Monday, February 2, 2009

Cincinnati Post Game -- Getting It

Not ready to letdown after the win against #3 Pittsburgh on Wednesday, the Wildcats hosted the Cincinnati Bearcats at the Pavilion, their on campus arena. The Wildcats showed no hospitality as they dumped Cincinnati 71-50 with another stunning second half performance. Mike Sheridan's always-well written post game notes tallies the Pavilion home game winning streak at 25 games. The Official website) also offers an AP wire story and the official box score.

The breakdown by halves...

 Offense Defense

Half Time Adjustments...
...the 'Cats led by a point going into the locker room. The first half offense was a bit shaky as each team logged an ORtg < 100.0 which suggested this could well shape up as a defensive struggle. The Wildcats were lower than their "rating expectations" (92.7 vs 89.3), but not significantly off track; they needed to . Their offensive rating however, was terribly off of their season-long rating (95.8 vs 110.7). What is not obvious in the splits above (though hinted at given their eFG% of 45.5) is that the Wildcats were blanked from beyond the arc. And they took nearly 30% of their FGAs from that distance. From 2 point range Nova was shooting a very impressive 62.5%. The Bearcats were concentrating their efforts in shutting down the Wildcat's long range shooting and leaving the mid-range jumpers (i.e. Dante Cunningham) free to shoot away. Note that Villanova converted with passable efficiency (eFG% -- 45.5; the 3FGA shutout noted), but had an atrocious turnover rate (TORate) of 28.8, neutralized in part by the Bearcat's own turnover rate of 28.8. Both teams conceded defensive rebounding. Nova had pinched Cincinnati's principal scorers, Deonta Vaughn & Yancy Gates, by limiting their FGAs and "holding" them to 50% shooting (combined 5-10), taking only 38.5% of Nati's FGAs. The secondary scorers, Dion Dixon, Steven Toyloy, Alvin Mitchell and Larry Davis were forced to take 53.8% of Cincinnati's FGAs, hitting 6 (4 of which were 3s...that kept them in the game).

Villanova has made a habit of second half transformations over the past 3 - 4 games. The Bearcats were the latest victim of the trend. The 'Cats went with what worked in the first half -- inside shooting and lots of it. They tabled 3FGAs, taking only 6 of their 27 FGAs from the 3 point line (21.4%, well below their 30+% season average). In sharp contrast to Deonta Vaughn's 0-10 exercise in shot futility, motivated apparently by the need to fill the Cincinnati scoring void (despite his problems in the first half), Nova's Scottie Reynolds dialed it back and let the second wave (plus a proficient Dante Cunningham) take their licks. The Wildcats, in the form of the two Coreys, Dwayne Anderson and Shane Clark, did not disappoint. Those four shot a combined 9-16 (only 2 3FGMs). Those 16 FGAs were 59.2% of the total FGAs taken.

Ref Notes
Jeff Clark, Tony Greene and Mike Stuart ran the game. Nova fans should be familiar with Clark and Stuart, as this was their third game this season (the 'Cats are 3-0 in games where those two have officiated). This was Tony Greene's first Wildcat game this season, though he has officiated games in prior years. While the whistles and FTAs were very close to average, the Bearcats got to the line only 11 times, far below the average (and outside, low, of the range of the standard deviation). The difference (5 FTAs) were not significant to the outcome of the game however.

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