Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mississippi Post Game: Jay Wright's Flying Circus

Once Upon a Time in San Juan...
On a night when the Wildcat offense (again) did not get going until late, the defense showed up and smothered the Rebels enough to put the Wildcats back in the game. Recaps are available elsewhere, but for those interested in the numbers, there is no better place to look than the Wildcat's home. For those who prefer quick hits, try Mike Sheridan's game notes; they are a great way to get key information and statistics without wading through the paragraphs. The Wildcats were locked up in a nip & tuck stuggle (+- 5 points) with the Rebels until the 14:13 mark of the 2nd half. The 'Cats began to break it open, slowly (and that's about the only place in this analysis I can use that word...), opening their lead out to double digits (on a j by Corey Stokes) at about the 7 minute mark. The 'Cats managed to maintain the margin for another 9 possesions (per team), when a pair of 3s by Chris warren and 2 free throws by Reggie Buckner brought the Rebs to within 9 points, 63-72. The Rebels however, had about 94 seconds in which to work, and fouling Villanova, a team that is converting at a 70.5% clip right now, is not a winning strategy. Villanova pulled away again, pushing the margin out to 12 as time expired.

The breakdown by halves...

 Offense Defense

The 2nd half offensive explosion was fueled by each of Oliver's four factors (see green highlighted stats under Offense above). The 'Cats converted their 2 point attempts at a much higher rate, marginally improved their 3 point conversion rate, took care of the ball (reduced their turnover rate), took full possession of the boards (both ends, but I am talking about offensive boards right now) and did a much better job getting to the charity stripe (end-game fouling fluffed those numbers a bit). The offensive efficiency that was lacking for the first two games on the island showed up, just a little late. Reynolds and Stokes accounted for 100% of the 3FGMs while taking 56.3% of the 3FGAs. Collectively they converted their 3FGAs at a 44.4% rate. Stokes in particular, had a very good night, logging a 1.65 PPWS (82.5 True Shot) to go with his 66.7% eFG%.

The defensive efficiency slipped, half-over-half, but note the 1st half defensive efficiency, 57.8 is ridiculously low (see orange highlight above), there is no reason to expect that the 'Cats could limit the Rebs to a half a point per possession for an entire game, and the only number that slipped into the mediocre range was field goal defense (eFG% under defense, note the red highlight).

Notes & Observations
1. Antonio Pena logged his 3rd double-double of the 5 game-old season as he scored (a personal best of the season) 17 points while securing 16 (6-10-16) rebounds. His 6 offensive rebounds are especially impressive, as he posted a ?% offensive rebounding rate for the game. Pena missed a double-double in Villanova's opener against Fairleigh Dickinson by a single point. He is averaging a double-double (12.2 ppg, 11.0 rpg) so far.
2. Villanova defense is well ahead of Villanova offense this season, something of a surprise frankly. The 'Cats have held their opponents to < 1.0 points per possession (ppp) in every game this season. They have held opponents to < 0.90 ppp in 3 of their 5 games so far. I will post more on the tournament shortly, with additional numbers.
3. In the absence of Mouphtaou Yarou, Maurice Sutton has stepped in to start 2 games and play 55.8% of the minutes at the #5. Sutton's line includes 11 points on 4-8, 3-5 shooting. He has grabbed 17 (7-10-17) rebounds while dishing 1 assist and committing 7 turnovers with 4 blocked shots.
4. 3 point shooting in the Mississippi game aside, Taylor King put together a very impressive effort. Despite going 0-4 from beyond the arc, King scored 9 points on 3-9 (0-4, 3-5) and 3-4 shooting. For the 2nd consecutive game King missed his 1st collegiate double-double by 1 -- in this game it was a point; in the Dayton game it was a rebound. King also dished 1 assist, committed 2 turnovers and had 2 steals in 29 minutes of play. For the tournament King secured 24 rebounds while scoring 31 points in the 3 games.
5. For the 3rd consecutive year Villanova has played in the championship game of their early season invitational, and for the 2nd consecutive season they have won that game. Congratulations Wildcats!

Ref Notes
Terry Moore, Gerry Pollard and Kelly Self ran the game, the 2nd Villanova tournament game for Pollard who also refereed the George Mason whistle-fest. The game was well within the standard deviation for fouls called, on both Villanova and their opponent. Self is a new face to the Nova Nation. He has refereed for 14+ seasons, mostly in the CUSA and Big 12 conferences. From the stats over at, Self appears to be more a "let 'em play" type zebra. Gerry Pollard is also a new face to Wildcat fans. Pollard refs out of the Missouri Valley and Big 12 conferences.

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