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The Bills over Mercer by 12


The Wiz
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After one of the worst shooting night's in Bills history, we emerge in a fairly decent place. Coming into the Mem game, both teams were A-.  With the win, Memphis moves up to A.  After the game , the computer see us being beaten by an A team and doesn't punish us.  So the good news is we remain an A- team which is important.  A- teams and above get NCAA bids (90%). Yes, it is early and there are a lot of games to go but for now I like where we are. We will know a lot more about where we are headed on Dec 5th after the UAB game.(8th game) If we are still A- on that day( large enough sample size)  it will be a confirmation that we are for real and could still have a special season.

First order of business is to get back on the winning track. This Mer game would have been a good game to play after the EIU win...a nice step up in competition to prepare for Mem. But we have to play the cards as they are dealt. Mem was a good learning experience that we can grow from. It will prepare us better for the upcoming competitions in OOC and A-10. There are no more cupcakes on the schedule.

Mercer comes into this game as a B- team.  At first glance they seem like a very ordinary team....one that would  grade out at C- to D+.  BUT...they have this one player ...Haase...who leads the team in a bunch of categories...PPG...19.7(65th ITN)....a staggering 61.1%  from the arc,   FG% and stls to name a few.

So let see what the report card looks like....not as good as last time but still pretty decent

 
 
..........................SLU...............................Mer...............................SLU.......................................Mer

..........................................OFF..........................................................................DEF...............

PPG......................A+ 7th ITN................C.................................B..............................................C-

FG%......................B+...............................B-..............................B..............................................D+

3Pt%.....................B...............................B+...............................D.............................................D

FT%......................B-........ ......................F..............................................................................

Reb......................A.................................D+................................B+......................................B-

 OFF Rebs  = total rebs...DEF Rebs = opp reb

UP....Off...Reb

Down....Off....FG%...3P%...Def...3P%...Reb

Top 100 ITN (In The Nation)/ gm

Assts...Collins...4th 

Stls......Collins....25th

Rebs....Okoro....42nd

Double-Double....Collins & Hargrove...37th

Mer

PPG....Haase...65th

Assts...Alvarez...64th

Stls.....Haase....48th

Mer has  a weak defense, so we should be able to score. Also for the 2nd week in a row we face a very poor FT team.

An honorable mention goes to Yuri who is shooting 90.1% from the FT line...no report card listing for him because the top 100 are shooting 100%.

WWN2D2W....Stop Haase ...they have a back up shooter if we give Haase a hard time ...Alvarez....Hold these 2 guys to 25pts combined.  We need to shoot and make some hoops...50/40/ 80...usually I put up the slash that will get us the victory.  We can probably win this game with a lesser slash but I would like to see us do this to get back on track...especially against this defense.  Finally, avoid mistakes. If we become careless or complacent, this team can rise up and bite you.

Bottom line....The Mercer Bears will not be hibernating...we need to put them to sleep.

 

 

 

 

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At first glance I noticed they played Arkansas well and got a little nervous.  But after looking, Arkansas has played poorly to start off the season.  a 17 point win over Gardner webb has been Arkansas' biggest victory,  and struggled to pull out a win last night Vs northern Iowa. 

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My KenPom stat analysis:

Looks like Mercer so far this season has been shooting and making 3s a lot.  That's not good because SLU hasn't been defending the 3 very well so far this season.  3 point shooting can be pretty fluky from game to game, so hopefully Mercer isn't hitting them well on Saturday.  If they are hot, it could be a tough game.

On the flip side, Mercer has been pretty turnover prone and SLU has been really good at forcing turnovers.

On offense SLU has really struggled with blocked shots (small sample size - a lot of that has to do with the Memphis game).   Good news is that Mercer doesn't appear to have any big time shot blockers (and they also struggle w getting their shots blocked).

