The Jags can’t shoot, and the bigs O’Leary and Osborne aren’t typical back to the basket scorers. Butler has the third lowest TO rate and fourth lowest steal rate in the country. BUTLER -23.5

Donahue just doesn’t have the roster at Penn yet in order to play his quick ball reversal, three point shooting offensive style. Penn is going to suffer through a lot of blowouts this year when the three isn’t falling, and tonight figures to be one of those nights. It might not get super ugly, as Jay Wright will likely be doing some lineup tinkering with Jenkins out, but with Ochefu’s ability to shutdown DNH, the Penn offense is going to struggle since they don’t have another shooter besides Jones. VILLANOVA -25

Two of the highest steal rate defenses in the country go head to head when Green Bay visits Morehead State. The Phoenix have the 6th highest steal rate in the country, while Morehead State has the 8th highest. The difference is that the Phoenix couple their steal rate with the 7th lowest offensive steal rate, while TOs continue to be a problem for the Eagles on the offensive end. Per hoop-math.com, no team in the country attempts more FGs 0-10 seconds in transition after a steal than Green Bay does, and Morehead State has allowed those attempts at a top 50 rate as a defense this year. Morehead was blown out in Green Bay last year, but motivation for both is something of a question mark after a long layoff after close loses to Wisconsin and Davidson respectively. The pace battle (Green Bay is the 2nd fastest team in the country while Sean Woods has Morehead playing way more deliberately offensively this year ), the glass battle (big advantage for Morehead State), and the turnover battle (big advantage for the Phoenix), are all areas to watch tonight. GREEN BAY +5

Detroit is an outstanding zone busting offense, as they don’t turn the ball over and they have multiple lengthy shooters who can work inside and out. I don’t think they’re going to have too much trouble with EMU’s 2-3, but the Titans’ defense hasn’t been remotely good this, and they don’t match up well with Thompson on the frontline. Fortunately for UDM, EMU has struggled to shoot the ball all year and score efficiently when they’re not generating steals at the top of the 2-3. Detroit’s going to be able to sag off the perimeter defensively all night. Neither teams is a particularly effective transition defense, so I think both teams are going to have some opportunities to run/put up some points tonight. DETROIT +2.5

Cornell is a team I have targeted to see a significant regression in their three point shooting, particularly from Hatter. Given their inability to generate much offense from anywhere on the court besides the three point line, any regression from behind the arc would be a major blow to the offense. A John Dunne defense is always going to be stout inside, but the Peacocks will be able to extend out tonight against Cornell as they don’t have an interior threat. Cornell is potentially shorthanded again tonight as well. ST. PETER’S -7

Obviously the thing to watch in Drexel/Iona is how much playing time AJ English and Kelvin Amayo get, if any at all. Both have  been cleared by the training staff, but does Cluess want to risk them in a meaningless game right before MAAC play restarts? If they are healthy enough to play though, maybe he thinks it’s a good idea to let them shake off the rust a bit tonight. Scheme wise Drexel’s perimeter defense figures to be a tough matchup for Iona, as they allow the fewest points in the country from behind the arc and they have the 7th lowest three point attempt rate as a defense in the country. That being said, Iona went 11-21 from 3 at Drexel in this game last year. DREXEL +11.5

Similar situation last year saw Duke slog through their game with Elon after a long layoff. Elon’s motion offense wasn’t crisp in that game either, but the Phoenix are healthier this year, and this Duke team doesn’t have the dominant post scorer that Elon struggled with last year. Brandon Ingram should have another monster game, as Elon doesn’t have anyone who can remotely guard him, but I think the Phoenix keep this within 20 tonight. ELON +23

Valpo still won’t have EV Nickerson back for tonight, but the Crusader defense is starting to look every part of what was predicted to be one of the best units in the game this year. Plus it helps when you’ve already seen Belmont’s high motion offense with tons of off ball movement, and you have one of your best perimeter defenders in Tevonn Walker healthy this time around. Belmont’s offense was really bothered by the length of Valpo’s defense from rim to perimeter, and the motion offense looked extremely clunky in the first meeting. VALPO -3.5

Creighton should be fine against a small Coppin State team that relies on penetration/getting to the FT line offensively. Creighton’s going to be able to sag off the perimeter all night, with Sylvester then only for Coppin you have to be aware of on the perimeter. Defensively, Grant wants to throw out some pressure with his 6’4 wings Seymore and Shivers and try to generate some transition buckets because of their lack of size in the halfcourt and then fall back and pack the lane if they can’t get the steal, but that’s a recipe for disaster against the Blue Jays. Coppin State doesn’t have a D1 win yet, but they’ve taken Towson, San Francisco, and Hampton to OT, but if you’re a team of jump shooters, you’re going to get uncontested looks all night against the Eagles. Think this one ends up similarly to Coppin’s game with Iowa. CREIGHTON -29.5

Rabb and Brown’s athleticism/talent level at the 4 and 5 is going to quickly overwhelm Davidson tonight, plus it helps when you can throw 6’5 Ty Wallace on Jack Gibbs and totally disrupt that McKillop perimeter motion action. Davidson has struggled against teams that get back religiously defensively and get their defense set up against the motion offense (see Pitt game), and Cal is one of the best transition defenses in the country, limiting offenses to the 4th lowest transition FGA rate. CALIFORNIA -9.5

Generally, Washington going up against a zone isn’t going to be the prettiest offensive display, but UCSB losing John Green, the key defender in Bob Williams’ 3-2 zone, is quite significant. Childress and Vincent have also had their fair share of TO issues vs pressure this year, and I think Washington is going to be able to get in transition enough (especially with UCSB down a ball handler and that relentless, athletic UW press is turning teams over at a high rate and they have the 4th highest transition FGA rate in the country) to negate the times they’ll have to utilize their zone offense in the halfcourt, where they have just a 45% eFG. WASHINGTON -9


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: