Thursday, February 22, 2007

On the road looking for a 3rd straight W

Looking to set the season record for Blocks Thursday

The Fresno State Bulldogs face the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Thursday (5pm pacific) in a game that will decide which team can extend its winning streak to 3. FSU comes in with wins over New Mexico State and Sam Houston State while La Tech enters with victories over Idaho and Southeast Missouri State.

A look at La Tech:

Tech features two players scoring in double figures in guard Trey McDowell and forward Chad McKenzie at 13.4 and 13.2 points respectively, they are integral to the ultimate performance of their team. As those two play, so goes their team.

In the last meeting between the two teams the Bulldogs of Fresno State were able to get the best of visiting La Tech 70-64. FSU was able to outshoot La Tech from the field (45%-38%) from three (40%-25%) and from the line (74%-57%).

One area of success for La. Tech is their ability to crash the offensive boards with reckless abandon. There are always 4 players hitting the boards, with the 5th player willing to take risks in attacking the offensive glass.

The offensive rebounding is critical because of La. Techs inability to shoot a high percentage from the field. If they are only going to shoot 35-40% then they must increase shot attempts and possessions to make up for the lack of shooting prowess.

Lastly, Tech is opportunistic defensively and will force teams into turnovers. They favor a grind it out pace where they can exert themselves physically and outwork opponents on the glass.

A look at FSU:

The Bulldogs enter off of the big 78-60 victory over Sam Houston State. Guard Eddie Miller scored a career high 27 points and Quinton Hosley added a double-double. Bench production was also great scoring 22 points with Alex Blair scoring 8 and Tyson Parker scoring 12.

The only issue was forward Dominic McGuires early second half foul trouble. He cannot repeat those type of unwarranted, silly fouls in a road game. Coach Steve Cleveland needs 30 minutes of unhampered play by McGuire, who also is only 2 blocks shy of the single season school record.

One area of success recently has been the increase in field goal percentage. That number cannot dip much below 40% for the Bulldogs to remain successful. Eddie Miller must continue to shoot the ball well and must find quality shots early in the game.

Bench production is also key and contributions from Alex Blair, Sean Taylor, and Tyson Parker will be important. Each minute of quality play the three can provide puts the Bulldogs in a better position to come away from Ruston with their 3rd consecutive victory.

MBs Take:

I think this is one road game that the Dogs can win. The keys are simple:

-Shoot 40% or better from the field
-Shoot 70% or better from the line
-Hold La. Tech to 10 or less offensive rebounds
-Do not turn the ball over more than 10 times
-Share the basketball and show patience on the offensive end

In my opinion they will accomplish these goals or be darn near them. Dominic McGuire will break the record for blocks in a season, and the Bulldogs will win their third in a row by 4 points.

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