Tuesday, January 24, 2006

What to Watch For - 1/24/06

1) Miami FL at Virginia - top of the list because I will be attending in person. The numbers say it'll be pretty close to even - Miami has a 1 point advantage in both margins (i.e., their offense against Virginia's defense and vice versa), but Virginia has the home court. Both teams play pretty slow ball, with Miami's pace being the slowest in the ACC. Given that Miami has been finding success with their 2-3 zone lately, tonight's possessions should be in the low 60s, and the score about the same. Virginia would be wise to learn from its performance on Carolina and rely on their big men a little more - Mikalauskas and Cain lead the team in offensive effiency (albeit in more limited opportunities), and Cain is a monster on the offensive glass - he's in the top 20 in the country in offensive rebounding percentage (percentage of Virginia's missed shots that he rebounds when he's on the floor). In fact, both teams are in the top 30 in the country in that category - it says here that whoever best mimics theire season performance in wiping the offensive glass wins this game.

2) Florida State at Wake Forest - This should be an intense game, if for no other reason than that both teams desperately need a conference win. Most Florida State games feature lots of turnovers - they're 6th in the country in defensive turnover percentage (percentage of opponent's possessions resulting in a turnover) but only 209th in preventing turnovers. Given Wake's struggles at point, expect to see lots of transition action, and probably lots of offense. If Florida State reaches 80, it'll probably take a heroic performance from Justin Gray for Wake to get the win. Of course, given that FSU's defense is ranked 256 in giving up 3's, that kind of performance tonight is a real possibility.

3) Akron at Ohio - The Mid-Majority gave the MAC love tonight to Kent State at Miami OH, but the real heavyweight showdown will be at the Convocation Center in Athens. Both teams have used balance and depth well so far this season - each has nine players averaging 10 or more minutes a game, and for Akron all nine of those players toss in at least 5 points a game as well. LBJ's old teammates Romeo Travis and Dru Joyce have been spurring the Zips this year, while Leon Williams, Mychal Green, and Jeremy Fears have been the horses for the Bobcats. It says here that it's awfully tough to win on the road in the MAC, but Akron might have just the squad to do it tonight.

4) Not a game preview, but a site preview. I'm in the process of putting together ACC tempo free stats, starting with conference games only, and expanding to the season as a whole. This will start with team stats first, with player stats to follow. Also, I'm working on getting Duke's efficiency stats up for the season as well. Keep your eyes out for it.

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