Saturday, March 28, 2009

Duke Post Game -- Looking for a Shot

Post Game Pressers...
You could see it in G's eyes during Duke's post game interview. Coach K graciously credited Coach Wright's game plan and the Wildcat defense. His team missed their shots "...but Villanova had a lot to do with that...". They did not know what hit them. They knew their gameplan did not work, indeed during the game a strangely passive Coach Krzyzewski sat with a dour expression and stared into a spot on the court, as if day dreaming...or thinking. But he had no answer for the Wildcat defense. Nothing he could say that could get Clark out of Scheyer's face. Or Reggie Redding out of G's jersey. Only a referee could do that (and they did, at least for Scheyer, with 4:13 left to play, Clark was DQ'ed).

The breakdown by halves...

 Offense Defense

Observations & Notes...
The Wildcats put together 2 of the best halves of defense they have played in the month of March and February. Holding a 3 point shooting team like Duke to 18.5% is astounding, but also goes a long way to explain how Nova kept Duke to .728 points per possessions.
1. The pace differences between halves was striking, again. Like the UCLA game the Wildcats stepped up the tempo. Duke, like UCLA, could not keep up.
2. The Wildcats maintained a turnover rate below their season average, for both halves.
3. The offense went through Reynolds (29.3), Cunningham (24.6), Stokes (20.8) and Anderson (19.2). Though Reggie Redding scored in double digits, he (13.7), along with Fisher (15.6) and Clark (14.2) stepped back, though even without attention from Duke's defense, only Clark (1.28 PPWS) and Redding (1.38 PPWS) were especially efficient.
4. The 2nd half offensive blitz was keyed by more accurate field goal shooting, but the front court became far more efficient as they became stronger under their own basket. The Wildcat's offensive rebounding rate improved dramatically half-over-half, going from 26.3% to 40%. The front court players accounted for 17 of Nova's 27 rebounds (half of the offensive boards).
5. The point distribution for the game was a departure from Villanova's season-long norms, reflecting most likely a gameplan that emphasized an inside the arc attack on offense. While the 'Cats got their customary 25% (or so -- 24.7%) from the free throw line, they were well down on points from 3FGAs (15.6% vs 25%), the difference coming from front court scoring. The team did not fall into a jump shot contest with the Blue Devils.
6. Add Villanova's 1st 29 win season to the Class of 2009's accomplishments. The win total for this class is now 101.

Ref Notes
Most of the pregame speculation focused on 3 "Philly refs", with the primary object of speculation Bob Donato, a name familiar to many Nova fans. It turns out the crew was really J.D. Collins, Karl Hess, Michael Stuart. All three have refereed Villanova games this season. Combined, the Wildcats are 10-1 this season when one of them is in the crew. Duke won the battle of the refs, getting 24 FTAs on 23 Wildcat fouls. The numbers are well within the range (standard deviation) for fouls & free throws.

Next Up
The fourth round of the NCAAs (the Elite Eight). The opponent will be Big East conference mate, Pittsburgh, the East Regional Final game to be played in Boston at the TD Banknorth Garden, Saturday at 7:05pm.

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