Yesterday: 6-4, (60.00%)
Season: 38-42-1, (47.50%)
Sides: 18-19-1, (48.64%)
Totals: 20-23, (46.51%)
Overall: 38-42-1, (47.50%)
Another winning day yesterday and things keep moving in the right direction as I try to dig out of my early season hole. Full game plays were great at 5-1, 2nd half plays however not too good at 1-3 which took a great day and turned it into just a good one. That said I’m still feeling good about my plays and very confident things should continue to stay hot. All that said, here’s what I’m going with tonight…
Texas State/UNLV Un 131: There was a lot of big talk out of Otzelberger this offseason about wanting to play as fast as possible. How he wanted to get up and down the court faster than anyone in the nation, take quick shots, force tempo, etc, etc. So far this season the Rebels have been anything but fast and fact is he was basically full of shit. The Rebels are 315th in adjusted tempo and 317th in average offensive possession length. In fact every game they’ve played in this year has had fewer possessions than the game before. In their most recent game they played to 62 possessions against Abilene Christian and I see a similar type game in this one. He’s emphasized defense and protecting the ball which is all fine and well, but it’s clear he’s not interested at all in pushing tempo. Now Texas State comes to town and they also have no interest in pushing the pace either. Check out these adjusted tempos for Texas State since Kasper took over. 327, 312, 340. 345, 348, 306, and 289. That 289 is only through 5 games this year and given the past history it’s safe to project that tempo only gets slower from here. Both offenses are very mediocre and even though 131 is a low number if they only get to 62-63 ish possessions it’ll still be a tough task for them to get over this total. I see this is a slow it down, grind it out, ugly as hell basketball game. First to 60 probably wins and I could see something like a 65-61 UNLV win. Make your eyes bleed kind of stuff.
Boise State (-1): A nice buy low, sell high spot game here with Boise State and BYU. We’ll start on the BYU side as they are off a 72-71 win at Houston on a Haws jumper at the buzzer. Now to attempt to follow that up with another road win in a tough environment against Boise State is going to be a very tough task. Outside of that Houston win BYU’s other two wins are against lowly Cal State Fullerton and Southern Utah. The only other time they played a good team they lost to San Diego State in Provo. So yes while the Houston win is nice I don’t see any reason to over-react to it. On the other side we have Boise State is 1-2 overall and the one win came against some school called Life Pacific. Since then they were massacred by Oregon and took an upset loss at home to UC Irvine. The season numbers are skewed and horrid due to Oregon frankly just beating the hell out of them. They are 353rd in effective FG%, 353rd in 3 point defense, 352nd in 2 point defense, and to say the least positive regression is coming. On the other side of the ball the main weakness for BYU looks to be their interior defense. They only have one player on the roster over 6’7″ and wouldn’t you know it, Boise’s best player is 6’9″ Derrick Alston. Alston is long, quick, can get into the lane, loves to shoot 3’s and is good 3 point shooter. To be frank BYU has nobody who can guard him. Lee is 6’9″ but way, way too slow to hang with him and anyone else on the roster Alston can easily shoot over the top of. Williams is also a handful down low and although he’s only 6’7″ he’s very physical and should also create plenty of problems.
Saint Mary’s (-8.5): This is a tough matchup for Fresno State as their strength offensively plays right into what Saint Mary’s defense is best at taking away. Fresno State loves to chuck 3’s and this year they are 2nd in the nation with 52.6% of their 3 FG attempts coming from 3 point land. If you’re thinking that could be a small sample size skewed number then keep in mind last year they were 12th in the same category at 47.9% of their FG attempts coming from 3. Through 3 games they have 6 players who have already attempted 9 or more 3’s. In other words, they shoot the 3 an absolute ton. Now enter the Gaels defense. Saint Mary’s only allows opponents to shoot 27.9% from 3, which is about 4.5% lower than D1 average. Also only 21.7% of the overall points Saint Mary’s allows are from 3 point land which is 327th highest in the nation. Again this didn’t just start happening this season. Last year the Gaels 3 point defense was even stingier than it’s been so far this season. In 2019 they only allowed 25.5% of their opponents points to come from 3 and that was 341st highest in the nation. The numbers speak for themselves on both ends and they speak pretty damn loudly. Fresno State loves to shoot 3’s and Saint Mary’s is excellent at defending the 3 point line. If Saint Mary’s suffocates the 3 point line as expected then Fresno will be forced to try and score inside which is no easy task for them. As a team only 41% of the points the Bulldogs score are from 2 and that ranks 336th in the nation. In short I see Fresno State having big trouble scoring and the Saint Mary’s offense is plenty efficient enough to take advantage on the other end.
Stephen F. Austin/Rutgers Ov 142.5: This line has come down a bit and I disagree with that movement. Right now Ken Pom projects this one at 74 possessions and I feel that’s a bit low. Stephen F. Austin has been playing at warp speed so far this year checking in at 12th in adjusted tempo and having played 3 of their 4 games at 82 possessions or more. Even that one other game was still 76 possessions so to see this one at only 74 could be a bit of a stretch, especially considering the brisk pace Rutgers has been playing at offensively. As a team Rutgers is 231st in adjusted tempo but that’s due in overwhelming part to them forcing very long possessions with their defense. Offensively they are getting up and down and pushing it quickly. Their average offensive possession is only 15.2 seconds which is 40th in the nation, so don’t let that 231 ranking in overall adjusted tempo fool you. On average Rutgers average defensive possession lasts 19.6 seconds and I don’t think there’s a shot in hell that happens tonight against the Lumberjacks. Game script also points towards Stephen F. Austin likely having to force quick shots. Assuming the ‘Jacks fall behind as they should they’ll have no choice but to get up quick shots and try to maximize possessions in a comeback attempt. As I said earlier Ken Pom projects 74 possessions and even at that number I feel this one might go over 142.5 but if it ends up in the 76-77 possession range where I expect I’ll happily take my chances it finds it’s way over the number.
Texas State/UNLV Un 131
Boise State (-1)
Saint Mary’s (-8.5)
Stephen F. Austin/Rutgers Ov 142.5