Sunday, November 30, 2014

MIT-63 Fitchburg-58 (OT)

(all photos by Robert Krawitz)

6'8" Senior Co-Captain Andrew Acker was unstoppable Saturday afternoon, registering 22 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 assists in MIT's fourth win
6'8" Sophomore Tim Butala is making a big statement in his second year, averaging 11.0ppg and 4.8rpg
Fitchburg State's guards harassed point guard Ryan Frankel full-court all afternoon, but his steady play and timely shots secured MIT's come-from-behind win

6'8" Co-Captain Dennis Levene's senior leadership is driving the Engineers' success this year. He's averaging career highs of 11.2ppg, 7.0rpg, and 2.8apg

After trying to find his rhythm in the first half, 6'6" Jr. Justin Pedley nailed four threes when it mattered most, including the game-tying trey to send the game into OT

6'6" Jr. Russell Johnson has been a steady force for the Engineers, grabbing 25 rebounds (6.3rpg) and committing only 1 turnover in 85 minutes of play (21.3 mpg)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Game Preview: #16 MIT vs. Fitchburg State

MIT vs. Fitchburg State 
Saturday, Rockwell Cage - Cambridge, MA 1:00pm

Live Stats | Video

Probable Starters:
MIT (3-0, 0-0) Ht. PPG RPG Fitchburg (5-1, 0-0) Ht. PPG RPG
Andrew Acker 6'8" 12.0 5.7 Kwame Lee 6'8" 15.3 5.7
Tim Butala 6'8" 10.3 4.3 Maurice Greene 6'6" 7.7 5.2
Dennis Levene 6'8" 13.3 6.0 Givaughn Jones 6'2" 9.8 22%3FG
Justin Pedley 6'6" 18.7 41%3FG Keyon Armstrong 6'1" 15.2 44%3FG
Ryan Frankel 5'11" 13.3 6.0 apg Leonny Burgos 5'11" 5.2 2.2 apg

A Look at Fitchburg:
X's & O's
Fitchburg is another extremely athletic team that looks to run and push the pace on every possession. They look to get the ball in the hands of the guards and wings, who all have the ability to handle, distribute, and finish. MIT will have to eliminate opportunities in transition (including covering the trailing shooters) and make Fitchburg play a half-court game.

Defensively, Fitchburg uses high-intensity, extended man-to-man coverage. They will use a man press and double the point guard, and have shown several variations of zone as well. MIT will need to take care of the ball against the Falcons, who gamble on defense and will make offenses pay for their mistakes.

Recent Performance

Last Time Out

This is only the second time in history MIT and Fitchburg have squared off. The first time they played each other was almost 90 years ago in the 1927-1928 season, when the Engineers earned the inaugural victory.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

MIT-71 Tufts-64 (OT)

Game Preview #16 MIT vs. Tufts University

MIT vs. Tufts 
Tuesday, Rockwell Cage - Cambridge, MA 7:00pm

Live Stats | Video

Probable Starters:
MIT (2-0, 0-0) Ht. PPG RPG Tufts (2-2, 0-0) Ht. PPG RPG
Andrew Acker 6'8" 15.5 7.0 Hunter Sabety 6'8" 13 58%FG
Tim Butala 6'8" 9.0 4.0 Tom Palleschi 6'8" 10 49%FG
Dennis Levene 6'8" 10.0 5.0 Steve Haladyna 6'5" 9 28%FG
Justin Pedley 6'6" 21.5 47%3FG Ben Ferris 6'3" 4 29%FG
Ryan Frankel 5'11" 12.0 6.5 apg Tarik Smith 5'11" 9 4 apg

A Look at Tufts:
X's & O's
Tufts offensively pushes the ball in transition, with their point guard looking to drive, wings looking to slash, and their bigs posting up hard. The Jumbos run a simple motion offense with the wings running baseline simultaneously. The bigs will then go high-low and work a 2-man game.

On defense Tufts uses primarily a 1/2-court man, with the point guard occasionally putting pressure on the ball 3/4-court.

Recent Performance

Last Time Out

Monday, November 24, 2014

MIT-77 Newbury-57

Game Preview: #16 MIT vs. Newbury

MIT vs. Newbury 
Monday, Rockwell Cage - Cambridge, MA 7:00pm

Live Stats | Video

Probable Starters:
MIT (1-0, 0-0) Ht. PPG RPG Newbury (1-4, 0-0) Ht. PPG RPG
Andrew Acker 6'8" 16.0 10.0 Cameron Owen 6'7" 6.4 4.0
Tim Butala 6'8" 6.0 3.0 Kenny Ramos 6'3" 12.4 9.4
Dennis Levene 6'8" 5.0 3.0 Ceejae Carter 6'2" 4.2 2.4
Justin Pedley 6'6" 18.0 4.0 Jeremiah Ephraim 6'2" 7.0 2.0
Ryan Frankel 5'11" 18.0 8.0 apg Milciades Carrasco 5'11" 11.0 1.2 spg

A Look at Newbury:
X's & O's
Newbury is an athletic, quick team that looks to run and push the pace on every possession. 1-4 will put their head down and go, and will have no hesitations taking it all the way to the rack. In the half-court the NightHawks implement several sets and a 4-around-1 motion, looking for their primary scorers to slash or catch and shoot from three. Newbury will fire away on their first open look.

Defensively Newbury uses a 1/2 court man and will double team the ball screens. They've been known to gamble often and will make teams pay if the offense doesn't take care of the ball. They will use a 3/4 court press back into several variations of zone as well.

Recent Performance

Last Time Out

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Game Preview: MIT vs. Gordon

MIT vs. Gordon 
Tuesday, Bennett Center - Wenham, MA 7:30pm

Live Stats | Video

Probable Starters (2013-2014 stats):
MIT (0-0, 0-0) Ht. PPG RPG Gordon (0-0, 0-0) Ht. PPG RPG
Matt Redfield 6'8" 13 9 Hans Miersma 6'9" 13 10
Andrew Acker 6'8" 12 10 Jason Dempsey 6'6" 8 6
Dennis Levene 6'8" 5 4 Dominic Paradis 6'5" 5 31% 3FG
Justin Pedley 6'6" 12 2 Taylor Bajema  6'4" 14.2 29% 3FG
Ryan Frankel 5'11" 8 3 apg Richie Armand 5'10" 1 1 spg

A Look at Gordon:
Recent Performance
Gordon College comes into the 2014-2015 season as the reigning Commonwealth Coast Conference champions, posting an 18-11 record last season and advancing to the 2nd Round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to eventual national runners-up Williams College.

Last Time Out
MIT-67 Gordon-48
Paul Dawson: 17 pts, 8 asts, 4 stls, 3 rbs
Matt Redfield: 14 pts, 6 rbs, 4 asts, 3 blks
Andrew Acker: 12 pts, 11 rbs
Dennis Levene: 9 pts
Justin Pedley: 9 pts

X's & O's
Gordon likes to push transition offense, locating their shooters early on for easy looks. In the half-court they usually go 3-out-2-in, with their bigs initiating their offense with down-screens, then proceeding into a Motion offense with lots of screens and single-singles. Look for plenty of plays where Miersma gets a look down-low.

On the defensive end, Gordon utilizes a half-court man, picking up at the three-point line. They look to pack their defense in, protecting the paint, and collapsing on drives. MIT's shooters need to be prepared to knock down the open looks. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

MIT- 52 Harvard-73 (Exhibition)

Box Score

#25 ranked Division I Harvard shot 55% from the field, 54% from three, and 82% from the free-throw line to take away the 73-52 victory versus #16 ranked Division III MIT. MIT took a 22-21 lead with 10 minutes left in the first half before Harvard went on a 21-5 run.

MIT grabbed 24 rebounds to Harvard's 27, despite MIT not having Preseason All-American Matt Redfield playing.

MIT saw many bright spots in this preseason tuneup (the game counted as an exhibition for MIT and a real game for Harvard) versus the 4-time Ivy League champions. 6'6" Jr. Justin Pedley scored 19 points including three threes to lead all scorers. 6'8" Sophomore Tim Butala added 16 points while fellow big-man Andrew Acker scored 8 points and a game-high 9 rebounds despite foul trouble in the first half. Junior co-captain Ryan Frankel paced the Engineers with 5 assists and 3 steals.

(all pictures courtesy of Robert Krawitz)

Larry Anderson begins his 20th season at MIT

Junior co-captain Ryan Frankel blows by Harvard's Siyani Chambers

MIT hit the boards hard and out-rebounded Harvard offensively
Senior All-NEWMAC selection Andrew Acker tallied 8 points and a game-high 9 rebounds

6'8" Sophomore Tim Butala scored 16 points for the Engineers

6'8" Dennis Levene played solid defense on Harvard's best player Wesley Saunders

6'6" sharp-shooter Justin Pedley lead all scorers with 19 points

Friday, November 14, 2014

Game Preview: MIT vs. Harvard (Exhibition)

MIT vs. Harvard 
Friday, Lavieties Pavilion - Cambridge, MA 7:00pm

Live Stats | Video

Probable Starters (2013-2014 stats):
MIT (0-0, 0-0) Ht. PPG RPG Harvard (0-0, 0-0) Ht. PPG RPG
Matt Redfield 6'8" 13.0 8.5 Evan Cummins 6'8" 2.8 1.9
Andrew Acker 6'8" 11.8 9.6 Jonah Travis 6'6" 4.6 3.1
Dennis Levene 6'8" 4.7 4.4 Steve Moundou-Missi 6'7" 10.5 6.0
Justin Pedley 6'6" 11.6 1.7 Wesley Saunders  6'5" 14.2 4.6 
Ryan Frankel 5'11" 8.1 3.2 apg Siyani Chambers 6'0" 11.1 4.6 apg

A Look at Harvard:
Recent Performance
Harvard has won four straight Ivy League championships and have made three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. The Crimson beat 5th-seeded Cincinnati to reach the 3rd round of the 2014 NCAA Division I Tournament, finishing the season 27-5. Harvard is ranked #25 in the AP Division I poll.

Last Time Out
In a very rough preseason tune-up versus Harvard last season, MIT shot just 27.9% from the field and 13.3% from three while committing 29 turnovers, handing Harvard the 79-37 victory. Matt Redfield led the Engineers with 14 points and 9 rebounds.

X's & O's
Harvard, one of the best Division I teams in the nation, is an extremely skilled and athletic group on both the offensive and defensive ends.

On offense Harvard will push the ball in transition, looking to get to the basket or find the open three. In the half-court they will go into a 3-out-2-in or 4-around-1 set with Moundou-Missi down low, with the guards cutting or spotting up for the outside look after a dump in. All of Harvard's guards are very good at penetrating and shooting, and will utilize lots of screens with the bigs to initiate their offense.

On defense the Crimson implement a half-court man and an extended man-to-man defense. They will apply extensive pressure, forcing the opponents offense to begin in spots they are not comfortable with. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Redfield Earns Preseason All-American Honors

6'8" Senior Matt Redfield was tabbed as a Preseason All-American by this week after a stellar Junior campaign in 2013-2014.

Redfield, majoring in mathematics with computer science and minoring in economics, is a two-time All-NEWMAC and Academic All-NEWMAC selection, averaging 13.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game last season. The Los Altos, California native is already MIT's all-time leader in blocked shots (128), holds the record for most blocks in a season (63), and is third all-time for FG% in a season (.595). Redfield is known among fans for his powerful dunks, throwing down 17 on the season last year.

During the summers, Redfield was an Engineering Intern at Satmetrix Systems, a Data Science Intern at Streetline, Inc., and most recently interned at Google as a Software Engineer.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

2014-2015 Season Preview/Analysis

Preseason nationally-ranked #16 MIT is less than a week away from tip-off, and MITHoops.NET takes a look at whats in store for the 2014-2015 season.

MIT finished 20-9 in their last campaign, winning the NEWMAC Conference Championship and making their 6th straight NCAA Tournament appearance. With no graduating seniors in the Spring, MIT brought back nearly its entire 2013-2014 roster and reinforced with a handful of new student-athletes.

The Engineers return with some very valuable strengths they took advantage of last season, and must focus on a few key areas if they want to progress even further.

2013-2014 NEWMAC Champions


MIT is one of the biggest and longest teams in Division III, with 10 of their 14 players clocking in at 6'5" or above. They've enjoyed domination in the post the past few years, with the 6'8" Senior duo of Matt Redfield and Andrew Acker coming off All-Conference seasons. Redfield, already MIT's all-time leading shot blocker, swatted away 63 shots last season and threw down 17 dunks, while his partner in crime Acker registered 14 double-doubles on the year (8th all-time).

Joining Acker and Redfield in the back-court are 6'10" Junior Lampros Tsontzos, who's hard-work in the offseason has been showing in the preseason, and newcomer 6'9" Spencer Rust, who had a great outing versus DII NCAA-Tourney team Franklin Pierce in the two squads' scrimmage last weekend.

Utilizing their size, MIT continues to be one of the best defensive teams in the nation, leading the country last year in Scoring Defense (55.6ppg). The Engineers ranked 12th in FG% Defense (38.4%), despite ranking 197th in 3FG% defense (34.3%) (given this statistic, it is our guess MIT was near the top if not first in the nation in 2FG% Defense at 40.2%).

MIT's army of long, athletic wings (6'8" Sr. co-captain Dennis Levene, 6'8" So. Tim Butala, 6'6" Jr. Justin Pedley, 6'6" Jr. Russell Johnson, 6'5" Sr. David Bender, 6'5" So. Hunter Gatewood, 6'4" Sr. Nick Prus, and 6'4" Fr. Andy Wang) will help add to MIT's defensive fortress.

Below takes a look at MIT's defensive improvement since they first made the NCAA Tournament in 2009. 

The 2013-2014 defense put up better numbers than MIT's Final Four team (2011-2012)

Again with size comes the ability to control the glass. The Engineers ranked 4th in the country last season in Rebounding Margin (+9.4). 

MIT has become one of the nation's best rebounding teams thanks to an influx of extremely talented big men

Areas of Improvement

Turnover Margin
Turnovers plagued the Engineers at critical times on offense last season, as they seemed too reliant on forcing the ball inside at certain moments and unable to get position in their sets during others. On the defensive end, the Engineers forced only 10.4 turnovers per game, a sharp decline compared to years past (see below).

During MIT wins in 2013-2014, MIT saw a TO margin of +2.8; in losses this ballooned to +7.9 (with three crucial games sticking out: Bridgewater State 26 to 11; Babson 17 to 6; Plattsburgh NCAA 1st Round 17 to 5).

Granted MIT's size comes at a price (lateral quickness), the Engineers must be able to put more defensive pressure on opponents, and keep their own turnovers to a minimum, running their sets with precision.

The Engineers will be relying on Junior co-captain Ryan Frankel to steady the sails and lead MIT's meticulous offense at point guard, with newcomer Samson Donick ready to step in at back up.

MIT's TO margin last year was the highest out of all MIT NCAA teams

Perimeter Play
In addition to low opponent turnovers, lapses in defensive pressure on the perimeter led to easy looks for opponents from three. In MIT's wins last season, the Engineers held teams to a moderate 30.9% 3-point percentage. In MIT's losses, however, teams shot a comfortable 40%. If MIT can defend the three while the bigs clog the lane and Redfield cleans up anything left, teams will have a very difficult time scoring on the Engineers.

On the offensive side, in order to have that inside-out presence that has worked so well for Tech in the past, the Engineers need to find way to get their rhythm beyond the arc. In MIT wins, the Engineers shot a solid 36.0% from three; in losses they shot just 26.2%.

The Engineers have the tools to get hot from three, with Pedley connecting on 67 threes last year and Frankel and Butala both registering high percentages from deep (39% and 36% respectively). The Engineers also welcome back sharp-shooter Prus after a year studying abroad in the UK.

Last season was the first time opponent's shot better from three during MIT's six year reign of winning conference championships

The stats are clear. If MIT can defend the three and put more pressure on the guards, they will have one of the best defenses in the country yet again. If MIT can take care of the basketball when running their attack and can knock down shots from the outside, their offense will also be a threat to reckon with.

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