Opponent Preview for 1/3/19: Samford

On Thursday, January 3rd the Bucs take on the Samford Bulldogs, the most surprising team in the SoCon, at a solid 11-4, ranked 5th in the SoCon by Kenpom at 160th in D1. This after a 10-22 season last year followed by a mass transfer of players. None of their top 7 scorers returned and their leading returning rebounder is 5-10 Josh Sharkey who averaged 2.1 last year. 

But 7-0 240 Senior USF transfer Ruben Guerrero (15.1 ppg but no 3’s; 8.5 rebounds, 2.1 blocks) and 6-5 200 Alabama transfer Brandon Austin (11.8 ppg on .428 with 2.6 makes from 3 and 4.3 rebounds) have been big time performers. 6-8 200 true freshman Robert Allen, called a “junkyard dog” by Padgett, scores 8.5 ppg mostly from short range and grabs 7.5 rebounds. 5-10 Jr Josh Sharkey has doubled his scoring from 7.3 last year to 14.5 and has found a 3 point shot (.361 with 0.9 makes up from .173 last year) to go with his 2.86 steals. 

Samford took #75 Belmont to OT in Birmingham, came within 13 of #11 Tennessee in Knoxville and gave #99 UNCG (without Dickey) all they could handle being tied at 75-75 with about a minute left, also in Birmingham. But they almost got whipped at home by non D1 Miles in a schedule that has been fairly weak. Highest ranked D1 wins have been over #139 Jacksonville St at home, #197 Purdue Fort Wayne on the road and #256 Morehead St in OT at home. Conference will be a tougher challenge for the Bulldogs. Once they get tested in the SoCon they could wind up looking better than we think they are now. Or not so good. 

3 pt percentage is a fine .392 (22nd in D1), but with only 7.2 makes (222nd in D1). Shooters are Austin (.436 with 2.6 makes), Kevion Nolan (.538 with 1.9 makes), and Sharkey (.361 with 0.9 makes).

Rebounding margin is +3.0 with 7-0 240 Senior USF transfer Ruben Guerrero snatching 8.5 (to go with 15.1 points), and 6-8 200 true freshman Robert Allen getting 7.6. 

Junior Josh Sharkey is 8th in D1 with 2.86 steals. Turnover margin is a weak -1.3.

FG% defense is a strong .388 (37th in D1) with shot blockers Guerrero (2.1) and Allen (0.8) patrolling the middle

Rotation is heavily dependent on 6 guys: 4 get 29 to 33 minutes (Guerrero, Allen, Brandon Austin and Josh Sharkey). JUCO Jr G Myron Gordon gets 26 and Soph G Kevion Nolan gets 21. Others get 11 minutes (Fr G Deandre Thomas and Fr F Logan Dye) or less with very limited production. 

The ETSU bigs should get a more physical challenge from Guerrero (a fine low post scorer and rebounder) and “Junkyard Dog” Allen than from Furman. Sharkey is still about the quickest guy in the league, although he got schooled by Isaiah Miller – but Daivien shouldn’t try to make it a 1 on 1 matchup. They did play UNCG very tough at home, leading 48-36 at half, and being tied at 75-75 at the end. Kenpom has us a 9 point favorite, 73-64. 

This should be a fun game, and a challenge. ETSU needs to play the kind of consistent 40 minute game we did against Furman. It would be great if they could get the kind of fan support that they got against Furman. Take care of business. 

Samford Guards:
#0 6-5 200 R-Jr Alabama Transfer Brandon Austin, 29.1 minutes, 11.8 ppg on .436 with 2.6 makes from 3, 4.3 rebounds
#3 5-10 170 Jr Josh Sharkey, 33.6 minutes, 14.5 ppg on .361 with 0.9 makes from 3, 4.1 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 4.7 t.o.’s and 2.86 steals
#4 6-3 180 Jr Myron Gordon, 26.6 minutes, 11.2 ppg on .273 with 0.7 makes from 3, 2.5 rebounds
#1 6-2 170 So Kevion Nolan, 21.5 minutes, 8.7 ppg on .538 with 1.9 makes from 3, 2.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1 t.o., 0.9 steals
#5 6-4 190 Fr Deandre Thomas, 11.6 minutes, 2.9 ppg on .444 from 3 with 0. 6 makes, 1.5 rebounds

Samford Front Court:
#32 7-0 240 R-Sr USF Transfer Ruben Guerrero, 29.3 minutes, 15.1 ppg on .644 FG%, no 3’s, 8.5 rebounds, 2.0 t.o.’s, 2.1 blocks
#21 6-8 200 Fr Robert Allen, 30.7 minutes, 8.5 ppg on .250 with 0.5 makes from 3, 7.6 rebounds, 2.0 t.o.’s, 0.8 blocks
#22 6-8 235 Fr Logan Dye, 10.6 minutes, 3.5 ppg on .571 FG%, no 3’s, 2.1 rebounds, 1.0 t.o.’s
#15 6-7 220 Sr Stefan Lakic, 7.6 minutes, 1.4 ppg, 1.5 rebounds

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