Maverick Maniac's Musings

January 5, 2013

2012-13 Omaha Men’s Basketball – Game 18 Preview – Fort Wayne

Filed under: College Sports,Men's Basketball,Omaha Mavericks — Jon Green @ 8:55 am

Omaha-IPFW-Men-1-5-13

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Omaha dropped their first Summit League game of the weekend, but were fairly impressive on offense in a 91-79 loss at Oakland. That performance might give the Mavericks some hope as they travel to Fort Wayne on Saturday in search of their first road win of the season. Omaha had their best offensive performance since Bethune-Cookman back in November, a game they lost by a nearly identical 93-81 score. The Mavericks responded the next day with their only win away from the Sapp Fieldhouse, a neutral site win over Chicago State in Indiana. Can the Mavericks find success again in the Hoosier State and upset the Mastodons?

Fort Wayne
While Fort Wanye may seem like a Division 1 veteran to Maverick fans, the Mastodons have only been in Division 1 for 11 years now. They started their transition in 2001-02 and have found the sledding tough. Their only winning seasons came in 2009-10 and 2010-11 and they’ve had only one season with a winning conference record, 11-7 in 2010-11. That turnaround came under head coach Dane Fife who left Fort Wayne after that season and became an assistant at Michigan State. Their new coach, Tony Jasick, shows some promise and is one of only 14 head coaches nationally under the age of 35. If Fort Wayne can be as patient with Jasick as they were with Fife, who needed five tries before having a winning season, they could have a successful coach on their hands.

Fort Wayne has had an up down year so far. On the opening night of the season they had a real chance to upset Auburn on the road but a nine point first half lead was trimmed to four points at the half and they fell away in the second half losing by 11. Fort Wayne has struggled away from home with a 1-7 record on the road and 1-2 on neutral courts. Most of those losses haven’t been too disappointing, though a road loss to Navy is the worst of the bunch. So far this season they are undefeated at home, 5-0, and have pulled off one nice upset of Miami (Ohio) so far.

Fort Wayne took down Navy in Fort Wayne on Wednesday, avenging the earlier road loss. Fort Wayne was led by 22 from junior forward Luis Jacobo, 17 from senior guard Frank Gaines and 15 from sophomore guard Joe Edwards. The Mastodons had one of their best shooting days of the year and hit 50% of their shots, scoring 1.14 points per possession. It was only their 4th game over 1.00 ppp, but their 3rd in the last four games.

Fort Wayne’s best player is Frank Gaines who is averaging 18.8 points and 4.5 rebounds. Gaines showed Omaha his ability with 29 in Fort Wayne last year before Omaha held him to his lowest scoring game of the year when he scored only seven points in Omaha. The Mavericks got him into foul trouble and he only played 25 minutes, 2nd lowest of the season. I would advise Omaha to do the same thing this year, and it’s not totally unrealistic as he averages 2.6 fouls and has picked up four in two games already. Gaines on the bench would be a big help in a quest for the upset. Gaines has the ability to go for 20+ points with ease. He did it 19 times last year while averaging 21.2 and has already done it six times this year.

Gaines isn’t their only weapon of course, Luis Jacobo is averaging 10.2 points and 4.3 rebounds while they are getting 5.6 rebounds from Mario Hines and 4.9 from Kevin Harden. This is the best rebounding team in the Summit League with 10 players averaging at least two rebounds, eight players averaging three or more, and four averaging four or more with two more at 3.9. Omaha has eight averaging two or more, five averaging three or more, and just two averaging four or more.

Fort Wayne has struggled offensively and is the worst shooting team in the Summit League. They have had success defensively where they are 3rd in the Summit League and in rebounding. If the can keep hitting their shots like they did on Wednesday I think they’ll be a real challenge for Omaha.

Wins, ranked by RPI – realtimerpi.com
135 – Miami (OH) (57-56)
287 – @ Dartmouth (70-66)
295 – Texas Pan American (97-94) – Neutral
310 – Navy (68-63)
338 – Kennesaw St. (70-47)
N/A – Judson (92-22)
N/A – Rochester (73-56)

Losses, ranked by RPI – realtimerpi.com
66 – @ Notre Dame (62-74)
130 – @ Valparaiso (52-63)
142 – Eastern Michigan (47-60) – Neutral
158 – @ Western Illinois (50-62)162 – @ Drake (64-74)232 – @ Auburn (50-61)266 – @ IUPUI (74-88)307 – Eastern Illinois (67-68) – Neutral
310 – @ Navy (49-54)

Schedule has sent them on the road a lot for some decently difficult game. Haven’t gotten any big road upsets but haven’t been embarrassed too often either. Home cooking has been nice to them where they are 5-0 and have upset Miami (Ohio).

