Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Kent State 70, West Virginia 60

[recap] [box score]

I watched Drexel's win at Rider and College of Charleston's defeat of Morehead State, but not closely enough to write about (I was barely awake, and once I had my eggnog latte, I had a little work to do). I watched Kent State's "upset" of West Virginia and came away impressed with another MAC team.

One thing I found particularly interesting was that Kent State double-teamed both Deniz Kilicli and Kevin Jones in the post. Neither Kilicli nor Jones is so dangerous in the pivot as to command a double team, and so the scouting report must have been that those guys struggle to handle the double team -- or that they were never faced with it, and so it would surprise them. Maybe I'm just used to watching a lot of pro ball, but it had been a while since I had seen a team double a post player with the intention of forcing a turnover, not just getting the ball out of his hands.

It worked; Kilicli and Jones had trouble finding open teammates, and when they did, Kent State's rotations were outstanding. (Much better than WVU's when they doubled.) And so after a first half in which they were killed on the glass, the Golden Flashes dug in in the second half and won fairly easily on the road.

For the Mountaineers' part, they are going to need to find some offense. Kilicli is a good option (and he's one of the rare guys on his team who can consistently knock down free throws), but other than that, none of the returning options are great. Jones has an inconsistent jumper, and Truck Bryant can get out of control at times. Freshman Jabari Hinds has some real shake-and-bake to his game, but he needs to make better decisions before he can be considered a real option.

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