Friday, April 17, 2009

North Carolina Post Game -- Sleeping in the Streets

The Carolina March...
Historically, the Villanova staff has, with 4 days to prepare, come up with some innovative wrinkles to Wildcat game plans. Back in the waning days of 2005 the Four Guard Offense was born in the desperate days between Villanova's win over Florida (at the cost of Curtis Sumpter's ACL) and their Sweet Sixteen date with these same North Carolina Tar Heels. The Wildcats of 2009 were faster and better able to develop plays out of transition. Running with the Heels however, seemed to play right into the Tar Heels strengths. "Shoot 'em up & sleep in the streets" was the creed this team lived by this season. In going with that approach the staff showed tremendous confidence in the team. But on Saturday night, the Wildcats slept in the streets. The breakdown...

OpponentNorth Carolina
 Offense Defense

CBS does not provide a break down by halves; the play-by-play appears to have been provided by a firm more comfortable with the NBA (Dead ball foul on Cunningham?). And the narrative does not match the box score. A regrettable lapse with especialy bad timing. My informal tally taken on game night suggested the 1st half was an offensive shootout (as promised by the Nova staff), while the 2nd half saw significant defensive adjustments. Unfortunately that shot defense worked for both teams. I have not checked the other games (except Michigan-UNC), but 107.3 is the best defense any of Carolina's opponents were able to muster during the Heels' six game run through the NCAA field.

Observations & Notes...
1. Villanova's success through the tournament had been tied to good offensive performances from 2 of Corey Fisher, Dante Cuningham and Scottie Reynolds, with efficient contributions (and occasional domination) from two or more in the second wave (Anderson, Clark, Redding and Stokes). Credit the Tar Heels with their abilty to shut down all three in the first wave (Reynolds had the most efficient night with a PPWS of 0.88), while rendering Stokes and Anderson largely ineffective. The most efficient shooters wearing Blue and White were Clark and Redding, neither of whom were especially prolific scorers.
2. The Wildcats shot a disappointing 40.4% from inside the arc, though it compared favorably to UNC's 35.0% from the same distance. The Tar Heels however shot a fatal 50.0% from beyond the arc (versus Villanova's 18.5%), comparable to converting 2FGAs at a 75% clip. Fatal, absolutely fatal.
3. The 'Cats did a credible job on the boards, their offensive rebounding rate (38.3%) about where it was during the season. They were able to limit 2nd chance points for the Heels as well, but neither was particularly effective as Villanova was down by double digit numbers through much of the night.

Ref Notes
Pat Driscoll, Karl Hess and Scott Thornley ran the crew Saturday night. Driscoll and Hess have supervised (nine) other Villanova games this season, the 'Cats going 7-2 in those tilts. The Wildcats have seen Scott Thornley before -- in the 2007 NCAAs when Villanova lost to Kentucky. The game was a bit high in the number of free throws allocated to the Tar Heels, consistent perhaps with the number UNC typically gets. Free throws for the Wildcats was down...significantly (for them). Though Carolina does not tend to foul. for Villanova, used to seeing 25% or more of their points come from the line, 17.4% was just not enough.

Next Up
The end of the season banquet, April 22 at the Pavilion. The official good bye to the Class of 2009 will be very, very special.

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