Monday, February 4, 2013
Charlotte a sleeper in the A10?
By Matt Giles
During a recent win against Massachusetts, Charlotte managed to hold the inconsistent but offensively explosive Minutemen to just one point per possession (UMass had previously been scoring over one PPP). Charlotte now has only two losses in Atlantic 10 play, and though the 49ers were derided during the non-conference for what was perceived as a soft schedule, Alan Major's squad has been a surprise. Some may claim the two losses were both blowouts, a sign that Charlotte is coasting at the moment and will soon regress, but the 49ers are clearly a top defensive squad in the A10. The team makes up for their lack of height with quick hands -- Pierria Henry has one of the top steals rates in the nation -- and their defensive adjustments in the halfcourt have helped limit opponents to .97 PPP. The team has shown an ability to control A10 teams in isolation situations, but their help defense has also progressed in Major's second season.
However, it is true that Charlotte is a dreadful offensive team. If the 49ers are to falter during February, it will be because they simply can't score. No other A10 team has a worse three-point percentage -- though Charlotte, realizing they are poor from deep, does not attempt many threes -- and the squad is extremely sloppy with their handle. Charlotte scores just .93 PPP, and because the team cannot stretch the floor, opponents are able to key onto Chris Braswell and limit his touches. The senior's offensive rating has dipped below 100, a troubling sign considering he attempts the squad's highest percentage of shots.