Tame the turnovers
App State enters Thursday’s matchup against Texas State with the worst turnover margin in the Sun Belt by a considerable amount. On the season, the Mountaineers commit an abysmal 15.8 turnovers per game, while only forcing an average of 11.9 turnovers per game.
Texas State, on the other hand, swarms on defense. Ranked third in the conference, the Bobcats commit as many turnovers as App State forces, but unlike the Mountaineers, the Bobcats force 15.3 turnovers per game.
Texas State is undoubtedly aware of this disparity, and will be looking to cause mistakes early and often. In their last head-to-head, the Bobcats forced 15 Mountaineer turnovers but still lost by a 20-point margin at the Holmes Convocation Center.
If I were the Mountaineers, I wouldn’t expect those same turnover numbers to yield the same results. They must cut their turnover numbers by two to three possessions if they are going to win this game.
Assault the Arc
It has been no secret this season: App State can shoot the 3-ball. The team shoots roughly 38 percent on the season, and Frank Eaves has lead the pack with 73 3-pointers this season.
Fortunately for App State, 3-point defense is one of the few areas defensively that Texas State struggles with. Texas State ranks ninth in the conference in 3-point defense, allowing opponents to drain roughly 36 percent of their shots from beyond the arc.
For a team that ranks No. 2 in the Sun Belt in overall defense, this is a glaring weakness for the Mountaineers to attack. A few early shots from 3-point land, as Golden State has shown in the NBA all season, can be absolutely deflating for a home crowd. Look to Eaves, Burgess and company to throw some haymakers early.
Spread the love
It has been the story all season for the Mountaineers: too many turnovers, not enough passing. Well, they’ve listened, and the assist numbers are on the rise. App State is now averaging 11.9 assists per game, and despite a few heartbreaking 1-point losses as of late, the team is on the rise.
Against a strong defense like Texas State’s, spreading the ball around will be the key to creating mismatches. Too often this season we’ve seen Eaves take a poor shot when an open shot was only one extra pass away, something that isn’t conducive to winning.
App State is on the fringe for the Sun Belt tournament next month, and spreading the love may be the perfect way to ensure they’re in the discussion come March.
Story by: Chris Warner, Sports Editor