GW vs SLU, PREVIEW/PREDICTIONS
the dude
 2/24/2018 12:32:59 AM      Replies: 13

the dude2/23/2018 3:14:31 PM

GW has run off 3 straight, very lopsided wins, building leads of 25, 33 and 35 points, 1 road game and 2 homes games.  Back on the road.  Does this improved streak continue at SLU?

Thoughts, previews, predictions?

gw fan2/23/2018 3:16:56 PM

Let's make it 4 in a row!!!

2

old timer2/23/2018 4:00:27 PM

Win would make Five out of six. 

the dude2/23/2018 4:21:21 PM

Vegas line posted for this game yet?

the dude2/23/2018 4:25:00 PM

And Greenpoint, I like your depth chart, think you have it about right, although of the gate I'd swap Mazz and Shandon:

PG - Potter, Shandon, Mazzulla, Mitola

SG - Nolan, DJ, Bolden, Juice

SF - DJ (shift from SG), Mezie, Jack (3pt specialist), Sasser

PF - Toro, Javy

C  - Littles, (Transfer/Grad Hopefully)

1

bigfan2/23/2018 5:38:35 PM

Good to see it laid out. But don't think Javier is for now, a power forward. Barely would be an SF, despite his height.

We need rentals, several, or at least one plus one more late find like Terry Nolan Jr., to be even this least bit confident of big man depth next year.

dmvpiranha2/23/2018 6:43:39 PM

Coming into the season, St. Louis was picked to finish somewhere in the middle of the league. There was a lot of hype around the team in the preseason, as they had several transfers coming in expected to make a big impact (Ty Graves - Boston College, Adonys Henriquez - UCF, Javon Bess - Michigan State, Rashed Anthony - Seton Hall, DJ Foreman - Rutgers) as well as two four-star freshmen ranked in the top 100 in Jordan Goodwin and Hasahn French. Obviously, given that St. Louis had been at the bottom of the league the past couple of years under Crews, it was hard to expect a complete turnaround right away even with the amount of talent coming in and it being just Ford's second year. Travis Ford has always been an outstanding recruiter with some success, but he's just an okay coach to me. Before arriving in the Gateway to the West, Ford previously spent three years at Campbellsville (NAIA), five years at Eastern Kentucky, three years at UMass, and eight at Oklahoma State before returning to the A10 again. In the OVC, he had one 20 win season with the Colonels, getting them to the NCAA tournament. He had two 20 win seasons at UMass which led to two NIT appearances (one where the Minutemen finished runners-up). In Stillwater, he had five 20 win seasons, but the Cowboys won more than 9 games in conference just once. Ford got them to the second round of the NCAA tournament in his first year, but failed to get past the first round in four other tries.

Just when things were looking up for the Billikens, four players were being investigated for sexual assault at the beginning of the season, which included a couple of the transfers coming in. In January, three were suspended and one was expelled. I think the four are Henriquez, Graves, Bishop, and Goodwin. Graves recently announced he's heading back closer to home in North Carolina to play for LeVelle Moton at North Carolina Central (one of the better programs in the MEAC). Since Bishop and Goodwin are still on scholarship, it makes me think that Henriquez was the one that was kicked out of school (not sure Graves would have found a landing spot so quickly if he was the one expelled). A big blow to SLU which has impacted their team offensively.

Statistically, we average a point more than them per game (not sure I've written a preview this year where our team averages more than an opponent - again, partly because they lost a lot of players due to the scandal, and part because of our recent offensive outburst the past couple of games). Another game where rebounding will be critical and limiting second chance points - they have a +4 advantage on the boards. They average one fewer assist per game than us - I want to see us continue to spread the ball around with players cutting and moving around to get a quality open basket. This team is capable of 15-20 assists on a consistent basis even if we play 50% as well as we did on Wednesday. There's no advantage in steals and turnovers. We average one block more per game - we didn't really end up blocking many shots against Richmond suprisingly but we didn't really need to either. Defense is always important of course, but St. Louis doesn't really scare me offensively (unless they get hot of course - them being at home helps them a bit). They shoot two percentage points worse overall from the field than us, six percent worse from the line, and somehow is worse from behind the arc than we are (though the difference is negligible). If we continue to score at least 70 points, I like our chances so offense will be key. St. Louis has one of the deeper frontcourts in the conference, but their backcourt is pretty empty. The play of Arnaldo, Bo, and Patrick is going to determine how well we play in the game.  

