Game preview: Furman-Liberty is the tactical *and* shot-making battle of the week
Fun for the November blues
I think it’s hard to quantify the concept of fun in college basketball. Fun is supposed to be subjective. Some people like defense; a lot more people like offense. Some people love games that end with scores of 98-93. Some would decry that it was too easy to score in that game. Some people like steals; some people hate turnovers. It varies from person to person, and pretty much any response to “what do you define as fun basketball” can be fungible and acceptable.
With that useless intro out of the way, there is a game today between two of the most fun on-court programs in all of men’s college basketball. Here is a list of the top six teams in eFG% over the last three-plus seasons. eFG% is essentially FG% with an added 50% weight for threes, for the less statistically-inclined.
Are they fun universities? Uh, your call. Are they fun basketball teams on the court? To me, yes.
Furman and Liberty will tangle in the quarterfinals of the Myrtle Beach Invitational, a preseason tournament whose previous winners have gone 1-for-3 in making the NCAA Tournament. That might not sell you on this game! Don’t listen to me. Listen to the two teams themselves, who play beautiful offensive basketball with highly-diverse systems built on great shot selection and spacing. Between them, they also rank #1 and #2 in three-point attempt rate in the entire sport since 2020.
Like the Indiana State/Alabama affair we looked at last week, these are two teams built around rim-and-three basketball but have two very different paths to get there. Liberty plays at a very slow offensive tempo and could remind a viewer a little bit of the mid-2010s Saint Mary’s teams, while Furman wants to run and gun and play the game in the 80s. Neither strategy is perfect, but both make for a fun stylistic clash.
BELOW THE LINE ($): let it fly!
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