FGCU has the ability to knock off big time opponents; they've done it before and certainly have the talent to do it again. With a huge road game against Pittsburgh coming up Tuesday night, the Eagles will have to correct a grave mistake that has plagued them all season.
The main problem for Dunk City over the past two weeks has been their inability to hold down the opposition's offense. FGCU held opponents to an average 58.7 points through their first nine games. In their last four, the Eagles are allowing an inflated 76 points per game. However, their defense is not to fully to blame for these problems. The Eagles showcase a strong defense that puts pressure on shooters, and is physical in the paint. The problem is that the offense has been turning the ball over too much all season, and the good teams they have been facing lately are making them pay the price.
FGCU is averaging 12.8 turnovers per game, which is tied with Stetson and Cleveland State for 124th in the country. While that number doesn't seem much larger than the 8.5 turnovers the top team in the country, Cal Poly, is averaging, over the course of a game those four extra possessions for an opponent can turn into double digit points, which can kill a team. Teams are averaging 12.5 points off turnovers per game in the last four, compared to the 11.4 points opponents were averaging in their first nine. While a one point difference doesn't seem like a lot, turnovers can also kill the team that commits them by taking offensive chances away.
Not only do turnovers lead to points for the opposition, they takeaway a possession from the team that commits them. The Eagles have an explosive offense that can score swiftly when it gets into a rhythm, however turning the ball over does not allow them to find that groove. Against sharp-shooting opponents like Iona and Xavier, FGCU needs all of the possessions they can get.
FGCU can get away with 13 turnovers a game against their lower level opponents, but that number might not fly against the teams they will need to beat down the stretch to win the Atlantic Sun conference, and definitely won't work when trying to knock off a national powerhouse should they earn a spot in the NCAA tournament. Turnovers are part of the game, but if FGCU can knock off around three per game, that could give them a six shot swing in their favor. The Eagles feature a talented, deep roster, but in order to fully reach their potential they will need to protect the ball better going forward.