Posted: 11/16/2011 1:35:47 PM
Notes: Other thread had 5 pages of garbage yesterday, time for daily threads. Cornell is young, and are extremely lacking down low with injuries to Peck, Gatlin, and LaMore down low. With Buffalo, I think we get our first shot at how good this offense should be this year, as they play a team lacking in the defense department, as opposed to their opener when they got St. Peter’s (who by the way only scored 52 last night in a home loss to Robert Morris). On the flip side, the greatest depth area for Buffalo seems to be down low. Buffalo won this matchup last year by 12, but did a majority of their scoring from the guard spot. One would think they focus on getting the ball into the paint tonight a bit more as they exhibited in their opener against St. Peter’s. Cornell returns three players who scored a whopping 50 of the 66 they put up in last year’s meeting. The MAC east thus far is 7-1 on the year, with wins against WVU, Mississippi State, and Dayton (only loss was Bowling Green at Georgia). Conversely, the MAC West division is 2-6, with losses against South Dakota State and Texas Southern. Side note: Toledo probably opens the year 0-3 with losses to Texas State, USC Upstate, and Texas Pan American this weekend. NC State should be in for more of a test than what Morehead State gave them as Princeton’s defense should be quite a bit better than what Morehead brings to the table this year. Adding to that, they’ll face a better offense as well. It looks like Morehead State is playing some zone this year, and NC State won with some really good long distance shooting. Princeton will bring in a man-to-man I would think (unsure of Henderson’s defensive philosophy) and they’ll bring in the same type of offense that they’ve always ran (Henderson came from Northwestern – same offense). I’m not a big believer in the NC State offense, so we’ll see if they keep up the current pace as they have faced an inexperienced team playing a zone in Morehead State, and a team in Asheville who likes to get up and down. I alluded to the horrendous offensive team that is UL Monroe in a previous post, and they’re holding up their end of the bargain scoring 38 and 59 respectively thus far and they’ll face what I feel is their toughest defensive test of the season so far when they hit the road for Tennessee. Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin had really good success against Sun Belt opponents while at Missouri State as he won those games by an average of 16 points, so he will be familiar with what UL Monroe brings to the game tonight (which is not much of anything). With that said, Tennessee boards a flight for Maui tomorrow morning and gets Duke on deck. Along with that, the game isn’t being televised. I would assume it’s hard for Tennessee to get up for a game like this, but then again, they might just have to show up to get a win here. Long Beach State travels across the country to face a Pittsburgh team who more than likely is ready to go at the start of this one due to the scare they received from Rider on Sunday. Sadly, this is the best team Pitt faces until 10th of December, and they probably won’t face a top 25 team until mid January. In contrast, Long Beach State will have faced five top 25 teams in that same time frame which is something Dan Monson has never been one to shy away from. He’s had decent success against good mid-major teams, but has struggled since 2008 when he put this whole “we want to play the best” scheduling to work. The closest game to similar talent that Long Beach has come to being close was a 5 point loss at North Carolina last year, and in that game, the final score looked a lot closer than the blowout that occurred in the first half. Other than that, since 2008 against high quality teams, Long Beach State has endured losses of 40, 24, 7 (Wisconsin snailball), 10, 11, 13, 33, 23, 20, 28, 27, 17, 14, and 16. They still have trips after this game to Louisville, Kansas, Kentucky, and Xavier. I think this team wins one of those games, and keeps a few others close. This Long Beach team has four senior starters who have over 300 career starts, including all of the losses I listed above, so they’re extremely experienced going into hostile environments. I’m not sure if one of those wins or close losses comes tonight, but I got my eye on this team for the next month. Hoping they can conserve energy and not put all their cookies in one basket for this game tonight, and take a chance on them at San Diego State on Saturday. While I am not high on North Texas at all this year, they do bring in a slightly better offense than the Troy team that just hung 85 a few nights ago on Texas Tech. The problem? The UNT defense is