March 3, 2011

Quarterfinals Preview, IUPUI v UMKC

The final quarterfinal game is between IUPUI and UMKC, and lucky for me the match up is promising for the Jaguars. Despite losing in Kansas City early in the season, Ron Hunter and his guys know how to take adversity and turn it into victories in March.

Game Info

Round: Quarterfinals
Game: #3 IUPUI v #6 UMKC
Date: Saturday, March 5
Time: 8:30 p.m. Central Standard Time
TV: Midco Sports Net/ESPN Full Court/

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Team Breakdown

3. IUPUI 18-13 (12-6) 127
RPI: 112
SOS: 140
Streak: W-1
Last 10: 7-3
Top Scorer: Alex Young, 19.8 Points/Game
Top Floor Shooter: Christian Siakam, 63.6% Fieldgoal
Top Sharp Shooter: Stephen Thomas, 40.6% Three-Point
Team Fieldgoal Percent: 47.2% (3rd Summit, 25th National)
Team Possessions/Game: 64.1 (9th Summit, 319th National)
Team Turnovers/Game: 11.1 (2nd Summit, 22nd National)

Player To Watch: Alex Young
Much like Dominique Morrison for Oral Roberts, Young can do absolutely anything for the Jaguars. Young is averaging a league high 36.6 minutes per game, in addition to leading the league in points (19.8 points/game). He leads his team in steals (1.4 steals/game), rebounds (6.5 rebounds/game), and usage (54.4%). He has scored in single digits only once this year, and over twenty points 16 times. There is no one in the league, and maybe not in the country, that can score the way he can at the rim. If you're debating watching any Summit League Tournament games, make sure you check him out.

Most Underrated Player: Christian Siakam
From the bench in the first few games to a cult hero at IUPUI, Christian is one of the catalysts for this team. His break out game came against IPFW on the road, taking a heap run of confidence and blowing up for his first double-double of the season. In Fort Wayne, Siakam played a career high 34 minutes, scoring a career high 20 points (9-13 FG), and - to that point - a career high 11 rebounds with seven of those boards being on the offensive side of the ball. Since then, the offense always started inside with him and worked its way out to everyone else.


7. UMKC 16-13 (9-9) 242
RPI: 211
SOS: 286
Streak: L-3
Last 10: 5-5
Top Scorer: Jay Couisnard, 17.7 Points/Game
Top Floor Shooter: Jay Couisnard, 49.1% Fieldgoal
Top Sharp Shooter: Bakari Lewis, 40.7% Three-Point
Team Fieldgoal Percent: 43.4% (8th Summit, 183rd National)
Team Possessions/Game: 68.0 (8th Summit, 176th National)
Team Turnovers/Game: 13.9 (7th Summit, 216th National)

Player To Watch: Jay Couisnard
If anyone could win this game for the 'Roos, it's the senior Couisnard. He's in the top three at UMKC in points (17.7), minutes (33.4), rebounds (5.6), assists (1.5), fieldgoal percent (49.1%), steals (1.2), blocks (0.6), points per shot (1.16) efficiency fieldgoal (55.7%), and usage (50.5%). To say his performance is important for the success of UMKC is...well...the most obvious thing anyone could say. They cannot win if he isn't playing well.

Most Underrated Player: Spencer Johnson
Johnson's inside presence is extremely important for the undersized UMKC squad. He's pulled down over 10 rebounds 11 times, with eight double-doubles. He's only 6'6", but always seems to be able to find a way to snag caroms from larger, stronger guys in the paint.


What If...

IUPUI Wins If: They can control the paint. Getting good looks inside for everyone, not just Christian and Alex, are what helped the Jaguars beat the Roos in their second match up. IUPUI is a much better team when all five guys on the floor feel confident enough to attack inside.

UMKC Wins If: They can force IUPUI to take jump shots. UMKC isn't a great team at any one thing or another, so their ability to disrupt IUPUI's game plan is just as, if not more, important than anything they might have planned.



True, IUPUI does not play well on the road. However, UMKC had similar struggles and on a neutral floor I don't see the 'Roos standing much of a legitimate chance. The sheer athleticism of Young, Siakam, Leroy Nobles, and the rest of the Jaguar squad will be far too much for UMKC to handle. It will be close for the first ten minutes or so, but not long after that.

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