Game 6: Wagner Nov 29, 2018 19:38:22 GMT -5
Post by notjuanjones on Nov 29, 2018 19:38:22 GMT -5
The 4-1 Eagles welcome back old friend Lonnie Rivera and Wagner of the NEC to Bender Arena for a 7 p.m. Friday tilt.
WAGNER SEAHAWKS (2-4)
KENPOM: 259/POMEROY: 317
G Romone Saunders (6-3, SR, 16.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.8 apg)
G Devin Liggeons (6-3, SR, 7.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg)
G Tyler Plummer (6-3, SO, 1.7 ppg, 1.8 rpg)
F Nigel Jackson (6-7, SO, 8.3 ppg, 2.5 rpg, .360 [8-22] 3p)
F A.J. Sumbry (6-8, SR, 10.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg)
G Elijah Davis (6-4, SR, 10.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg, .446 FG, .333 [8-24] 3p)
G Jeff Coulanges (6-3, JR, 6.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg)
F Lonnie Rivera (6-6, JR, 4.3 ppg, 1.7 rpg)
SERIES: Wagner, 8-6
LAST: Wagner, 71-70, 11/17/17
STREAMING: PLN/Watch Stadium
Is it wrong for me to want AU to get a little greedy?
We're 4-1. We haven't played extraordinary basketball. We haven't shot 60 percent on threes or played some kind of exotic defense teams can't figure out. This isn't a fluke. We're just a very improved team from last season, because of continuity among our returning players and the impact from our new guys. We've beaten two teams that we were fairly equal with, and two teams we were better than. We're rated higher than each of the remaining six teams left on our non-conference schedule, beginning with 2-4 Wagner, which has only beaten one D1 school so far--UMass Lowell, in overtime.
AU hasn't been above .500 in OOC play since 2014. Suffice it to say I'd be extremely disappointed if we don't hit that mark this year. But we can, and should, think bigger. There's no reason, if we play to our capabilities, that we can't win most of those before hitting PL play. But we need to continue our outstanding defense that has highlighted our first five games. AU is eighth in the nation--eighth--in defensive Effective Field Goal Percentage allowed; opposing teams are just shooting .416 against us so far. (EFG accounts for the greater value of three-pointers.) We're tied for 40th nationally in points allowed per game, at 63. And the Eagles are currently 131st nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency (101.2 points allowed per 100 possessions; adjusted DE estimates what a team would give up to the average D1 offense) per KenPom--which doesn't sound all that impressive until you consider we were 307th (111.8) last year.
Defense travels. So there's no reason we shouldn't be in any game if we can keep this up. But we have to show up, play with energy and respect the opponent. Wagner's record isn't good, but the Seahawks have four seniors among their top six players, and seniors don't panic if things don't go their way immediately. They'll keep playing and looking for a way to hang in there. Saunders is a tough veteran guard; it will be a great matchup between him and Sa'eed. And I'm sure Lonnie would love to come back here and help beat us. But Wagner doesn't shoot the ball all that well (29 percent on threes the first six games). So, if we don't turn the ball over and make Wagner execute offensively, you'd like to think our defense should be able to get multiple stops. Meanwhile, Wagner is 229th in Adjusted DE. So, we should have some success getting good shots.
Let's see if we can keep this going and start to make Bender as tough for opponents of the mens' team as the womens' team has made it.