Marshall comes into this matchup at 3-1 with their lone loss a surprising upset loss to Campbell. Marshall is a team who likes to run and push the tempo. Marshall is number 3 in the country in adjusted tempo meaning they get into their offense fast and like to run in transition. Marshall is 19th in the country in 2P percentage at 59.3% but they do struggle to shoot the 3 as they are only shooting 22.4% as a team (347th).
Marshall plays Louisiana Lafayette (ULL) who has really struggled to score the ball on this young season. ULL is dead last in the nation (358 out of 358 team) in effective FG% and 2P%. ULL lost their leading scorer from last season, Cedric Russell, who averaged 17 PPG as he transferred to Ohio State. This loss of their PG has really affected them as they have yet to score greater than 66 points against the 2 D1 opponents they’ve faced to this point.
ULL has struggled to score but they’ve really stepped up on the defensive side of the ball as they are number one in the country in Defensive TO% meaning they force a TO on 34.1% (#1) of all defensive possessions. They are also 6th in the country in steal percentage as well. Bottom line in this matchup is that I do not believe ULL will have enough offensive firepower to keep up with Marshall here.
Marshall is also 43rd in the country in rebounding (43 per game) and number 2 in the country in blocks per game (9.3). PF Obinna Anochili-Killen himself averages 5.5 blocks per game and is a big-time rim protector. ULL is a good defensive team but overall, I think the combination of Marshall ‘s up tempo offense and ability to block shots and rebound the ball on the defensive end will be too much for ULL to overcome. Final score prediction: Marshall 73-62
Providence has been a really nice surprise early this season as they have racked up impressive wins over Wisconsin and Northwestern. Providence is led by big man Nate Watson (19/6/2) and Indiana transfer Al Durham (15/4/2). Providence is a team that can play a number of different styles which is why they’ve been successful to this point. They can slow the game down and run effective and efficient half-court offense and they can also get out and run-in transition.
They face Virginia in this matchup and Virginia has the same problem as they always do. They just can’t score the ball but are playing very good defense. Virginia is 40th in the country in defensive efficiency but Providence is 52nd in adjusted offensive efficiency. I think Providence has more talent in this matchup and as long as they avoid long scoring droughts, I believe they’ll be able to win a low scoring game in this matchup.
Bellarmine faces Central Michigan in an interesting cross conference matchup. Bellarmine runs really efficient offense. They run a lot of motion with back door cuts, screens, dribble penetration and the ball never stops moving. They are led by senior guard Dylan Penn (16/5/5) who is the straw that stirs the drink. All offense goes through Penn, and he’ll likely be the best player on the floor in this matchup. Central Michigan is a dreadful defensive team as they are 326thin the country in defensive efficiency and 346th in the country in 2P percentage defense. Neither team is very good defensively, but I think this game will come down to which team has the better offense and better play making abilities and that team is Bellarmine here by a wide margin. Central Michigan has played a tough schedule which needs to be taken into account, but Bellarmine is the better team here and believe they’ll be able to come away with the win.