Basketball Scouting Report: Northern Kentucky

Navy's had a week off in which to fine-tune its game. Will the Midshipmen be a different team on Saturday against Northern Kentucky?


NORTHERN KENTUCKY AT-A-GLANCE

Northern Kentucky hasn't shown very well in the early stretch of the season, collecting a handful of blowout losses to date. With a young starting five, the Norse continue to struggle against quality competition.

Northern Kentucky goes very deep, with not one player averaging over 30 minutes per game. Navy must be ready for a wave of different combinations on the floor.

Starting Lineup

Guard – Jordan Jackson –
Junior, 6-2, 180; 2013-14: 13.9 points per game, 4.9 rebounds per game, 3.1 assists per game

Jackson is the leading scorer on the Norse's roster. He also leads the team in assists and is second in rebounding. As the lone upperclassman in the starting five, he carries quite a load for Northern Kentucky.

Forward – Jalen Billups – Sophomore, 6-6, 240; 2013-14: 8.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg

Billups is the lone forward to get a number of starts for this team, and while his scoring isn't eye-popping, he does shoot over 64 percent from the floor. He's reasonably effective on the block, though he needs to become a better rebounder.

Guard – Tyler White – Sophomore, 6-3, 180; 2013-14: 10.9 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 2.4 apg

White is a gunner who lives near the three-point line. He's not a great shooter at under 40 percent, but his insistence on shooting so many threes explains a lot of that percentage. Navy must force him off the line and prevent him from being comfortable.

Guard – Todd Johnson – Sophomore, 5-9, 170; 2013-14: 7.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.4 apg

Johnson leads Northern Kentucky in rebounding and brings a bit of everything to the floor. His 1.2-to-1 assist-turnover ratio shows he takes care of the ball relatively well.

Guard – Cole Murray – Freshman, 6-7, 190; 2013-14: 5.4 ppg, 1.6 rpg

Murray is the weak link of the regular starters on the Norse. Like White, he lives in the vicinity of the three-point line and wants to be able to shoot a bunch of treys. His thin frame makes him a limited weapon on the offensive glass.

Keys to the Game

1) Attack the Norse defense.
Despite playing essentially one fewer possession per game, Northern Kentucky concedes 13 points per game more than Navy. If Navy is patient on offense it can score at will versus NKU.

2) Pound the paint and attack the offensive glass. NKU is fairly weak on the inside and gets very little from its frontcourt for scoring or rebounding. Navy isn't a high-level team in the painted area, to be sure, but it should be able to win various interior battles against the Norse.

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