Felipe Haase who is the 6-9 center is 9-13 (69%) on 3s so far this season.  He hit almost 40% last season and is a 37.5% for his career.  None of their other rotation players are bigger than 6-6, so it seems like Linssen or Okoro would be defending Haase.  I'd much rather have Linssen or Okoro defending near the basket than on the perimeter.  I also want them to be able to help off their man & they probably shouldn't be doing that off Haase.  I'd consider putting them on a guy like Shawn Walker (6-6, 22% career 3pt shooter) with the idea that they can help off of him.  You have Nesbitt or Hargrove on Haase.  Haase's size advantage doesn't matter as much on the perimeter & if he does go inside, Linssen or Okoro can help.

Neftali Alvarez is their PG.  He's not that turnover prone.  It's really that everyone on their roster is a bit turnover prone.  Alvarez isn't a great outside shooter (27% career), but he pretty good at drawing fouls.  For that reason, I might not start Yuri on him to keep Yuri out of foul trouble (although Yuri himself has been good at avoiding fouls).

Mercer only really goes 6 deep.  They have 6 guys playing between 94% (Haase) and 58% of the minutes, one guy at 26% and a guy at 7% (Haase's backup C).    Defend the 3, turn them over, push the tempo, wear them down.

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18 minutes ago, RUBillsFan said:

Also of note: one of Mercer's subs is Jalen Johnson!

No, not former SLU player Jalen Johnson.  He's at Texas A&M now (after stops at Louisiana and Mississippi State), but is out for the year after tearing his ACL.

No, not this Jalen Johnson either.  He struggled through half a season at Duke last year, but quit (maybe because of injuries, maybe because Duke wasn't very good), got drafted into the NBA and now plays for the Hawks (currently of Atlanta, formerly of St. Louis).

No, not this Jalen Johnson either.  He started his career at Murray State before transferring to UIC.

Also not this Jalen Johnson either.  He is in his 3rd season at Alabama A&M and seems to be the only Jalen Johnson who has been able to stick in one place.

Yes, last season you potentially could have fielded an entire DI starting lineup of Jalen Johnsons if you recruited properly.  They go 6'1", 6'6", 6'6", 6'7", and 6'9" too, so you wouldn't even necessarily have anyone playing too much out of position.  "Jalen, set a pick for Jalen to free him up for a pass from Jalen while Jalen pops to the 3 point line & Jalen crashes the boards...er...Johnson, set a pick for Johns...ugh never mind."  Amazingly these 5 Jalen Johnsons who all had overlapping careers to some extend appear to be the ONLY Jalen Johnsons in the college basketball reference database which seems to have complete team rosters (at least for SLU) going back into the 1980s and has random players going at least as far back as Easy Ed.

Mercer's Jalen Johnson started his career at Tennessee and played 3 forgettable season there (stats wise) before going to Wake Forest for 1 and finally ending up at Mercer for his COVID year.  He was super highly touted top 25 recruit out of high school, but hasn't lived up to that at all.  Although he was a year behind SLU's Jalen Johnson, I can recall when trying struggling to find info on SLU's Jalen Johnson because that you had to wade through a ton of stuff on this more highly regarded Jalen Johnson first.

interesting

 

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1 hour ago, RUBillsFan said:

Also of note: one of Mercer's subs is Jalen Johnson!

No, not former SLU player Jalen Johnson.  He's at Texas A&M now (after stops at Louisiana and Mississippi State), but is out for the year after tearing his ACL.

No, not this Jalen Johnson either.  He struggled through half a season at Duke last year, but quit (maybe because of injuries, maybe because Duke wasn't very good), got drafted into the NBA and now plays for the Hawks (currently of Atlanta, formerly of St. Louis).

No, not this Jalen Johnson either.  He started his career at Murray State before transferring to UIC.

Also not this Jalen Johnson either.  He is in his 3rd season at Alabama A&M and seems to be the only Jalen Johnson who has been able to stick in one place.

