Not today, death.
After the previous week’s “performance”, many (including myself) didn’t expect Tech to be able to compete with conference-leading Marshall.
But never doubt the Dogs at home. Tech was able to stave off the Thundering Herd’s thundering comeback in the overtime thriller.
Although they only led for 47 seconds of the 45 minute game, Marshall nearly left the TAC with a win. With five seconds left in regulation, a layup by Daquan Bracey tied the game and forced the overtime period.
Marshall is a team that quite literally lives and dies by the three. When the Herd shoot better than 30% from deep, they are 10-1. Less than 30%, their record is 2-8.
So fortunately for Tech, Marshall was only 29.6% from 3 Thursday night.
Even after forcing the game into overtime, a win wasn’t a given for the Dogs due to a bench plagued with injuries. But Tech was able to go a nice 6-for-9 from the field and an uncharacteristic 83% from the charity stripe in OT to secure a nine point W.
I’m not too sure why we need to play these Saturday games anymore. We always know how they are going to go. When Tech loses a Thursday game, they always lose the following Saturday game (0-2). For every other Saturday game, the Bulldogs win (5-0). Why bother playing if it’s already known how it’s going to end?
But early on against WKU, it appeared this trend would be broken. The Bulldogs were down at the half by a touchdown, 28-21. But the team known for second-half adjustments did some second-half adjusting.
A 50% second-half field goal percentage brought the Dogs from down seven to up 12 at the final buzzer. Daquan Bracey provided 17 of those second-half points, a noticeable improvement over his 0 first-half points.
All eyes were on WKU’s 6’11 Charles Bassey, who leads the conference in points scored and is second in blocks. Offensively, Bassey had a great night, recording 16 points. But on the defensive side, the big man was limited to only six rebounds and zero blocks. On the other side of the court, Duruji showed the Bassey how it was done by logging four blocks and nine boards.
Record Probability Chart
Tomorrow night, two former Bulldogs come to town aboard the FAU team bus: forward Xavian Stapleton and head coach Dusty May (former Tech assistant).
But beyond the familiar faces, FAU looks a lot like the Marshall team we saw a week ago, at least on paper. Both schools like to shoot the 3 a lot and are solid from the free throw line. In the conference, Marshall ranks 2nd in three-pointers attempted and 1st in free throw percentage, while FAU ranks 3rd and 2nd, respectively.
Before we dub the Owls as “Marshall Lite”, there is one stat where Florida Atlantic far surpasses Marshall: rebounds.
While Marshall ranks dead last in offensive rebounding percentage, FAU comes in at fifth. And the Owls are even better on the defensive side of the ball, with a #1 rank in fewest offensive rebounds allowed.
So keep an eye on the rebounding differential throughout this game. The team with a positive number may just walk away with the win.
After Florida Atlantic, the Dogs will travel 56 miles down I-95 to Florida International on Saturday night. While FAU likes to shoot a lot from deep, FIU just likes to shoot a lot. The Panthers the sixth most field goal attempts, the fourth most three-point shots, and the most foul shots taken in the conference.
Taking a lot of shots hasn’t led to the highest percentages of makes, but the up-tempo FIU team makes enough baskets to rank 5th in the conference in points scored per game. The nation-leading 234 steals don’t hurt either.
One sore spot for the Panthers looks awfully familiar. As team, Florida International is terrible at free throws. The Panthers make 62% of these shots, 2nd worst in the conference.
Unfortunately, the only team FAU is better at in regards to FT% is Tech (59.5%)
Other People’s Predictions
Massey – Tech wins 70-68
KenPom – Tech wins 68-67
Massey – Tech wins 82-79
KenPom – Tech wins 80–78