Friday, March 12, 2010

Guest Contributor Ray Floriani: Big East Day 3

by Ray Floriani

NEW YORK CITY - For the quarterfinal game of the day/night I was certain to report on Georgetown-Syracuse. A number eight taking out the top seeded team, in conversation this week about a possible number one seed in the NCAAs. The Notre Dame - Pitt sealed it . Especially from a tempo free analysis angle.

Quarterfinal scores:

TeamScore TeamScore
Notre Dame50Pitt45
West Virginia54Cincinnati51

In a 50 possession game, the four factors:

Notre Dame10262242025

Perception. This is why tempo free studies are so great. At the half ND leads 32-29. The assumption from yours truly, and others, is the defense is dictating. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Case in point:

Notre Dame13974

Those numbers are not reflective of good solid defense. The score was low due to an extremely pedestrian 25 possession pace. The second half both defenses stepped up. Notre Dame had an offensive efficiency of 69 while Pitt checked in at 64. Even coach Mike Brey noted his club sealed the win by getting crucial stops in the stretch.

Luke Harangody gave a good 12 point effort in 22 minutes. Tory Jackson also had 12 points and came up big in the stretch making several key shots and plays. Brad Wanamaker scored 16 to lead all scorers and was a defensive task off the dribble for the Irish all night.

The slower paced offense has been a charm for ND. Mike Brey instituted it after Harangody’s injury in February and has kept it in tact. It is not a Princeton offense per se but it milks the clock and uses passing and good player movement. During the Big East I am keeping Synergy results. Remember Synergy is FG Pct + (Assists/FGM). For this game the numbers reflect the ball distribution, beauty and execution of the ND offense.

Notre Dame1.307

The ND Synergy numbers on this night were superlative.

Notre Dame Cheerleaders

A Georgetown-Syracuse note. The offensive numbers were impressive. Georgetown had a 125 OE while Syracuse checked in at 114. The deciding factor was turnovers. Hoyas cared for the ball with a 16% rate while Syracuse was too high at 23%.

Georgetown missed a number of free throws in the stretch but still had a significant 58-15 edge in free throw rate. A look at three point attempts shows why. The Orange took 39% of their attempts beyond the arc. Georgetown took only 20%. In late game Syracuse was in a fouling mode which inflates the FT rate. But the rate takes in free throws made and most of Georgetown’s nine misses were in the stretch. The Hoyas simply did a better job attacking the basket.

A final Villanova note. greyCat will undoubtedly elaborate in detail but here are a few press row thoughts…A major factor in this one was Marquette’s three point shooting. They actually shot better from three than two. Marquette was 11 of 18 (61%) from three and 14 of 34 (41%) from two. Darius Johnson-Odom with 24 points did a great deal of damage to Nova beyond the arc (5 of 7). Corey Stokes came off the bench to supply a team high 22 points. Jay Wright’s club had difficulty matching up with Lazar Hayward (20 points). Hayward hit a couple three pointers but mostly operated inside where ‘Nova did not have a big man to consistently step up and defend him. Several times I have seen good things from Mouphtaou Yarou. Today he had an uneventful 15 minute outing with a 4 point 4 board performance. This was a day Wright could have used more from the 6-9 freshman. Antonio Pena had a creditable 14 point 6 board outing but was the lone inside threat for the Wildcats.

“This Villanova team is one of the best we played in my two years at Marquette. They are hard to guard and have five guys out there who can pass, penetrate and shoot.” - Marquette coach Buzz Williams

“Marquette is a team that uses their possessions well…the great thing about this (Big East) tournament is the games are great. We are all familiar with each other so it is harder to win.” - Jay Wright

Coach Wright fields questions after the game

No comments: