Maverick Maniac's Musings

January 31, 2013

2012-13 Omaha Men’s Basketball – Game #24 Preview – Fort Wayne

Filed under: Men's Basketball,Omaha Mavericks,Previews — Jon Green @ 1:00 pm

Omaha Men's Basketball Preview - Fort Wayne - 1-31-13

Live Stats
Live Video ($8… no audio)
Live Audio (Fort Wayne feed… free?)

Omaha had their best weekend as a Division 1 team winning at South Dakota and Kansas City to get to 4-6 in the Summit League. The Mavericks now return home to host Fort Wayne. The Mavericks have lost all three meetings before the two sides in the last two years but with the way they are playing this they might even be the favorite.

Fort Wayne
The last time these two sides met Omaha did some good things winning the battle in the paint 44-27 and winning bench points 25-9. Omaha got 24 from Justin Simmons and 20 from Marcus Tyus. It still wasn’t enough though as Fort Wayne shot 50% from the field and went 14-24 from three to get the 18 point win. The sides have gone in different directions since that game. Fort Wayne has lost four of six with the only wins a two point win over South Dakota at home (kind of impressive) and a one point win over IUPUI at home (not so impressive). Omaha has won three of their five with the only losses to Western Illinois at home by 15 (iffy) and by five at Cal State Bakersfield (not bad).

These sides both boast great scorers. Justin Simmons of Omaha is 5th in the Summit averaging 15.5 points per game while Frank Gaines of Fort Wayne is 3rd in the conference averaging 18.5 points per game. Gaines has averaged 17.7 over the last seven games while Simmons has averaged 20.4 over his last seven. Simmons has scored 20 or more points in five of his last eight games and had 24 against Fort Wayne the first time despite only taking one three and going 2-5 from the FT line. Frank Gaines had 25 against Omaha going 14-14 from the FT line and 4-5 from three.

Last year Omaha gave up 29 to Gaines in Fort Wayne (10 FTs and 2-5 from three) while only giving up seven in Omaha (2-6 on FTs, 1-4 on threes, only 25 minutes due to four fouls). The game in Fort Wayne this year also saw him pick up four fouls and he was limited to 24 minutes, a season low against D1 opposition. And he STILL scored 26.

In one aspect things look good for Omaha. They know what not to do (let Gaines take open threes and foul him while driving). If they get him in foul trouble and play better defense against him someone else will have to step up.

Of course in the first game this year Michael Kibiloski did by scoring 26 points on 8-11 shooting (5-7 from three). Mario Hines had 12 points and 12 rebounds too. Yikes. Just writing about this is getting me worried.

Yes Omaha seems to be playing better defense and better offense (though they were a pretty decent 1.03 ppp in the first matchup) but they need to actually do it again on Thursday night. Fort Wayne is a good sized and athletic team. Omaha will be challenged defensively and if they aren’t up for the challenge they’ll be in trouble.

Best Five Wins, ranked by RPI – realtimerpi.com
238 – South Dakota (62-60)
250 – Miami (Ohio) (57-56)
294 – Omaha (96-78)
296 – (Neutral) Texas Pan American (97-94)
304 – IUPUI (80-79)

Worst Five Losses, ranked by RPI – realtimerpi.com
318 – @ Navy (49-54)
304 – @ IUPUI (74-88)
295 – (Neutral) Eastern Illinois (67-68)
279 – Kansas City (59-63)
213 – @ Auburn (50-61)

Fort Wayne has played a decent amount of good teams but doesn’t have many great wins to show for it. Their best road win was at Dartmouth (306) and they have some bad road losses.

Omaha vs. Fort Wayne – Summit League Only Stats

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 48.7% 38.1% 66.7% 1.017 1.138 19.9 0.932 47.7% 49.9% 42.3% 18.0 45.8% 27.2% 62.5% 3.2
IPFW 43.6% 33.3% 65.0% 0.997 1.087 18.4 1.019 52.2% 51.6% 38.1% 19.0 53.0% 32.6% 72.6% 2.4
Favors.. Omaha Omaha Omaha Omaha IPFW IPFW IPFW IPFW Omaha IPFW IPFW IPFW IPFW IPFW Omaha

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

Omaha’s stronger on offense in the scoring categories but worse mostly on defense and rebounding. Also not as strong passing the ball.

Starters
Fort Wayne
Guard – Pierre Bland – 6-2 – Junior – Averaging 2.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 2.5 assists.
Guard – Frank Gaines – 6-3 – Senior – Averaging 18.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.5 steals.
Guard – Luis Jacobo – 6-5 – Junior – Averaging 10.7 points and 3.7 rebounds.
Forward – Mario Hines – 6-8 – Senior – Averaging 8.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks.
Forward – Michael Kibiloski – 6-7 –Junior – Averaging 6.9 points and 4.1 rebounds.

Omaha
Point Guard – CJ Carter – 6-0 – Sophomore – Averaging 9.2 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists.
Guard – Alex Phillips – 6-3 – Junior – Averaging 8.6 points and 2.5 rebounds.
Guard – Justin Simmons – 6-3 – Junior – Averaging 15.5 points and 3.8 rebounds.
Forward – Alex Welhouse – 6-7 – Senior – Averaging 8.0 points and 4.7 rebounds.
Center – John Karhoff – 6-8 – Junior –  Averaging 12.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists.

Three Things to Watch
1) Frank Gaines vs. Justin Simmons – I’m not sure if these two will guard each other but it certainly seems possible. Regardless of if they are actually facing each other, they will go against each other in terms of scoring and offense. Both can go for 30 but both have also been slowed at times. Two great scorers to watch on Thursday night.

2.) Rebounds – In the first matchup Omaha only grabbed 37% of the available boards and only 52% of the available defensive rebounds. It was way too many 2nd chances for the Mastodons who were already shooting great. Omaha has got to grab some defensive rebounds if they want to get this game. Justin Simmons had six of Omaha’s 16 defensive rebounds in the first matchup so expect him to crash hard from the perimeter. Mario Hines and Michael Kibiloski had eight offensive rebounds combined inside so a lot of pressure is on John Karhoff and Alex Welhouse to box their men out and go get the ball.

3.) Bench – Fort Wayne has a few bench players that can bother Omaha. Joe Edwards averages 7.2 and Kevin Harden averages 6.2. Omaha did a great job against the bench in the first game giving up only nine points in 46 minutes. Omaha also got some big bench scoring with Marcus Tyus playing 27 minutes and scoring 20 points. If Omaha has a performance like that again that will certainly help. Omaha only had five points off the bench at Kansas City and that probably won’t be enough unless the Maverick defense really shows up.

Prediction
I can’t pick against the hot Mavericks. Great offense lately and coming home for a big home game they’re going to be fired up and excited. I’ll take Omaha 86-81.

Massey – Fort Wayne wins 76-75
RealTimeRPI – Omaha wins 76-68

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