Set Your TiVo: 11.09.11Posted by bmulvihill on November 9th, 2011
Brendon Mulvihill is an RTC contributor. You can find him @themulv on Twitter. See bottom of the post for the Official RTC Star System.
We are still building up to the big season tip off on Friday. In the meantime, let’s take a look at another pair of games from the 2K Sports Coaches vs. Cancer Classic regional rounds.
Akron @ Mississippi State – 7:00 PM EST on ESPNU (***)
- Mississippi State’s Renardo Sidney and Arnett Moultrie are 6’10” and 6’11”, respectively. While Akron sports its own big man in seven-foot center Zeke Marshall, watch for Mississippi State to pound the ball down low in order to open things up on the outside for point guard Dee Bost. Akron was mediocre at defending the two-point shot last year, allowing opponents to shoot 46.1% and was particularly atrocious at keeping teams off the offensive glass (32.7% OR). In the Bulldogs’ opening game against Eastern Kentucky on Monday, Sidney and Moultrie went a combined 8-13 on their two point attempts and MSU shot 56% from inside the arc as a team. A repeat performance like that will put a lot of pressure on the Zip defense.
- For Akron, Sophomore point guard Alex Abreu will need to set the table for the rest of the team, which he did quite well last year as a freshman with an assist rate of 35.9% (3.5 APG) coming off the bench. This year he will be the starting point guard for the Zips. Abreu will be feeding the ball to UMBC transfer Chauncey Gilliam and last season’s leading scorer, Nikola Cvetinovic (11.7 PPG), early and often. Unfortunately for Keith Dambrot’s squad, Abreu is their only real ballhandler. If he gets into foul trouble and is not on the court, it will be a long night for the Zips. Watch for Bost to put offensive pressure on the sophomore point guard in an effort to draw fouls and get Abreau off the floor.
- The key to this game will be Zeke Marshall’s ability to handle the daunting duo of Sidney and Moultrie on both ends of the floor. Marshall finished the 2010-11 season 19th in the country in blocked shots (2.6 BPG), and although he is certainly a force at 7’0”, managing both Sidney and Moultrie is a tall task, particularly for someone who is foul prone (Marshall fouled out of six games last season). If the Akron big man gets into foul trouble tonight, it will force the defense to collapse on Sidney and Moultrie which opens things up outside for Bost, who finished 4-8 from behind the arc against Eastern Kentucky. Mississippi State may simply have too many weapons for the Zips.
Liberty @ #18 Texas A&M – 8:00 PM EST at FSN Regional (**)
- Texas A&M proved to have one of the better defenses in the country last season in giving up only .937 points per possession. However, in games where opponents shot an eFG of 51% or higher, the Aggies were only 2-7. In 2010-11, Liberty had an eFG of 51% or higher in only nine of its 32 games. It does not look like their shooting will get any better this season with the loss of two of their top shooters John Brown (52.6% eFG) and Evan Gordon (33.7% from three) to injury and transfer, respectively. Without the ability to make shots against an always-tough A&M defense, the Flames could be in for a long night.
- The Flames were excellent on the offensive glass last season, pulling down 37.7% of their offensive rebounding opportunities, good for 11th in the nation. Unfortunately, Liberty takes a big hit on the boards with Brown’s injury (10.8 RPG). If Liberty is to have any chance at all in this game, 6’6” Antwan Burrus and 6’10” Joel Vander Pol will have to pound the offensive glass. Since Texas A&M is no slouch at rebounding either, ranking 12th in offensive rebounding percentage and 67th in defensive rebounding percentage in 2010-11, controlling the boards will not be easy for Liberty.
- More than likely this game will hinge on Texas A&M small forward Khris Middleton, who is one of the country’s elite players. At 6’7”, he is a match-up nightmare for most teams. He is bigger than many small forwards and faster than most power forwards. Look for Liberty to throw some combination of Burrus and Vander Pol at Middleton. However, the Flames’ defense was mediocre last season (1.035 D-PPP) and Middleton will likely prove to be too much for them to handle tonight.
The Official RTC Star System
***** – quit your job and divorce your wife if that’s what it takes to watch this game live
**** – best watched live, but if you must, tivo and watch it tonight as soon as you get home
*** – set your tivo but make sure you watch it later
** – set your tivo but we’ll forgive you if it stays in the queue until 2014
* – don’t waste bandwidth (yours or the tivo’s) of any kind on this game