So far, St. Louis has won against: Seattle by 16 (home; they are one of the better teams in the WAC, but unless Utah Valley or Grand Canyon pull off an upset New Mexico State is basically guaranteed to win the league), Rockhurst (DII) by 24 (home; I don't remember any other A10 team playing a non D1 school this year - I personally don't think it looks good to play that kind of competition in the regular season, and it doesn't really help all that much), Virginia Tech by 6 (played at Madison Square Garden as part of the 2K Classic; a very good win - Virginia Tech is an NCAA team this year), Southern Illinois by 5 (home; one of the better teams in the MVC this year - does anybody remember Hinson's rant earlier in his tenure there? I think Loyola is probably more likely to win the league this year though), Murray State by 14 (home; a good win as the Racers have a good chance to win the OVC this year - Jonathan Stark is a fantastic player), Campbell by 8 (home; my dark-horse pick to win the Big South tournament if Clemons gets hot that week), and Southeast Missouri State by 30 (home; they are an okay team in the OVC but they are academically ineligible this year to qualify for the NCAA tournament so that's all you really need to know). In A10 play, they have won against: Richmond by 7 (home), Duquesne by 13 (home), UMass by 19 (road), Dayton by 10 (home), St. Joe's by 1 (road), Fordham by 23 (home), La Salle by 8 (home), and Richmond again by 6 (road). It's going to be tough as we haven't had much success on the road this year, but since Goodwin has been suspended now they may not win by as much. 

The Billikens have fallen against: Providence by 27 (at Madison Square Garden; the Friars are always a pretty good team), Detroit by 2 (home; not a good loss - Detroit is at the bottom of the Horizon; it's not like when we fell to Rider because the Broncs have shown to be one of the best teams in the MAAC), Western Michigan by 14 (home; they can definitely compete in the MAC but they aren't likely to win the league), Butler by 30 (road; Paul scored 11 on 3-9 shooting, 3-6 3-pt, and 2-4 FT to go with four assists, three steals, and two rebounds in 27 minutes), Houston by 19 (home; the Cougars have gone under the radar a bit in the American but they are a very good team that just cracked the top 25), and Oregon State by 3 (part of the Dam City Classic played in Portland so the Beavers basically had home court advantage; they are one of the worst teams in an overrated Pac-12). In conference, they have lost to: La Salle by 23 (road), Davidson by 3 (road), Rhode Island by 7 (home), George Mason by 5 (road), VCU by 1 (home), St. Bonaventure by 23 (road), and Dayton by 3 (road) in their previous game. A couple of 20 point losses on the road, but the rest relatively close contests. They aren't impossible to beat at home.  

St. Louis had played an eight man rotation for a good part of the season (before Goodwin was suspended - he will miss the rest of the season). It's effectively a six man rotation now. Welmer has been dealing with a foot injury all season so I don't know that he suddenly returns Saturday - at least I hope not, he is a very good player. 

Javon Bess (Lincoln HS; Columbus, OH) was expected to be the transfer to have the most impact coming from Michigan State, and so far he leads the team in scoring. That doesn't say a whole lot as he averages just 13 points a game. With Goodwin lost for the season, he is also the leading rebounder on the team at 7.4 rpg, and has the ability to pass the ball as well averaging a couple assists per game. On the flip side, he averages a couple of turnovers per game, and that number may increase with the ball in his hands more with Goodwin out. Bess isn't exactly a very efficient shooter - just 39% from the field overall, and a substandard 27% from deep. He is decent from the line at 75% though. As long as Yuta stays on him (he gets to guard someone closer to his height) I'm not too worried as we don't foul a whole lot. Just don't let him get close to the rim.

Davell Roby (White Station HS; Memphis, TN) is in his final year at St. Louis. He averages 11.1 ppg, which is actually slightly down from last year when he scored closer to 12 points per game. Roby is the principal point guard on the team, but he averages just a couple of assists per game (again, losing Goodwin hurt a lot for them as he gave them four dimes per game - a third of the total team assists). He also adds a few boards per contest and a couple of turnovers (Roby can be turnover prone, but his numbers there are slightly down from last year where he coughed up the ball over two times per game). He is their best shooter from distance at 37% (okay but not amazing) but shoots it at just 38% overall so like Bess he isn't very efficient. We do tend to lose track of guys along the perimeter at times during games (even during our recent win streak) so we need to keep an eye on Roby in case he gets hot. He is a 72% free throw shooter, so if possible we should keep him off the line. Last year, he scored 13 (5-12 FG, 1-3 3-pt, 2-2 FT) to go with five assists and a couple boards in 39 minutes during the regular season matchup. In the tournament, he was held to just four points (2-8 FG, 0-1 3-pt) with 10 rebounds and three assists. In the second game, he turned the ball over an astounding seven times.

