Sunday, December 12, 2010

Reality Check -- Time to Exhale

Fisher & Wayns are Struggling
That is the reality. Since encountering Tennessee's 1-3-1 zone/trap in the NIT Tip-Off Finals, I suspect the Wildcats have seen variations in the two succeeding games. For the last three games (Tennessee, Saint Joseph's & Pennsylvania) the two point guards have combined for 11-52 (2-21, 9-31), a combined 23.1% eFG%. That is a very bad run. In four of the first five games the two guards would combine to take possession and shot rates (among other things...) in the range of 60%-75% and 50%-65% respectively, a possession and shot distribution pattern that tends to make defense too easy. The Madison Square Garden sojourn was a awakening for the staff. The efficiency stats (Oliver's four factors) for the Saint Joseph's and Penn games...

Player% MinPoss %Shot%PPWSeFG%TO%Ast%
Fisher, Corey91.332.818.90.7426.316.136.0
Stokes, Corey90.036.730.31.4770.014.611.9
Pena, Antonio87.527.519.71.4773.732.214.7
Cheek, Dominic62.535.926.20.8638.912.90.0
Yarou, Mouphtaou61.325.716.30.4218.212.318.7
Wayns, Maalik57.528.619.00.6225.017.633.3
Bell, James27.
Sutton, Maurice25.
Armwood, Isaiah20.

Note the shift in the possession and shot rates -- Corey Stokes and Dom Cheek assumed larger offensive roles (and Corey Stokes responded to the increase in playing time and responsibility with two game-high performances). If Fisher continues to take a large slice of the team's possessions, note that he and Wayns combined have a two game possession rate just over 60%, and they have appreciably cut back their shot rates.

Man the Lifeboats?
The reality is that the Wildcat have encountered a variety of zone defenses as each opponent tries to emulate the results produced by the Volunteers. And the staff and team have responded by changing their offensive schemes to identify and attack the zone in front of them. Despite calls to shake up the starting five, the reality is that changing faces will not singularly change the team's approach to offense. A good many season previews generated in the Nova Nation acknowledged that the team going forward without Scottie Reynolds would have to adjust to new roles and that this would be a work in progress. And so it is.

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