Yes, last season you potentially could have fielded an entire DI starting lineup of Jalen Johnsons if you recruited properly.  They go 6'1", 6'6", 6'6", 6'7", and 6'9" too, so you wouldn't even necessarily have anyone playing too much out of position.  "Jalen, set a pick for Jalen to free him up for a pass from Jalen while Jalen pops to the 3 point line & Jalen crashes the boards...er...Johnson, set a pick for Johns...ugh never mind."  Amazingly these 5 Jalen Johnsons who all had overlapping careers to some extend appear to be the ONLY Jalen Johnsons in the college basketball reference database which seems to have complete team rosters (at least for SLU) going back into the 1980s and has random players going at least as far back as Easy Ed.

Mercer's Jalen Johnson started his career at Tennessee and played 3 forgettable season there (stats wise) before going to Wake Forest for 1 and finally ending up at Mercer for his COVID year.  He was super highly touted top 25 recruit out of high school, but hasn't lived up to that at all.  Although he was a year behind SLU's Jalen Johnson, I can recall when trying struggling to find info on SLU's Jalen Johnson because that you had to wade through a ton of stuff on this more highly regarded Jalen Johnson first.

I had a lot of fun reading this, I'd wager that's the most popular name in college basketball right now. 

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2 hours ago, RUBillsFan said:

Also of note: one of Mercer's subs is Jalen Johnson!

No, not former SLU player Jalen Johnson.  He's at Texas A&M now (after stops at Louisiana and Mississippi State), but is out for the year after tearing his ACL.

No, not this Jalen Johnson either.  He struggled through half a season at Duke last year, but quit (maybe because of injuries, maybe because Duke wasn't very good), got drafted into the NBA and now plays for the Hawks (currently of Atlanta, formerly of St. Louis).

No, not this Jalen Johnson either.  He started his career at Murray State before transferring to UIC.

Also not this Jalen Johnson either.  He is in his 3rd season at Alabama A&M and seems to be the only Jalen Johnson who has been able to stick in one place.

Yes, last season you potentially could have fielded an entire DI starting lineup of Jalen Johnsons if you recruited properly.  They go 6'1", 6'6", 6'6", 6'7", and 6'9" too, so you wouldn't even necessarily have anyone playing too much out of position.  "Jalen, set a pick for Jalen to free him up for a pass from Jalen while Jalen pops to the 3 point line & Jalen crashes the boards...er...Johnson, set a pick for Johns...ugh never mind."  Amazingly these 5 Jalen Johnsons who all had overlapping careers to some extend appear to be the ONLY Jalen Johnsons in the college basketball reference database which seems to have complete team rosters (at least for SLU) going back into the 1980s and has random players going at least as far back as Easy Ed.

Mercer's Jalen Johnson started his career at Tennessee and played 3 forgettable season there (stats wise) before going to Wake Forest for 1 and finally ending up at Mercer for his COVID year.  He was super highly touted top 25 recruit out of high school, but hasn't lived up to that at all.  Although he was a year behind SLU's Jalen Johnson, I can recall when trying struggling to find info on SLU's Jalen Johnson because that you had to wade through a ton of stuff on this more highly regarded Jalen Johnson first.

Incredible post

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2 hours ago, RUBillsFan said:

Also of note: one of Mercer's subs is Jalen Johnson!

No, not former SLU player Jalen Johnson.  He's at Texas A&M now (after stops at Louisiana and Mississippi State), but is out for the year after tearing his ACL.

No, not this Jalen Johnson either.  He struggled through half a season at Duke last year, but quit (maybe because of injuries, maybe because Duke wasn't very good), got drafted into the NBA and now plays for the Hawks (currently of Atlanta, formerly of St. Louis).

No, not this Jalen Johnson either.  He started his career at Murray State before transferring to UIC.

Also not this Jalen Johnson either.  He is in his 3rd season at Alabama A&M and seems to be the only Jalen Johnson who has been able to stick in one place.

Yes, last season you potentially could have fielded an entire DI starting lineup of Jalen Johnsons if you recruited properly.  They go 6'1", 6'6", 6'6", 6'7", and 6'9" too, so you wouldn't even necessarily have anyone playing too much out of position.  "Jalen, set a pick for Jalen to free him up for a pass from Jalen while Jalen pops to the 3 point line & Jalen crashes the boards...er...Johnson, set a pick for Johns...ugh never mind."  Amazingly these 5 Jalen Johnsons who all had overlapping careers to some extend appear to be the ONLY Jalen Johnsons in the college basketball reference database which seems to have complete team rosters (at least for SLU) going back into the 1980s and has random players going at least as far back as Easy Ed.

