Maverick Maniac's Musings

January 11, 2013

2012-13 Omaha Men’s Basketball – Game 20 Preview – Western Illinois

Filed under: Men's Basketball,Omaha Mavericks,Previews — Jon Green @ 8:04 pm

Omaha Men's Basketball Preview IUPUI - 1-9-13

Live Stats
Live Video ($8)
Live Audio (Western Illinois call – Beau Spencer & Josh Gleason)

Omaha shot over 60% from the field and put 90 points up on Thursday, it seems unlikely they’ll come close to those marks in a matchup with the best defensive team in the Summit League on Saturday. Western Illinois comes to town 13-3 on the year, 5-0 in the Summit League and on a 10 game winning streak. The Leathernecks have only given up 70 points once this year, a 73-71 win over South Dakota in the Dakota Dome. Omaha played Western Illinois twice last year losing 81-70 in Omaha and ending the season with a 72-51 loss in Macomb.

Western Illinois
Western Illinois took South Dakota State to OT in the Summit League final last year before losing 52-50, just missing out on the NCAA Tournament. This is a team that came back this year confident and ready to make a push for their first NCAA Tournament berth. They are led by seniors Ceola Clark III and Terell Parks who each provide something different to this team. Clark is an extremely talented guard who shoots 44% from the field and from 3. Clark averages 12.1 points and 3.4 rebounds while grabbing 4.4 assists with a 2.4 assist to turnover ratio. He also grabs 1.6 steals per game.

Parks is a 6-8 post player who is shooting 56% from the field and grabs 9.3 rebounds per game. He’s a fantastic shot blocker who gets 2.9 blocks per game, 12th in the country. Parks has five double-doubles and has done so in two straight games. Parks went 11-11 from the field on Wednesday to score 22 points. It’s worth noting that Parks averages over 3 fouls per game and has fouled out of two games and had four fouls in four others. Perhaps Omaha can get him in some foul trouble.

Another post player, 6-6 junior Adam Link, is putting up 9.6 points a game and grabs 3.6 rebounds. Don McAvoy III, a 6-6 senior forward, averages 8 points and 3.8 rebounds while Jack Houpt, a 6-7 senior forward, grabs 3.8 rebounds and puts up 7.2 points per game. This is a strong team inside that will give Omaha problems.

Western Illinois likes to play a slow down style and averages just 58.3 possessions a game, 347th in the country. On defense they are 31st in defensive points per possession and they allow only a 38.2% FG%, 24th in the country. On offense they are the 34th best shooting team in the country (47.1%) and 19th from 3 (39.3%).

Measuring success against Western Illinois has to be done tempo-free. Three teams this year have scored more than 1 point per possession against the Leathernecks. Oakland with 1.01 (63), SIU Edwardsville with 1.06 (62), and South Dakota with 1.08 (71). Any kind of outing over 60 points by Omaha would be a great performance.

Western Illinois started a little slow trading wins and losses on the way to a 3-3 record. They have avenged two of their losses (@ SIU Edwardsville and @ Savannah State) when those teams came to Macomb for return games. The other loss was @ Evansville. They are just 3-3 on the year on the road and haven’t traveled since 12/5 at Eastern Illinois.

Western Illinois is coached by Jim Molinari, 60-78 in his five seasons at the school. They seem to be steadily improving and are just six wins away from topping their season high over the last 20 years.

Wins, ranked by RPI – realtimerpi.com
100 – Illinois-Chicago (70-54)
139 – Savannah St. (39-35)
144 – Oakland (73-63)
194 – @ South Dakota (73-71)
207 – (Neutral) Yale (59-47)
229 – (Neutral) Buffalo (67-58)
262 – IUPUI (57-53)
263 – @ Mizzou KC (68-63)
285 – SIU-Edwardsville (55-38)
290 – IPFW (62-50)
304 – @ Eastern Illinois (57-45)
N/A – Wabash (71-39)
N/A – Greenville (95-48)

Losses, ranked by RPI – realtimerpi.com
108 – @ Evansville (44-49)
139 – @ Savannah St. (38-39)
285 – @ SIU-Edwardsville (50-62)

All the losses on the road and only SIU-Edwardsville has a bad RPI. Western Illinois’s best road win was at South Dakota and they have some pretty decent home wins, especially the 16 point win over Illinois-Chicago.

