Thursday, March 19, 2015

How can the Eastern Washington Eagles take down Georgetown

Photo from goeags.com
It only took a few moments for the pundits to begin proclaiming Eastern Washington a  likely upset team for their round of 64 game against Georgetown.  The story is easy to write, Eastern's high scoring sharpshooters take down Georgetown in a repeat of past early tourney exits for the Hoyas. The problem with that narrative is that many of those pundits never actually watch the Eagles play a game, except maybe their victory at Indiana, and this Georgetown team hasn't lost any NCAA Tournament games to a double-digit seeded team.

The raw numbers make these teams look a lot closer than one might expect given their relative seeding.  Georgetown scores 10.1 fewer points per game than Eastern, but EWU allows 9 more points per game. Both teams are extremely close statistically in rebounding, blocks and assists.  Georgetown edges Eastern with 7.7 steals per game to the Eagles 6.4.  Eastern has the edge in shooting hitting 48% of their shots to Georgetown's 45%.  The trouble with raw numbers is that they do not take into account all of the situations that produce them.  For one thing, Georgetown's conference, the Big East, features 6 NCAA Tournament teams, while Eastern is the sole representative from the Big Sky.

Stick with me through the break and I will break down the challenges and chances for Eastern as they head into tonight's match-up in Portland, Oregon.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

2014-2015 Week 16 and 17 Eagle Hoops Wrap up

EWU 2014-2015 Big Sky Conference Champions
& Head Coach Jim Hayford's soon to be legendary Red Blazer
photo from goeags.com
I want to start by saying thank you to all that have read the blog throughout the season.  I've tried to provide good content and interesting takes on this team.  The blog's following has grown by leaps and bounds this season, as it should be when the Eagles have had a season of nearly unprecedented success.  They've won more games than ever before as a Division I program and have secured a share of the Big Sky Conference regular season title for just the 3rd time since joining the Big Sky in the 1987-1988 season.  Coach Hayford's 63 wins rank him second behind only Ray Giacoletti's 69 over that same time period.  His 14 conference wins are the most any Eagle squad has ever achieved in the Big Sky.  The 4 Big Sky losses are tied for the second fewest in the schools Big Sky history as well, behind the 2003-2004 NCAA tournament team and tied with the 1999-2000 squad and the 2001-2002 squad.  As we prepare for tomorrow's tip off in the Big Sky Conference Tournament against Idaho, take a moment to ponder this team, because it marks one of the highest points in Eastern Washington Basketball history.  They are not done yet and if Coach Hayford and the Eagles can find a way to beat Idaho for just the third time ever when both schools have been members of the Big Sky Conference, they will have a chance to continue their climb up the ranks of program history.

Now the bad news, unfortunately the past couple weeks have been extremely busy for me as I prepare for to embark on orders for the military that will have me out of the country for the next few weeks. This has involved a lot of logistical concerns, like booking flights and ensuring that the members of my Navy Reserve Unit are prepared for travel, as well as getting caught up and ahead in my own studies at Austin Community College.  With their Spring Break coming up I've had to get ahead in all of my classes and complete the requirements which would otherwise be due prior to my return.  I write all of this, so you know why I will be simply providing a quick summary of the Eagles last two weeks of conference play on the way to their well earned Big Sky Conference Championship and how they let the right to host the Big Sky Conference Tournament slip away.

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