Know Your Undersized and Soon-To-Be Overwhelmed Rivals: North Alabama

LEAVE YOUR TRIFECTA PICKS IN COMMENTS.

The final pre-Big 12 tuneup is upon us, and we're going VERY far in the "tuneup" direction with this one.  Like, all the way out of Division I.  North Alabama is a proud member of the Division II Gulf South Conference, and while they have done pretty well over the years under coach Bobby Champagne (former assistant of Kelvin Sampson ... BOOOOOOOOOOOOO)) ... this is a Division II program, and this year, not a very good one.  Name your score on this one.

North Alabama: 5-8


UNA
Opp.
Pace (No. of Possessions)
72.0
Points Per Minute
1.79
1.89
Points Per Possession (PPP)
1.01
1.06
Points Per Shot (PPS)
1.32
1.39
2-PT FG% 47.9%
49.4%
3-PT FG% 38.2%
37.3%
FT% 66.0%
72.3%
True Shooting % 55.2%
57.1%




UNA Opp.
Assists 11.4
12.8
Steals 7.2
8.5
Turnovers 17.3
16.8
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.07
1.27




UNA Opp.
Expected Offensive Rebounds 12.2
11.8
Offensive Rebounds 11.3
11.5
Difference -0.9
-0.3

Where the Lions are weakest

Let's just say that if you have committed over 17 turnovers per game against Division II opponents, you probably aren't going to enjoy your trip to Mizzou Arena very much.

Aside from some potentially catastrophic ball control issues, the Lions are not particularly strong on the offensive glass, and it appears that opponents shoot pretty well against them.  Plus, and this is really only a weakness against Missouri, they probably play too fast.  Teams like Western Illinois this year and Oral Roberts this year have proven that the way you give yourself a chance at an upset over Mizzou is by taking the air out of the ball and taking your chances.  UNA actually seems to enjoy an up-tempo game, which ... well, that's bad news for Lions fans in this one.

Where they are best

This is a respectful site, and I will now say a couple of nice things about what will likely be a pretty overmatched team tomorrow night:

1. They draw fouls.  As we'll see below, three players have a %Fouled of over 25%.  They draw contact and get to the line, which is a good thing if Mizzou is unfocused and a step slow.

2. They shoot 3's well.  They have shot 38.2% on long balls, and their two most frequent shooters -- Beaumont Beasley and Ricky Davison -- have combined to go 54-for-131 (41.2%).  Again, if Mizzou is slow of foot and unfocused, these guys could find themselves open a few times.

North Alabama's Season to Date

  • Wins
    at Henderson State, 77-72
    at Ouachita Baptist, 69-62
    Delta State, 95-75
    Ouachita Baptist, 73-60
    Arkansas-Monticello, 96-75
  • Losses
    vs Eckerd, 73-83
    vs Florida Southern, 62-91
    at Montevallo, 60-76
    vs Georgia College, 66-67
    Christian Brothers, 55-80
    Harding, 87-89
    at Arkansas Tech, 57-75
    at Harding, 71-88

Well ... they own Ouachita Baptist.  So they've got THAT going for them.

North Alabama Player Stats

Player AdjGS*/Gm GmSc/Min Line
Marcus Landry (6'6, 200, Jr.) 14.0 0.59 23.8 MPG, 11.4 PPG (64.3% FG), 7.8 RPG, 1.3 BPG, 2.5 TOPG
Beaumont Beasley (6'0, 170, Jr.) 13.7 0.42 32.5 MPG, 12.7 PPG (39.4% 3PT), 4.2 RPG, 3.9 APG, 2.1 SPG, 3.1 TOPG
Ricky Davison (6'2, 180, Sr.) 10.2 0.35 29.3 MPG, 13.5 PPG (43.1% 3PT), 2.8 RPG, 1.6 APG, 2.8 TOPG
Nick Luttrell (6'7, 225, Jr.) 8.1 0.38 21.4 MPG, 8.8 PPG (48.7% FG), 4.1 RPG, 1.3 TOPG
Warrick Mastin (6'1, 180, Jr.) 7.0 0.28 24.9 MPG, 10.3 PPG (33.9% 3PT), 3.3 RPG, 1.2 APG, 1.1 SPG, 3.1 TOPG
Sam Buxton (6'6, 200, Jr.) 6.0 0.44 13.6 MPG, 5.2 PPG (52.8% FG), 3.2 RPG
Wes Long (6'2, 215, Fr.) 4.2 0.28 14.8 MPG, 4.6 PPG (37.8% 3PT), 1.8 RPG
Trent McCants (6'0, 175, Sr.) 2.8 0.14 20.8 MPG, 3.3 PPG (31.8% FG), 2.2 APG, 1.5 TOPG
Keynan Jackson (5'10, 170, So.) 2.1 0.19 11.0 MPG, 0.9 PPG, 1.2 RPG
Doug Hunter (6'6, 245, Sr.) 1.1 0.09 13.5 MPG, 2.6 PPG (48.0% FG), 2.3 RPG

