Thursday, February 21, 2008

Post Game: West Virginia -- Hello Dwayne Anderson

Pete over at

the Let's Go Nova blog hands out grades in his post game recap and analysis, "Nova Cruises Past WVU" and while I have to agree with Pete that the team was not "perfect", the first half did come awfully close to what I have to believe the staff has attempted to accomplish this season. Pete's grades are, as always, worth a read. The energy shown last night at the Pav appears to have re-energized the entire Nova Nation as suggested by the jump in the number of recent posts across the Nova Blogosphere . Mark over at the I Bleed Blue and White blog gives a brief recap/highlight of individual performances in his post "Wildcats Kill Mountaineers" as he hints that fellow IBBW blogger Chris will provide more detail/color in a later post. I will check back for that as the days goes on fellas. The official Athletic Department website issued it's own story (actually it is off the AP wire...), "Wildcats Win Easily Over Mountaineers, 78-56", which gives a nod to Dwayne, Scottie and Corey Stokes (and Cas Drummond) for their contributions/roles in the winning effort. Tim, the blogger over at the Villanova News blog posted his recap ("Anderson and Stokes Lead Rout of West Virginia) which interestingly enough noted that the team wore their 1985 championship throwback jerseys for the game. Well, for the first half they played like they were the 1985 team. And it was fun to watch. With more postings to come today, the blogs are certainly worth a second go-round later today. Or if you are on a quick break, check out VU for the consolodated listing of Villanova Blogs and news stories. The breakdown by halves...

OpponentWest Virginia 
 Offense Defense

While there is not an absolute correlation between offensive/defensive ratings and points (the formula works on points per possession...) scored, the spread between Villanova's 1st half offensive and defensive ratings (see yellowed highlight in the table above) confirm the gap in the scores 45-21, was no illusion. The offense and defense were that good. Bloggers who wrote the defense looked the best it has all year were not seeing things. The numbers confirm that the 'Cats gave the fans a very solid (their best so far?) effort on that side of the ball. Note (lime green highlights) that the 'Eers combined poor shooting (eFG%) with high turnovers (only 3 in 4 possessions ended as an FGA -- also linked here is the steal rate see Stl% at bottom of table) and few second chance opportunities (1 in 4 misses were rebounded -- note Villanova was not much better, uncharacteristic for the Wildcats...). The defensive letdown in the second half is pretty understandable, given the 'Cats maintained a 25+ point lead throughout most of the period. Note WVU's eFG% improved to 40.6, still well below the 48-50 level that would suggest poor shot defense. As for the dramatic rise in offensive rebounding, consider that Dante played just under 6 minutes in the half -- he went out at the 13:55 mark with his 4th foul and did not return. Coach Wright continued to tinker with the lineup through the remainder of the half, producing lineups like Fisher(1), Reynolds(2), Stokes(3), Clark(4) and Pena(5), the group on the floor when Cunningham left (Fisher was his substitution) and Fisher(1), Redding(2/3?), Stokes(3/2?), Clark(4) and Anderson(5?). Offensively, the turnovers (TO% was high for the 'Cats) and offensive rebounding could have been better; lack of 1st to 2nd half improvement might be attributed to the margin in the score, but indisputable is the fact that this was the best shooting night the 'Cats have had in the Big East portion of their schedule. They posted a PPWS of 1.26 for the game. They shot 87% from the free throw line, far more consistent with last season's efforts than this season.

Was Villanova that good, or was West Virginia that bad? West Virginia had one of the highest Pythagorean Winning percentages (per Ken Pomeroy's Stats Page) in D1 this year. Currently they are ranked 21 with a percentage of 0.943, but they have been as high as 3 (0.986) just before the Big East season. The Mountaineers have had 3 stinkers (losses by >15 points), all coming at the hands of Big East conference mates. The marker from the first two that showed again at Villanova is eFG%. WVU shot under 40.0 for eFG%s in all 3 games. If they shoot < 45.0 they lose, under 40.0 and they get blown out. Nova defense or WVU offense? Probably a combination of both, with Villanova's forcing turnovers that disrupt the offense.

Odds and Ends...
1. Dwayne Anderson, as announced in the official post game notes, scored a career high 17 points to go with his 2 assists and 3 rebounds. Anderson has scored in double digits in 3 of his 4 starts so far. Even more impressive was his 1.90 PPWS (season-long this is up to 1.14) and eFG of 93.8. Players with efficiencies like that tend to go 1-1 or 2-2 -- Dwayne took 8 shots from the field, suggesting, along with his 20.2% Shot%, that he functioned (efficiently) as the second/third option offensively for his playing time. As of the Hartford game in late December, Dwayne averaged 5.8 minutes (per game). Not only has the average grown to 17.0, but with the exception of a 2 game span (Rutgers & Notre Dame, during the slump), that playing time average has risen game-over-game. I think this kid has played himself into the regular rotation and starting lineup. Congratulations and keep up the good work.
2. Corey Stokes appears to be putting it together at the right time. Stokes notched his second consecutive double digit scoring night on a 54.2 eFG% shooting effort. His PPWS, 1.19, though only 6th highest (!) for the game, was impressive given the large role he took in the offense (44.8% of the shots when he was on the floor, one of the highest numbers from a "regular"-type player that I have seen this season). Corey picked up 5 rebounds for the second consecutive game, also a very good marker for his defense.
3. Scottie Reynolds stepped back from a "star"-type role in the offense for the second consecutive game. He picked up a second foul at the 13:27 mark of the first half and sat until the second half. Given the margin of the score it is not surprising he played 12 of the available 20 minutes in the second half. Not surprisingly he was extremely efficient when he did take the FGA (eFG of 75.0 in both games, 1.53 and 1.50 respectively for PPWWs...).
4. West Virginia is the third consecutive team that Villanova has held to under 90.0 (0.90 PPP). This is a very good trend for the 'Cats. They will need to continue this for the Huskies and Marquette at least. For Big East games, their raw ORtg is 100.7 while their raw DRtg is 100.8. Ideally (if having a winning record is considered ideal...) the DRtg should be (much) lower than the ORtg.


Pete said...

Hey Greycat... great post-game review, and thanks for the link. Just wanted to point out that (regarding your first odd and end) that Anderson's career high is 18, not the 17 last night.

greyCat said...

Right you are Pete, DA posted 18 against Iowa in the Paradise Jam last season. I will fix that up shortly. DA is having a great run right now though. If he can build on this the team will be in great shape for the last 2+ weeks of the regular season (and going into New York).