Sunday, November 17, 2013

What Happened to Weber State Against Colorado State?

When Montana lost their season opener to Minnesota, I took a look at some of their potential problems and issues, saying that while it was way too early to panic, it wasn't too early to take a look at some negative trends and potential problems areas for them. After Weber State's game on Saturday - an 88-67 loss in a game that many (myself included) thought they may be capable of winning - it's time to do the same for Weber State.

Over their first two losses, the place to start is on the defensive side of the ball. In the opener against BYU, they allowed 1.07 PPP. Against Colorado State, that number was up to (close your eyes, Weber State fans) 1.29 PPP, which is not good. Most notably, CSU shot 25/39 on two-point shots, which has to be disturbing for the Wildcats staff. It's one thing if a team catches fire from deep, but the way the Rams physically dominated the game is disconcerting, to say the last.

CSU scored 44 of their 88 points in the paint, led by JJ Avila, who scored 30 points, going 10/19 from the floor (9/13 inside the arc) and 9/9 from the free throw line. Center Gerson Santo was also 5/5 from the floor, as the Rams got almost anything they wanted.

Weber was great at stopping the three-ball last year, and surprisingly (with the results of their two games), they have actually been excellent in that area so far this year, with their two opponents hitting 8/26 from downtown in the two games. One thing the Wildcats are not doing is forcing turnovers. BYU had seven turnovers, while CSU only had 4. Not forcing turnovers and allowing opponents good looks have been the big areas of concern defensively.

Offensively, Davion Berry has struggled a bit (2/10 against CSU), but he will be fine. Probably the biggest concern has been Jordan Richardson at the two guard, as he has struggled in his transition to that role. It's only two games, but he has seven points in 57 minutes, and has two made field goals this season. That spot was occupied by Scott Bamforth last season, and it's been a big drop-off so far. Again, Richardson has a good track record of being a good player, but they need him to grow into that role during the non-conference season, as Jeremy Senglin seems to have entrenched himself as the point guard.

Like Montana last week, it's obviously far too early to panic (and Montana followed up a rough opening game with an impressive road win over South Dakota State), but these are definitely areas of concern for Weber State. They will have plenty of things to work on before the home opener against Utah State on November 26.

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