Head Coach: Dana Ford
Location: Springfield, MO
Conference: Missouri Valley
Mascot: Boomer the Bear
Last time out: Beat Stetson
Shirt not to wear: Maroon, fur
Opening Line: Nebraska by 14
Radio Listen: Will be tough to find this audio on stations that carry the Huskers and Kansas City football
Players to watch: Keandre Cook
The 6'5 Juco transfer is 2nd on the team in scoring and leads the team in rebounding. He's been extremely efficient against lower tier teams and will probably draw James Palmer to start the game on defense.
Some Good Reading
10 thoughts on Dana Ford's first week as the Missouri State head men's basketball coach - A great primer on the team
3 Man Weave's Missouri Valley 2018-19 Preview - Great read on Dana Ford and what he's trying to implement. Specifically this:
There are two defining characteristics about Ford’s strategic blueprint on defense: 1) Walling off the lane at all costs 2) Disrupting passing lanes to generate steals (a complete 180 from Lusk’s approach). These two traits don’t typically go hand-in-hand, but Ford’s innovative defensive scheme(s) make it possible. During his time at Tennessee State, the Tigers consistently produced one of the highest defensive steal rates in the country, but remained disciplined enough to recover back and close off open driving lanes to the rim.
But, with any defensive blueprint, tradeoffs must be made. Ford’s emphasis on generating turnovers and limiting penetration often leaves uncontested shooters scattered around the arc. Thus, if you’re going to exploit a Ford-coached defense, getting hot from distance is your best bet. Teams in the Ohio Valley took full advantage of this ‘soft spot’ in Ford’s defense as Tennessee State surrendered the 2nd most 3s in the country last year.
What’s interesting is that when Ford opts to change defenses, those aforementioned two principles don’t change. He will primarily play straight-up man-to-man, but also mixes in some extended full-court pressure along with a trapping zone.
KenPom Helps us look at the Lineup
Cook and Dixon are the scoring punch. Webster is the pass first PG from Texas Tech who has been turnover prone. Wojcik is probably the 4 and Church the 5 as Church is a traditional center and a prolific shot blocker. You'll probably see minutes from Juco F Kabir Mohammed, shooter Ryan Kreklow, and Jan Wojcik, the other Wojcik.
1. We prepped for exotic stuff before leaving for KC otherwise we'll take it one day at a time
2. Shot Tracker stuff will be in use. Not sure if this will be an advantage for us.
3. We tried to recruit the Wojcik twins that play for Missouri St
The Bears are rebuilding as they fired the under-performing Paul Lusk and replaced him with 34 year old Dana Ford who had some MVC assistant experience to go along with his 4 years at Tennessee St. Ford brings in a defense first uptempo philosophy but currently finds himself undermanned as four of his scholarships are in use by transfers needing to sit out. See, not everyone was granted waivers.
Missouri St is going to try and pressure Nebraska much of the night so it will be interesting to see how aggressive we are bringing up the ball and who takes the lead should Watson be out of the game. The Huskers should have lots of open rhythm 3s and when you come into a game knowing that, you tend to believe they'll go in. Should Nebraska have a miserable night, the Huskers should be able to clamp down with their defense. Expect another night of poor shooting for the opponent and hopefully a game where we can rest the starters at the end.
Prediction: Nebraska 86 - Missouri St 68