awful, probably bottom ten in all of basketball by year’s end. They lost all five starters from a team who was beaten at the horn in the SBC title game last year and while Johnny Jones teams have been consistent on offense almost all the time, he has never been one to play defense. I really don’t expect the offense to be all the way their until 2nd semester either, when they get Tony Mitchell eligible (five-star signed with Missouri and backed out). In fact, the team was also relying on Justin Patton coming into the year (was up for player of the year in the SWAC last year), but he’s been declared ineligible for the year, although they have appealed. Other than that, the team doesn’t really have any offensive firepower, and has absolutely zero defensive experience. Assuming Gillespie continues to play at the pace of these Sun Belt teams and get up and down, Tech can name their # tonight in a slight revenge spot from last year’s embarrassing road loss. I’m pretty high on Creighton this year. I will admit, I don’t quite understand Coach McDermott 90% of the time, but it is what it is. This team they bring forth this year should be very talented and experienced both offensively and defensively, and should cause multiple matchup problems along the year, especially in MVC play. McDermott was extremely solid last year, and they’ll have Echenique on the inside for a full year as well. They also get Wragge back from injury to help with interior defense and add in some outside shooting. They lose a bit of offense off of last year’s squad, but it’s essentially addition by subtraction with the return of Wragge. Defensively, they really shouldn’t miss a beat, and probably get a bit better with Echenique learning the system. They’ll excel when they face sub-par offensive teams who have a focus on interior offense, and I think that’s what I get tonight going into UAB. There are two positions really that Mike Davis teams need to be successful on offense, and it’s been noted that the PG in his system is the utmost key to their offensive success. Along with that, he’s also based his offense on scoring from the wing position. He loses both of those positions to graduation, adding both were all conference players (I think PG Johnson was player of year). Losing those two spots really takes a hit on this offense, and they’ll have to focus on the returners who all happen to be in the frontcourt, which again, is probably the strength of Creighton’s defensive approach...
Posted: 11/16/2011 1:37:51 PM
...Granted, Mike Davis teams will always be good defensively, and I expect that to be the case again this year with the beef on the inside, but you still have to score, and I’m going to take a chance on the more talented offensive team in this matchup. UAB will stop them to an extent, but I don’t think they’ll be able to contain all the weapons Creighton brings to the table. With all the focus and beef down low in this matchup, I think all of that stuff cancels each other out, and the bigger, faster, and more experienced guards make the difference here. Last thing on this game I will point out is from a chemistry and depth perspective. UAB has yet to trot out that new backcourt in a live environment. Creighton on the other hand, it seems as if they played all summer. They had a trip to the Bahamas, where they got an extra four games (4-0). Along with that, Echenique played for the Venezuelan national team, and McDermott played for the United States under 19 squad. There is a good reason to believe that this team should be ready for tonight and not even sure why they’re dogged here – proceed with caution. Boise State will get use to playing at home as they open up with 8 of their first 9 at Taco Bell Arena. This is a decent revenge game for Boise State. They lost last year’s meeting by two points, and in that game they led by 16 points midway through the 2H. In that game, they attempted 13 more shots and still fell short, giving up the lead at the 11 second mark. That game also marked the tail end of a three game road trip and four game losing streak that included LBSU, UNLV, and Drake. Of course, none of that above really correlates to tonight’s game. Leon Rice enters his second season as head coach and he’ll be without Graham’s senior class that graduated last year, so we’ll see what he can do with his own guys. They’ll be young, but I think they take a HUGE step back in terms of defense. They were a really good defensive team last year, and there is no way it will be anywhere near that with some new faces. I have no idea what to expect from Krystkowiak really. He last coached at this level in 2006 with Montana and had some decent defensive numbers, primarily b/c the Big Sky lacked some