2/8 Monday Thoughts

8 Feb

Some quick SoCon et al notes…PREDICTIONS (1430-1095-68):

SAMFORD -3 (Samford turned the ball over at a 26% rate in their first meeting with The Citadel, but still put up 94 points, as DJG and Cunningham basically waltzed to the rim when they didn’t turn the ball over. The (Samford) Bulldogs are a team that runs offense strictly downhill, and Duggie Ball isn’t capable of stopping that. There will be turnovers, but it’s essentially going to be a layup line when they don’t.)

CHATTANOOGA -2 (Obviously, Mercer has a lot going on between the tragic death of Jibri Bryant and the suspensions of Lewis and Ringer (although Hoffman’s system is basically built on interchangeable pieces). Scheme wise, I think Mercer struggles again offensively against the Mocs’ stout interior defense and matchup press defense, as the Bears run their motion offense to get high percentage looks at the rim. Plus, UTC is a decently efficient zone offense with their combination of shooters and slashers on the wing. The Mocs are in a bad spot schedule wise, but think they’re the very clearly the class of the SoCon)

UNC GREENSBORO +6 (Paladins are looking for some revenge tonight after blowing a late lead at Greensboro in the first meeting. Despite having skilled big RJ White, the Spartans are a team of jump shooters, and Furman’s extended ball pressure defense tends to really disrupt jump shooting teams. Wes Miller really packs it in defensively, so the question is whether or not Furman can hit some jumpers tonight, especially off Croone penetration.)

WOFFORD -11.5 (VMI is incapable of exposing Wofford’s overwhelming weakness, which is their rim protection defensively. I’ve said it a million times this year, but the Keydets were built for Baucom’s Loot and Shoot, thus they have a roster built of small, fast wings with essentially zero post presence. You can’t beat Wofford if you can’t pound it inside consistently.)

QUINNIPIAC +5 (This one is probably entirely dependant on whether or not Trevis Wyche can go. He came back late in the Siena game, but was completely ineffective. If Wyche can’t play/is limited, then the already clunky Peacock offense basically grinds to a halt. However, St. Peter’s can match Quinnipiac on the glass, especially with Hawkins expected to be back, and the Bobcats are going to have to hit jump shots consistently tonight against Dunne’s always outstanding interior defense. This is likely going to be quite ugly, with both teams being forced into a lot of jumper they don’t really want to take. UPDATE: It appears Wyche is out for tonight)

LOUISVILLE +4 (Lee back for the Cardinals tonight, and Duke’s vulnerability at the rim on both ends is going to be a major issue tonight)

TCU +2 (Oklahoma State without Juwan Evans is basically TCU offensively (Evans is 1st in usage, 4th in % of shots, 1st in assist rate in Big 12 play, his absence is massive), which means this game should be plenty ugly. That being said, OSU is still an excellent lane clogging defense, and Evans’ absence doesn’t change that. The good news for TCU is that Parrish and Collins, TCU’s two best shooters but somewhat defensive liabilities, won’t be exposed on that end with Evans out, and they have to be big cogs in the offense tonight since it’s so hard to beat OSU at the rim.)

GEORGETOWN -14 (It’s been a major, major struggle for Georgetown to produce points in the paint this year, but St. John’s 1) can’t stay in front of anyone off the dribble defensively and 2) is horrific in transition defense. The Hoyas can win easily tonight without needing/getting production at the rim)

COLGATE +5 (Army played without Tanner Plomb when they were blown out in the first meeting in Hamilton, and the Raiders will be without their only rebounder in Regisford this time around, but Colgate’s inverted offense that brings their bigs out from the rim gives Army’s defense all sorts of issues, and Colgate gets back religiously in transition off missed shots, which limits Spiker’s drag screen, three point based transition offense. Army is coming off three total OTs in their past two games, but the service academies always have plenty of depth)

CLEMSON -2 (Nothing serious here at all, as Notre Dame’s offense is obviously clicking, but they can struggle against teams that can put some height/length on the perimeter, and Clemson can do that with Blossomgame and Graham.)

TEXAS +8 (The Horns are playing *exceptional* defense in the halfcourt since the Iowa State game, and are particularly effective in pick and roll defense. They’re probably not going to win in Norman tonight, but it’s going to be close)

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