Preying on the Panthers

Lee Sanderlin

Crash The Offensive Glass

Heading into Thursday night’s matchup with conference foe Georgia State (12-4), the Mountaineers hold very few statistical advantages. The one significant statistical advantage they do hold is in the offensive rebounding category. According to kenpom.com the Mountaineers rebound their own misses 32 percent of the time, compared to just 23.3 percent of the time for Georgia State. If the Mountaineers can keep this edge, they should be able to create enough extra possessions to swing things in their favor.

Michael Obacha will play a big role in the rebounding battle as he has pulled down 11.9 percent of all available offensive rebounds when he sees the floor, which puts him in the top-125 nationally for offensive rebounding.

Share the ball

While it seems obvious, sharing the ball has been a major problem for the Mountaineers this season. App State only records an assist on 48.1 percent of all field goals made, ranking them 269 out of 351 teams.

One of the biggest members of the team at fault for this? Frank Eaves. Eaves uses 28.3 percent of the teams offensive possessions, meaning he either shoots it or turns it over 28.3 percent of the time he has the ball. But to go further than that, when Eaves is on the floor, he takes 31.1 percent of the teams available shots. There are only 50 players in the country that take more of their team’s shots than Eaves.

Defenses know this, and the best way for the Mountaineers to game plan against this is to use Eaves as a facilitator. By having him distribute the basketball, the defense will be forced to respect his teammates. With all the attention defenses will be giving him, he should be able to find his teammates for easy looks, opening up the floor for everyone.

Hit the 3, defend the 3

The Mountaineers’ biggest weapon on both sides of the ball is the 3-point shot. Appalachian State takes a ton of 3-pointers. So many that 38.8 percent of all their shots come from beyond the arc. Even better, they knock down 36 percent of those shots, which is well above the national average. Not only can the Mountaineers beat the opposition from beyond the arc, they ensure that they aren’t beat from beyond the arc. Only 25.4 percent of all shots against App State are 3-pointers, the second best mark in the country. If Georgia State is going to beat the Mountaineers, they’ll have to do it from inside the arc, which could pose a challenge if the Mountaineers’ big men can stay out of foul trouble.

Story by: Lee Sanderlin, Associate Sports Editor