offense in those seasons. I think my approach with Utah is either fade or stay away these first few years as they take the leap the P-12. Could be an ugly few years. The last time Indiana won a road game was two years ago at Penn State. They’ve only won 2 games on the road in the last three years (Chaminade 3 years ago, Penn State 2 years ago). The last time Indiana was favored on the road was March of 2008. So, it appears things are on the up and up for Indiana as they return everyone and welcome in the Zellar kid. They travel to Evansville here, who just upset Butler in OT a few days ago. If last year is any indication of a big letdown, feel free to check out the 56 and 49 they hung in two losses after the big Butler win last year. I crunched numbers and analyzed this Hofstra/Oregon State game for the better part of my Tuesday and couldn’t quite come up with why I kept making this game a PK. Am I overvaluing Hoftstra, even with the loss of Jenkins? Am I too low on Oregon State having lost three seniors? Hours later, I was back to where I started. Can I really trust Hofstra going across country and competing with a P-12 program who has had two convincing wins at home already? I’m still without an answer. Hofstra’s opener come season’s end will look like a good win, as I expect Long Island to come out of that conference as the champ, or at least contend with Robert Morris. Then again, Oregon State’s been impressive, albeit against awful competition who are not familiar going against a 1-3-1 zone that Oregon State deploys a majority of the time. Maybe I’m reading too much into the fact that Hofstra has decent enough guards and enough weapons from the outside and enough athleticism to go toe to toe with Oregon State and make this an up-tempo game if OSU chooses to do so. Hofstra really doesn’t match up well on the inside, but I can give that up if this game is up and down (hoping they use the 2-3 zone a bit defensively, not all that scared of any OSU shooters). I really don’t know. The travel scares me and the fact that Oregon State gets Texas on Saturday makes me all warm and fuzzy on the inside, but aside from that I’ve looked at this game a bit too long to pass on the value, and I’m sure this is a spot where I learn from a mistake – sometimes it’s unavoidable. Also point to the under here probably if I think we see as much zone defense on both sides as what I expect. As the case with New Mexico and New Mexico State every year, I’ll watch the first one and hope to make a play on the 2nd meeting in late December. I’m hoping for a New Mexico blowout tonight, so I can fade them the next meeting with a few extra points of value, which comes directly before the Alford/Majerus matchup. San Francisco has revenge on San Jose State and probably gets it tonight. About as far as I got into that matchup. I have no interest in the NIT games. Clemson’s non-conference schedule is borderline awful, and I want to learn from what they do against a College of Charleston team before looking at them. Won’t see the real Wake Forest team until game 4, then again, they could lose to anyone on their schedule. Then again, Georgia Southern’s road woes are in the same boat as Indiana, but extend out a few more years. I like Loyola CHI a bit as I have echoed my thoughts on the Eastern Illinois offense this year. They have Granger and until they find someone else who can consistently score, they’re the easiest team in the nation to defend. Your best scorer cannot be your PG, or you are going to struggle immensely. Add in the fact this team was hoping to have a few other guys who have either left school or were not given another year of eligibility and you have a team that has been put together rather quickly. Loyola CHI is young as well, probably the greatest strength is the inside game. Had they not been in the middle of a four game roadtrip, this being the third game, I would’ve taken a better look at this game and probably at worst, leaned to Loyola CHI. Geno Ford has a nice team in place to play his exact style of basketball at Bradley, and they won’t be afraid of getting up and down with SEMO tonight. I’m going to lean on the over as one of those “hunch” plays. I think Bradley is a bit more up and down this year, as the athletes are in place to play that style. As for SEMO, I’m not really sure how to describe their defense. They don’t really pressure the wings, and don’t really have a set plan, they just let you pass the ball around and hope you take a long shot or a dumb shot and get out and run. Not even sure how Nutt still has a job with that kind of philosophy.
2* Hofstra +9.5
2* Creighton +3
1* Hofstra ML +400
Lean: (SEMO/Bradley Over 135.5, Hofstra/Oregon State Under 144.5)