Sunday, July 5, 2009

WUG 2009 -- A Quick Look at the Greeks

So Far
Greece was assigned to host Serbia's Group A pool, and played Australia and Serbia in the 1st Preliminary Round. Their 1-1 record (beat the Aussies 89-72, lost to Serbia 81-50) earned them a spot in Group I (USA, Serbia, Finland and Greece) for the 2nd Preliminary Round. Looking at Greece's 4 factors (offensive and defensive) through 2 games may not speak volumes about the squad the Americans will face tomorrow, but a few things stand out...


The (relative inefficiency) offensive efficiency is due only in part to their ability to convert their shots. 49.4 eFG% and 1.06 PPWS are compliments of the Greek's game with Australia. Against Serbia they converted a far more modest 34.8 (eFG%) and 0.76 (PPWS), well below any level considered "efficient". But their low offensive rating can be traced to their lack of dominance on boards, combined with relatively high turnover rates. The Serbs (not surprising) dominated the boards in their game with the Greeks, but the Aussies also manhandled the Greeks, particularly on their offensive boards. That may have been due to their taking 50% of their FGAs as 3s (more on that later), but this suggests the USA squad should also be able to deny the Greeks second chance points while garnering a few second conversion opportunities for themselves. The Greeks had turnover problems against both the Serbs (31%) and the Australians (21.6%) -- the Stl% suggesting they may not be particularly skilled at ball handling. Their pace, well above D1 levels, is consistent with international play. Their mix of field goals, points and conversion rates gives a bit more information about the Greek's offense.

Shot MixPoints FromPct.

The Greeks are a POT (perimeter oriented team) -- the mix of 2s-to-3s explains their lack of rebounding. The USA squad should give them fits as Bo Ryan's defense is structured to deny opponents their 3FGAs. The Greeks took 50% of their FGAs from beyond the arc when they played the Aussies. If that game is true indication of their play, the Greek offense functions best when they can convert 40+% of the 3s (and get a point mix of about 30%-40%-30% from the 2-3-FT. They have had problems because they have not hit their 2s consistently.

The principle scorers for the Greeks include a 6-10 215lbs small forward named Sotiris Manolopoulos and a a pair of guards named Dimitri Kompodietas and Dimitrios Verginis. Manolopoulos plays about 75% of the minutes at the #3, taking about 29% of the shots when he is on the court. Verginis, a 6-3 guard to plays both the point and off guard spots, scored a game high 25 points (6-8, 5-6, 1-2, 8-8) in Greece's win over Australia. Verginis has logged 60% of the minutes at his position, taking 22% of the shots when he played. Between them, Verginis and Manolopoulos shot 7-10 from the 3. The Serbs shut the Greeks down by neutralizing Verginis. The guard went 0-6 (0-3, 0-3) committing 5 turnovers to zero assists against the Serbs. That had to be a frustrating night. Kompodietas, another Greek guard, also favors the 3, was the third high scorer on the Greek squad versus the Australians, but is less consistent than Manolopoulos. Kompodietas has played 45% of the minutes while taking 23.1% of the shots (and slightly more effective versus the Serbs).

Should the USA beat Greece, it will be difficult to leave them out of the medal round, irrespective of the result of the USA-Serbia game. If the Serbs lost to the Finns but beat the USA (and Greece beats Finland when they play on Tuesday), Group I would have 3 teams (Greece, Serbia and USA) tied at 2-1, one would be relegated to the secondary bracket on a tie breaker -- I don't know how the tie breaker would be resolved.

For a touch of irony, know that the USA's U19 squad also meets the Greece team Monday when they face off in New Zealand for the FIBA U19 World Championship. Best of luck to both USA squads!


Stevepit said...

Great stuff as always greyCat. What's the format of this tournament?

greyCat said...

Hey Stevepit, for the World University Games, the tournament is set up as with many international tournaments when large numbers of teams participate. The field is divided into pools of 3-4 teams each and the members of each pool (group) play a round robin 1st "preliminary" round with the other members of their pool. This can be 2 or 3 games, depending on the number of teams assigned to the pool. The field is then "reseeded", with the two best teams from each group placed in a second group with the top 2 teams from another group for a 2nd "preliminary" round. After 2 more games (the teams play the two teams they did not play in the 1st preliminary round), the top 2 teams from each group advance to the medal round, the 4 top teams from the second round groups then play the 2nd place teams from those groups. Winners advance to the semi-final round, losers compete for places 5-8. I have to believe the tournament organizers must have a system for seeding the teams into pools for the 1st preliminary round (previous tournament results? Qualifying play?), but I confess I don't know what it is.