Saturday, January 3, 2009

Pace...Motion...Orange & Bull?!

Going over last night's Syracuse-South Florida box score a while ago, and the score seemed very low, relative to most Syracuse games. After reviewing each player's contribution, calculating the pace (and efficiency rating for each team...), I realized why the numbers looked so strange...
1. The pace was 61.2, unearthly slow for Syracuse. I looked up last season's games realized both were played in the (mid-low) 70s. Low 60s is unheard of for a Jim Boeheim team. It must have driven the Orange staff crazy. This was not, however, especially slow for the Bulls. Low 60s is about where they seem to prefer to play. This season the two teams (according to Ken Pomeroy's stats page -- scroll down to the Big East) tend to play at 73.4 (Syracuse -- most possessions in the conference) and 63.6 (South Florida - least possessios in the conference) respectively. A real contrast in style that would press the team that was forced to adjust.
2. Paul Harris was DNP. The ESPN recap identified an injury (cut ring finger, sustained during the SHU-Cuse game) as the cause for the absence. Freshman Kris Joseph, a 6-7, 220lbs forward from Montreal Canada (by way of Archbishop Carroll HS in DC) as the starter in his place. Joseph has appeared in every Syracuse game this season and has logged about 48% of the minutes as his position (increasing to about 60-70% the past 4+ games). Clearly the Cuse staff would like to provide a larger role for Joseph.
3. Offensive efficiencies were well below season numbers for Syracuse. South Florida has been inconsistent on both offense and defense throughout their OOC, but Syracuse has been brutal to their OOC opponents on the offensive end of the floor.

A side by side comparison with Syracuse's season long offensive stats:

 Seasonvs USF

Syracuse's eFG% versus South Florida is deceptive, as a quick comparison to their PPWS (and OR%) confirm. The Orangemen missed their (first) shots, but rebounded well. The road can be cruel in the Big East, as Villanova learned on New Year's Day.

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