I’m definitely concerned about Holy Cross – mostly because Burrell is playing a lot better at PG lately. However I do expect Bucknell to handle them in Sojka. A few comments about HC’s better second-half defense:
1. Part of it (although not close to all of it) is due to a much slower pace of play during the second half of the league season. In the first seven league games, each team had 66 possessions per game in the average HC game. In the second half, each team had 61.7 ppg. That accounts for over 4 points of their defensive improvement.
2. HC caught a break in the second half schedule. When they played American, AU had just played an emotional Thursday night game vs Lehigh on CBSSN, then had to bus/fly/bus to Worcester on Friday. Then played Saturday afternoon. AU was outscored 28-20 in the first half before outscoring HC in the second half.
And when HC played Bucknell, it was exactly the same scenario. BU played an emotional game vs LU on Thursday night, took a 6-hour bus ride to Worcester Friday, and played on Saturday afternoon. BU was outscored 28-10 in the first half, then outscored HC 42-26 in the second half. Lost by two and had a long shot at the buzzer that could have won the game.
Looking at all the PL teams that have had to play Thursday night, take a long bus/plane ride Friday, and play Saturday afternoon, it appears that there is a significant effect on that team’s Saturday play – especially offensively. BTW, Holy Cross was the victim of the same scheduling in the first half of the season, when they had to play Thursday night and then take the long bus ride to Bucknell. They lost by a score of 75-41.
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What concerns me more about Bucknell than having to play HC is the fact that several Bison are experiencing shooting slumps (Cohen and Ayers in particular), and that Bryson Johnson has been erratic. If two of those three don’t shoot well, then the BU offense is not very good and Muscala will be double-teamed any time it even looks like he might get the ball.
- This reply was modified 8 years, 7 months ago by Bison137.