Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Play in game preview: Morehead St. vs. Alabama St.

This contest is one of the better Bracket Buster matchups in recent memory. Both teams have a legitimate chance to come out on top. A quick glance at their records would tell you that Alabama St. is the clear-cut favorite. However, the Ohio Valley conference is fairly competitive and Morehead St. has won against some fierce competition in their conference tournament. All in all, I believe that Alabama St. is certainly the favorite and will probably emerge as the victors.

After falling behind for most of the game against Austin Peay, Morehead St. looks poised to fight in their NCAA tournament appearance. They are an extremely motivated team that plays tough defense and is solid inside. Inside presence Kenneth Faried is a force to be reckoned with. He is effective fronting his man and cutting to the hoop, or simply is a post up threat. His combination of height, athleticism, and timing allows him to dominate on the glass and disrupt and alter numerous shots. Morehead's most effective offensive option is versatile senior forward Leon Buchanon, who can slash and attack the basket. Guards Maze Stallworth and Demonte Harper can attack the basket and are capable shooters off the dribble. Their ability to attack Alabama St. defenders is going to determine who wins this game. Overall, Morehead's screen and role offense is fairly effective against nearly any opponent. However, penetration hurts this team on the defensive end- as evinced by the play of Drake Reed. Their 3-2 zone defense is not immune to gaps, which can lead to easy layup opportunities.

On the other end, Alabama St. has been effective the entire season- playing several close games against some difficult opponents. 7'1 center Chief Kickingstallionsims should give even Faried some headaches inside. His height and ability to step out and hit shots will determine who wins this game. While he is not a star offensive option, his defense will be pivotal- if he can shut down Faried, this team should be able to exploit Morehead on the perimeter. The abilities of Hayles, Provitt, and Butler to attack the hoop will be critical. If Brooks can dominate the ball and control the tempo and these wings are effective from the perimeter and going to the hoop, Alabama St. should win. All and all, Morehead St. may very well outmuscle them inside. However, it is the guard play of star Brandon Brooks that will determine who wins this contest.

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