EMU Thread

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EMU Thread

Postby Commissioner » Sat Nov 24, 2018 1:30 pm

Eastern Michigan
When: Saturday, November 24, 2:00 p.m.
Where: Ypsilanti
TV: ESPN+
Radio: Superstation AM 910; WEMU 89.1 FM for EMU Broadcast

It’ll be a battle of the zones, and the football haters special, as the rapidly improving Titans take on Eastern Michigan at Ypsilanti, directly opposite the second half of the Michigan-Ohio State game for the Big 10 East title. The goal here is for the Titans to beat a solid MAC team on the road, but the Titans will also face a team that plays almost exclusively zone defense for the first time this year. The Emus were the preseason favorite to win the MAC West, and while they’ve been erratic this year (4 points in the first half against Rutgers?), they’ll enter the game at 4-2 and should provide a serious test for mapping the Titans’ progress. Beating Loyola of Maryland and Bowling Green at home was one thing. Beating a MAC favorite on the road is another. On the other hand, it’s what we might call an “easy” road game—a short bus trip to Ypsi, and it’s not like there will be 7000 screaming fans there. Indeed, EMU might be lucky to break 700 in attendance, since the second half of the Michigan/OSU football game should kick off at about the same time as tipoff in Ypsi.

The Titans, of course, have been on fire, making 32 of 55 three-point attempts against Loyola and Bowling Green to start the week. It’s easy to look good with that type of downtown shooting percentage. A 4-21 night in Ypsi could change that pretty quick. There are going to be some bumps this season, and this could definitely be one of them. That said, right now I’m feeling pretty good about this game.

Ben Braun had built Eastern into a very solid program in the late 1980s and 1990s, but after he left for the job at Cal, things deteriorated rapidly under his successor, Milton Barnes. By the time Rob Murphy was hired to turn things around, EMU had had just one winning season in the prior 11 years. It feels to me like Murphy is a new coach, but he's now in his 8th year as head coach at EMU. He’s stabilized the program and had some success (2 CIT appearance, 1 CBI, three 20-win seasons, and an overall .543 winning percentage). He’s also had quite a few good players come through—Ray Lee, Karrington Ward, Willie Mangum, James Thompson. But he's not been able to take the next step as a program. He’s not won a MAC division title or reached a conference tournament title game, and has alternated winning and either losing or .500 seasons in conference play. Murphy’s scheduling philosophy is the opposite of Mike Davis—under Murphy, EMU routinely schedules the maximum allowable 4 games against non-D1 competition. Those games pad the win totals, but aren't impressive—all of Murphy's 20-win seasons have relied on 3-4 Non-D1 games to make that milestone, and Murphy’s overall record at EMU drops from 133-112 to 108-112 when those games are removed from the equation. But Eastern seems to have decided that’s good enough. Eastern’s a hard place for a coach to win. It could be worse.

Last year was Murphy’s best at EMU, 22-13 with a second place finish in the MAC West, and he’s got 4 starters and 6 of his 8 rotation players back from that team. They’ve beaten Drexel and Boston U. at home, along with a couple of non-D1 cupcakes, but lost badly to Duke and Rutgers. They scored just 13 points in the first half against Duke, and outdid that with just 4 against Rutgers—a record low for any team in any half since the shot clock was instituted over 30 years ago. A slow start also plagued them against BU. Though they eventually won by 18, they trailed until ending the first half with an 8-0 run.

The big guy for Eastern—in every way—is 6-10, 240 lb. senior center James Thompson, a three-time All-MAC selection who has averaged a double-double every year. But Thompson in some ways epitomizes the Murphy era—good, but after showing great promise early, not turning the corner to become dominant. His first three seasons are, statistically, all but interchangeable: 14.8 ppg, 10.6 rpg; 14.8 and 11.2; 14.5 and 11.2 for the top line numbers. And they even get more similar if one digs deeper into the numbers (for example, he’s averaged 0.8 steals each year). Thompson also tends to disappear at times right when EMU needs him most—for example, he took just 4 shots in the fiasco at Rutgers.

Thompson has been joined by 6-11, 241 lb. junior Boubacar Toure in a “twin towers” formation this year. Boubacar started the first 5 games but came off the bench in the last outing against Rutgers. Seeing as how that game started out for EMU, if I were Murphy I’d put Toure back in the starting lineup. But we’ll see. 6-9 senior Elijah Minnie is the “small forward,” and averaged almost 17 points per game last year. But his production is way down this year, mainly because he was MIA against Duke and Rutgers, with combined two game totals of 2 points on 1 for 15 shooting. The starting guards are senior Paul Jackson and junior Demari Parris, a transfer from Western Kentucky. Between the five, that’s a lot of age and a lot of experience.

