FSU. FG 39.9% FT 69.0% 3Pt 35.4% Reb 31 Ast 9 Stl 8 Blk 4 TO 13
This will be a big challenge for the Falcons. Facing a team that has the potential to score both inside and out and not be one dimensional. Air Force will have to split the task of defending the lane against the tall five position and the drive while contending with a team that 'can' get hot from three point land. Note that Fresno's guards, especially Johnson, are excellent at driving into the paint to find the rim. To me, one of Fresno's biggest strengths will be the depth of their bench. Similar to Air Force, they go deep into their bench with both teams having ten players that average double minutes of playing time. This will be needed for FSU as a sea level team playing at 7000' at the Academy. Again, this will be a very interesting match up!
Keys for Air Force to win this game:
1) Even with the deep bench Fresno has, the biggest key for AF will be to keep the Fresno State team moving on the court, reacting to what the Falcons do and not the other way around. Play aggressive defense to include some three-quarter court press and work the offense to tire the defense. The offense must continue to be a two headed monster pushing the tempo hard up the floor when available but being slow and patient when running the Air Force version of the Princeton. Again, make the defense work for forty minutes.
2) Pick your poison but I believe we must stop the scoring in the lane from drives and/or consistent points from FSU's big men. Force FSU to score first from the arc then, if they have success, adjust.
3) I say it each week: Run the offense inside-out. Aggressive to the rim, MAKE the shot and draw the foul if defended. This goes hand in hand with continuing our confidence and high percentage shooting from the foul line.
5) Continue good minutes off the bench but time to explode with more scoring from players 6-12.
6) This may be last but actually might be the second most important key to success. Both teams average 31 rebounds per game. While the Falcons are more of a group rebounding team (no one player averaging more than 4.5rpg), Fresno State centers around three players who average 6.4, 5.1 and 4.3rpg. Air Force must be strong on the boards on both ends of the court!
This will be a great match up as the Falcons welcome the Bulldogs to their first experience of playing at Clune. Need to get the fans and the cadets in Section-8 out to support this team.
BEAT FRESNO STATE