On the road again

Milwaukee is playing its third game in five days, and once again we’re playing a team from Chicago.  This time, though, we’re in Chicago, where the Panthers take on the DePaul Blue Demons at the Allstate Arena on Monday night at 8 p.m.

Cleveland Melvin is a powerful 6'8'' forward who averages 18 ppg.

It’s the second game there in as many years for the Panthers, and they’ll have revenge on the mind as they move to strike back after a 14-point loss to the Blue Demons in 2010-11.

As far as RPI it was the worst loss of the season for Milwaukee, and the Panthers added it to a long list of games they’d like to do over.

Fast forward to this season, and Milwaukee is playing well.  7-1 despite a couple close victories, Milwaukee hasn’t dropped the ball and lost a game they should have won.  Neither has DePaul, however.  The Blue Demons, despite injury problems that cost them rotation members, have pressed forward, going 4-2 and losing those two games by a combined three points.  The Blue Demons are playing bigger this season, boasting a huge starting five that will force Milwaukee to counter with a bigger lineup at times.

Is the time right to start Tony Meier? Despite it being his third game back from injury, the Panthers need an upgrade in size.

It is entirely possible that Milwaukee could roll out a starting lineup of Kaylon Williams, Ryan Allen, Kyle Kelm, Tony Meier, and James Haarsma tonight.  That’s not terribly likely, because the funny part of that is the least reliable three-point shooter would be the, um, shooting guard.  But this is what the Panthers could be looking at.

DePaul’s lineup consists of several trees – 6’10”, 6’8”, 6’6”, and those are just the forwards.  While Jeremiah Kelly is a manageable 6′, Brandon Young is a 6’3” shooting guard that scores at will – along with 6’8” teammate Cleveland Melvin, Young is scoring 18 ppg and will be a major hurdle for Ryan Allen to climb.  Allen limited Alex Young of IUPUI, but the Blue Demons have legitimate scorers at all five spots on the floor.

If coach Rob Jeter decides to put three guards in the starting lineup and have Tony Meier come off the bench again, then Allen will be tasked to guard 6’6” Moses Morgan – both Williams and Paris Gulley can’t guard Morgan, as Williams needs to stay on point and Gulley would be giving up major size.

Last year, the Panthers started Williams/Ja’Rob McCallum/Tone Boyle in a three-guard lineup, each played at least 25 minutes, and the Panthers got smoked.  The Blue Demons outrebounded Milwaukee 36-21 and forced 20 turnovers.

Kyle Kelm has become the legitimate inside threat Milwaukee has missed without Anthony Hill. Now is time for him to get better against stiffer competition.

It’s a real conundrum, but to this follower, at least for tomorrow, I’d go with the three-post lineup of Meier/Kelm/Haarsma.  It won’t be easy, and because of depth issues won’t be seen often, but something tells me the Panthers won’t be able to speed their way around the taller Blue Demons.

The three-forward lineup would be easier to take if Demetrius Harris were to pick it up.  The junior forward is scoring 1.7 points and 2.4 rebounds in only 8.6 minutes per game, but if the Panthers are to beat DePaul they’ll have to be able to match size, and Harris will be important in those plans.

Now, the StatBreak for this week is up to date, but the +/- and Roland Ratings are incomplete as they do not include statistics from the Loyola game.  We’ll try and get those stats added as soon as possible and we’ll have a fully updated StatBreak on Tuesday or Wednesday to include the DePaul game.  Here’s your updated stats:

Player Offensive Rating Plus/Minus Roland Rating Effective Field Goal %
James Haarsma 121.5 33 22 55.4
Ryan Allen 119.2 38 32 53.1
Kyle Kelm 106.8 56 68 57.6
Ja’Rob McCallum 103.5 19 -4 47.3
Kaylon Williams 96 50 56 53.1
Paris Gulley 81.6 18 -8 32.2
Evan Richard 93 21 -2 33.3
Ryan Haggerty 46.4 -7 -58 22.7
Demetrius Harris 60 7 -28 41/6
Shaq Boga 61.9 -6 -65 31
Tony Meier 98.4 1 0 39.2

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