How will EMU attack the Titan zone? The textbook move would be to have the point guard Jackson work it to Thompson or Toure at a high post. But neither of the big guys is a particularly good passer, and neither has the little 12-15 foot jumper that would add to their effectiveness in that role. Minnie could probably man that high post effectively.

The second option is to use screens, player and ball movement until you get that open three, or something out of the short corner. But EMU doesn’t have good three point shooters. Minnie is the best of the starters, but he’s only a career 34% shooter, and he’s actually been below that each of the last two years and so far this year. The point guard, Jackson, was under 30% last year and is again so far this year, and the off-guard, Parris, is shooting 31.6% this year after making 33% (in just 21 attempts) for Western Kentucky in 2017. Thompson, Toure, and 6-9 soph Jalen King, who started the Rutgers game, don’t shoot threes at all. Eastern’s best three-point threat is a name familiar to long-time Titan fans, Kevin McAdoo, son of the all-time Titan assist leader of the same name. It wouldn’t be surprising if McAdoo logs a few more minutes than usual. Certainly Minnie or Jackson could have a hot night and knock down 4 or 5 treys; or EMU could just figure to kill us on the offensive glass, and that might work. But entering the game this doesn’t seem like the winning strategy for EMU.

A third option is the penetration attack. Jackson is also capable of penetrating the zone and dishing off to the bigs if he can draw a couple defenders to him. But much there will depend on how Detroit reacts, and it’s hard to get all the way to the hoop on a dribble drive against the zone. A penetration attack may just allow the Titans to collapse in the middle, neutralizing EMU’s bigs.

I won’t be shocked if Murphy chooses an unorthodox option—just throw it over the zone. Put the big guys down low, maybe in a double post by the hoop, and lob it in there. With EMU’s size advantage, it could work, and it seems more adapted to the team’s personnel than the more traditional attacks.

In the end, it may not matter what attack EMU uses--one can easily see Thompson and Toure gobbling up a host of offensive rebounds against the zone and scoring on put backs. Toure is a career 57.1 percent shooter; Thompson 62.8 percent.

If Eastern is successful at getting it to Toure and Thompson, the best Titan strategy may be to put Gjysma & Nguidjol into the game and tell them to foul hard every time they get beat. Toure and Thompson are both miserable foul shooters (as in Jaleel Hogan bad, though Thompson has shot better in past years). Since they they take most of EMU’s foul shots, the Eagles rank 351 in the country in free throw percentage, despite the fact that Minnie (86%) and Parris (83%) are excellent free throw shooters, and Jackson (75%) adequate.

Anyway, we’ll see what Eastern does, and also see how the Titans go about attacking Eastern’s zone.

The Titans are 58-18 all time against EMU, a regular opponent since 1910. But the Eagles have won the last two meetings, 87-61 in the 2016-17 season, and 88-73 in 2015-16. The Titans had won 9 in a row before that.

Go Titans!

Probable Eastern Starters
PG: Paul Jackson, 6-2 RS Sr. (13.7 ppg, 4.5 apg)
SG: Demari Parris, 6-1 RS Jr. (6.2 ppg)
F: Elijah Minnie, 6-9 RS Sr. (9.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg)
PF: Boubacar Toure, 6-11 RS Jr. (9.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 65.7% FG)
C: James Thompson IV, 6-10 Sr. (8.3 ppg, 9.2 rpg).

Key Reserves
G: Kevin McAdoo, 6-2 Soph. (8.0 ppg, 41.2% Career 3PtFG)
G: Malik Ellison, 5-8 Soph. (3.0 ppg, 2.0 apg)
F: Ty Groce, 6-7 Soph. (2.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg)
F: Jalen King, 6-9 Soph. (1.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg)
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Re: EMU Thread

Postby Rogobob77 » Sat Nov 24, 2018 1:52 pm

Road trip! Headed to Ypsi now to catch the action live and up close.
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Re: EMU Thread

Postby Tacitus651 » Sat Nov 24, 2018 4:12 pm

As stated by the broadcasters, we are a top 10 team when it comes to 3 pt field goal percentage:
https://www.ncaa.com/stats/basketball-m ... t/team/152
"Anything that can be done in college basketball can be done from right here.” - Coach Davis
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Re: EMU Thread

Postby NC Titan » Sat Nov 24, 2018 4:24 pm

We certainly need a big guy, don't we?
#DetroitsCollegeTeam #OurCityOurTime
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Re: EMU Thread

