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Gameday: Air Force (16-8/6-4) vs #24 CSU (20-4/7-2)

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Posted: 2/15/2013 7:49 AM

Gameday: Air Force (16-8/6-4) vs #24 CSU (20-4/7-2) 


Preview:  Air Force (16-8/6-4) vs #24 CSU (20-4/7-2)
(Scroll down for news links for AF vs CSU, AF over UNLV, MWC)

It is time for Air Force to lace up their shoes, put their body armour on, and 'get ready to rumble' as the #24 Colorado State Rams come to Clune Arena on Saturday.  In a wild race to finish the MWC regular season, Air Force finds them in the surprising position of tied for third place with SDSU (actually in third as they own the tie breaker at this time). 

This game has significant importance for this Falcon team as it heads down the stretch.  If AF wins they're 7-4 and SDSU needs a win to keep pace at 7-4 or AF is truely in third alone.  CSU, currently in second, would fall to 7-3, and if NM wins  they would be 9-2 up 2 games on  AFA and SDSU and up 1 1/2 games on CSU.  The jumble gets worse if you go the other way with Boise State currently 1 1/2 games behind AF and playing at the Pit this weekend.  As we go down the stretch Air Force is playing for a final league record which then go directly toward conference seeding.  A definite factor in playing a 3-6 matchup versus playing a 4-5 matchup in some fashion.

Back to this weekend, Air Force is playing what will be it's eighth game of the season versus teams that have been nationally ranked at one time or another.  The Falcons played now #6 Florida (being a one point game with 16 minutes to go), Wichita State to lose by 3 at home, a one point game at half before losing to Colorado (who trounced #9 Arizona last night), beat then #22 SDSU, lost in OT on the road then beat UNLV here at home, lost to #15 NM in the Pit and, in their biggest deficit, lost on the road to now #24 CSU.  My point in discussing this is to show that the Falcons have played many premier teams and games this season.  They have the experience to play with a team as big and explosive as CSU and have the potential to win this game.  It all begins on the practice court and will end with the final buzzer around 4pm tomorrow. 

In the first meeting between AF and CSU you found a Falcon team that traveled to Ft. Collins after a thrilling and emotional overtime loss to UNLV.  Confidence was high for the Falcons but they carried the emotional baggage of not getting the win.  They started of fast and strong with three backdoor layups while working the offense.  Then CSU said 'no' to the Falcons going into the lane, became very physical, Air Force's effort to go into the lane diminished and the final score showed CSU winning by 39 points.  Here's my postgame and preview thoughts for the first meeting to include personnel breakdown from February 16th:

Postgame:  Air Force loses to Colorado State in a blowout
Pregame:  Air Force (9-5/1-1) vs Colorado State (13-3/0-1)

The biggest challenge for Air Force in playing the Rams is their balance.  Looking at all the teams Air Force have face, most are truely more of an inside or an outside shooting team.  While we all know of CSU's strengths inside, they are also fourth in the MWC in shooting the three and have the potential to hurt you from the 3pt arc.  It makes defending the Rams difficult.  Add into that the two headed monster the Rams call Colton Iverson (6'10"/260#/13.5ppg/10rpg) and Pierce Hornung (6'5"/210#/10ppg/9rpg).  These two play together like brothers, knowing where each other is everywhere on the offensive end of the floor, feeding off one another and nabbing a combined 19rpg.  They play tough and they play physical along with 6'6"/220# Greg Smith (11ppg/6rpg) and guard Bejarano (7ppg/6rpg).  Just like what you saw with Air Force's effort vs UNLV to 'want' the ball on rebounds, the Rams have been doing that each and every game.  Guards Dorian Green (13ppg/36% 3pt) and Wes Eikmeier (11ppg/37% 3pt) lead the way from the arc in shooting the three ball.  If you read this closely you see five guys averaging double figures in scoring and 4 guys averaging between 10-6 rpg. 

The matchup in current numbers:

AF    FG 48%  FT 72% (81%MWC)  3pt 39%(8-21/gm)  Reb 30  APG 16  SPG 7  BPG 2  TPG 12

CSU FG 45%  FT 72% (70%MWC)  3pt 34% (5-15/gm) Reb 42  APG 14  SPG 5  BPG 2  TPG 11

Matchup Edge


COLSTEdge in:AIRFC
Points/Game
Field Goal %
Free Throw %
Defense
Rebounding
Turnovers
Bench

What happened in the first game and what must change in this second match up for the Falcons?  Air Force was taken out of their flow by a very physical CSU team and  ended up relying on the three as their primary weapon, not going inside out and finished 16% 3-9 from the three point arc.  It was CSU's physical play that did the Falcons in.  Officials do not win or lose games, but they did allow the Rams to check and punish the Falcons on both ends of the court.  I do not expect any favors from anyone in this game versus a top 25 team so Air Force must figure out how to combat the physical play and be physical themselves. In a nutshell, that is what AF must do to win.  Breakdown of keys for Air Force:

1) I said it above.  Be physical on both ends, do not be intimidated by the Rams (or the officials) and just play Air Force basketball.  CSU had 38 points in the paint in game one versus AF's 20 points in the paint.  Cannot happen this game. 

2)  Take care of the ball.  In game one AF had 19 turnovers with CSU turning them into 30 points.  Nuff said.

3)  The Falcons must go inside out.  They must make CSU defend the cutter and the slip while taking the ball inside and either scoring or getting fouled trying to 'or' making that extra pass to the outside.  Versus UNLV on Wednesday night I may have seen the Air Force Princeton offense use the pass and work better than I have since the NCAA and NIT semi-finals teams of 2004-2007.  It was exceptional and it let the pass do the work not the dribble.  It will be incumbent on this team to do this versus CSU.  Interestingly enough, it was this type passing by the CSU offense that impressed me most in their win at Moby Arena.

4)  Defend and defend aggressively.  I do not want to be the one to cry 'wolf' in this pregame review, but the physical play in the first game was not allowed on both ends of the court by both teams.  Air Force fans and CSU fans that watched that game and know basketball can tell you that CSU 'was' more physical and were allowed to be physical by the officials.  AF was not given the same 'opportunity' by the officials as were the Rams.  Read between the lines and get my drift.  Saturday we must defend as we did versus UNLV and hope we are allowed to do so.  We do this then we will hamper CSU's ability to get points on the inside.  We have shown the ability to do this now we must make it happen.

5)  Time for the leaders on Air Force to lead.  In game one we had no one, starters or bench, to score in double figures.  That is alright if everyone is scoring but that did not happen.  Time for Mike Lyons, Mike Fitzgerald, Todd Fletcher, Taylor Broekhuis and all their teammates to get into that comfort zone at home, DO NOT PRESS, and just make the shots they normally make.  Credit CSU's defense in the first game but bottom line, the Falcons accepted the outside shots, pressed for the outside shots and did not make them.  I expect a different attitude and game this time around.

6)  Bench actually did well in the first game and must go the same in this one.  Starters must get rest and the bench must contribute. 

7) Lastly, and something the team has no control over, is the Air Force fans and the cadets of Section 8.  Lower bowl is already sold out at Clune Arena for this game and it is expected that at least 2000 CSU fans will be at this game.  If the Falcons were ranked #24 and playing in Ft Collins I would hope we would do the same (but doubt the AF fans would travel).  It is a three-day weekend for the Wing so I have no idea of the number of Section 8  that will show up for the game.  Perspective:  3500 CSU students made their game Wednesday night, I believe we had 100 or so.  Those in attendance must do OUR part to let our team know we are there and cheering them on to victory.

This is not a must win game but it is highlighted as one of those games that can define a team and it's season.  Other big games for the MWC:

#24 CSU (7-2) at Air Force (6-4)
Boise St (4-5) at #19 NM (8-2)
Fresno St (2-8) at Wyoming (3-7)
SDSU (6-4) at UNLV (5-5)

Big game for the Falcons.

BEAT CSU


15 Feb  2013 New: AF Preview vs #24 CSU, AF WINS over UNLV, AF Women  lose on road, MWC  action
Rick's Falcon  Review: Preview:  Air Force vs #24 CSU
Matchup Stats:  Air Force vs #24 CSU
Air Force vs  Colorado State ticket information
Falcons get rare  win over UNLV the rare way
RAMSEY: Earls  helps bring good times to Air Force
Rick's Falcon  Review: Postgame: Air Force over UNLV 71-56
www.goairforcefalcons.com/spor...-FXybWL6kX4VPg" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Air Force Runs Past UNLV, 71-56

www.denverpost.com/afa/ci_2258...mA1WrvlQZZJdBg" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Air Force Falcons impressive in blowout win over  UNLV

GO FALCONS

Last edited 2/16/2013 9:39 AM by ltcpilot

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Posted: 2/15/2013 9:02 AM

Re: Preview: Air Force (16-8/6-4) vs #24 CSU (20-4/7-2) 


I really don't know what to expect tomorrow. Air Force has been playing so well, especially at Clune.

We all know that the 39-point win in Fort Collins was an aberration. There isn't a person on the planet that believes CSU is that much better. Everything went right for CSU and everything other than the first 2 minutes went wrong for AFA.

CSU has lost 4 games this year. In three of them, they went down by 20+ points before staging furious comebacks to get the games within one possession. The one thing those games had in common was some pretty ridiculous three-point shooting in the first half by the opponent.. San Diego State opened 8-10. CU was banking them in, and New Mexico made a bunch. The other thing that those games had in common were easy runout baskets off of turnovers.

