Friday, November 19, 2010

Guest Contributor: Ray Floriani on Pitts Pace and Efficiency

by Ray Floriani

NEW YORK CITY - Over at the Siena Saints blog (an excellent location to visit for all things Siena and the MAAC) Ryan Restivo did an analysis of every Siena possession in their loss earlier this week at Minnesota. The analysis was focused on the length of each possession. Restivo found that Siena possessions under 15 seconds were a great deal more successful than those that lingered until the waning moments of the shot clock.

This study brought to mind a discussion I had with Dayton assistant Jon Borovich during the NIT Final Four last March. We discussed tempo free concepts, specifically the length of possessions. While he was not ‘trigger happy’ Dayton mentor Brian Gregory often stressed in coaching meetings to NOT allow the possession time to significantly increase. Gregory, as Borovich noted, believed a longer possession meant more passes and a greater chance of turning the ball over.

The 'Road to the Coaches vs. Cancer Final Four'
began with NJ transit in Lyndhurst

During game one at the Coaches vs. Cancer semis (Pitt vs.Maryland) at Madison square Garden, a breakdown of the Pitt possessions was recorded. The breakdown, similar to Restivo’s, grouped possessions as 15 seconds or more and under 15 seconds. The results, field goal percentage, times fouled and turnovers were also the same as the Siena breakdown.

Pitt entered the contest averaging 70 possessions per game with a 130 offensive efficiency. The Panthers defeated Maryland 79-70 in a hard fought game. The following tables show a breakdown of Pitt’s number of possessions, turnovers and field goal shooting for each. The first table deals with possessions ended before 15 seconds elapsed on the shot clock.

Pitt's Breakdown
PossessionsField Goal
<15 SecondsTurnoversShooting
1st Half2656-18 33%
2nd Half31910-15 67%
Game571416-33 49%

The next chart shows possessions that ran for 15 or more seconds.

Pitt's Breakdown
PossessionsField Goal
>=15 SecondsTurnoversShooting
1st Half1513-12 25%
2nd Half1216-9 67%
Game2729-21 43%

A note on the possession ‘bookkeeping’. The tempo free numbers per formula yielded 73 possessions. The charting counted 84. This is a work in process but to be consistent, I began counting common fouls as a new possession (which is not the case on the tempo free formula) . On offensive rebounds I extended the same possession as we do in tempo free studies. That last point accounts for several possessions breaking 15 seconds, as the Panthers grabbed 15 offensive boards on the night.

Good officiating friend Brian Dorsey (R)
worked his first MSG game

Despite my record keeping imperfection it is quite evident from the numbers, Pitt is labeled a ‘grind it out team’ but the breakdown shows Jamie Dixon’s club will run and attack early in a possession if an opportunity is there. That ‘grind it out label’ is more appropriate for the defensive reputation.

Jamie Dixon meets the media

Offensive Efficiency10896

Pitt placed five in double figures and was paced by 6-9 freshman Talib Zamma (14 points 12 boards).

Cliff Tucker led Maryland with 17 points while 6-10 sophomore Jordan Williams (a player to watch) added 14 points and 8 rebounds.

The key stat in the four factors was offensive rebounding percentage where the Panthers owned a ridiculously irregular 41-18% advantage.

Back with more coverage following the finals.

Ray poses for
the obligatory shot with
the Maryland cheering squad

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