The Dawgs downed the Fresno State Bulldogs last night in Athens by a count of 88-78. Levi Stukes played one of the most impressively complete games you could ask for from the guard spot. Fresno State, as promised, shot a lot of 3-pointers, 40 to be exact. As the game progressed, I couldn't help but think about all the times I've complained about our guys running down the court and jacking up 3's before even looking inside. I realized that, for me, being a Fresno State fan would be basketball Hades. It would be like watching Mark Richt run Mike Leach's offense (which ironically has no "run" component at all, save for the shovel pass).
This sets up a Monday showdown in Colorado Springs against the No. 1 seeded Air Force Academy Falcons, who downed the Austin Peay Generals by a score of 75-51. All five Air Force starters reached double figures.
Air Force has won an incredible 55 of their last 57 home games. I suspect this has a little to do with altitude and a little to do with attitude. Air Force may not be the best team we've played on a man for man basis, but they are certainly the deepest. The Falcons have 14 players averaging 4.9 minutes a game or more. Nine of those guys play the forward or center slots, so I anticipate that Brown, Newman, Bliss and Singleton will have a body on them for all 40 minutes. To put it in perspective, we have a total of 14 guys on the team, including Mike Mercer.
One thing that should not be overlooked is that if the Dawgs pull this one out, they'll get to 20 wins, albeit unconventionally. That will be a tall order against an Air Force squad that will be starting 4 seniors and 1 junior at home. The Falcons shoot a shade over 49% from the field and sport a 1.5 to 1 assist/turnover ratio (averaging 10.4 turnovers a game versus our 15.7). In other words, when they're playing their game they'll make you turn it over and get points off the exchange. Air Force is, to put it lightly, the type of team that gives Felton's Dawgs fits. I'll be back later with some thoughts on that other tournament that's going on.