"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Unstoppable MU offense vs. Mississippi’s immovable defense Sunday at 7:30 p.m.?

In my preseason picks I had MU cruising on offense to an easy 3-0 start, before a combination of being in the Virgin Islands and facing their first tough defense from Drake or Mississippi dropped them to 3-1. Obviously tomorrow I will be hoping I was wrong in the preseason.

Vander Blue’s explosion Friday night to hit his first 9 shots, including two treys, en route to a 95-73 win caps an incredible opening three games during which MU scored an average of 17 points per game MORE than predicted for an average 95-60 win on 76 trips per game down the court:

1st 3 gamesMUOpponentsTrips

However, heading into Sunday’s clash, Mississippi’s defense has also been even better than expected, with the top shot-blocking duo in the country leading by far the best defense MU will have faced:

Defense FacedRank
Mount St. Mary’s223rd
Norfolk State246th
Mississippi (Sunday)27th

MUs 99-point performance against Norfolk State did look even more impressive when Norfolk State shut out Drexel for more than six minutes Friday night en route to a huge upset that pits them against TCU in the other semifinal that will determine MUs opponent Monday night at 7:30 CST, should the Warriors win Sunday night.

But when you match up MU’s incredible offensive punch against Mississippi’s defense, you see this will be a real test position-by-position.

PositionMU offenseMississippi Defense
PGMU leads nation in assists behind Junior’s 20; D. Wilson’s 1 turnover in 48 minutes NINE! Steals Friday between Nelson (6) and Aniefiok (3)
SGDJO 20 ppg, 4 apg; Mayo 23 pts in last 33 minutes on 5 of 8 treysEx-MU recruit Nick Williams their one guard with size (6-4, 225) to rebound without fouling
SFVander 17 of 25 shooting (68%) but may need J. Jones & Anderson height vs. Miss6-7 Holloway averaged 7.4 rebounds as soph before sitting out last year
PFCrowder leads in rebounds (22), steals (8) & 2nd in scoring; J. Wilson may be keyAt 6-9, Henry a matchup problem and one of top shot-blockers and rebounders (14 Reb. Friday)
COtule 9 ppg, 5 rpg; Gardner 8 of 10 from floorCox may start, but 6-8 Buckner 2nd best shot blocker in country behind James of Flo St.

Is MU so confident and on a roll that they can overcome Mississippi’s defense to set up a Monday night championship game against upset winners Norfolk State or TCU, or will Mississippi be able to frustrate MU and grind out the win?
Among players returning to a major conference, the following are the top shot-blockers based on the percentage of opponents’ two-points shots they block:

1Bernard JamesFlorida St.6-f-1013.46
2Reginald BucknerMississippi6-f-813.07
3Ty WalkerWake Forest7-f-012.71
4John HensonNorth Carolina6-f-1011.56
5Festus EzeliVanderbilt6-f-1110.59
6Daniel MillerGeorgia Tech6-f-119.78
7Terrence JenningsLouisville6-f-99
8Chris OtuleMarquette6-f-118.87
9Ralph SampsonMinnesota6-f-118.57
10JaMychal GreenAlabama6-f-88.24

1 comment:

JohnPudner said...

One note - the shotblocking percentages in the bottom table were from LAST year over the course of the entire season.

They will not be available this year for several weeks, and would be pretty inaccurate based on just 2 or 3 games.