Postby TitanVoiceofReason » Sat Nov 24, 2018 5:16 pm

Another First for our team...….A Road Win!!!
Last edited by TitanVoiceofReason on Sat Nov 24, 2018 6:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: EMU Thread

Postby Resurget Cineribus » Sat Nov 24, 2018 5:21 pm

Nice!!
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Re: EMU Thread

Postby TitanVoiceofReason » Sat Nov 24, 2018 5:26 pm

our 3 point shooting has been incredible
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Re: EMU Thread

Postby TitanVoiceofReason » Sat Nov 24, 2018 5:29 pm

does anyone know why Tra'Quan Knight didn't play?
Last edited by TitanVoiceofReason on Sat Nov 24, 2018 5:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: EMU Thread

Postby titanmac » Sat Nov 24, 2018 5:29 pm

yeaaah.....
In Greek mythology, the Titans were greater even than the gods. They ruled their universe with absolute power! Well that basketball court out there tonight, that's our universe. Let's rule it like Titans! (with apologies to coach boon)
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Re: EMU Thread

Postby titandave » Sat Nov 24, 2018 5:36 pm

NC Titan wrote:We certainly need a big guy, don't we?

Totally agree; we could really use Harrison Curry, especially in a game like this one where Blackshear did not play well.
Last edited by titandave on Sat Nov 24, 2018 5:45 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: EMU Thread

Postby TitanVoiceofReason » Sat Nov 24, 2018 5:37 pm

The 3 Stars of the Game
chosen by Tony Paul :D

1. Josh McFolley
2. James Thompson IV
3. Cole Long
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Re: EMU Thread

Postby ptctitan » Sat Nov 24, 2018 6:14 pm

It's a win! On the road! Vs another MAC team with superior size. That's all that matters.
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Re: EMU Thread

Postby Tacitus651 » Sat Nov 24, 2018 6:17 pm

This win should really help us in Tony Paul’s State of Michigan D1 rankings. I don’t think anything matters more than that.
"Anything that can be done in college basketball can be done from right here.” - Coach Davis
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Re: EMU Thread

Postby Resurget Cineribus » Sat Nov 24, 2018 6:17 pm

ptctitan wrote:It's a win! On the road! Vs another MAC team with superior size. That's all that matters.


+1 and favored to win their division
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Re: EMU Thread

Postby titanmac » Sat Nov 24, 2018 6:19 pm

kent state next!
In Greek mythology, the Titans were greater even than the gods. They ruled their universe with absolute power! Well that basketball court out there tonight, that's our universe. Let's rule it like Titans! (with apologies to coach boon)
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Re: EMU Thread

Postby Oudrummer » Sat Nov 24, 2018 6:59 pm

That’s a nice win for you guys.
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Re: EMU Thread

Postby ptctitan » Sat Nov 24, 2018 7:10 pm

Coaching makes a difference. EMU got its huge rebounding advantage in the first half. Again, as vs Loyola, we made a defensive adjustment at the half. This time, Thompson IV and Toure did not rebound as effectively. When I checked the stats after the game, we were 19-19 rebounding vs EMU in 2nd half.

BTW, Knight did play at the very end of the game. Zone defense kinda negates his game of slash and drive.
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Re: EMU Thread

Postby Resurget Cineribus » Sat Nov 24, 2018 7:12 pm

Oudrummer wrote:That’s a nice win for you guys.


+1 thanks OU!
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Re: EMU Thread

Postby titandave » Sat Nov 24, 2018 7:18 pm

TitanVoiceofReason wrote:our 3 point shooting has been incredible

Indeed; the Titans shot 50% from behind the arc. Other favorable statistics for UDM ; assist to turnover ratio (19 to 7) and FT shooting of 79%.
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Re: EMU Thread

Postby 1975SHjoe » Sat Nov 24, 2018 7:49 pm

coaching adjustment at halftime to cut down on the lob dunks was huge. The trip to EMU was worth it. IMO Cole Long was by far the unsung hero. He connected on his first five shots and finished @6 -8 = 13 points.EMU put Davis under pressure , many times with two defenders on him. Cole Long shooting provided the team with confidence as a third option. We defensively challenged EMU to make three's and they ended at 6-27 or 22% Josh was excellent (except the technical) going 6-10 from 3 point land. Davis had a slow start missing his first 5, ending up with 8-23 for 24 points. He and Josh played the full forty minutes. After the game Antoine Davis came over the the Titan bench and applauded the Titan fans. What a classy young man!!
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