Tuesday, July 14, 2009

WUG 2009 -- USA Downs Isreal, Takes Bronze

Starting Gate to Finish Line
The first quarter was the most competitive, featuring 2 ties and 4 lead changes before USA team managed a 2 point to close out the quarter. The USA did not yield that lead through the end of the game. The Isrealis did outscore the USA, 28-27, in the third quarter, but that only shaved the USA's lead to +6. Coach Bo Ryan and several players spoke of how the Isrealis pushed Team USA throughout the second half, closing the lead several times in the last three quarters. Three of Oliver's four factors (and a few other stats)


The pace, 76.9, was close to the average for the USA team during the World University Games, and lower than their pace during the warmup tournament. The team's defensive efficiency (104.1) was among the weaker efforts for the team, but the offensive-defensive differential (+14.3) was one of the team's best for the medal round, surpassed only by the quarter final game versus Bulgaria (a very uncompetitive +36.8). The team controlled the boards, posting a very good 37.5% offensive rebounding effort, while holding the Isrealis to 30% offensive rebounding. The team also took care of the ball, limiting turnovers to only 13% of their possessions, the best effort since their game with Greece (11.3%, 2nd preliminary round). The USA may have blocked a few more shots (the highest percentage since the Finland game), but had fewer steals than their opponent for only the second time since arriving in Serbia. Here is the individual possession-based stats for the players

Anderson, James22.550.01.0226.
Battle, Talor42.557.11.3624.
Booker, Trevor40.040.01.0218.716.10.012.5
Brackins, Craig35.033.30.7225.
Butler, Da'Sean45.0100.01.9413.
Fisher, Corey57.527.80.5623.
Hayward, Lazar55.059.11.1329.
Hummel, Robbie47.528.60.6322.
Pondexter, Quincy17.5NANA0.
Thompson, Deon32.540.01.0323.00.011.830.8
Turner, Evan60.083.31.6714.916.13.28.3
Varnado, Jarvis45.066.71.4610.00.08.538.9

Quincy Pondexter's NA for eFG5 and PPWS indicate that because he took no FGAs (Shot% is 0%), there could be no numeric representation for his effective field goal percentage nor his points per weighted shot. Representing those stats as zero would be misleading (suggesting he attempted to score, but did not convert).

Coach Ryan returned to the more familiar line-up for his starters -- Fisher, Hayward and Turner -- for this last game in Belgrade (starters are highlighted in green). Starting Varnado over Thompson may seem puzzling (Thompson did get very little PT in this game), but Varnado single-handedly dominated the defensive boards -- he out rebounded the Isreali squad (relative to the time) on missed Isreali shots. The offense was carried by Hayward, Anderson (when he was in), Craig Brackins (Iowa State) and Penn State's Talor Battle. Anderson, Battle and Hayward converted efficiently, and were largely responsible for the strong offensive showing. Brackins may have had a poor night shooting, but he did grab an unusually large proportion of team USA's missed shots. Villanova's Corey Fisher scored 5 points on 2-9 (1-6, 1-3) shooting. Fish dished an assist, grabbed 3 rebounds, had 2 thefts to go with 3 turnovers and 2 personal fouls.

Additional Links
The AP wire story posted at USA Basketball.
The box score in .pdf format.
Some additional post game quotes. "...I do this for the players. It's done out of passion and that drive to want to make people better. We are better right now than when we came. Not just the basketball, but we are better as people. ..."
Bo Ryan, Wisconsin Head Coach

No comments: