Saturday, March 29, 2008

Post Game: Kansas -- Last Call

The ever-reliable Nova News Blog, written by Tim, is again "first to press" with his game recap. Tim kept a running diary of the game, and when it was over, edited and molded it into a recap, "Kansas Ends Nova's Season". The Villanova Viewpoint Blog weighs in with combined post game and season retrospective. Catch it at "Kansas 72, Villanova 57". The I Bleed Blue and White Blog also posted during the game...not so much a an online diary but an emotional response to early developments, "We Don't Deserve It". No one over there has posted in today...should we send someone over to check on Jamie, Mark and Chris? The Let's Go Nova Blog has not posted either, but I am sure both I Bleed Blue and White and Let's Go Nova will be up with recaps shortly. The official Athletic Department site posted an AP story about the game, "Villanova's Tournament Runs Ends..." to go with the official box score -- which, I might add, was not posted until the middle of Saturday afternoon, slower than normal. And of course the Philadelphia press has published stories about the loss. You can check them out over at -- sports. The breakdown by halves...

 Offense Defense

I had to go back to the LSU game to find a half where the offense was as inefficient as Villanova's 65.1 first half ORtg versus Kansas. The Jayhawks however, had a far more efficient (and prolific) first half than the Tigers (120.8 vs 100.7). LSU obliged the Wildcat's second half surge (116.5) with a collapse of their own (83.9). The Jayhawks did cool off (to 98.3), but the Wildcat's defense would have had to take another 15-20 points off of their offense (where is John Brady when you need him?) to make this game competitive. The first-to-second-half progression (for both offense and defense...) is a pattern fans have seen more than a few this season. The team PPWS, 0.84, was the worst since the first Georgetown game (0.76). The Georgetown game was less obvious because Villanova's defense was a bit more effective against the Hoyas. Another measure of field goal efficiency I have used, eFG% was 38.1, also one of the lowest posted this season. Villanova has played 6 games this season where they have had an eFG% below 40.0. They are 2-4 in those games (if you guessed LSU as one of Nova's wins, you are correct; the first Pittsburgh game was the other). The lowest eFG% posted by this Wildcat squad was 27.2 -- in the first Georgetown game.

The defensive rating (DRtg%) posted against KU was fourth worst (in efficiency) to those posted by (in order...) the Hawks of St. Joseph's (136.3), the Scarlet Knights (127.3) and the Blue Demon's game (122.3). Of course the 'Cats were 0-3 in those games, the deficit was just too large to close. And so it was with the Jayhawks.

Odds and Ends...
1. While Shane Clark and Dante Cunningham put up very similar numbers -- 10 points and 7 rebounds, their efficiencies were very different. Shane notched a PPWS of 1.00 and an eFG of 50.0, while Dante's offensive numbers were 0.92 and 37.5 (PPWS & eFG). Nod to Shane as these were the kinds of efficiencies he was posting earlier in the season. He has been on the Mainline now since 2005-06, but has not had a full, healthy season yet.
2. Dwayne Anderson and Corey Stokes, the more consistent second options on offense lately were a bit less effective last night. Dwayne's PPWS was a pedestrian 0.84 while Corey S. stood a bit better with a 1.01 (higher than the team average last night, but lower than the season long team PPWS -- 1.07). Dwayne put up eFG numbers slightly better than Clemson (one of his worst outings since becoming a starter), but at 44.4, it was off his season long pace of 58.5 (a very good eFG by the way, borderline Top 100 level). Stokes did a bit better than Anderson, posting 50.0. But Corey S. played only 55.0% of the available minutes and took only 15.4% of the available shots. Stokes was not a first or second option last night.
3. Last night's assist rate, 23.8, was the worst since Rutgers (22.7). The extremely tight defense put on the guards (reflected in Scottie's numbers...among his lowest this season) no doubt cut off passing lanes. During the slump the team had a tendency to divolve into 3-4 individuals attempting one-on-one breakdowns. That appeared to happen a few times last night as well. While the team had an assist rate of 36.4 versus Clemson last week, an assist rate below 40.0 tends to be more associated with losses (Cincinnati -- 34.6; Rutgers -- 22.7; St. Joseph's -- 33.3) than wins...
4. The 'Cats got most of their points from 2 point FGMs, about 63.2%, far higher than any other tournament (BET or NCAA) game. Villanova averaged about 29.6% of their points from 3s, and another 27% from the free throw line. Last night those numbers were 15.8 and 21.1 respectively.

Referee Notes...
The crew was manned by Patrick Evans, Doug Shows and Ted Valentine. Contrary to some pregame speculation (by Jayhawk fans...), Ed Hightower was not in the building (or at least not on the court...). The game was, especially for a neutral court game, one of the least whistled games in memory. This crew called a total of 35 fouls and sent both teams to the line for a total of 38 free throw attempts. Both are well on the "lite" side for Villanova games this season. The Wildcat's FTAs, 18, fell below the standard deviation for FTAs on neutral courts. This was the first Villanova game for Evans and Valentine, going back to the 2004-05 season anyway. Doug Shows refereed one other Nova game this season -- the LSU game.

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