Statistics in the stat box provided for EIU’s game against NC Central on Friday. EIU plays either Northern Arizona or Southern U. on Saturday depending on the outcome.
- Eastern Illinois is up for the “close but no cigar” award this year with narrow losses at Missouri State and Cincinnati. Coming out of Florida with one or two wins would probably do wonders.
- The Panthers offense has been a mixed bag: they’re shooting the three rather well, (34.9% — fifth best in the OVC) but struggling to get much done on the inside. (39.7% on two-point attempts, 10th in the OVC.) Defensively, EIU ranks 9th in the league in efficiency.
- Chris Olivier was taken out of the starting rotating against Creighton, and played just 15 minutes — our best guess is it was a “rest” game in a four-game week for the Panthers, but again, that’s just a guess. He is listed as a projected starter for the Panthers against NC Central.
- In classic EIU style, they’re 343rd (out of 347 teams) in possessions per game. So, nothing new there.
Scouting NC Central
NC Central played about equally as well against Cincinnati as the Panthers did, and about as poorly against Creighton. The Eagles have yet to win a Division I game, but they’ve had just three: at Cincinnati, at Creighton, and at North Carolina. So, this is their first game of the year against a similar mid-major team.
The Eagles are a much better offensive team than EIU. They’re shooting 40.9% from three-point range on the year, led by guards Anthony McDonald and Dante Holmes. McDonald takes a lots of three-attempts, north of eight a game, and both are shooting better than 40% from deep. They’re complimented inside with 6’7 forward Jordan Parks, a 12.8 point-per-game scorer, and 6’8 Karamo Jawara, who is putting up nearly 10 points a game, along with seven rebounds. It’s not all roses for NC Central offensively, though. The Eagles have struggled with turnovers (again, though, they’ve played three really good teams) and are shooting worse inside the three-point arc then they are from outside it. (37.5% on two-point attempts)
Defensively, no team has shot well from outside against them. NC Central has held their opponents to sub-30% three-point shooting.
They’re not going to do much to push the tempo, so this is likely going to be a comfortable (read: slow) game for the Panthers.
Scouting Northern Arizona / Southern University
Northern Arizona is 1-4, with their sole win coming against Fresno State. Like NC Central, though, they’ve played an extremely tough schedule, with losses to Xavier, Toledo, Ole Miss, and MTSU. The Lumberjacks aren’t a great team in the half-court, but they force 15 turnovers a game, and are good at turning those into easy points. They like to shoot the three, and hit at a high rate. (36.4%) There’s no one in the frontcourt that scares you, but the guards can do a lot of damage if given space
Southern is “offensively challenged.” They put up 76 points in the opener against Louisiana Tech. In their three Division I games since, they’re averaging…48 per game. The numbers actually get worse:
- 21.7% from three-point range
- 38.7% FG percentage
- 0.787 points per possession
I could go on, but you get the picture. It’s not a pretty one. They’re better defensively, but haven’t been good enough on that end to make up for the offense. You score more than 60, you feel pretty good about this one.
By The Numbers
3-11The combined record of EIU’s possible opponents in this round of the Emerald Classic. If you want to throw EIU into the mix, the four teams in this group combine for a 4-15 record. Only one team has a Division I win. Something’s gotta give…
54.0Eastern Illinois is averaging 54 points in their four games against Division I competition