CSU is no mystery in terms of preparation. You know CSU will defend smartly. You know CSU will rebound the ball. You know they will run their motion offense and try to get the ball into their post players. You know that they will play unselfishly.

If I were Air Force, I'd make sure I ran a lot of clock on offense and try to reduce the number of possessions. And while the offense needs to attack the paint, I would use those early in the clock to get layups and late in the clock to set up three's.

Defensively, I would hack Colton Iverson every time he touches the ball. Make the officials blow their whistles. Sometimes they don't call stuff they should. They sure didnt on Wednesday night against San Diego And I would not let Iverson wheel to the basket for easy layups and dunks. I'd foul him and put him on the line and hope he doesnt make free throws. He normally shoots about 65% but has had games where he misses them in bunches.

Matchups for this game are really funny. The one player that Air Force hasnt had an answer for is Pierce Hornung. I'm not sure how you can keep him from getting easy baskets at the rim with so much attenton having to be paid to Iverson on the block. That means I'd be cluttering the area around the hoop and force guys like Green and Eikmeier to make shots from the perimeter and hope to god that they are cold.
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Posted: 2/15/2013 9:05 AM

Re: Preview: Air Force (16-8/6-4) vs #24 CSU (20-4/7-2) 


Great analysis...see ya Saturday.

GO FALCONS

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Posted: 2/15/2013 9:20 AM

RE: Preview: Air Force (16-8/6-4) vs #24 CSU (20-4/7-2) 


Swoll,

I hope the Falcons are successful in doing all of those things, or at least some of them (Iverson and Hornung would be first)!

What would a Falcon game be without some stats, so here we go for this week:

• Air Force is 7-0 after recording 29 or more field goals made.
• Air Force is 7-0 when its field goal percentage has been 51% or better.
• Air Force is 8-0 when opponents record 56 or fewer total points.
• Air Force is 7-2 after holding an opponent to under 26% from three.
• Air Force is 4-0 when Mike Fitzgerald has eight rebounds or more.
• Air Force has recorded fewer free throws made (and shot) than their opponents for the past four games.

Last 4 games:

- Air Force 8-9 (18 PFs) – SDSU 15-18 (14 PFs)
- Air Force 11-15 (21 PFs) – NM 20-31 (15 PFs)
- Air Force 11-15 (23 PFs) – Nev 22-29 (15 PFs)
- Air Force 5-6 (16 PFs) – UNLV 7-12 (15 PFs)

Go Falcs: Do you still think the refs are calling the games “both ways”?

• Colorado State is 13-1 when committing 11 or fewer turnovers.


72 Eagle Driver
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Posted: 2/15/2013 12:57 PM

Re: Preview: Air Force (16-8/6-4) vs #24 CSU (20-4/7-2) 


hoops.gifGet your game faces on! Tomorrow is going to be a really fun, fun day. I expect a top notch game from both teams with Air Force eeking out a win on their home court in front of a packed Chamber. The noise will be deafening. As Coach P said at the Coach's show last night, the only trouble for him with a boisterously noisy crowd is his inability to hear the people behind the bench giving him all of their coaching tips. GO FALCONS! We want victory.
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Posted: 2/16/2013 9:41 AM

Re: Gameday: Air Force (16-8/6-4) vs #24 CSU (20-4/7-2) 


Big game.....get loud and

BEAT CSU


Defeating Colorado State will require an inside job from Air Force
BRENT BRIGGEMAN
2013-02-15 17:32:08

Air Force spent all of about 70 minutes on the practice floor preparing for Saturday’s home game against Colorado State.

The Falcons’ coaching staff figured the best preparation was to rest up for what promises to be a physical slugfest. Besides that, there wasn’t a great deal the Falcons could simulate on the practice floor.
More at. www.gazette.com/sports/force-1...-preparing.html

GO FALCONS

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Posted: 2/16/2013 12:11 PM

RE: Preview: Air Force (16-8/6-4) vs #24 CSU (20-4/7-2) 



72EagleDriver wrote: Swoll,

Go Falcs: Do you still think the refs are calling the games “both ways”?

No, they're clearly out to get us.  eek1


GoFalcs
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Posted: 2/16/2013 3:17 PM

Re: Gameday: Air Force (16-8/6-4) vs #24 CSU (20-4/7-2) 


maybe im crazy, but i can't find the stream on goairforcefalcons...
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Posted: 2/17/2013 7:03 AM

RE: Preview: Air Force (16-8/6-4) vs #24 CSU (20-4/7-2) 



GoFalcs wrote:
72EagleDriver wrote: Swoll,

Go Falcs: Do you still think the refs are calling the games “both ways”?

No, they're clearly out to get us.  eek1


GoFalcs
Go,

They're not out to get us . . .  they're after the strawberries!

72 Eagle Driver
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