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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Explanations up later today.

Cleveland State at Wright State
Edge: Wright State

I'm sorry, CSU fans, but there's not much anyone can do now for this team. I'll be glad if CSU can win at least one conference game this season, but I don't think it will be too soon.

Detroit at Loyola
Edge: Detroit

Detroit to lose three in a row? I doubt it. They're going up against a weaker Loyola team, and definitely have the motivation they need to break this losing streak and extend Loyola's losing streak.

Illinois-Chicago at Butler
Edge: Butler

At this point, I'm not sure where this game could go. Both teams definitely have the potential to win this one. I'm going to call this one a toss-up, and going to go with Butler.

Wisconsin-Green Bay at Wisconsin Milwaukee
Edge: Wisconsin-Milwaukee

| -- Critical conference game -- |

As much as I would like to see UWGB keep this momentum going and have them win this one, it's not very realistic. They're playing in Milwaukee against a very tough UWM team, and probably with a big crowd, as well. If UWGB can play their best for the whole game, they can keep this one close and have a shot at winning it. Otherwise, it's going to go to UWM.

Should UWGB pull a victory off, though, the race for the conference will be blown wide open. Otherwise, I think UWM may have enough to solidify the conference championship unless they make some big mistakes or lose players.

(These keys are all opinions, not what needs to be done. I'm not a basketball coach, but these seem to be basic things that need to be done.)

Keys for UWGB:

1. Shoot well

Poor shooting has hit the team in the last few games and has caused problems. To win this one, they may not have to outshoot UWM, but they'll have to hit as much as they can, at least 50%. When UWGB can do that for the game, they are hard to beat, but so are most other teams.

2. Slow UWM's offense down

There are two parts to this. First, take away some of the offense production by stopping at least one of the big three scorers (Page, McCants, or Tucker). Part of the reason that UWGB had some success in the first half against UWM was that they were able to contain Page and hold him back. Once he got going in the second half, there was little that UWGB could do to stop him.

The second thing to do is to stop the UWM transition. They can't allow UWM to get transition shots. Keeping the defense going and setting it quickly will be a key for UWGB.

3. Take advantage of the press

A press defense can be great for causing turnovers, but it can also create some risks. If UWGB can get down the court before UWM can set its halfcourt defense, they can get some scoring in with fewer defenders. Also, UWGB should keep an eye out for open players by the basket, especially when throwing the ball in bounds. With this, UWGB will also have to take care of the ball and prevent turnovers.

4. Start off good and hold them off

A fast start will be needed to have any chance in this game, and it may come down to just holding them off to win it. UWM has played only 5 close games decided by 7 or less points, and are 2-3 in that situation. A close game would be to their advantage.


Keys for UWM:

1. Get the shooters going

Once the shooting has started, they can't be stopped easily. The offense will need to start early and keep going throughout this game.

2. Force turnovers

Transition has been in UWM's advantage this season, and forcing turnovers will give them more opportunities. The press defense will help them do that, and the more they can force, the better they will do.

3. Keep the game at a fast pace

UWM definitely has some players with high stamina, and a fast-paced game may tire out the other team easily. The press defense and transition offense will do this, and it will be important to keep the game going at their pace.

4. Don't get overconfident.

Being 9-0 is great, but it doesn't make you invincible. UWM needs to be humble right now and keep going at the same rate, no matter how many games they win. If they become overconfident, it can be disasterous for this team, as the past has shown.


Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne (IPFW) at Youngstown State (non-conference)
Edge: Youngstown State

Youngstown State on a winning streak? It definitely can be extended here. They're on a two-game winning streak, and can take it to three with a win against a weak IPFW team. Have the independent schools become the doormats of DI basketball, or is there a conference that can be trampled more easily than them?
 
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