Better Know An Opponent: Morgan State

Update – Carrera will not play tonight because of a concussion suffered during practice. This has not been factored into the preview below.

Fresh off the heels of opening the Frank Martin era with a win, the Gamecocks welcome the Bears of Morgan State.  Todd Bozeman brings the Bears down from Baltimore, and you may be more familiar with him from his stint at Cal, where from 193-1996, he took those Bears to three NCAA tournaments in four years.  However, Coach Bozeman admitted to paying the parents of recruits during that time, leading the NCAA to impose a “show-cause” order on Bozeman until the 2005 season.  Not long after, Morgan State took a chance on him.  Now in his 7th year, Bozeman had four consecutive winning seasons (from 2007-2008 to 2010-2011) before falling back to 9-20 last season.

Morgan State opened the year with a  71-59 victory over UTSA, before losing two games in Norfolk: one to host Old Dominion (72-61) and a heartbreaker to Holy Cross (74-73).

 

The Four Factors (from KenPom.com)

USC Offense MSU Defense MSU Offense USC Defense
Effective FG% 44.4 (221st) 47.8 (168th) 50.0 (105th) 49.3 (207th)
Turnover % 22.1 (204th) 21.1 (170th) 25.5 (286th) 19.5 (216th)
Off. Reb. % 48.6 (9th) 31.7 (152nd) 41.2 (52nd) 34.9 (196th)
FTA/FGA 49.2 (59th) 48.4 (268th) 44.6 (84th) 28.4 (87th)
Adj. Pace 63.5 (299th) 68 (110th)

It’s early yet, but I decided to use this season’s numbers, mostly because last season’s data is so useless for Carolina, even as compared to one game’s worth of information.  The two areas where you can look for Carolina to outplay the Bears seem to be on the offensive glass (though as much as Martin stresses that, I’m still skeptical Carolina can perform at that level all season long, given their height issues) and getting to the line.

On the other side of the floor, it will be interesting to see if Morgan State can continue to shoot well from the field.  They are the opposite of UWM in that they will not shoot many 3PAs (they take 23.5% of their field goals from long range, as compared to UWM, who has taken 49.3% of their shots from 3 thus far).  However, you wonder if Carolina doesn’t match up better against a team that takes more 3PAs this year, given its severe height issues in the post.  This is especially true given Morgan’s relative strength at getting rebounds on the offensive ends and getting to the line (though converting those free throw opportunities is a separate issue).

 

Morgan State Personnel

Player
Min%
Usage%
eFG
2PA%
FTM / FTA
OReb
DReb
TO%
Asst%
Hubbard
100
24.6
55.0
87.0
14/17
12.6
18.5
26.9
12.7
Jackson
93
22.2
59.4
59.0
4/12
3.4
17.4
13.7
26.3
Black
92
26.9
42.4
85.0
8/22
11.4
8.8
17.2
24.8
Bozeman
91
13.5
58.3
33.0
2/2
1.2
2.5
27.0
11.8
Chiles
67
18.2
36.8
100
4/6
11.0
17.2
15.5
2.8
Duncan
62
14.4
38.5
100
1/4
3.4
11.2
21.2
14.6
Heath
36
11.8
85.7
100
0/0
8.8
16.0
22.2
0.0
Bailey
23
7.9
0.0
100
3/6
13.7
15.1
0.0
20.6
Pretlow
20
23.5
62.5
100
2/2
5.3
5.8
50.3
37.5

 

Frequently, early in the season, you’ll see teams running deep rotations as they try to figure out their best players and personnel groupings.  Todd Bozeman thinks that idea is stupid and that you’re stupid if you suggest otherwise.  In three games, guard Anthony Hubbard has yet to step off the court.  As you can tell, Morgan State consistently has four of their starters on the court at all times.  Over the course of the season, this could come back to bite them. However, in the fourth game, the legs should still be able to take the pounding.

Morgan State’s primary shooters are Hubbard (just joining the program from Frederick Community College), forward DeWayne Jackson and swingman Justin Black.  Interestingly, the forward is the most likely to step out and shoot from behind the arc.  While Black doesn’t score the ball as well as the other two, he (along with Hubbard) crash the glass, which is the Bear’s relative strength on offense.  Bozeman, for all the playing time he gets, doesn’t seem to contribute much in the way of production.  The point guard turns the ball over way too much, especially given his woeful assist rate and his inability (or unwillingness) to create his own shot.

 

Carolina Personnel

Player
Min%
Shot%
eFG
2PA%
FTM / FTA
OReb
DReb
TO%
Asst%
Jackson
88.9
17.9
60.0
100
0/1
4.0
15.2
2.8
0.0
Smith
84.4
16.9
22.2
88.9
2/2
0.0
3.2
5.9
47.4
Page
77.8
36.7
38.9
66.7
5/7
0.0
3.5
1.6
28.6
Kacinas
68.9
6.9
33.3
66.7
6/8
31.1
27.5
1.8
24.2
Carrera
64.4
29.6
50.0
100
5/5
38.8
33.5
3.9
0.0
Richardson
44.4
10.7
100
100
0/0
0.0
0.0
8.4
37.5
Slawson
31.1
5.1
0.0
100
0/0
0.0
17.4
0.0
0.0
Williams
28.9
33.0
50.0
66.7
8/8
0.0
9.4
17.3
0.0
Leonard
11.1
14.3
0.0
0.0
0/0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0

 

These numbers may look familiar, as it’s only a game’s worth of data.  The Gamecocks play a Morgan State team that doesn’t appear to be especially good at anything defensively, and it will be interesting to see if Carolina can build on its strengths from the opening game (getting on the glass and getting to the line).

One area of interest in this game is that UWM didn’t play anyone over 6’8” any significant minutes the other night, while Morgan State will have either 6’9” Thair Heath or 7’2”(!) Ian Chiles on the floor most of the evening.  I’m not sure how – or if – the Gamecocks can match up with Chiles.  It’s one thing to give up 2-3” to a guy like Chiles, but no one in garnet and black comes within half a foot of him.  It’s a matchup like this that makes you miss Geathers and Chatkevicius, and it could pose major problems for the Gamecocks.

 

Projections

Pomeroy                      69-60 W (81%) [64 possessions]

TeamRankings            71-64 W (76%)

Vegas                          TBD

Final Analysis

Morgan State presents an entirely different set of issues than Milwaukee presented, but the Gamecocks come in rightly favored.  The Bears will run a short rotation and it will be interesting to see if the Gamecocks tight man-to-man tires them out as the game wears on (it’s a game like this you wish the opposition hadn’t had five days off to prepare).

The matchup differentials seem to come from two places – both teams will likely grab a few extra opportunities on the offensive glass than you would normally expect, and each team should get to the line with some frequency (while Carolina’s defensive FTR is low, I think a lot of that has to do with its only opponent – a spot-up team like UWM is not going to get to the foul line often – and Martin’s K-State teams never finished in the top 200 in defensive FTR.  Martin not only doesn’t mind defensive fouls, he seems to believe them to be a more effective form of defense in certain instances).

So what separates the two teams?  It may be what they do when they get to the line.  However, be cautious in drawing too much from Morgan State’s first three games – most of their woeful FT% comes from Jackson and Black, who shot 78% and 68% from the line last year, respectively.  I doubt their sub-50% shooting will continue.

In the end, I’ll predict that Carolina’s defense runs the Bears into a few too many turnovers, and that the Gamecocks jump out to a 2-0 record.  It’ll be closer than people want it to be, but get used to that – with a couple of exceptions, South Carolina won’t be expected to win games by double digits this season.  Not to say they won’t, but it won’t be the prevailing opinion entering the game.  Still, all wins are good wins, and look for the Gamecocks to grab one tonight.

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About marvinnedick

Blogging from the mid-Atlantic on Gamecock sports, as well as general musings on sports theory otherwise.
This entry was posted in 2012-13 Basketball, Better Know An Opponent, Morgan State. Bookmark the permalink.

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