Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Davidson vs. Ohio University

Coming off of an impressive 12 point victory at Chattanooga on Monday, the Davidson Wildcats will travel out to Tempe, AZ to play in the Arizona State Sleep America Classic. Their first round matchup on Thursday comes against a top mid-major program in the form of the Ohio Bobcats. The Bobcats are currently ranked 27th on the Mid-Major Top 25 poll (yes, 27th). Their last NCAA tournament appearance came in 2004-2005, when they lost their first-round matchup to fourth-seeded Florida by a mere 5 points.

This year's team enters this game at 6-2 and, like the Davidson Wildcats, have five players averaging in double digits for points scored. They are led by 6-6 senior forward Sonny Troutman who has been averaging 16 points and four assists per game. They have been shooting lights-out on their home floor, including a 60.4% shooting performance in their most recent win over St. Josephs.

Ohio has very good depth with eight players averaging over 20 minutes played per game. This team also knows how to draw the fouls, as they have gotten to the free throw line nearly 100 more times than their opponents this season. The Bobcats only have one top scorer over 6 feet 6 inches which would imply some sort of height advantage for Davidson. The 6-8 junior starter Leon Williams looks to be the Bobcats' main threat in the paint with 13.3 ppg and 7.5 rpg.

In order for the Wildcats to be successful in this one, they must learn from several of the things that Chattanooga did to them. The Mocs upset nearly all of our post offense by doubling down and applying pressure to our perimeter passing game. Instead of being patient and finding the open man, our bigs routinely dribbled to the sideline and gave up position, and sometimes possession. We have to do a better job of feeling the pressure, anticipating where it's coming from and executing our inside-outside offense. We cannot be content with passing the ball on the perimeter and jacking treys the entire game.

I also think that Davidson needs to be more ready to switch to a zone defense. The Mocs exposed our man defense by making simple screens and executing the entry passes. Ohio doesn't seem to shoot nearly as many three-pointers as Davidson or even Chattanooga, so we should force them to make skip passes and to shoot one-timers (no opportunity for rebounds).

Both teams will be traveling a good distance for this one, so expect a little bit of offensive sluggishness in the first half.

Prediction: Davidson 85 Ohio 78

No comments: