The Byrd Cage

Archive for December, 2012|Monthly archive page

The UCF Holiday Classic

In Game Posts on December 27, 2012 at 8:22 am

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The Bruins entered the holiday break finishing a 2-1 three game stretch, against what was easily the most daunting section of their schedule, by defeating South Dakota State 76-49 with a scintillating 2nd half performance. While carrying momentum is nice, the break was well deserved. After a grueling trip to the west coast and true road games at VCU and Kansas, Byrd’s squad undoubtedly needed some time away (because let’s be honest, a break for finals doesn’t count).

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The Bruins: Passing The Test

In Game Posts on December 20, 2012 at 11:34 am

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Weekend Recap: The Three Game Teaser

When the schedule first came out, we all knew the middle of December was going to be a stout test. It became even more difficult when Blake tweaked his ankle in a practice session last Tuesday. Already a team that lacks depth on the front line (and depth in general), the stretch against three of the toughest teams on the schedule became that much more daunting. The run tipped off when Middle came to town last Thursday night off a big win against an undefeated SEC opponent. The last three matchups against the Blue Raiders had all been decided by a total of seven points. Kermit was bringing in the most efficient team (offensively and defensively) he has ever put on the floor. This had all the makings of a thriller and Kermit really disappointed the large of amount of Middle fans that made the trip up. I won’t bother you with more play by play recap but just want to touch on some observations from this game: Read the rest of this entry »

THE BATTLE FOR MIDDLE TENNESSEE.

In Game Posts on December 13, 2012 at 12:20 pm

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Here are a couple things to watch for tonight in the battle for Middle Tennessee basketball supremacy (sorry Stallings, not this year):

The Blue Raiders hold a distinct advantage on the offensive glass. Belmont has been allowing opponents to bring down 41.9 percent of their available offensive rebounds. This is poor by any measure, like bottom five in the country poor. The Blue Raiders thrive off the offensive glass grabbing 38 percent of the available offensive boards led by 6’ 8” junior Shawn Jones. Jones has 25 offensive boards on the season and will be a handful for the Bruins down low. While lack of height has hurt the Bruins on the defensive glass, too much dribble penetration has also hindered the rebounding effort. Once the Bruins get beat on the perimeter and the defensive rotation starts, it gets ugly quick. Keeping the Blue Raider guards in front will keep the Bruin ‘bigs’ from rotating off their men and allow them to establish better rebounding position.

The Blue Raiders have done a nice job of getting to foul line this year. The Bruins, on the other hand, have made it a habit of sending opponents to the line. Division I opponents have been scoring 26.2 percent of their points from the line against the Bruins (20th highest in the country) while MTSU has been producing 23.0 percent of their points from the line. The Bruins are averaging just a hair over 21 fouls per game and with Rick’s baffling first half foul strategy; the Bruins must avoid foul trouble. Not only to prevent the Blue Raiders from getting to line, but to limit our bench minutes. We learned how those minutes work against top 50 teams (see VCU).

If this match-up is anything close to what we watched last year, buckle up. It will be a fun one.

Gambling note: The Bruins are two point favorites at home. Given the fact that home court can be worth anywhere from two to six points, Vegas believes these teams are evenly matched. I am only giving the Curb about two points of home court advantage. While the Bruin’s Den(?) is growing….. it’s no Cameron Indoor. Note that Belmont, in the five games that lines have been available, is only 1-4 against the spread. If I were a gambling man, I would lean on that previous stat tonight.

-Nick Broadhead