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StLou's Previews - Lehigh Mountain Hawks

Lehigh Mountain Hawks

The Hoos take a step down in competition on Saturday afternoon, sandwiched between games against heavyweights Wisconsin and West Virginia, to welcome the Lehigh Mountain Hawks to Charlottesville. On the surface this should be smooth sailing for the Hoos, but Lehigh has tested themselves against good competition so far. Could they make this one more interesting than we'd like?

Game Details:

Date/Time: Saturday, Dec 1st, 12:00 PM
Location: John Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville, VA
TV: ACCN

What 'They' Say

Vegas: No line yet available
TAPE: Ranks Lehigh #190, predicts a 81-53 UVA win, 100% confidence
KenPom: Ranks Lehigh #189, predicts a 75-53 UVA win, 98% confidence

 

Depth Chart:

Starters

PG #1 Kahron Ross, 5-11 160, SR
32.1 mpg, 13 ppg, 5.1 apg, 50% 3P%
G #5 Lance Tejada, 6-2 190, JR 
28.7 mpg, 15.6 ppg, 1.4 apg, 47% 3P% 
SG #2 Kyle Leufroy, 6-3 195, JR 
29 mpg, 12.7 ppg, 2.7 apg, 23% 3P% 
PF #31 Pat Andree, 6-8 225, SO 
24.3 mpg, 9.6 ppg, 4 rpg, 32% FG% 
C #13 James Karnik, 6-9 225, FR 
23.9 mpg, 7.7 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 0.4 bpg 

Key Reserves

G

#11 Jordan Cohen, 6-1 185, SO
25.3 mpg, 8.9 ppg, 2.6 apg, 39% 3P%
G/F #4 Caleb Bennett, 6-5 190, FR 
19.3 mpg, 6.7 ppg, 0.6 apg, 50% 3P% 
F  #10 Ed Porter, 6-7 215, SO 
15.9 mpg, 3.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 52% FG% 

 

The ABC's of Lehigh:

A) Lehigh's offense revolves around its 3 undersized guards. Tejada has been crushing it from long range this year, 19-42 (45%), leading the team with 15.6 ppg, and floor general Kahron Ross is dishing 5.1 assists a night vs only 1.3 TOs while also adding 13 ppg and drawing a lot of fouls. Kyle Leufroy is an undersized 3, and while he scores, he's doing it on very low percentages, and should continue to struggle. Their lone ball-handling reserve, sophomore Jordan Cohen, has been productive in 24 minutes a night, though inefficient. These guards do not turn the ball over, 2nd nationally in protecting against steals.

B) They'll start the game in a traditional 2-big lineup that should match up favorably for Virginia. Freshman true center Karnik plays 23 minutes a night and never leaves the paint; Salt should dominate him. Sophomore stretch 4 Andree does open up the paint with his 33% 3-point stroke, but will not have seen a 4 as athletic as Wilkins to date. When these two sit, however, Lehigh will go small, playing two freshmen wings, 6'5" Bennett and 6'7" Porter at the 4. Neither have demonstrated much consistency yet this year.

C) Defensively they're sub-par in just about every category. They give up 37% from 3 and 54% from 2. They rarely generate turnovers, and with their size disadvantage almost never block shots. Expect veteran head coach Brett Reed to throw switching defenses at us, man, zone, press, to try and get us out of rhythm. No D-1 team has scored fewer than 76 points against them (they played D-2 Eastern, but I'm not counting that), and even at our slower pace, that's the floor on scoring expectations. 

Their season to date:

Lehigh is 4-3 on the year. Their best win is over Princeton, 85-76 on the road, this past Wednesday. They have losses to Monmouth, USC, and Pitt. 

Keys to getting the win:

1) Use our size advantage to get into the lane and draw fouls. This was my biggest pet peeve from the Wisconsin game, as the Badgers' scouting reports indicated they were foul prone against both drivers and post-ups, yet our players settled for runners, floaters, pull-ups, fadeaways, and creative finger rolls to avoid contact. This mentality needs to change to improve our fortunes going forward, and no time like the present to start working on that downhill attitude. There isn't a player on our offense that won't physically outmatch his defender, Kyle and Nigel included, and shame on the Hoos if they're not using that to try and draw fouls.

