Wednesday, February 10, 2010

West Virginia #01 Post Game: Bounce Back Games

What Just Happened?
A two game road trip to start off Rivalry Week will take the Wildcats to Washington DC for a game with Georgetown, with the next stop (two days later) in Morgantown, WV for a game with WVU. If you know the 'Cats will go 1-1, which do you think the Wildcats have a better chance of taking, Georgetown at the Verizon Center or West Virginia at the Coliseum? With fresh memories of a 55-53 decision that came to pass on a referee's whistle and a 93-72 drubbing in which the team had a collective look of deer-in-the-headlights for 40 minutes I said Georgetown (besides, it is always fun to beat the Hoyas, sort of like reliving the moment). The Wildcats play with an intensity and focus when they take on Georgetown. Even when they are down by 20 because the Hoyas are raining 3s like an artillary barrage. That 13 point drubbing was no fun to watch -- it didn't feel like a Villanova-Georgetown game -- and I wondered if the Wildcats would be able to focus on the next game. It was not a problem apparently, as the 'Cats took control of the game early, held the 'Eers off at the end and left town with a seven point win. And the anticipated 1-1 record for their second-of-three conference mandated road trips this season.

The Official website has an AP wire story, some post game notes (compliments of Mike Sheridan I assume) and the box score. The breakdown by halves...

OpponentWest Virginia 
 Offense Defense

Half-time Adjustments
The pattern repeats -- a solid first half with a double-digit lead is followed by a less focused second half. The Wildcats were challenged by Mountaineer runs several times through the second half, and managed to shave the Wildcats' edge to three points twice. But no closer, as each run was answered with a Villanova run or a series of free throws.

Notes & Observations
1. In the mix-n-match world of Villanova's 11 man rotation the offense passed through Scottie Reynolds (Shot% 25.3, eFG% 55.0%), Isaiah Armwood (Shot% 25.3, eFG% 100.0% -- when he was in), Dom Cheek (Shot% 29.4, eFG% 116.7% -- also saw a few more minutes than usual). Fisher (Shot% 17.8, eFG% 55.0%) was limited by fouls (Min% -- 55%; he had four again, the second consecutive game where his time has been limited), while Pena (Shot% 18.3, eFG% 71.4%) and Redding (Shot% 19.6, eFG% 56.3%) joined Fisher with efficient, if limited, scoring.
2. Taylor King had a disasterous shooting night, going 0-6 from the floor. He did a terrific defensive job in the low post, grabbing eight rebounds (2-6-8) and blocking three shots (and committing four fouls) in 21 minutes.
3. Corey Stokes had a relatively quiet night, scoring six points on 2-3 shooting. His two scores were layups off lane dribble penetration. He looked good doing it too. He was one of several assigned to shut down Devin Ebanks. Mission accomplished.
4. This marks the 13th consecutive game in which the staff played 10 or more players. The starters (Reynolds, Fisher, Redding, Pena and Stokes, the same since Delaware) logged 69.5% of the PT, matching the high of Marquette #02, the highest since the staff went with a consistent 10-11 man rotation. Fisher had foul trouble, picking up his fourth at the 14:21 mark of the second half (his second, coming at the 2:48 mark, had little impact on his first half minutes), landed him on the bench for nearly 10 minutes. Coach Wright subbed him in situations for the last five plus minutes of the game. Fish has picked up 11 fouls in his last three games, taking him out of the action in crucial situations.

Ref Notes
John Cahill, John Higgins and Ed Corbett manned the crew. The zebras called 44 total fouls on both sides, six more than the 38 called on Villanova alone on Saturday. 44 fouls is within the expected range, as were the number of free throws taken by both teams. Note the Mountaineers took more FTAs, consistent with expectations for the home team, but more than the margin of victory, a dangerous sign. If the teams match FTA-for-FTA, the situation would statistically favor Villanova as the Wildcats' tend to hit their FTAs. This was Higgin's first Villanova game this season, Cahill (5-0) and Corbett (3-0) have officiated at least two other games so far.

Site Notes
I developed the summary by halves for both Georgetown and Notre Dame, though I have not had time to write them up. I will work out an system to make the splits available even when I don't have time to develop a post game post.

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