Friday, December 12, 2008

St. Joseph's Post Game:  Expectations

Dwayne Anderson's first start in the 2008-09 season has been a shock. Good to see him back and not a moment too soon...

The Official website published Mike Sheridan's Post Game Notes, which are particularly interesting. The box score breakdown by halves...

OpponentSt. Joseph's 
 Offense Defense

Half-time Adjustments...
The team shot almost as badly in the second half as the first (see above), but they managed to improve their overall offensive rating and beat the Joes. How'd that happen exactly (given how badly they shot the ball...)? The first order of business was to cut the turnovers (but not by much), and then get after the missed shots on their end (again the improvement was marginal). Oh, and get to the line. The Wildcats had no FTAs in the first half. That is very unusual. They improved significantly in the second half. Note that every 5 FGAs translated into 4 trips to the line. And in a game that offered a total of (about) 58 possessions for each team, those trips to the line, though not great in number (16 FTAs) became 14 converted shots and more than 4 times the winning margin.

1. Offensive rebounding numbers are eye grabbing, but for all the wrong reasons. This might have been the worst offensive rebounding night of the season for the 'Cats. Dante has consistently been a dominant force on the offensive boards (Pena tends to clean up on the defensive boards...), but not against St. Joseph's where he was held to 2 ORebs. Dwayne Anderson, usually great support on the boards, was very quiet too. The defensive boards by contrast, were terrific. Villanova was able to hold St. Joseph's to 1 in 5 misses, possibly the best rebounding percentage of the season.
2. Dwayne Anderson's return to the starting lineup yielded a relatively productive night offensively as he contributed 10 points, an assist, a block and 2 steals in 31 minutes of play. A very nice return.
3. The scoring options were Scottie, Dante and Dwayne. Cunningham and Reynolds split nearly 50% of the shots and possessions among themselves (when they were on the floor together), as Dwayne was the third option. Corey Stokes, normanlly the third option was very quiet, playing only 21 minutes total. The "normal second wave", Shane, Reggie and Antonio were either ineffective though trying (Clark and Redding) or marginalized in the offense (Pena).
4. Fisher struggled again. In a 15 minute run he took 3 shots (all missed) and had 3 turnovers to 2 assists. He chipped in a single rebound, an area where he has improved over the past few games, but committed 2 personal fouls.

Ref Notes
Another low fouling game, complements of the crew of Jim Burr, Karl Hess and Mike Roberts. This is a bit unusual for Burr and Hess, who tend to be tougher on Villanova's opponents in prior seasons. This is the smallest number of fouls called yet this season. Small consolation to the Hawks, who saw Wildcats get to the line amost twice as often as they did (16 vs 9). And given the small number of possessions (ie scoring opportunities) those 14 converted free throws were decisive.

Roster Notes
Villanova -- Nothing negative to report thankfully.
1. Dom Cheek, senior #2 guard out of St. Anthony's Prep in Jersey City, NJ has decided to join Maalik Wayns, Mouph Yarou, and top-15 forward Isiah Armwood to don the Blue and White for Villanova next year in what is likely the best recruiting class in Villanova's history. Add Duke transfer Taylor King and red shirt front court player Maurice Sutton, making next season's Wildcats a team brimming with scoring options and athletic players.

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