* AdjGS = a take-off of the Game Score metric (definition here) accepted by a lot of basketball stat nerds.  It redistributes a team's points based not only on points scored, but also by giving credit for assists, rebounds (offensive & defensive), steals, blocks, turnovers and fouls.  It is a stat intended to determine who had the biggest overall impact on the game itself, instead of just how many balls a player put through a basket.

  • Highest Usage%: Davison (25%), Mastin (25%), Landry (23%), Beasley (23%)
  • Highest Floor%: Landry (44%), Buxton (41%), Luttrell (40%)
  • Highest %Pass: Jackson (74%), McCants (70%), Beasley (58%)
  • Highest %Shoot: Buxton (51%), Luttrell (50%), Mastin (43%)
  • Highest %Fouled: Hunter (34%), Luttrell (28%), Landry (25%)
  • Highest %TO: Hunter (17%), Landry (16%), Mastin (15%)
  • I share a birthday with Marcus Landry, which is pretty cool.  Granted, I'm 11 years older than him, but still.
  • Your human interest story of this game: Beaumont Beasley went to Hogan Lincoln Prep in Kansas City, just like Marcus Denmon did before transferring to Hogan Prep.  If my math is correct, the two would have been teammates during Hogan's solid playoff runs of 2007 and 2008 at some point during Denmon's tenure there.  If the announcers don't milk the hell out of this tomorrow night, I will be very disappointed.
  • You can keep looking, but you're not going to find more than two people over 200 pounds or more than one over 6'6.
  • North Alabama is Transfer Central.  Beasley and Sam Buxton played at UMSL (my buddy Jeffrey's alma mater) before transferring, while Ricky Davison began his career at Arkansas-Little Rock.  Plus, freshman Alex Smith, who appears to be redshirting, hasn't transferred in from anywhere, but he is apparently from something called Iuka, MS.  I felt that warranted a mention.

Keys to the Game

  1. Show Up.  I always feel bad breaking this one out as a key, but the only way North Alabama makes this a game is if Mizzou is a step slow on defense, resulting in open 3's and fouls, and if they are unfocused in ball control.  This opponent is custom-made for a first-round knockout.  Now go do it.

  2. Don't Get Hurt.  Conference play starts on Saturday, and with a reasonably small bench, all of Mizzou's main contributors will be getting quite a bit of playing time.  Just don't get hurt.  That's all I ask.  If you are focused and play well, you will win easily ... but just don't get hurt.

  3. KC Prep Pride. To say the least, Marcus Denmon has had the more decorated career of the two Lincoln Prep vets in this game.  At the very least, it could be entertaining to watch Denmon and Beaumont Beasley interact as the game wears on.  Does one bring out some competitive juices in the other?  I say Beasley's presence means that Denmon will either score eight points or 28.  I haven't decided which yet.

Prediction

You always want to respect the visiting opponent, and by all means I expect Mizzou to do just that.  But let's put it this way: North Alabama is quite possibly significantly worse than Central Arkansas ... the team Mizzou beat 116-63 just a couple of weeks ago.  That's really all I can say.  I feel bad even making a prediction, so we'll just go with 116-63 again.

DON'T. GET. HURT.

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