Sunday, November 30, 2008

Rhode Island Post Game: Philly Classic Champs!

The Villanova Wildcats took home the Philly Classic Championship for 2008 with a 15 point win over the Rams of Rhode Island University. The Palestra has been kinder than usual to the 'Cats this Thanksgiving as Nova put together two very good defensive efforts over the two day run. The 'Cats found offense in some unexpected places Saturday against the Rams.

Chris over at IBBW posted his recap/analysis earlier this evening. Tim over at Nova News posted a placeholder with a promise of a detailed recap on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Official Athletic website has posted the usual AP wire story. They have included the box score and a good post game addition to Mike Sheridan's Nova Notebook series, "Redding's Grit Helped 'Cats Ease Past URI". Sheridan brings out the best in the players, and this one is worth the time to read. The splits...

OpponentRhode Island 
 Offense Defense

I anticipated this game would be something like a scoring race, but it according to the numbers (and Ram Coach Jim Baron's demeanor...) Villanova's defense successfully blunted the Rams' offense, particularly in the second half. Rhody's heralded offense was scoring at a 1.22 points per possession clip, efficient enough to earn the Rams a #3 ranking in Offensive Rating (see Pomeroy's Rhode Island Scouting Report). Note from the half splits above, the 'Cats held the Ram offense to 0.97 points per possession, nearly 20% below their "adjusted efficiency", entire game considered, and to over 25% below efficiency in the second half. The keys were shot defense, pressure to create turnovers and defensive rebounding. Villanova's defense threw the Rams off in all three categories, holding the Rams to well below their shooting average (especially 3 point shooting), while forcing more than average turnovers. The Rams were able to get back to their normal level for offensive rebounds in the second half, but keeping them well below that number in the first half no doubt kept their scoring down (allowing the 'Cats to hit the locker room with a 7 point lead. Keys to Villanova's offense again involved keeping turnovers down, controlling the boards and getting to the line. That combination yet again offset another terrible shooting night.

1. Corey Fisher and Dante Cunningham were named to the All Tourney Team. Dante was named Tournament MVP.
2. Reggie Redding logged the first double-double of his Villanova career. He scored 11 points on 3-8 (1-4,2-4), 4-5 shooting, and grabbed 12 rebounds (5-7-12). Congratulations Reggie!
3. Corey Fisher went on a tear in the Palestra, shooting at a 62.5% (eFG) clip. He scored 25 points between the two games.
4. Dante Cunningham also recorded a double-double in the Rams game. It is the second double-double for Dante this season. Dante scored 31 points and grabbed 19 rebounds in the two Palestra games.
5. Both teams had horrible nights behind the arc. Nova went 2-15 (0.133), while Rhody shot 3-13 (0.231). Both were well off their season-long number. Great defense? Or the Palestra just being the Palestra?

Ref Notes
The crew was full of familiar faces, Bob Donato, Bill McCarthy and Brian O'Connell have all ref'ed multiple Nova games over the past 3 or so seasons. They whistled a total of 46 fouls between the two teams, in the higher range for Villanova games this season, but not exceptionally high. Not true for the Rams I suspect as I reviewed the FTA/FGA numbers on the Rhody Scouting Report and the splits above. Coach Baron's technical near the end of the game was another clue. As it worked out, while none of the 'Cats fouled out, the Rams actually were given only four fewer trips to the line.

Roster Notes
1. Casiem Drummond and Maurice Sutton dressed but were DNP, Coach's decision. This was the second game since his suspension that Drum has failed to log PT.
2. Dwayne Anderson dressed and warmed up with the team. An announcement about his status is expected next week.

No comments: