Thursday, February 14, 2008

Post Game: Georgetown -- Gimme a D!

The posting titles say it all. Over at I Bleed Blue and White Blog Chris posted "Refs Victimize Nova Again" early on the morning after the game. He followed that entry with "He Has to Go", which summarized the reaction of fans, analysts and coaches who are not Villanova-related, to Bob Donato's call which put Jon Wallace on the line with 0.1 on the clock, and two shots to win. Pete over at Let's Go Nova had promoted a live webcast posting from the game Verizon Center as a new blog feature, ("Live Blog of Nova-GT Tonight"), but his personal first was overshadowed by the game-ending sequence. Pete jumped back on to post his reaction/recap, "Cats Fall to Hoyas on Dubious Call" at 2:53am (blog time stamp, I have no idea which timezone the timestamp's server is located in...), which he followed 14 hours later with "Media Consensus: Foul Unjust", and 5 hours after that with "Nation Agrees in a Landslide: Call was Bad". That's 3 posts (not short blurb-type posts either, but two fairly long pieces) within an 18 hour period. I think that is a first for the Let's Go Nova Blog (congratulations on both counts Pete). The breakdown by halves was done Monday evening over at Hoya Prospectus so I am not going to duplicate it here. To interpret for Villanova, just substitute "Defense" for "Offense" (and "Offense" for "Defense") on CO_Hoya's table...

I believe that most Wildcat fans would have been happy with a two point road loss had that effort come as part of a defensive effort that earned an 85.6 DRtg. That's the kind of defense the Nova Nation had come to expect from their team. As my comments to CO_Hoya suggest, high turnovers and low rebounding are markers for good Villanova defense. And they were present with a statement in these stats. The Hoyas lost nearly 1 in 4 possessions in the first half and nearly 1 in 3 in the second half. The 'Cats did an outstanding job on the defensive boards (check out GTown's OReb% -- 21.1 in the first half and 0.0 in the second half. The Hoyas got no second chances on missed FGs in the second half. Remember these guys have Roy Hibbert, Summers and Vernon Macklin...). Last sequence excepted, the 'Cats did a pretty good job keeping the Hoyas off the free throw line. Note they kept the FTA/FGA second half percentage for the Hoyas to under 90.0%, something an improvement over past losses, even those at home. The defense was aggressive, but not overly so this game. .

Odds and Ends...
1. The Wildcat's Big East only shooting defense stats:

These stats suggest the 'Cats are headed in the right direction defensively. Now to get the offense back on track -- those numbers were brutal, much to the Hoyas' credit they shut down Fish, Pena and Drumm...
2. 24 personal fouls in a road game is not excessive, given that the team has averaged 23.3 PFs per game on the road this season. Nova logged 26 PFs at the Fitzgerald Field House earlier this month, and 29 at the RAC a few days before that. For the Hoya game however, it was the distribution that mattered. 23 of those fouls were tagged to front court players (note here I am putting Corey Stokes in the frontcourt...), resulting in three of them, Dwayne Anderson (ouch -- he hit the game winner against the Hall last Saturday...), Casiem Drummond (ouch again) and Corey Stokes having to sit. Dante Cunningham is usually one of those who sits first in situations like this. Dante, to his credit, stayed on the floor this game.
3. Anderson, Cunningham, Drummond, Pena and Stokes collectively accounted for 67.4% of the defensive rebounds (GTown as a team had 13.8%). On the offensive boards they collected 26.7% of the available boards.
4. If the frontcourt had a terrific night for rebounding (and steals...), they were virtually marginalized in the offense. Cunningham had 4.8% of the shots when he was on the floor, while Pena had 7.0% and Drumm, who did considerably better at 13.4% was still no better than a role player in the offense the Cats used. Dwayne Anderson, who has had the hot hand the past few games was decidedly cooler in the Verizon Center. While he had 23.4% of the available shots when he was on the court, he could only manage a 33.3 eFG% on 3-9 shooting (0-4 on 3s, no FTAs). Corey Stokes was about the only front court 'Cat who put together a fairly offensive outing. Corey with an S gathered 7 points on a 3-7 (1-5, 2-2) shooting night. That yielded a 50.0 eFG% and 1.00 PPWS. Not spectacular numbers for the second/third option, but with 27.3% of the shots when he was on the floor, he was on the good side of the team's ORtg for the game (about 94.2 vs 82.5). A very tough night for the offense indeed.
5. Reynolds had a good night on offense, putting the ball in his hands for the last sequence was not, given his stats, a reach. Scottie scored 24 on 6-13 (2-5, 4-8) and 10-13 shooting. In the absence of more FGAs, he was able to get to the line to make each possession productive. His eFG% was a respectable 53.9, while his PPWS, at 1.25, reflected the effect of his free throws. His FTA/FGA was a very Fraser-like 100.0. And his FTM/FGA, at 76.9, indicates he used those scoring opportunities well. Scottie was one of the top free throw shooters in the conference last season, and it looks as if he is rounding into form again this season.

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