Blackbird Gameday Report – Games 3,4,5 – 2K Sports Classic

LIU Brooklyn is back on the court this weekend as they head out west to Irvine, California to take part in the sub-regional round of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project. The Blackbirds are taking on UC-Irvine, Eastern Washington and Boston University over a three-day span. This Blackbird Gameday Report will look at all three weekend opponents at once with the short turnarounds between games.

Game 3 Opponent (Conference Affiliation): UC-Irvine Anteaters (Big West)

2013-14 Record: 2-2; Last game: Win vs Pacifica College 110-73

Current KenPom Ranking: 129 out of 351 (LIU Brooklyn: 203 – up from 243 before last game)

Time: 10:00 PM (Friday, 11/22)

Location: Bren Events Center, Irvine, CA

TV/Web/Radio Coverage: W: BigWest.TV /R: KUCI

Meeting History: Second all-time meeting. UC-Irvine leads series, 1-0. Last meeting: 1972-73 (L, 65-67)

Game Notes Links: LIU Brooklyn – UC-Irvine

UC-Irvine Players to Watch:

1. Will Davis II #3 – 6’8″ Forward – Jr. – 14.3 ppg/7.5 rpg/72.7 FG%/69.2 FT%/23.0 mpg
2. Chris McNealy #5 – 6’4″ Guard – Sr. – 12.5 ppg/4.0 rpg/42.5 FG%/57.1 FT%/26.8 mpg
3. Mamadou Ndiaye #34 – 7’6″ Center – Fr. – 9.0 ppg/5.8 rpg/77.8 FG%/32.0 FT%/17.8 mpg

Matchup to Watch: LIU’s E.J. Reed vs UCI’s Will Davis II

About UC-Irvine: UC-Irvine enters the game against LIU Brooklyn 2-2 after two straight wins including a win at Washington (86-72). They were picked to win the Big West Conference in their preseason media poll.

The Anteaters feature a three-guard starting lineup but the guys that get the most attention are their two front court guys, Will Davis II and Mamadou Ndiaye. Davis II leads UCI in scoring and rebounding and is a force inside at 6’8″. He scored 22 in their win over Washington. Ndiaye is 7’6″ and will tower any LIU defender that has to guard him. His height was a major factor in their big win over Washington. In scoring 18 points in that game, he also grabbed 8 rebounds and blocked 9 shots in that game. The Anteaters want to play fast like LIU. They averaging over 80 possessions a game and are scoring 1.09 points per possession. Their 93.0 ppg offensively is currently in the Top 20 nationally. They do also give up 1.08 ppp on the defensive end so LIU will be able to put up points.

The Anteaters has a distinct height advantage over LIU. They have used 6 players over 6’7″ on their roster including a pair of seven-footers and a 6’10” big man. Rebounding could be a big concern for the Blackbirds in this game. UC-Irvine have a +5.5 rebounding margin so far this season.

Last week, John Templon of Big Apple Buckets was in Seattle and he caught the UC-Irvine-Washington game and scouted the Anteaters.

KenPom Score Projection: UC-Irvine, 88-79 (22% LIU Win Probability)

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Game 4 Opponent (Conference Affiliation): Eastern Washington (Big Sky)

2013-14 Record (going into this weekend’s action): 2-1; Last game: Win vs Walla Walla University, 82-44  

Current KenPom Ranking: 261 out of 351

Time: 6:00 PM (Saturday, 11/23)

Location: Bren Events Center, Irvine, CA

TV/Web/Radio Coverage: W: None/R: KXLX – 700AM Spokane, WA (tunein)

Meeting History: First-ever meeting.

Game Notes Links: Eastern Washington LIU Brooklyn

Eastern Washington Players to Watch:

1. Tyler Harvey #1 – 6’4″ Guard – So. – 18.7 ppg/2.3 rpg/3.3 apg/46.5 FG%/50.0 FT%/33.0 mpg
2. Venky Jois #55 – 6’7″ Forward – So. – 15.0 ppg/7.0 rpg/64.3 FG%/60.0 FT%/30.0 mpg
3. Drew Brandon #22 – 6’4″ Guard – Jr. – 10.0 ppg/9.7 rpg/7.3 apg/39.4 FG%/50.0 FT%/34.0 mpg

Matchup to Watch: LIU’s Gilbert Parga vs UCI’s Tyler Harvey

About Eastern Washington: The Eastern Washington Eagles are 2-1 entering the 2K Classic. Their two wins have come against non-Division I opponents. They were picked to finish sixth in the Big Sky media poll and fifth in the coaches poll.