Omaha vs. Fort Wayne

Team FG% 3FG% FT% O-PPP D-PPP TO Rt A/TO A/B% Def FG% Def 3FG% Opp TO Rt Reb% Off Reb% Def Reb% BPG
Omaha 44.2% 36.1% 66.7% 0.912 1.148 22.3 0.778 53.0% 48.8% 36.3% 17.0 46.1% 25.1% 61.4% 2.5
Fort Wayne 40.8% 31.4% 63.2% 0.894 0.967 21.1 0.748 51.0% 44.9% 36.0% 21.0 56.5% 32.6% 76.4% 2.9
Favors.. Omaha Omaha Omaha Omaha Fort Wayne Fort Wayne Omaha Omaha Fort Wayne Fort Wayne Fort Wayne Fort Wayne Fort Wayne Fort Wayne Fort Wayne

Green = 1,2, or 3 in the Summit League. Red = 7,8, or 9 in the Summit League.

Omaha is a better shooting team than Fort Wayne and slightly better offensively (though both are in the bottom three of the league) but can’t come close to matching them on defense or on the glass. This is actually the matchup of the best and the worst rebounding teams in the conference.

Starters
Fort Wayne
Guard – Pierre Bland – 6-2 – Junior – Jacksonville, Florida – Averaging 1.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.4 assists.
Guard – Frank Gaines – 6-3 – Senior – Ft. Lauderdale, Florida – Averaging 18.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.5 steals.
Guard – Luis Jacobo – 6-5 – Junior – Sanford, Florida – Averaging 10.3 points and 4.3 rebounds.
Forward – Mario Hines – 6-8 – Senior – Cleveland, Ohio – Averaging 8.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks.
Forward – Michael Kibiloski – 6-7 –Junior – Elkhart, Indiana – Averaging 6.0 points and 3.8 rebounds.

Omaha
Point Guard – CJ Carter – 6-0 – Sophomore – Omaha, Nebraska – Averaging 7.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists.
Guard – Alex Phillips – 6-3 – Junior – Smiths Station, Alabama – Averaging 8.6 points and 2.1 rebounds.
Guard – Justin Simmons – 6-3 – Junior – Milwaukee, Wisconsin – Averaging 14.0 points and 3.8 rebounds.
Forward – Alex Welhouse – 6-7 – Senior – Kaukauna, Wisconsin – Averaging 7.8 points and 4.8 rebounds.
Center – John Karhoff – 6-8 – Junior – Omaha, Nebraska – Averaging 11.6 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists.

Three Things to Watch
1) Rebounding – This will be a HUGE challenge for Omaha today. They average 28.1 rebounds and grabbing 46.1% of the available boards. Fort Wayne averages 34.3 rebounds and gabbing 56.4% of the available boards. If Omaha only gets beat by six boards today I think they’d be okay with that. If Fort Wayne can exploit this advantage to 10+ rebounds and end up with lots of 2nd chances while limiting Omaha’s it will be a lot to overcome.

2.) Omaha’s Shooting – Omaha has been up and down this year at shooting the ball but put together their best performance of the year against Oakland. That was following up 3rd best performance against Kansas City. Has Omaha turned the corner and become a great shooting team like we’ve seen in the past or will they revert towards their performance against South Dakota and some of the other difficult losses? Fort Wayne has been solid defensively this year though they’ve shown signs of cracking cracking lately with four of their last five opponents getting over 1 ppp, the only four to do so all year.

3.) Bench Scoring/Marcus Tyus – Omaha got 16 points off their bench against Oakland and while that’s positive it’d be nice to see more. Omaha’s bench players are averaging around 17. If Omaha could get a big performance by a bench player, perhaps Marcus Tyus, it’d be a big boost. Unfortunately the way this team is built the bench just doesn’t have a lot of scorers. Coleman, Steffensmeier, Hagerbaumer, Krych, and Egli all provide value to this team, but none of them are threats to score 10 most nights. Marcus Tyus is that threat and continues to develop. A big day for him could push Omaha over the top.

Prediction
I like the way Omaha is playing right now and I think they can keep this close if they can do a good job on the boards. That said, that is a very tall task to ask. I’ll take Fort Wayne 77-65. Simmons leads the way with 17.
Massey – Fort Wayne wins 80-68.
RealTimeRPI – Fort Wayne wins 79-69.

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