Opponent Preview for 2/2/19: Chattanooga

Today the Bucs will face the Chattanooga Mocs inside of Mckenzie Arena. The Mocs are 5-5 in conference, 10-13 overall and ranked #253 by Kenpom. That’s a big improvement over last year’s 3-15 and 10-23 overall. Their home loss Thursday to Western Carolina, only their 2nd home loss all year, was a major disappointment. The Catamounts had been their only SoCon road win and they came into Chattanooga and returned the favor.

At 5-5 in the SoCon, Chattanooga has won more games in conference than their stats would suggest. But that looks like an artifact of the schedule since all 5 of their wins have been against the lowest 5 ranked teams in the conference, and 4 of those 5 wins have been at home, with only the win against Western Carolina on the road. Since they play 4 of those 5 teams on the road the second time around, and their road record is 2-9, it is likely that their second half conference record won’t be as good. In Chattanooga they have beaten both Samford and Mercer. Their most impressive game to date was probably their loss at Wofford last week where they were leading the top ranked Terriers in Spartanburg 42-34 in the 2nd half, and were still tied with 11:00 to go before the Wofford pulled away. 

Their SoCon opponents outscore them (78.2-74.7), outrebound them (-4.9 rebound margin), and make fewer turnovers (-1.4 turnover margin). The Mocs are average SoCon defenders, holding SoCon opponents to .522 from 2 (5th)and 8.2 makes from 3 (4th ). They shoot 3’s well, .382 (3rd in conference) with 9.4 makes (4th in conference). But they don’t score that efficiently inside with a 6th in conference .535 from 2. And they shoot free throws almost as badly as the Bucs with a 9th in conference .696. It would be nice if the Bucs could get back to ruling the boards, and continue improving their turnover margin. 

In SoCon games six guys carry the load for the Mocs, averaging 23 to 29 minutes (6-6 230 Easley, 6-8 240 Vila and guards Toatley, Johnson, Jean-Baptiste, and Scott). Three others get 11 to 13 minutes: 7 footer Thomas Smallwood (4.9 ppg, 2.4 rebounds), 6-4 A.J. Caldwell ( 1.9 ppg, 1.4 rebounds) and 6-0 Fr Maurice Commander (2.0 ppg, 1.2 rebounds). Nobody else gets significant time or production. Of the top 6 players, 2 are freshmen (2 of the best freshmen in the league in 6-6 230 Kevin Easley with 17.1 ppg and 6.9 rebounds, and explosive 5-9 guard Donovann Toatley with 12.4 ppg and 2.9 assists), a 3rd player (6-8 240 transfer Ramon Vila) has only been eligible for 13 games and a 4th and 5th (Johnson and Scott) are transfers new to the rotation this year. Gr transfer Smallwood is the only Senior who plays. Which is to say that a team full of new additions may still be improving. Of course much the same could be said of the Bucs. 

The Bucs will be the first of the top 4 SoCon teams that the Mocs will face at home – they’d love to make them their first real conference upset of the season. Last time they played, the Bucs had one of their steadiest performances of the season, shooting well from 3 (9-18), well from the free throw line (15-20 75%), controlling the boards (37-27) and winning the turnover battle (12-13). It’ll be tougher to do at their place, but that’s the kind of game they need to get in the habit of playing.

Stats cited are conference only:
Front Court:
#34 6-6 230 Fr. Kevin Easley; 29.1 minutes, 17.1 ppg on .469 from 3 with 2.3 makes, 6.9 rebounds, 2.0 t.o.’s
#15 6-8 242 R-So. Ramon Vila; 25.1 minutes, 11.8 ppg, no 3’s, 5.1 rebounds 
#1 6-4 200 Jr. Jonathan Scott; 29.7 minutes, 6.9 ppg on .533 from 3 with 1.6 makes , 2.9 rebounds 
#33 7-0 241 Sr. Thomas Smallwood; 11.3 minutes, 4.9 ppg on .615 from 3 with 0.9 makes, 2.4 rebounds 
#22 6-7 211 Fr. Keigan Kerby; (6 of 10 games), 10.5 minutes, 2.3 ppg, .222 from 3 with 0.3 makes, 1.8 rebounds 
#25 6-10 205 R-Fr. Justin Brown; (7 of 10 conference games), 6.3 minutes, 0.9 ppg, no 3’s, 1.1 rebounds 

Guard:
#5 5-9 179 Fr. Donovann Toatley, 26.1 minutes, 12.4 ppg on .286 from 3 with 0.9 makes, 2.9 assists, 2.3 t.o.’s 
#3 6-1 191 R-So. David Jean-Baptiste; 31.2 minutes 10.1 ppg on .410 from 3 with 1.8 makes, 3.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.2 steals 
#2 6-1 220 R-Jr. Jerry Johnson, Jr.; 24.2 minutes, 10.0 ppg on .347 from 3 with 1.7 makes, 3.5 rebounds 
# 6-4 200 So. A.J. Caldwell; 13.7 minutes, 1.9 ppg, 1.4 rebounds 
#4 6-0 167 Fr. Maurice Commander (6 of 10 conference games), 12.8 minutes, 2.0 ppg on .083 from 3 with 0.2 makes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.