Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Guest Contributor Ray Floriani: Champions Classic Recap

by Ray Floriani

NEW YORK CITY -- A very attractive way to start the season. The first Madison Square Garden doubleheader, in the newly renovated arena, featured four 'Fortune 500' programs. The Scores:

Duke7469Michigan State

The under card (Duke vs. Michigan State) was a drag-it-out two and a half hour affair. Duke opened a double digit lead in the second half but had to withstand a late Michigan State surge. The Blue Devils never lost the lead in the stretch and gave coach Mike Krzyzewski his 903rd win, a mark that broke his mentor Bobby Knight's record.

#903 in the books
Coach K meets the press

Possession and efficiency:

DukeMich. St.
Offensive Efficiency10386

Why eFG is important (to really know what is happening). Duke shot 41% from the floor. Not a very good showing. Calculating their eFG the Blue Devils were 56%. Quite a difference. The breakdown shows Duke was 7 of 18 (39%) from two point range but 10 of 21 (48%) from three. The hottest hand belonged to Andre Dawkins, 6 of 10 beyond the arc, en route to a game high 26 points.

Blue Devil ft rate (ftm/fga) was off the charts. Duke was 30 of 41 from the line giving them a FTR of 77%. Thirty free throws made to 17 field goals made for the Blue Devils. It was that type of night.

Duke's Ryan Kelly was impressive. He scored 14 points in 30 minutes with perfection as a shooter. Kelly was 3 of 3 from the field (2 for 2 from three) and 6 for 6 from the charity stripe. The 6-11 junior also did a fine defensive job on Draymond Green of Michigan State. Green scored 10 points but committed 5 turnovers and shot 4 of 15 from the field.

Michigan State was paced by sophomore guard Keith Appling with 22 points. Appling provided the offensive surge allowing the Spartans to make a late run.

The Spartans still must assess and address the turnovers situation. They had 21 for a ridiculously high 26% TO rate. "Duke's defense pressures you," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "But some of those turnovers were our own doing."

Numbers also included 19,979. That was the attendance -- a sellout.

Kentucky players take the floor
getting well wishes
from their adoring fans

The Over Card
The Kentucky-Kansas battle was the proverbial tale of two halves. The Wildcats did a lot of good things defensively but the story of the game was their explosion on the offensive end. The following chart breaks down the efficiencies of the halves and ultimately the game.

Efficiency by...

The final possession total saw Kentucky with 76 and Kansas 72. A rather brisk pace indeed. Wildcats had a 25% turnover rate but did shoot the ball well (58$ eFG percentage) while limiting Kansas to a paltry 37% mark. Doron Lamb led Kentucky with 17 points and was 3 of 5 beyond the arc. Wildcats used some good ball movement the second half to give perimeter shooters some uncontested looks. Tyshawn Taylor of Kansas led all scorers with 22 points. Taylor penetrated well and got to the line. The junior guard did his damage on the line going 15 of 17. From the field he was only 3 of 13. Kansas, in fact, did a good job of penetrating but had virtually no mid-range or deep perimeter game to speak of.

John Calipari's club shared the wealth as five Kentucky players were in double figures. In addition , 56% of their 26 field goals were assisted.

Block Party...
Kentucky rejected 13 Jayhawk attempts with 6-10 freshman Anthony Davis leading the way with 7. The blocked shots doesn't even consider the attempts not sent back but altered.

The season is underway.
Ray and the Kansas cheerleaders
in the first shot of the season

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