Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Guest Contributor Ray Floriani: Revisiting the NIT

by Ray Floriani

NEW YORK CITY - The last time out we looked at the Duke-UCONN final. Now a look back on the earlier games in the Pre-Season NIT . Three games , each with different and interesting statistical insight.

Semifinals:  UConn 81     LSU 55
The first matchup in the Pre-Season NIT ‘final four’ turned out a one sided rout. UConn dictated a relentless pace. The Huskies finished with 69 possessions. UConn had 37 possessions at the half and the final total was under 70 only because, with the outcome decided in the last seven minutes, they began using more clock.


Among the four factors UConn enjoyed a 46-32 edge in offensive rebounding percentage rate. Interestingly, both teams had excellent turnover rates:


A statistic that jumped off the sheet was UConn’s 13 blocked shot. The Huskies came into the game blocking 15% of their opponents’ attempts. On this night they rejected 21% of LSU’s 63 attempts. That rate was a major factor behind the Tigers’ 38% eFG PCT. Gavin Edwards led the way with 4 blocks while Stanley Robinson added 3. Kemba Walker and Jerome Dyson of UConn shared scoring honors with 20 points each.

Duke 64     Arizona State 53
Arizona State did a good job dictating tempo in a 65 possession contest. In the end it was signature Duke defense that made the difference.


In a sign of things to come (in the championship) Duke enjoyed an offensive rebounding percentage edge of 35-28. Both teams were "over the limit" regarding turnover rates with Arizona State 23% and Duke checking in at 21%.

Ball movement, crisp cuts and open opportunities were reflected in the percentage of assisted field goals.


Kind of a surprise. Not on Duke’s end but for ASU. Under Herb Sendek the Sun Devils run a lot of variations of the Princeton offense so one would expect more passing, backdoor opportunities and a greater percentage of their field goals to be assisted. The fact there were few bodes well for the Duke D.

Jon Scheyer of Duke led all scorers with 16 points.

Consolation: Arizona State 71     LSU 52
A game that was simply a "tale of two halves". What the Dickens went on? Fresh off the UConn drubbing, LSU came out strong, enjoyed a nine point lead with five minutes remaining in the half and took a 7 point lead into intermission.

At the half:


The second half saw a meltdown of epic proportion for the Tigers. Once ASU took the lead the life seemed to be gone from LSU(5 second half field goals). They stood around at times on offense and failed to get good player and/or ball movement against the Sun Devil zone. The defense, virtually non- existent as ASU shot 15 of 22 (68%) the second half.

Second Half Totals :


As bad as LSU was, Arizona Sate was good. The game totals.


ASU’s Derek Glasser led the way with 24 points. Not a bad trip to New York and start (5-1) for an Arizona state team that many worried could survive minus James Harden and Jeff Pendergraph. For LSU, they did play without point guard Bo Spencer who injured his ankle near the end of the UCONN game. Spencer though, is more a shoot first (2 of 14 from the floor VS UConn 2 assists 3 TO) type guard. Spencer’s absence hurt but doesn’t explain that twenty minute breakdown on offense, and more important, defense.

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