Sunday, November 20, 2011

Guest Contributor Ray Floriani -- At the Coaches vs Cancer

by Ray Floriani

NEW YORK CITY -- The Coaches vs. Cancer final could be analyzed and dissected in several ways. The point that stands out is the second half effort by Mississippi State.

Lady Antebullum can wait
for two days it was college hoops at MSG

The Bulldogs expanded a one point half time lead, held Arizona to 23 second half points and went on to post a 67-57 championship game winning performance.

The possessions and efficiency:

Mississippi State64105

A further look at the two halves is necessary to illustrate the job Mississippi State on both ends of the floor those final twenty minutes.

Efficiency by...
Mississippi State103107105

Both teams cared for the ball very well as Mississippi State was 14% in TO rate while Arizona came in with a creditable 16%. Bulldogs of the SEC were a bit stronger in the paint. They had a29-24% in offensive rebounding percentage and made more trips to the line with a 19-9% advantage in free throw rate.

Victorious, Mississippi State celebrates

There was one tie and Arizona never led. Still, the Wildcats were right there until Mississippi State pulled away in the waning minutes. Largely on defense as the second half efficiency shows.

Ray with Arizona cheerleaders

The Scores:

Semifinal Games...
Mississippi St.6960Texas A&M
Arizona8172St. John's

Consolation Game...
Texas A&M5857St. John's

Championship Game...
Mississippi St.6757Arizona

Observations of the Tempo Free Variety:
Following the consolation loss to Texas A&M, St. John's coach Steve Lavin noted how his team did a better job in the turnover (commission) department. Not that much better. An analogy would be if 70 is a passing grade, a student getting a 45 on a test then next time out getting a 60, shows improvement. Yes the latter exam was better , but both grades are failing.

Against Arizona the Red storm coughed the ball up 17 times. The number was 14 against A&M. But getting a better look at turnover rate, the percentage of possessions ending in a TO, we get the following numbers:

vs. Arizona26%
vs. Texas A&M22%

Granted the rate decreased but 20% is the cutoff. Twenty per cent or over is an unacceptable TO rate for an offense.

In the huddle
St. John's Steve Lavin and assistant Mike Dunlap (r)
go over adjustments during a time out.

Good defense by Mississippi state in the semifinal as well. They limited Texas A&M to an 88 offensive efficiency. State's big man Renardo Sidney received praise from coach Rick Stansbury for his hustle. Sidney, however, had a forgettable 3 point night against A&M, fueled by 0 for 8 shooting from the floor.

A 109 offensive efficiency usually wins games. In the semifinal meeting with Arizona, it didn't do the job for St. John's. The Wildcats of the Pac 12 posted an outstanding 127 offensive efficiency.

St. John's shot 51% from the field while Arizona was checking in at 42%. The eFG gives us a better read. Red Storm did go for 54% in that category but the Wildcats were 53% thanks to a 14 of 29 mark from beyond the arc. In fact 48% of Arizona's points came from three. While St. John's had only 13% of their points from a similar range.

Those 'first four' can often set the tone and tell us something important. First four minutes of the Texas A&M-Mississippi state game were crucial and eventually proved decisive. State hit three shots from long distance en route to a 15-5 lead . Texas A&M was never able to recover.

Free throw rates jumped off the stat sheet when assessing St. John's. they were 45% against Arizona and 51% in the consolation. The free throw rate divides made free throws by field goal attempts. Against A&M, St. John's shot 22 of 38 9no typo) from the line while the Aggies were 2 of 3.

St. John's has outstanding, aggressive dribble penetration that draws fouls and gets them to the line. Texas A&M Coach Billy Kennedy did not complain about the disparity but when asked simply smiled and said, "I really like New York so I won't get into it ."

Both games St. John's allowed a +40 in offensive rebound percentage. Arizona was 43% while Texas A&M came in at 46%. With a smaller lineup and limited depth, inside play will be a challenge for St. John's. Especially in Big East contests.

Both nights, Arizona's TO percentage was right on 16%. One of the main positives coach Sean Miller took from these games.

Tournament Honors (with their two day "Manley efficiency averages")...

MVPArnett Moultrie, Miss. State20.0
All Tournament Team:
Kourtney Roberson, Texas A&M10.0
Nurideen Lindsey, St. John's10.5
Jesse Perry, Arizona14.5
Dee Bost, Miss. State12.5

Ray with the
the St. John's cheer squad

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