2) Get productive minutes out of the reserves. The starters are going to play 20-25 minutes a piece and do just fine. But what kind of minutes and production will we get out of Hunter, Johnson, Diakite, and Huff? Diakite's been coming on well of late, he's seemed motivated by the increased level of competition, but can he keep that focus against a team he so easily outmatches? Johnson needs to continue to settle into the rhythms of both the offense and defense, and we expect him to look better against the lesser competition, building some confidence and rhythm going into Morgantown next week. Hunter's defense has looked excellent, but he's looking to get his shot falling on offense. And Huff has been struggling making his Pack Line reads; if he can't do it against Lehigh, we'll have to readjust our expectations for him this season. The more these 4 can play, and play well, the more we can rest our starters before next week's headline WVU matchup.

3) Don't let them warm up from 3. About the only hope Lehigh has is to bomb us away. They took 23 3PAs against Pitt (making 39%) and 28 3PAs vs USC (making on 25%). They're going to take a lot against us too, early and often. They'll use their shiftiness and speed to try and get their shooters windows and pray they can get hot. We're holding opponents to 25% from 3 this year, 9th nationally, and this game needs to continue that strong trend.

 

A Little R&R - Reps and Rest

Updated on December 1, 2017 by Seattle Hoo

Against Wisconsin, the Hoos all looked fatigued, probably more mentally than physically (although Kyle Guy did say his legs were tired and Ty Jerome sure looked it). They have a difficult and sure to be exhausting game coming up next Tuesday at West Virginia. They have had a nice break between UW and tomorrow's contest with Lehigh, then another three days before taking the court Tuesday night. As a result, the strategic objectives for this Lehigh game are probably a little bit in competition: staying sharp and conserving energy. Staying sharp requires reps and resistance, while conserving energy requires not too many reps or too much resistance. Lehigh should provide for a good amount of resistance without requiring too many reps from the main players.

Isaiah Wilkins is likely to be matched up primarily with 6-8 forward Pat Andree, who is the more mobile of Lehigh's two posts. When Andree goes out, 6-7 Ed Porter is the most likely replacement. How much Wilkins ends up on Porter depends in large part on how many minutes Zay will be required to play. We anticipate Diakite and Huff being inserted early and often in this game. I look for Zay to play to the second TV timeout of each half and then not much more.

Devon Hall only played 20 minutes against Wisconsin. He will be matched up with either 6-2 Lance Tejada or 6-3 Kyle Leufroy. Because Tejada is the more prolific and dangerous scorer, I expect Hall to spend most of his time on Tejada. However, given the way Virginia manages matchups this year, look for him to spend time on all of Lehigh's perimeter players. The primary wing substitute would be 6-5 Caleb Bennett.

Nigel Johnson is going to want to get some good run in this game.  Look for him to be the primary ballhandler for more of the game than either Jerome or Hall. Defensively, he will be tasked with containing 5-11 floor general Kahron Ross, who can drive and dish as well as shoot threes at a 50% clip. Expect Johnson to push the pace. This is the kind of opponent where Virginia typically gets a lot of fast breaks, as there should be a ton of defensive rebounds and the bigs should be able to cleanly control the boards.

 

Predictions:

We're going to win this game. This isn't a crazy prediction. Lehigh lost to Pitt, the ACC's worst team. They also lost at home to a Monmouth squad that Virginia beat by 20. The questions are how we're going to win; the margin, the MVPs, resting the starters, and the teaching moments. Expect our starters to cruise, shutting down their offense, hopefully getting on track from 3, and opening up an early double digit lead. This will lead to good minutes for the reserves, and we project they'll perform well enough overall, though Huff will still make a couple mistakes on defensive rotations. Just like against Monmouth, the walk-ons will be in around the final media timeout, and that will prevent us from breaking the 80 mark.

Hoos win: 78-50