Friday, December 7, 2007

Post Game: LSU

Pete over at Let's Go Nova gives an excellent recap of the game and comeback. I disagree with Pete's grade for Malcolm Grant though. Both he and Dante should get A+. Grant put the team on his back and carried them home. It's great to have 4 outstanding guards, isn't it? If one...or two have an offnight, there is always another to step in. And Dante kept his wits about him for that last tap in. Much like the end of the Cincinnati game his freshman year, when he took the inbounds pass from Allan Ray and stuffed it to retake the lead in the last 5 seconds seconds. While Mark over at I Bleed Blue and White gives me a sense of what the Villanova students were doing through the night...I think he was still pretty hammered when he wrote "The Return of Howie" sometime in the wee hours of the morning. Get over to read it quickly, because I suspect it will be (heavily) edited in the next day or two. The breakdown of the box scores by half look something like this:


The game was "evenly" paced between the two halves. Sometimes when there is a huge scoring differential (per team, per half), there is also a large possession difference. The four factors breakdown and efficiencies show a very big first-to-second half swing...

 Offense Defense
FirstSecondTotal FirstSecondTotal
Blk%--22.6 --7.4
Stl%--9.4 --12.3

A few things stand out...
1. The turnaround in Villanova's offensive rating (66.0 to 116.5) was even larger than LSU's collapse (100.7 to 83.9).
2. Villanova got to the free throw line once for every FGA in the second half. But more importantly, they hit their free throws -- note the the 6 fold increase in FTA/FGA, but the tenfold increase in FTM/FGA. LSU did not match those numbers.
3. Note the scoring efficiency didn't improve greatly from the first to the second half (a modest 33-to-36 bump), but the 'Cats brought their offensive boards (25 to 47.8 jump) nearly to parity with the Tigers (very difficult to do, the team on defense almost always leads in defensive rebounds) while conceding only a little on the defensive boards. The Tigers' turnover rate increased pretty sharply. They lost over 1 in 4 of their possessions in the second half.

Ken Pomeroy recently posted an article over at Basketball Prospectus that looked at the problems Temple had at the Tip-Off Classic in Puerto Rico over Thanksgiving. The article, "Temple of Doom", recounted how twice Fran Dunphy's Owls gave away large leads late in the game. According to Pomeroy's tables, a team leading by +11 at half time went on to win the game 90.5% of the time. That was LSU's half time lead last night. Before they ran it out to +21 (at the 8:50 mark of the second half -- just under 9 minutes remaining). Perhaps Pomeroy, who has collected an enormous number of box scores dating back to 2000 will develop a graph to plot the probabilities for leads at different time points. LSU for example, continued to hold a 15 point lead with 3:11 on the clock.


pete said...

Haha -- I use the same grade scale that Villanova uses -- A is the highest possible grade!

greyCat said...

Once in a while you push at the margins to recognize extraordinary effort/production. Any one of those three pgs would start for just about any other Big East team (and the staff would be thankful to have him). Coach Wright is very lucky to have three. I'll have to get back over and see how hard you were on the other players...