Sunday, February 10, 2008

Post Game: Seton Hall -- Pirate Gold?

Two of the more reliable bloggers in the Nova Nation blogosphere, Let's Go Nova and I Bleed Blue and White have not yet filed their post game analysis of the Seton Hall game, so if you are looking for a recap right now (and can get by without the accompanying analysis...), try "Villanova Edges Seton Hall, 72-70" over at the Athletic Department's website or the Inky's Joe Juliano's piece, "New starter's trey lifts 'Nova over Seton Hall" from the Sunday Inquirer over at A lineup shuffle to stem the losses was expected. The choice of Dwayne Anderson to start at the #3 was not. It was a fortunate choice, however, as Dwayne, in his first start, proved up to the task and contributed enough throughout the course of the game to retain the staff's confidence at the end. Dwayne took a pass from Scottie Reynolds and dropped the game winner, a 3 point shot, with 0:12 on the clock. With a single possession left, Gonzo put out all his chips and brought in his long range gunner, Jeremy Hazell (a freshman) to join veteran gunner Jamar Nutter and Brian Laing, Harvey and center Mike Davis for one last go. Villanova countered with a lineup of Redding, Anderson, Clark, Cunningham and Pena to shut down the perimeter (and hope no one would go straight at the basket...). Nova's counter worked, and the skid has ended at 5. Hopefully this game starts a good run for the 'Cats through the rest of the month (yes, I know the 'Cats face the Hoyas on Monday...). The breakdown by halves...

OpponentSeton Hall 
 Offense Defense

The staff started Fisher, Reynolds, Anderson, Cunningham and Drummond as a unit for the first time this season. This was Dwayne Anderson's first start as a Wildcat (and not a game too soon). The first half stats suggest this unit was effective on offense, as the 'Cats took and held the lead throughout the half, managing an ORtg% of 126.9. The first to second half stats suggest both teams made substantial (and by and large successful) halftime adjustments. Villanova's were a bit more effective ultimately. The most troubling second half stat was the Hall's increase in offensive rebounding (OR%) -- or put another way, Villanova's decrese in defensive rebounding percentage (a decline of 62.1 to 59.4). Given that SHU took more FGAs in the second half (29 to 32) and the margin of victory was so small (2 points or one field goal), the difference could have been significant. Over the past three seasons the team has relied on rebounding as one of several mechanisms to lcounteract periods of poor shooting. On offense, the rebound gives the team an additional scoring opportunity, while on defense, when combined with turnovers, can dramatically limit the opponent's opportunities to get off an FGA (or a second FGA...).

Odds and Ends...
1. As a team the 'Cats hit a higher percentage of their 3s (40.9%) than their 2s (37.5%). For an equivalent percentages, that 40.9 translates into about 61.4% for 2s.
2. Anderson's numbers were very good for this game. His PPWS & eFG% were 1.18 and 59.1 respectively as he took 22.6% of the shots when he was on the court. He was participating as a "regular" within the offense.
3. Dante Cunningham's numbers are deceptive as most of his points came at the line. He was 4-6 from the field (he took a bit more than 10% of the shots when he was playing), but he had 16 FTAs, of which he hit 13. Cunningham took 59.3% of the FTAs for the team, and is responsible for 61.9% of the points scored at the free throw line. The Villanova frontcourt has had problems when dealing with larger frontcourt this season.
4. Both Reynolds and Fisher continue to struggle with their respective offensive contributions, though the problem appears to be a bit different for each. Fisher is shooting reasonably well as he logged an eFG% of 50.0 for the game. But his PPWS lagged (0.90) because he missed his FTAs, going 0-3. Reynolds by contrast had a terrible night from the field (2-9 with an eFG% of 33.3), but hit all of his free throws (4-4) to raise his PPWS to 0.92. Each represents a large part of the Wildcats' offense as they took 26.0% (Fisher) and 27.8% (Reynolds) of the shots when they were on the court. While the Pirates did a good job of defensing those two, Redding, Anderson and Cunningham were having very good nights from the line and field.

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