The rest of their rotation consists of: Hasahn French (9.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 2 bpg) the other freshmen on the team who operates exclusively out of the post (53% inside for the season) but is a dreadful free throw shooter at 35% - not sure I've seen numbers that low in a while so we might as well use our fouls on him to send him to the line if he's close to getting an easy bucket; French is the closest thing they have to a rim protector on the team with a couple of blocks per contest; Jalen Johnson (8.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg) a slasher who shoots 42% overall and 37% from deep (pretty much the only threat from deep other than Roby); he is tied for the team lead in free throw percentage at 75% with Bess - a good player overall to keep an eye on; last year, he scored 6 points in matchup #1 (2-7 FG, 2-5 3-pt, 0-1 FT) to go with 4 rebounds and a couple steals while in foul trouble (4PF); in matchup #2, he was hot shooting, scoring 16 (7-9 FG, 2-4 3-pt) with four rebounds; DJ Foreman (7.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg) another inside presence who shoots well close to the hoop (62%) but an awful 52% from the line - basically another guy to foul if he's about to score an easy one inside; Aaron Hines (6.1 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 1.6 apg) the former walk-on is effectively their backup point guard now; I'd rather we make him shoot than distribute as he shoots 33% overall, 29% from three, and an okay 68% from the line; last year, he scored 5 points (2-8 FG, 1-4 3-pt) along with four assists and a couple of assists - he ended up fouling out in the first game; he failed to score in the second game (0-6 FG, 0-5 3-pt) with two rebounds, three assists, and three turnovers. Rashed Anthony is the final guy who will probably make an appearance but won't have an impact in limited time - he is a decent shooter (64% overall, 71% from the line) when he does get the chance though. 

Coming into the season, St. Louis was ranked 108th by CBS and 180th by ESPN (a pretty wide prediction range). ESPN gives us a 20% chance to keep the win streak going, which is honestly about right with the contest being on the road. We had not faced St. Louis before they joined the league in 2005. In 16 career matchups since then, we hold a 9-7 record against them with an average margin of victory of just a single point. We have won the past three matchups, with the last loss coming at their place 62-65 during the 2015-16 season (a real crushing loss that hurt our at-large changes - I think Pato's final possession was an off balanced heave that bounced off the backboard if I remember correctly and we let Crawford go off - JoeMac also missed some key free throws).

If we continue to play for one another, we can take this game. We need to dictate the pace since they have basically no depth and get out in transition as often as possible. Part of the reason we've played so well of late is not only pushing the pace, but finishing in transition as well which we weren't able to do earlier in the year. 

5

the dude2/23/2018 7:32:54 PM

DMV, A+, per your norm.

long suffering fan2/23/2018 9:11:05 PM

Early line is GW +5.5   Stay away...Its one thing blowing out weaker competition at home.  Its quite another thing playing a decent team at their place.  Not sure if GW can stay with St. Louis.

1

the dude2/23/2018 9:21:30 PM

I'd be inclined to agree perhaps, but VCU isn't weaker competition, and the UMASS game was on the road.  So the wins did include, a blowout road win, and blowout home win against a much better team. 

That said, this level of play, is such a sudden abbereation from the level we had played most of the A10 season at, its hard to say.

How do you all think we match up specifically with SLU?

free quebec2/23/2018 11:22:32 PM

I’m going to disagree with LSF.  5.5 is a lot for what is likely to be a relatively low scoring game.  SLU does three things well, get to the line, grab offensive rebounds, and defend inside the arc.  But now they are doing it all without their best and highest usage player.  The offense has been awful since he went out (they beat Richmond without him but scored the least against URs pathetic defense this month) and they are one of the worst shooting teams in the country.  

We also don’t put teams on the line mic so that takes one of their main ways to score out.  Then, with Yuta blanketing one guy or  preventing ball reversal vs the zone, I suspect they will have few weapons against us besides the offensive glass.  That’s where we need to excel.  

On the other side, I’ll be interested to see if we can score on the road vs a team that does actually defend inside the arc.  We’ve been playing vs putrid FG defenses lately so their style could be an asjustment, but since I don’t expect SLU to score that much, we would have to revert to total ineptitude to lose by 6 or more.  SLU is not very good, just made to look average by be awful a10 this year and now without their best player, so even if we take a big step back, it should be close.  

My guess is Yuta will not allow us to be blown out. 

the dude2/24/2018 12:16:59 AM

+5.5? Seems about right to me.

the sons of liberty2/24/2018 12:31:12 AM

I'll bet DMVPIRANHA wrote good papers in college.

lets go2/24/2018 12:32:59 AM

Someone give DMV a writing gig covering GW basketball. Better than every GW "sports journalist" out there right now

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