Omaha vs. Western Illinois

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 45.5% 35.6% 67.1% 0.937 1.152 21.9 0.803 52.0% 48.8% 38.2% 17.0 45.9% 24.8% 61.7% 2.7
WIU 47.1% 39.3% 66.0% 0.986 0.872 20.5 1.026 57.0% 38.2% 32.6% 19.0 53.5% 28.3% 73.0% 4.9
Favors.. WIU WIU Omaha WIU WIU WIU WIU WIU WIU WIU WIU WIU WIU WIU WIU

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

Omaha is better at FTs (not that they are good at them… just better). Western Illinois is better at EVERYTHING ELSE. This is not a good breakdown for Omaha. Still gotta play the game on the court though.

Starters
Western Illinois
Guard – Ceola Clark – 6-3 – Senior – Gurnee, Illinois – Averaging 12.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 1.6 steals.
Guard – Remy Roberts-Burnett – 6-0 – Sophomore – Joliet, Illinois – Averaging 4.3 points and 2.1 assists.
Forward – Jack Houpt – 6-7 – Senior – Chesterton, Indiana – Averaging 7.2 points and 3.8 rebounds.
Forward – Adam Link – 6-6 – Junior – Elbert, Colorado – Averaging 9.6 points and 3.6 rebounds.
Center – Terell Parks – 6-7 – Senior – Beloit, Wisconsin – Averaging 13.6 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks.

Omaha
Point Guard – CJ Carter – 6-0 – Sophomore – Omaha, Nebraska – Averaging 8.3 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists.
Guard – Alex Phillips – 6-3 – Junior – Smiths Station, Alabama – Averaging 8.8 points and 2.2 rebounds.
Guard – Justin Simmons – 6-3 – Junior – Milwaukee, Wisconsin – Averaging 14.6 points and 4.0 rebounds.
Forward – Alex Welhouse – 6-7 – Senior – Kaukauna, Wisconsin – Averaging 7.5 points and 4.7 rebounds.
Center – John Karhoff – 6-8 – Junior – Omaha, Nebraska – Averaging 11.9 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists.

Three Things to Watch
1) Dealing with pace – This is an interesting topic for tomorrow. The pace will not be anywhere near where Omaha would love to play tomorrow. The only Western Illinois game over 65 possessions was the game against Greenville (non-D1) and that was because Greenville was not good with the ball. Omaha has only had 65 or less in two games, Denver and Chicago State. In a game with less possessions there aren’t as many chances to make up for your mistakes. Leads can be bigger than they seem since chances are fewer down the stretch. Omaha will need to avoid falling far behind because Western Illinois is going to be tough to come back on. Omaha needs to not worry too much about the pace and play their game on offense. Taking good looks is imperative though and not being sloppy with the ball. Patience, but not letting them completely dictate the way you play.

2.) Omaha’s Shooting – This is the real test for Omaha. They’ve been red hot lately and are putting up great numbers. Is there any way they can do this against Western Illinois? Western Illinois is not inept offensively, a good shooting team that has been over 1 ppp in 10 of their 16 games, so I expect them to put up some points. If Omaha’s not shooting well they will have a hard time in this one.

3.) Alex Welhouse – Welhouse is 0-7 from 3 in the last two games but has hit two 3’s or more in 11 games this season. Omaha could really use some triples from Welhouse and playing against a Western Illinois team that has a lot of good post players Welhouse shooting well from the outside could really help Omaha spread the court. Welhouse has a season high of just 14 points (when he hit 4 3’s vs. Nebraska). Last year he had 17 against Western Illinois in Omaha hitting 3 triples. Hope we can see something like that again.

Prediction
I don’t think Omaha can get this one. Western Illinois is playing really well and with their offensive and defensive numbers they could really put a big whooping on Omaha. Thankfully Omaha is playing well too so I think they’ll avoid the blowout and lose this one 75-63. Karhoff will probably be a lot quieter in this one but look for the guards to have some success if they can knock down some 3’s.

I do also want to note that Western Illinois needed OT to beat IUPUI at home last Saturday. Blueprint for success there? IUPUI went 8-17 from 3 to score 45% of their points. Hope Omaha can hit those triples because this is a real tough team to shoot inside against. Also limit turnovers and hit the boards as hard as you can.

Massey – Western Illinois wins 71-59.
RealTimeRPI – Western Illinois wins 58-57.

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