EWU are currently third in the Big Sky in scoring offense (83.0 ppg) and second in scoring defense (64.7 ppg allowed). The Eagles scoring just under a point per possession and allow 1.14 ppp. They are shooting 49.5% from the floor and grabbing over 37 rebounds a game.

So far EWU is playing at a fast pace, getting 80.9 possession per game which is the best in the Big Sky. Against their only Division I opponent coming into this weekend, Washington, they had 81 possessions.

The Eagles currently have 5 players averaging at least 10 ppg with three players in their starting lineup shooting at least 50% from the field. Sophomore guard Tyler Harvey leads the Eagles in scoring with 18.7 ppg. The 6’4″ guard is shooting 46% from the field and over 48% from three. Harvey dropped a team-high 28 points vs Washington. 6’7″ forward Venky Jois is EWU’s second leading scorer at 15 ppg while hitting 64% from the floor. The player that does a little of everything for EWU is junior guard Drew Brandon. He is the team’s leading rebounder (9.7 rpg) and assist man (7.3 apg) while scoring 10 ppg. Had a double-double (13 pts/14 rebs) vs Washington.

KenPom Score Projection: LIU Brooklyn, 80-76 (65% Win Probability)

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Game 5 Opponent (Conference Affiliation): Boston University (Patriot League)

2013-14 Record (going into this weekend’s action): 2-1; Last game: Loss at Connecticut 60-77

Current KenPom Ranking: 101 out of 351

Time: 4:30 PM (Sunday, 11/24)

Location: Bren Events Center, Irvine, CA

TV/Web/Radio Coverage: W: None/R: WUFC – 1510AM Boston 

Meeting History: 6th all-time meeting. LIU Brooklyn leads series 4-1. Last meeting: 1992-93 (W, 80-77)

Game Notes Links: Boston U. – LIU Brooklyn

Boston U. Players to Watch:

1. Dom Morris #15 – 6’7″ Forward – Sr. – 17.3 ppg/2.5 rpg/7.7 apg/64.5 FG%/85.7 FT%/27.3 mpg
2. Maurice Watson Jr. #1 – 5’10” Guard – So. – 15.7 ppg/4.7 rpg/6.0 apg/57.9 FG%/50.0 FT%/30.3 mpg
3. D.J. Irving #13 – 6’0″ Guard – Sr. – 10.0 ppg/4.3 rpg/28.6 FG%/72.7 FT%/33.3 mpg

Matchup to Watch: LIU’s E.J. Reed vs UCI’s Dom Morris

About Boston U.: The Boston University Terriers was the preseason favorite to win the Patriot League this season. They come into the weekend at 2-1 having faced only fellow New England teams in Northeastern, UMass-Lowell and UConn.

The Terriers are averaging 74.3 ppg offensively while allowing 70.3 ppg. Their 1.04 ppp is in the middle of the pack among Patriot League teams and they allow 1.01 ppp on the defensive end. They play at a moderate pace, getting around 71 possessions a game.

Senior forward Dom Morris leads Boston U. in scoring at 17.3 ppg. He is mostly a post player who is shooting 64.5% from the field. He is also the Terriers’ leading rebounder at 7.7 rpg. His points per 40 minutes is 25.4 so he is easily the main scoring threat for BU. Morris went for 27 points in BU’s game vs UMass-Lowell. Another player who is going to be a challenge for the Blackbirds is point guard Maurice Watson Jr. The 5’10” sophomore is scoring 15.7 ppg and dishing out 6 apg and is also grabbing 4.7 rpg at his height. He has consistent scoring outing in all three BU’s game thus far, scoring between 13 and 18 points. Senior guard D.J. Irving is averging 10 ppg although he is shooting just 28.6% from the floor but he is hitting a third of his three attempts (6 for 18). Irving scored 17 against UConn in their last game.

KenPom Score Projection: Boston U., 80-74 (29% Win Probability)

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