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Western Michigan Broncos Preview and Open Thread

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The Dawgs try to snap their losing streak at home against Western Michigan.

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Date: Sunday, 12/18/16

Tip-Off Time: 5:00pm PST

TV: Pac-12 Network

Radio: Komo 1000

Western Michigan Statistics:

Record: 3-6

Points For per Game: 72.2 ppg

Points Against per Game: 80.1 ppg

Strength of Schedule: 124th

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 103.6 (161st)

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 107.6 (273rd)

Western Michigan Key Players:

F- Drake Lamont, Jr. 6-10, 245: 9.6ppg, 4.7rpg, 0.2apg, 58.3% FG, 57.1% FT

Drake is the biggest player on the Broncos’ roster by several inches and will likely be guarded by a combination of Dime and Timmins. He shoots a high percentage as a low-post threat and is a decent rebounder.

F- Brandon Johnson, Fr. 6-8, 225: 9.1ppg, 7.2rpg, 0.4apg, 49.3% FG, 60% FT

Johnson is a very solid option for Western Michigan at the power forward spot. His rebounding percentages are pretty similar to Noah Dickerson so expect him to play that kind of role. He may not pass the ball very often but his turnover rate is lower than any player of the Huskies so he’s not going to make a mistake if it ends up in his hands.

F- Reggie Jones, Fr. 6-5, 210: 7.4ppg, 2.9rpg, 1.7apg, 47.9% FG, 81.8% FT, 30% 3pt

Jones only plays about 17 minutes per game but is an effective defensive rebounder and leads the team in steals. He also has an above average assist rate and shoots ok from the outside so he’s capable of doing a little bit of everything as a freshman.

G- Thomas Wilder, Jr. 6-3, 192: 16.3ppg, 3.1rpg, 2.1apg, 48% FG, 82.6% FT, 46.9% 3pt

Wilder is the primary scorer for the Broncos and is shooting a very impressive 47% from beyond the arc. Not only can he knock down the shot from the perimeter but he also draws fouls at a far above average rate. He’s a complete scorer and the kind of player that gives UW fits.

G- Tucker Haymond, Sr. 6-6, 214: 11.4ppg, 4rpg, 4.2apg, 35.3% FG, 76.9% FT, 16.7% 3pt

This name may be familiar to those who follow local basketball as Haymond attended Garfield High School prior to heading to Kalamazoo. He provides an interesting matchup for Fultz playing the point guard role at 6-6. Tucker is not much of an outside shooter but he is a good passer so it’ll be important for the Huskies to not give him driving lanes but still play close enough to contest easy passes.

The Outlook

Let’s get this out of the way now. Western Michigan had one of their freshmen charged with murder this past week. He wasn’t playing a huge role to this point in the season but there’s no telling what that will do to team chemistry. This is their first game since the incident so we don’t know if it will galvanize the team or tear them apart.

As far as on the court performance, this will be the worst team the Dawgs have played against since a different Western team on Black Friday. A lot of fans are wondering how the UW defense could possibly be worse but we’re about to witness a defense that is in fact worse by 74 spots in defensive efficiency. The Broncos do two things well on defense: they can force turnovers and they don’t give up offensive rebounds. After that it gets scary. They are 325th in 3pt% defense, 326th in 2pt% defense, and (while technically out of their control) 332nd in FT% against. When you’re in the bottom decile in the country in 1 point, 2 point, and 3 point defense it’s not a good sign. On the bright side, Western Michigan hasn’t given up a single 4-point shot this year.

On offense, the Broncos are much closer to average. They have pretty good size across the board including a 6-6 point guard. That lineup will provide a huge mismatch as we either have to put Crisp on their best scorer or else Crisp will give up 8 inches to a point guard who likes to drive the ball. I expect UW to play a decent amount of zone as Western Michigan only gets 21% of their points from 3-pointers which is 331st in the country.

The Husky defense is unlikely to completely stymie the Broncos offense but UW has a huge advantage on the other end of the court. As much as the Dawgs have struggled on defense, they’re playing a team that is substantially worse. Western Michigan is currently 212th nationally in Kenneth Pomeroy’s efficiency ratings. UW is 0-5 with an average margin of defeat of 13 points against teams better than 200th. The Huskies are 4-0 with an average margin of victory of 24 points against teams worse than 200th. Unless Romar has completely lost the team, this should quickly turn into a rout against a team with a lot other than basketball on their mind.

Prediction

Washington Huskies- 95, Western Michigan Broncos- 75