An 0-2 day on Thursday to put the breaks on what before that was a pretty nice week. The loss on Minnesota I can live with as Michigan came focused from the start and played a very strong game. I capped that one wrong and that’s how it goes. That San Francisco/BYU Un 146.5 loss however was tough to take. In yesterdays write up I said if I got the pace I expected (65-67 possessions or so) that it would take about 1.11 PPP to beat me. Well sure enough there were only 67 possessions but thanks to 43 points in the last 10 minutes (30 from San Francisco alone) and some final second FT’s it ended at 148. Not a horrendous bad beat or anything but still one I feel like I capped correctly and when those lose it gets under your skin a bit. Anyways, nothing to do but move on and keep grinding. Here’s what I have for Friday….
Davidson/Rhode Island Un 132: I’m going to take a shot with the under in Kingston as Davidson takes on Rhode Island. As is typically the case with totals I’m looking at pace first and foremost. If I can peg the pace then more often than not the rest will fall into place. Davidson has been playing slow all year so there’s really no edge or groundbreaking news in saying that they will be in snail mode. Rhode Island however after playing faster then D1 average in pace most of the season has really let off the gas recently. On the season they are now at 68.1 possessions per game which is exactly even with the D1 average, don’t let that fool you though as lately they’ve been going much slower than that. In their last 5 games they are averaging only 63.6 possessions per game and that’s even aided by an OT game they had against Fordham last week. Without that game headed to OT they’d be at about 62 possessions per game in that span. Some of that of course can be attributed to their opponents in those games but a sign this might be for real came in their last game when they only put up 62 possessions against VCU. VCU has played above average pace all year so to only go 62 possessions against them (granted in a blowout) makes me think there’s some clear effort by Cox to have his squad slowed down a little bit. Style wise this game shapes up as a nightmare for the Rhode Island offense. Defensively Davidson doesn’t give you much inside at all, but you can do some damage on them from 3 point land. As a team Davidson allows 37.5% of their points from 3 which is 27th highest in the nation. However only 44.2% of the points they allow are from 2 and that’s 315th in the nation. In other words you better be knocking down 3 because there isn’t much going on inside against them. That’s horrible news for Rhode Island as they are probably the worst 3 point shooting team in the nation. At this point you might be thinking “David there are 353 D1 teams, I’m sure Rhode Island is bad but you can’t literally mean dead worst can you?” Well yes, yes I can. As a team Rhode Island shoots 25.2% from 3 point land which is dead last 353 out of 353. On top of that only 20.9% of the points they score are from 3 and that ranks 352nd out of 353. This one isn’t exactly rocket science as you have a team who is horrendous from 3 against a team that if you want to have success against you better be able to shoot 3’s. On the other side Davidson is the polar opposite, they want to shoot 3’s and shoot a lot of them. 39.4% of the points they score are from 3 and that’s 26th highest in the nation. From 2 point land however they score only 43.7% of their points and that’s 321st in the nation. Unfortunately for them Rhode Island defends the 3 pretty well and that’s been the strength of their defense this season. The Rams defense is well better than average in both 3 point % defense and that overall % of points they allow their opponents to score from 3. At the end of the day we have what should be a slow pace and two defenses that take away what the opposing offense is looking to do. I expect this one to be in the 120’s and possibly even lower as it really has the makings to be an ugly game.