A very frustrating 0-3 day on Wednesday and I’ve now admittedly hit a bit of an early season skid. Hopefully today will be the start of coming out of that funk. Not much to work with on the limited slate of games but I did find one worth taking a shot on, here we go…
Fairfield (-2.5): Not exactly a marquee matchup as Oakland battles Fairfield in what figures to be some low quality basketball. Neither team is one I’m doing backflips about, but to put it frankly I see more concerning issues with Oakland. We’ll focus on the defensive end where right now everything is a nightmare for the Grizzlies. They are 340th in defensive efficiency, 337th in effective FG% defense, and down the list we could go. They can’t defend the 3, they can’t defend in the paint, they don’t create turnovers, and in short it’s just easiest to say they are a horrible defensive basketball team. On top of all that is the fact that despite actually having decent size on the roster are getting dominated inside. 59.7% of the points they allow are from 2 point land which is the 6th highest rate in the nation. They also rank 348th in defensive rebounding percentage, which is to say of the few misses their defense actually forces they allow the other team to get the offensive rebound about 40% of the time. There’s just no way to spin a positive for the Oakland defense at all. Most possessions you are going to end up with an open look and if you happen to miss there’s a good chance they’ll allow you to get an offensive board. Teams also shoot 37.7% from 3 against Oakland so that’s there as well, it’s just typically opponents beat the hell out of them so bad in the paint there’s no need to mess with shooting many 3’s. It’ll be interesting to see how the Stags approach this one as they are a team that loves to chuck it from deep, and to their credit they do it well. As a team they shoot 39.2% from 3 which is 34th in the nation. It’s also worth noting that 40% of their points come from 3 and that also ranks 34th most in the nation. They aren’t really the kind of team that does much inside but we’re at a point now where everyone eats against the Oakland bigs and Fairfield should be no different. The most important player in this game could be Taliaferro who through 8 games is shooting an absurd 31-53 from 3 point land. His value is not only his obvious ability to knock down 3’s but to stretch out an Oakland defense that I’ve already mentioned is horrid inside. Guys like Lemetti and Methnani can stretch the floor by hitting 3’s too which only compounds issues for Oakland. The Stags have done a good job taking care of the ball this year with a turnover rate that is well better than D1 average. They should be able to comfortably get into their sets and run whatever they want to against what I consider a bottom 10-15 defense in the nation. As I said in the open this doesn’t figure to be anywhere close to high quality hoops but I’m looking for a Fairfield win by 8-10 points or so.