Friday, November 7, 2008

Northwood Post Game

Yes I am eager for the season to start. Those looking for answers about this season's edition of the Wildcats will most likely not find a lot of answers in Northwood game. But I am going to take a look anyway...

Coach Mass brought his NAIA Northwood Seahawks to the Spectrum (scene of quite a few great players and games) for a season opening exhibition with the Villanova Wildcats. The coach's return provided an opportunity for an informal reunion of the Coach with many members of Villanova's 1985 D1 Championship team. As the PDN's Mike Kern relates in his story today

"...But obviously, the evening wasn't really so much about hoops.
'It's very good [to be back],' said Massimino...'It was fun. It was quite a nostalgic evening. It was good to see everybody. I probably enjoyed that more than anything'..."

The Wildcats prevailed 75-37 in a game that saw them take a 26-21 lead at half-time. The 'Cats broke it open with a 16-0 run coming out of the locker room at the half. Deep bench players Jason Colenda and Russell Wooten both saw the floor during the waning minutes of the second half. The game was played for about 73 possessions -- brisk for Villanova at mid-season, but fairly glacial for an exhibition game -- was no doubt the product of Coach Massimino's notoriously deliberate halfcourt-oriented style of play. The 'Cats managed to double up the Seahawks, complements of a very efficient second half offense, despite having 2 former D1 (and Big East) players on the Northwood roster. DeSean White played for 1+ seasons at Providence under Tim Welsh, and Gus Okosun transferred out of Seton Hall last summer, after a single season with Bobby Gonzalez.

By the numbers...
Crunching data from the box score, I found that Villanova managed a 105.6 offensive rating, which suggests they are rounding into shape for the season. Better, they managed to hold Northwood to 0.512 ppp (51.2 defensive rating), complements of a ton of missed shots (the Seahawks were 38.5% on their 2s & 27.3% on their 3s). Dean Oliver's factors (on offense and defense) looked pretty good overall, with one or two exceptions:

TeameFG%TO%OR%FTR%
Villanova56.324.033.344.6
Northwood32.143.729.043.6


The Wildcats lost nearly 1 in 4 possessions, not especially good (their season-long TO% in 2007-08 was 20.4), but perhaps understandable given it was their first game. Their shooting (eFG) was particularly encouraging, though their free throw rate (FTAs per FGAs) was an excellent 44.6, the 'Cats converted those free throws at a very indifferent 48%. The starting five, Scottie Reynolds and Dwayne Anderson in the back court, joined by Corey Stokes, Antonio Pena and Dante Cunningham, was the same used against Kansas (and through the last 4 or so games of the 2007-08 season). Three starters Cunningham, Reynolds and Stokes each logged 30 minutes...I suspect those three are pretty solid for the season opener against Albany. Each had a terrific game (offensively) as the table below suggests:

PlayereFG%PPWSORtg
Cunningham66.71.27151.1
Reynolds70.01.40126.0
Stokes66.31.13111.2


These three largely provided the offense. The "star" last night was Cunningham, who took over 28% of the shots when he was on the court. Dante's offensive role has grown in each of the past 3 seasons, and if this game provides any hint at all, it will most likely grow a bit (but not nearly this much) over the course of this season. Reynolds took a restrained 23.8% of the shots when he was on the court. That was down from last season when his role had him hoist just over 1 in 4 shots for the offense. Stokes' Shot% was 19.0, pretty much where he finished last season. His eFG% however is much better. Hitting from the outside (he was 3-7 for the game) is a key that will spell progress for the Wildcats this season. Pena's numbers put him pretty much where he finished last season (an ORtg of about 101...), and both he and Anderson pulled down a few rebounds. I suspect these five will continue to start for the next few games. Fisher, however, had a noticably good outing. While logging 26 minutes off the bench he managed 10 points on 3-7 (2-4, 1-3, 2-4) shooting. Fish also snagged 2 defensive rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals with just a single turnover.

Notes & Observations...
1. Shane Clark is out 4-6 weeks following anthroscopic surgery on his right knee. Reports about his difficulties (could practice, but had pain) sound like the problems he had through much of his second season with Villanova. Let's hope Shane mends quickly and will be able to contribute in a big way during the Big East season.
2. The staff put ten players on the court, allocating double digit minutes to eight. In addition to the starting five, Fisher, Redding and Drummond also managed >9 minutes of court time.
3. Drummond fouled out in just 10 minutes of play. Drum scored 2 points and grabbed 4 rebounds during that very short run. He went 1-2 from the field, but 0-4 from the line.
5. The front court trio of Cunningham, Drummond and Pena were whistled for 13 fouls while playing a combined 63 minutes. They average a foul every 4.8 minutes -- not good at all. They played about 78.8% of the minutes for the two bf positions (#4 and #5), while also accounting for 61.9% of the fouls.
6. Freshman Maurice Sutton did not play (neither did senior Frank Tchuisi, reportedly nursing an injury). Rumors have Sutton redshirting this season, pending a season-ending injury to the front court trio. Of course if they cannot stay out of foul trouble Sutton may be a much-needed fifth (speedy recovery Frank!) body for the front court.
7. As reported by VUhoops.com, Scottie Reynolds has been nominated, along with 11 other Big East players, to the Wooden Award Pre-season Candidates List. Congratulations Scottie.

2 comments:

RyanP said...

NAIA?

At least play a DII school.

Keep up the good work.

greyCat said...

Lol...the game was as much about the coaches as preparation for the season. Coach Massimino put together a "tour" for his Northwood team (they lost to Maryland 104-60 on Saturday), drawing opponents from his large collection of former D1 colleagues and proteges. Coach Mass headed the Villanova program (and won the National title in 1985) for nearly 20 years. Gary Williams coached at Boston College in the early 1980s. That Northwood squad has run up a 50-16 record in the NAIA over the past two seasons, and has finished both of those seasons in the NAIA's postseason tournment.

Thanks for the shout out.