#213 Eastern Michigan @ #45 R.P.I. Virginia Tech:
The Austin Peay of D-1 men’s hoops is in town for the Holidays. Or more like the gang that couldn’t shoot straight. Coach Rob Murphy is a Syracuse homeboy who has come back to his D-town (Detroit) roots and brought a whole lotta Orange with him; literally. Not only has he brought Coach Boeheim’s signature 2-3 match-up zone defense, he has raided or solicited the services of several Orangemen transfers and a couple of other localized kids who will be eligible in 2011-2012 and should contribute rather smartly once they are back in their Michigan nest.
In the meantime the Eagles are playing 2011-2012 with next year and beyond in mind. As this is about the lowest rung on the scoring ladder this side of the number “zero” itself. This is not a team who can draw Ace-10 in twenty-one or have to worry about going back to “11” very often. Sexxy or Q-score are categories that the these Eagles simply can not take flight in as Ralph “mouth” and Pottsie Webber have more swag’ (swager) than this club does combined.
As of now these Eagles appear to be ground in a 3 or 4 Guard offensive attack centered around one useful big and nearly 14` of nothing beyond him.
To rip the Band-Aid and be directly, this is one of the worst basketball teams that Seth and company have ever hosted inside of Cassell Coliseum. If Virginia Tech hooping beat downs are your thing you’ve come to the right place.
Happy Hokie Holidays indeed!
Eastern Michigan at a glance:
- 338th in scoring (last at 55.1 ppg)
- 334th in assists (8.7)
- 323rd in FG% from the floor (37.6)
- 299th in 3-point FG% (28.8)
- 80th in scoring defense allowed (62.4)
Eastern Michigan frontcourt:
#34 5`10“ 170 lb. senior point-guard Darrell Lampley (unpredictably) leads the way for the Eagles with 15.3 points per game on a team where points themselves are hard to come by to put it mildly (see last best in national scoring above). When such is the case 15.3 points per game are about as “precious” as Golum’s beloved one-ring itself. Likewise precious is Mr. Lampley’s shooting on a team that is simply not known for its marksmanship; again, to put it mildly. 86% from the FT-line and 37% from downtown paces the Eagles in both categories. Ditto Mr. Lampley’s team leading 2 dimes (assists) and 1.5 steals and 42 FTA’s, all first best as 2011-2012 Eagle metrics go. Can you say M.V.P.? I can too and so can Mr. Lampley, as he is the only Eagle who would have much of any shot (pun intended) to contribute inside the Atlantic Coast at Virginia Tech.
After Mr. Lampely offense is scarce up in Ypsilanti Michigan, and I dare you to say that one three-times fast. Next in scoring is off-Guard and junior year 6`3“ 180 lb. Derek Thompson. Derek was the one pre-season potential honors candidate for Coach Murphy though his contemporary campaign has been nearly linear –if not a little behind- in comparison to his last. 8.6 points per game, 33% from range a couple of boards and not much else; as Derek has yet find his 2011 legs and pick up where he left off last spring. Next in scoring in Coach Murphy’s three-Guard line-up is 6`3“ 180 lb. sophomore J.R. Sims with 8 per game on the nose. J.R. Sims is a slash-n-burn lead-Guard with limited distance on his J (jumper); though he has nearly doubled his 2010 metrics across the board; showcasing an upward ceiling for the Eagles. Antonio Green is yet another, yup, you guessed it, 6`3“ interchangeable senior season Guard. Antonio nets you 6 points and collects 4 rebounds and does have a little bit of physicality to his game. Even if he is only a 29% shooter on the season!
Eastern Michigan backcourt:
Leading the way in board-work is Jamell Harris a legitimate Power-Forward defensive and shot-blocking specialist who could likely contribute off the end of Coach G’s bench in Blacksburg VA. Jamell stands in a 6`9“ 215 lbs. in his third year and gives you 6.3 boards, almost 7 points and 1.5 blocks per contest. True Center Matthew Balkema is nothing if not tall at 6`10“ and an outright bulky 285 lbs. Matt is limited on the offensive end though he does push and shove his way to 6 points, 3 boards and a block here and there. Matt however does not play as large and in charge as his size would suggest and is not the most mobile big I’ve seen down in the Pivot. Likewise rather lengthy is 6`10“ 210 lb. beanpole with the emphasis on “pole” as in Tranow Poland where Kamili Janton hails from. Kamili is a senior year frontcourt sub who has come about as far as he is gonna go as his 2 points, 3 rebound on 58% shooting suggests. Anthony Strickland and Quinton Dailey fill out the Eagles playing rotation with 2 points and a couple of boards apiece as ‘tweener for coach Murphy, –although Dailey can shoot a little bit from beyond the arc (31%).
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Conclusion(s), illation, prediction:
I tried to find, beg, borrow, or even steal a way in which to somehow predict a competitive game, much less an Eagle upset win. This one is gonna be naughty and nice. Naughty if you are an Eagle fan as your team is about to crash and burn, nice if you are Seth Greenberg and company as you enjoy 40 more minutes of glorified holiday cheer in which to tinker and putter with anything and everything you deign .The VT hind-5 could give Eastern Michigan a game, the VT starters will give E.M.U. a fit.
That said; Seth and company have made some nice strides in the last 10 odd days; albeit it vs. what can only be described as limited competition at best. Is such paper improvement or bona fide advancement in O&M hoopology terms? Time will tell on that one, as VT’s lack of Lane or Key denial is gonna be a problem if access to the rim is not denied. Ditto my curiosity as to what will happen on nights where Seth’s crew just so happens to go cold from range and VT must rely on something other than outside shooting to stay in the game or flat out win the day. Additionally, I am curious to see how the VT playing rotation finally solidifies itself, all the more so in frontcourt terms where contributions have been uneven at best. Finally, it would be no bad thing to see Rankin (who is speedy) and Green (who is fast enough) to put the pedal to the O&M medal and attempt to up tempo VT into easy baskets as he who lives by the outside sword dies by the outside sword, eventually, given enough 3-point shots or enough A.c.c. conference games where scouting and tendencies will be at a premium.
Virginia Tech=77 Eastern Michigan=52