Mercer's Jalen Johnson started his career at Tennessee and played 3 forgettable season there (stats wise) before going to Wake Forest for 1 and finally ending up at Mercer for his COVID year.  He was super highly touted top 25 recruit out of high school, but hasn't lived up to that at all.  Although he was a year behind SLU's Jalen Johnson, I can recall when trying struggling to find info on SLU's Jalen Johnson because that you had to wade through a ton of stuff on this more highly regarded Jalen Johnson first.

Love it. Reminds me of the story of the late Wendell Ladner who was a decent player in the ABA. He was from a small town in Mississippi called Necaise Crossing. There was a clan of Ladners in the area and it turned out that starting five on his high school team was Ladner, Ladner, Ladner, Ladner, and Ladner.

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The name Jalen Johnson has been a huge pain for me in doing recruiting news, both when JJ was a prospect (and so were a couple others) and then later when I was tracking him as a transfer. He's hard to find.

I never broke it out like this, though. Well done.

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3 hours ago, RUBillsFan said:

Yes, last season you potentially could have fielded an entire DI starting lineup of Jalen Johnsons if you recruited properly.  They go 6'1", 6'6", 6'6", 6'7", and 6'9" too, so you wouldn't even necessarily have anyone playing too much out of position. 

Guy Phillips' dream roster.

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This is probably a good place to discuss some computer methodology.....how the computer thinks...the numbers behind the numbers.  I don't usually go into the details because ...well because most people are just interested in the spread.. "I don't care what's in the pie or how it was made...just cut me a slice".  We are far enough into this thread where only the true basketball fans are reading so I will go into the minutiae a bit more.

This game is a good one to go into a little deeper because it is a little simpler than most. While the total number of variables remain the same as all other games there are a few that standout and carry a little more weight because of the way Mercer plays. The fact that they use only 6 players plus the fact that 2 of them score most of the points makes them a little different than most teams.

The top scorers will be Haase and either Alvarez or Glisson. ...Note here Glisson has not played the last 2 games though he is not listed as injured. The computer figures that Haase and one of the other 2 will be the top scorers.   The model calculates that Haase and one of the other 2 will  score 37 pts against us  and will account for 50% of Mercer's pts. That means the model is figuring that Mercer will score 74 against The Bills  and the Bills will put up 86 pts.  If we can hold their 2 leading scorers to 30 or less , it could turn into a blowout. (20+ pts) On the other side of the coin if their top 2 score 43+ combined,  it will be an even game.  Again if Glisson doesn't play  or has limited minutes it will be a blow to a team with limited depth.

We need to try and contain Haase. He can shoot from anywhere on the floor.  Glisson is a 3 pt shooter. If we defend against him , he will pass on some shots and keep his numbers down.  Alvarez is also a 3 pt shooter BUT not a 3pt maker.  He will switch to 2s.

Bottom line ...this should be a team we can wear down....another reason to play tight defense.  Hold the top 2 to under 30 combined and the game is ours.

A10Ref, Old guy, Zink and 1 other like this
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This game went pretty much the way I expected it would. Our slash was 51/45.5/ 69.2.... Forecast slash...50/40/ 80...right on target for FG% and 3P%. We fell 3 pts short on the FT shooting but better than last time and no harm done. Fixing the FG% and 3P% was more important at this juncture and we seem to be on track .

I made a real point in this thread of stopping Haase and Alvarez..."hold them to 30pts combined  and we win"....they score 28pts and we win. In explaining how the computer saw the game, I mentioned that Haase and Alvarez would score half the points in the game which in this case  would be 29 pts ...1 pt off.  And finally,  the key to the game was wearing them down because of their lack of depth...The longer the game went the bigger our lead would be.  It pretty much happened that way.

Bottom line...the team is still growing  and still gelling.....One step at a time.

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