Thursday, February 7, 2008

Post Game: Syracuse -- And Again...

I broke down the gamelog for the first half and a it seemed as if the story of this team fell out in 10 minute intervals. For the first ten minutes the Wildcats' ORtg% was a very strong 147.4 -- 28 points on 19 possessions. The starting lineup was Fisher, Reynolds, Redding, Pena and Cunningham, and, at the 10:05 mark, included Fisher, Grant, Redding, Stokes and Cunningham. The rotation also had Drummond in for (about) 6:12. The defense was not terrific, but certainly the best stretch for this particular game -- 100.0, as Syracuse scored 18 points in 18 possessions. The last ten minutes brought a rather stunning reversal as Villanova's ORtg% imploded to 57.9 (11 points on 19 possessions) even as the defense collapsed to 130.0 (26 points on 20 possessions). The pace in the table below is, therefore a bit inflated (at least for the first half), as my handcount indicated each team had 38 possessions, not 39.7 as calculated. In any event, the breakdown by halves...

 Offense Defense

The second half was strange for several reasons...
1. The change in pace was very noticible (statistically speaking). The team that is behind at the half should, logically, increase the tempo to force more possessions and thereby make up the scoring deficit. Given the opponent was Syracuse, notorious for their short bench, the incentive should have been even greater, yet the pace decreased by (using the calculated numbers...) by nearly 20%.
2. In previous games, even those losses, Villanova was able to show dramatic improvement in either offense or defense (or both) from one half to another. Their improvement on offense (97.9 to 104.0), powered by better ball handling (note the reduction in TORate) and improved offensive rebounding (note their OR%) was undermined by inaccurate field goal shooting (note the reduction in eFG%). Irrespective of their offense, the defensive collapse was not to be overcome. Note that Syracuse shot about the same from half to half (68% is a lethal level of offense), so their improved ORtg% was fueled by improvement in other areas, TORate, OR% and mostly (depressingly, again) via FTRate, which, for the third time in the past four games, Villanova's opponents' second half FTAs exceeded their FGAs. For the Orange this represented a difference of 25 to 18.

Odds and Ends...
1. Casiem Drummond had a very good game. He scored 11 points in 19 minutes, but more importantly his were very efficient 11 points. His PPWS for the game was 1.47, very encouraging for the frontcourt.
2. The offense flowed through Drummond (mentioned above...), Fisher and Reynolds. Each took >25% of the shots when they were on the court. For Drummond (and the team), this is very good news as it suggests offense will come from somewhere other than the backcourt. Fisher posted an eFG% of 63.3 with a PPWS of 1.32 as he took 31.3% of the shots, while Reynolds' numbers were 50.0 (eFG%) and 1.10 (PPWS), while taking 27.6% of the shots.
3. Efficiency numbers for the front court were promising, as Cunningham and Pena also posted relatively efficient scoring numbers. Their shooting did not contribute more significantly to the score because they were marginalized within the offense. Dante took 10.8% of the shots while he was in the game while Pena took 9.9% of the shots.

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