Monday, November 5, 2007

Exhibitions of Interest

I must be getting very anxious for the start of the season...I am actually looking at exhibition games. I have a good excuse for some of this number crunching -- Villanova played Carleton University of Ottawa over the Labor Day weekend. The Carleton Ravens are swinging through the US themselves, taking on Louisville and Providence as part of a pre-season run up to their own collegiate season. So I was curious to see how the three Big East teams would fare against common competition. In this pre-season mini round robin it seems Louisville fared best, beating the Ravens by 33 points in Louisville. The pace, 68.9, and ORtg, 117.6, were consistent with out of conference games than exhibition games (where the games are fast and the margins are way far apart), but Louisville's offense was definitely in good form.


For each team & game, the pace seems to be more consistent with a regular season game than an exhibition game. Providence plays at a higher rate than either Louisville or Villanova, so 71.0 or so is not unusual. The only uncharacteristic pace is Villanova's -- it is too slow. Ottawa sojourners suggested Carleton played very deliberately. But they also observed that the young Wildcats were working hard on the staff's version of the 4-out 1-in motion offense. That the game only had 62 (or so) possessions is most likely due to a combination of those factors. The Providence offense looks as if it was firing on all cylinders Friday. An offensive rating of 123.3 is about where Georgetown was at the end of last season. And with a field goal efficiency of 54.3, the Friars would be hard to beat. Their turnover rate (turnovers per 100 possesions, TORate in the table) is troubling but common when teams play at a higher tempo. Louisville's numbers look pretty good too. The Cardinal's PPWS (1.07) looks a little low when compared to their eFG. It suggests they had a rough night at the line, ie they got fouled but did not convert consistently (their FT conversion rate was 54.8). Villanova's somewhat sluggish offensive numbers may reflect the early timing of the game (10 days of full squad practice in August), the composition of the team (5 true & redshirt freshmen) or the year-over-year problem of consistent offense. The composite of the entire weekend is not as bleak as this one game.


For all three of the Big East teams these look like mid-season form numbers. Very limited shooting opportunities with tight shot defense (except Providence, if the Friars bring that shot defense into the Big East regular season they will get killed). Louisville had nice numbers across the board. For Villanova, the only area of concern might be fouling. The Wildcats are aggressive on offense and defense. Carleton seemed to get to the line a great deal. Providence's offense is definitely ahead of their defense. They maintained a large margin of victory (14 points) largely because of their great offense, but also be cause Carleton had relatively fewer chances to score. Note the 29.0 turnover rate and Carleton's 12.5 OR%. The Friars had 13 steals total, with Brian McKenzie grabbing 3, and 3 others garnering 2 apiece. A Providence fan described transfer Jeff Xavier as "...PC's best on ball defender since Linehan. His pressure really disrupted (Carleton)...". The Friars' board domination carried over to the defensive boards as well. If Carleton rebounded 29.0% of their misses, the Friars pulled in 71%. An astoundingly high percentage of the defensive rebounds.

Some Other Games...
Marquette completed their exhibition run with an 83-55 win over Northern State. Like the other 4 games in their pre-season (4 in Canada over Labor Day Weekend) the pace (83.7) was decidedly characteristic of an exhibition season game. The margin of victory masked a problem or two (and was something of a coming out party for sophomore Lazar Hayward too), mostly in scoring and rebounding...not enough of either. The Golden Eagle's 42.7 eFG was consistent with the last two Canadian games. Marquette's margin of victory over Northern State came compliments of 44 FTAs (and FTRate of 71.0 -- when the conference puts Ed Hightower, Paul Janssen and Todd Williams together watch out; their were, between the two teams, 46 personal fouls called, with 64 free throws) and Northern State's TORate (37.1 -- nearly 4 in 10 possessions were turned over). Marquette had 20 steals, Dwight Burke led with 5 and master thief Jerel McNeal had 4. The scoring landscape was not uniformly bleak however as Lazar Hayward (6-10, 0-1, 5-7, 17) and Wes Matthews (5-7, 0-1, 6-7, 16) had pretty good offensive games.

Syracuse beat St. Rose by 9 in the Carrier Dome. The margin was close in part because the Orange turned the ball over (especially sloppy front court play, as the 6 players in the front court rotation accounted for 17 of the 21 turnovers -- veteran players Harris and Onuaku accounted for 7 between them, while freshman Donte Greene had a team-high 5 TOs...) and poor free throw shooting. Having reached the line 23 times the Orange converted 12 times. Coach Boeheim used a 9 man rotation, none of the 5 starters saw less than 26 minutes. Freshmen Jonny Flynn and Donte Greene started. Greene had 16 points in 33 minutes, while Flynn had 10 points, 9 assists (with 1 turnover) in 29 minutes of play. Senior pg Josh Wright was DNP.

Rutgers beat Rollie Massimino's Northwood team by 11, 68-57. A good shooting effort (eFG -- 56.5) was undermined by a high turnover rate (28.5). The game pace, about 68, was a little surprising given that Rutgers played at about 61 possessions last season, and Rollie Massimino was a notoriously deliberate half-court oriented coach during his days at Villanova (and UNLV and Cleveland St.). Maybe for these two 68 is "exhibition fast". Junior pg Anthony Farmer, along with junior transfer Courtney Nelson, started in the back court. Each played over 20 minutes (Farmer -- 22, Nelson -- 28). Freshmen Mike Coburn and Corey Chandler also logged 20+ minutes apiece. Of local (Philadelphia) interest, HS bballer Earl Pettis played 11 minutes for the Scarlet Knights, scoring 6 points and gathering 5 rebounds. DeSean White, another Philadelphia bballer started for Northwood and scored 15 points and 8 rebounds in 34 minutes. White played a year at Providence and transfered to LaSalle and then Delaware before landing in Northwood.

1 comment:

NBE Blogger said...

Great stuff!! Drop us an e-mail so we can extend an invitation to participate in our Weekly and preseason power polls.


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