Saturday, January 16, 2016

Towson Away - Pregame

The Bill Batemen's Wings Drexel Fan Trip to Towson leads up to a 4pm tip at the State Employees Credit Union Arena on the campus of Towson University.  A postgame highlight reel has already been released:

If napalm in the morning isn't your cup of tea, how about the smell of two bad teams in a poorly officiated free throw contest?  It's #CAAHoops on a Saturday afternoon!

The worst kept secret in the CAA is that the Saturday games, when the best east coast officials are spread throughout the ACC, SEC, A-10, or American conferences often get third tier officials.  Now take note of this particular stat from Kenpom,com:

Lay your eyes on the bottom line here, which shows the Towson offense, behind stud forward Arnaud Willaim Adala Moto, is 11th in the country in getting to the line.  There are 351 D-I basketball teams right now, so doing some loose math with a base of 10, only 7 teams in the country put more players on the line than the Dragons.  Add to the recipe the back bench officials and the emphasis on this game needs to be around the foul line.  That breaks down to three key points:

1)  Who gets fouled:  Tyshawn Myles and Timajh Parker-Rivera for example, are about 50/50 propositions when they're at the free throw line.  That's only a point per possession when they're put at the line.  Tavon Allen or Adala Moto on the other hand are closer to 80% shooters, an expected 1.6 points per possession.  That's a massive difference over the course of the game.

2)  Who does the fouling:  Rodney Williams importance to the Dragons team has been clearly showcased over the last two weeks.  After only playing 8 minutes at Hofstra, he needs to keep himself in this game, as do Moto and the very underrated John Brown for Towson.

3)  Forcing the issue:  Both of these teams have a tendency for lazy offense from time to time.  The team that will get to the line the most will be the team that passes up the jumpshot and goes hard to the basket.  As a coach, this is a game to be accepting of offensive fouls, as long as they are in the course of a player being aggressive.  Every mid range jumpshot is worth roughly .7 points per possession for these team, each trip to the line is closer to 1.4.  Taking that jumper in this game is essentially spotting your opponent a possession - a turnover - and completely unacceptable.

We would much rather write a pregame post on the battle between Rodney Williams and Arnaud William Adala Moto, or the similarities between Mike Morsell and Tavon Allen (both leading their team in shots while poorly shooting, evidence of completely irresponsible coaching) or how John Davis has always been one of my favorite players in this conference to watch during his three year career.  Or about X's and O's and how DU needs to figure out zone offense to contend in this game.  But this is much more likely to be a poorly officiated Saturday rockfight between two bad teams.  Or as we like to call it, CAA Hoops, where somebody has to win!

Prediction:  Towson 68, Drexel 60
Vegas Line Towson -6.5

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