Maverick Maniac's Musings

February 7, 2013

2012-13 Omaha Men’s Basketball – Game #26 Preview – Western Illinois

Filed under: Men's Basketball,Omaha Mavericks,Previews — Jon Green @ 4:15 pm

Omaha Men's Basketball Preview - Western Illinois - 2-7-13

Live Stats
Live Video ($10)
Live Audio (Free – Western Illinois Feed)

Omaha’s three game winning streak was due, at least in part, to having a nice schedule during that stretch. The same can be said if the Mavericks lose back-to-back games by failing to upset Western Illinois tonight. Expectations were not that Omaha would beat Oakland at home or win at Western Illinois. Failing to pull back-to-back upsets is not a bad thing if Omaha plays well.

Western Illinois
It’s no guarantee that Omaha will play well of course. Don’t forget that in the game back at the Ralston Arena, Omaha gave up 1.30 points per possession, the best number Western Illinois had posted in over seven years. The Mavericks were on the wrong side of a 75-47 run during the game and while they were able to make it a close game and only lose by 15 it could have been so much worse. Don’t expect too much tonight, Western Illinois is a team that forces their opponents to make good decisions and play smart basketball.

They will be efficient on offense and move the ball really well. On defense they’ll take away from Omaha from the Mavericks will want. Justin Simmons will be challenged tonight. A lot of what he did in the first game came in the final closing minutes.

I wonder if UNO will run any press at Western Illinois after seeing how well it worked in the final minutes of the first game. Could be worth a shot.

What I’m looking for in this one is for UNO to stay in it for a while and show some improvement over the last few weeks. Omaha needs to play much better defense in this one and also rebound the ball better. If they do those things well it’s quite possible this game is closer than the first one. A slow pace could lead to a tighter game as well.

Best Five Wins, ranked by RPI –
64 – North Dakota State (50-42)
122 – Illinois-Chicago (70-54)
127 – Savannah State (39-35)
145 – Oakland (73-63)
224 – (Neutral) Yale (59-47)

Worst Five Losses, ranked by RPI –
271 – @ SIU-Edwardsville (50-62)
145 – @ Oakland (60-67)
137 – @ Evansville (44-49)
127 – @ Savannah State (38-39)
66 – South Dakota State (53-59)

Quite a few good wins and only loss at home, to South Dakota State. Omaha would clearly be the worst loss of the season.

Omaha vs. Western Illinois – 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 50.1% 38.2% 69.2% 1.031 1.144 20.1 0.921 46.7% 49.5% 39.5% 17.0 45.4% 26.4% 62.3% 3.3
WIU 46.9% 40.4% 69.4% 1.061 0.950 17.1 1.241 58.4% 40.7% 32.0% 16.0 50.5% 25.9% 71.7% 4.6

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

Western Illinois better at most everything. Omaha with an edge in shooting, opponent’s turnover rate, and offensive rebounding. Notice that while Omaha is better at offensive rebounding (not that they are great) they are well behind Western Illinois on the defensive side. That’s why Western Illinois is a much better overall rebounding team.

Expected Starters
Western Illinois
Guard – Ceola Clark – 6-3 – Senior – Averaging 11.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.7 steals.
Guard – Remy Roberts-Burnett – 6-0 – Sophomore – Averaging 6.6 points and 2.4 assists.
Forward – Jack Houpt – 6-7 – Senior – Averaging 7.7 points and 4.2 rebounds.
Forward – Adam Link – 6-6 – Junior – Averaging 9.4 points and 3.8 rebounds.
Center – Terell Parks – 6-7 – Senior – Averaging 12.9 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks.

Point Guard – CJ Carter – 6-0 – Sophomore – Averaging 9.6 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists.
Guard – Alex Phillips – 6-3 – Junior – Averaging 8.7 points and 2.6 rebounds.
Guard – Justin Simmons – 6-3 – Junior – Averaging 16.2 points and 3.8 rebounds.
Forward – Alex Welhouse – 6-7 – Senior – Averaging 8.0 points and 4.5 rebounds.
Center – John Karhoff – 6-8 – Junior -  Averaging 12.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists.

Three Things to Watch
1) Justin Simmons – Justin Simmons did lead UNO with 18 points in the first game, but scored 12 of those in the comeback after being down 20. Omaha needs him to get going early or by the time he does start scoring it might be too late. I’m a bit concerned though since last time until he was getting fast break chances he wasn’t able to do much and Western Illinois did a great job on him.

2.) John Karhoff vs. Terell Parks – John Karhoff did pretty good in this situation last time. He limited Terell Parks to 19 points and 11 rebounds and grabbed seven of his own along with ten points. Karhoff usually tends to play better on the offensive side in matchups like this and if he can do well on the offensive end it tends to make up for some of his defensive struggles against a guy like Parks. He also needs to avoid fouls as he’s gotten into foul trouble on a few occasions this year. Don’t want to see him taking defensive possessions off or just letting a guy score, but sometimes it’s better to give up a good look once you’ve been beaten than to pick up a foul.

3.) Good start – On the road against a tough opponent like this I don’t think Omaha can afford to fall behind. I’m not sure the Mavericks are strong enough defensively to get lots of stops when they need them if they get down big. By keeping pace/taking an early lead Omaha can get into a situation where great offensive play alone keeps them in it. If they are in the game late, anything is possible.

Not going to go way out on a limb and pick an upset. Not even really going to call this one close. Western Illinois is a dang good team and well rested right now. If they don’t come out rusty I expect them to be in control throughout. I’ll take the Leathernecks 81-64. Might be underrating Omaha’s offense but with a slower pace expected it’s not as bad as it might look. I’m also going to predict that Justin Simmons doesn’t score 20 points tonight. not a huge limb but he has done it in four straight games.

Massey – Western Illinois wins 75-58
RealTimeRPI – Western Illinois wins 70-51


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