Monday, March 1, 2010

Syracuse Post Game: Game Day

The Dome
The Wildcats did not look like Wildcats Saturday night in the Carrier Dome. In previous visits Villanova has held it's own and taken an important win or two away. Saturday is one the team will remember for next season, or maybe the next time they face the Orange. The game was an old fashioned Big East beatdown. And the 'Cats were on the receiving end.

The Official website has an AP wire story and the box score. The breakdown by halves...

 Offense Defense

Half-time Adjustments
The 42.4 possession first half suggested an 84/85 possession game, something on the order of a North Carolina game. The second half pace was a more "normal" 68/69 possession game. Villanova's shot defense was, again, on target, but their defensive efficiency suffered. Lack of board presence, coupled with excessive fouling (first half) and embarrassingly few turnovers (second half) negated a good (but not great) shot defense effort. Allowing Syracuse to rebound >50% of their own misses in the second half represents a huge breakdown on the defensive glass. This is the third game in the last five where the Wildcats have not been able to hold their opponents to the Wildcats' season average.

Notes & Observations
1. Reynolds stepped in as the focal point of the offense. The senior took nearly 1 in 4 of the FGAs when he was on the court. Cheek and King also played "major" roles as their shot percentages were 37.8% and 24.5% respectively when they were playing. Note neither logged 50% of the available time though. Fisher, Yarou and Stokes played the "second option" when they were playing. For Fisher and Yarou, logging 50% or better of the available minutes, this translated into a number of shots and scoring opportunities. Among those six, only Reynolds (eFG% -- 57.1%) and Yarou (eFG% -- 75.0%) were able to convert efficiently. The others had largely ineffective nights from the court. Unfortunately none could point to another area where he might have compensated for the ineffective shooting.
2. The staff used 10 players total, keeping the starters in for 69.3% of the time, above the cumulative average of (about) 65.3%. The cumulative average has been increasing throughout the month, most likely due as much to:
   a. the normal end of the season rotation tightening,
   b. the sequence of close games and losses and
   c. fouls to the starters -- not the problem Saturday.
Fouls were not a problem with Syracuse however.

Ref Notes
John Gaffney, Tim Higgins and Brian O'Connell manned the crew. The number of fouls called, 39, is comfortably within the range for Wildcat road games. The Orange, working with a seven man rotation for much of the season, benefitted from a relatively low (but consistent with road games) number of fouls called (14). Antonio Pena was the only Villanovan DQ'ed by fouls, though Isaiah Armwood picked up four.

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