Saturday, March 22, 2008

Post Game: Clemson -- Experience Counts

The Nova Blogosphere has also made something of a comeback in the past 6 or so hours. Check out reactions from the bloggers over at I Bleed Blue and White, Let's Go Nova and Nova News when you get the chance -- and stop by Villanova's own "link central" at for any news stories and other Villanova-related blog postings. Game in and game out, the guys over there have have done a great job creating an electronic record of Villanova's season. And the official Athletic Department site, as always, posted an AP story about the game, "Villanova Upends Fifth-Seeded Clemson, 75-69" to go with the official box score. The breakdown by halves...

 Offense Defense

For the first 14:56 of the game Clemson outscored Villanova 38-18. Over the next 25:04 Nova, in an adjustment reminiscent of another Tiger game (LSU), clamped on the defense and outscored Clemson 57-33. The Tiger's 2nd half ORtg was almost a mirror image of the Wildcat's ORtg in the 1st half (light red highlight). But each squad's best half ORtg was earned in very different ways. The Tigers posted 111.4 by hitting their shots (eFG% of 60.9) and limiting their turnovers (17.1). Oddly, Villanova owned the Clemson boards in that first half, but that did not seem to staunch the bleeding from the Tiger's scoring. More evidence that a high eFG% can minimize the need for offensive board domination. For Villanova the comeback was fueled by good shooting (eFG% of 76.5) and an element the 'Cats have not seen consistently since the Foye/Ray/Lowry teams, free throws (FTA/FGA was 158.8, but more importantly, they hit their shots when they got to the line -- FTM/FGA was 129.4). There was a good deal more drive and dish in the second half, as evidenced by Fisher's 10 (and Reynold's 5...) 2nd half FTAs. As noted on Villanova's message board over at Rivals, the staff had the squad put on a 1-2-2 press, front their bigs and (and this is surprising since it was so unsuccessful early in the season) extend the perimeter defense to contest Clemson's 3 point shooters and cutoff passes from the perimeter to the low post. These adjustments, especially the perimeter extended, effectively denied Booker and Mays scoring opportunities, and shifted the responsibility for offense outside to Oglesby and KC Rivers. Those two, good shooters who will no doubt continue to develop as their college careers proceed, nevertheless struggled when they had to take contested shots. Oglesby and Rivers will definitely have better days ahead.

Odds and Ends...
1. Both Corey Stokes and Dwayne Anderson, two mainstays in the 'Cats late season revival, saw limited action. Dwayne played 55.0% of the minutes, took 24.8% of the shots when he was on the court, hitting at a 33.3 eFG%. His PPWS was an inefficient 0.67. Dwayne was hobbled by an ankle injury early in the week. Hopefully he will be back up to speed for Siena. The freshman saw limited minutes this time, logging in for just 30.0% of the available minutes. Normally Corey S. will take "headliner" level shots, but this time he was gone before he could warm up, taking a single FGA (7.6% of the shots when he was in), which he missed. He did contribute at the line, taking Dwayne's FTAs when the junior had to leave with leg cramps early in the second half. He was 4-4 from the line.
2. The offense went through Scottie, Fish (hopefully his slump is over) and Pena. They took about 75% of the shots between them when they were on the court (Reynolds 31.2, Fisher 26.9, Pena 31.5). Fisher and Reynolds were efficient (PPWS's were 1.33, 1.46 respectively and eFG%s were 50.0 and 75.0 respectively). Pena was a bit less efficient PPWS -- 1.01 and eFG% -- 44.4, but he provided the inside presence that kept the Tigers honest.
3. Shane Clark, another 'Cats whose effectiveness had tapered off last month had a quiet night on offense. But Shane managed to pull down 6 defensive boards, and was active on the defense throughout the second half (took 5 of his boards in that half). Shane also had a steal and 2 personal fouls while playing 16 minutes.
4. Scottie Reynolds scored his 1,000th point of his Villanova career during the game. Congratulations on the achievement Scottie.
5. Referee Notes -- the crew consisted of DJ Carstensen, Tony Greene and Mark Reischlin. Carstensen is new, while Greene has done a number of Big East (Villanova) games and Reischlin has been on zebra crews in prior seasons. About 25 minutes into the game I wondered if they had forgotten their whistles (or at least forgotten how to use them...) as there were, between the two teams, only 2 FTAs in the first half (both Villanova). Villanova began to foul their bigs on break outs (rather than let them score uncontested...), which seems to have had an effect on the Tigers. From that point to the 2:55 mark, when Coach Wright was nailed with a technical, the officials called 20 total fouls, 11 on Clemson and 9 on Villanova. Overall, the fouls called on the Tigers was in the high range, while the number of free throws they took was about average for neutral court games. The 'Cats did get "on the high end" of free throw attempts, while on the lower end for fouls called. All however were within a standard deviation of the mean for neutral court games. This was Carstensen and Reischlin's first game this season. Villanova's record this season when Greene has a whistle is 2-1.

1 comment: said...

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