Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Navy Post Game: Fall Finals?

The Nova Blogosphere may be a bit slow to register reactions to Villanova's 10 point win over Navy at the Pavilion, but Mark over at IBBW has posted a brief post game analysis. Mike Sheridan logged his Nova Notebook Post Game over at the Official Website, where they have , of course, also posted box score. Good reads all 'round.

The breakdown by halves...

 Offense Defense

The first half was classic Villanova defense -- forced turnovers (33.7%), middling rebounding (35.3%), thefts (15.6%), blocks (14.8%) and little fouling (0.0%). And just a bit late shot defense (51.9%). The culprit is 3, like the classic Villanova defense, point shot defense -- 51.9%. To their credit, the 'Cats shut the inside down tight (or the eFG% for the first would have been far, far worse...and the half-time lead a good deal smaller, if there had been one at all). If the 'Cats allowed the Middies to hit 8 of 14 from beyond the arc, they stifled them to the tune of 2-13 inside the arc. The second half numbers were similar, though not as depressing. Navy, well stocked with upperclassmen guards, with a motion offense which tries to free up outside shooters, was a good test of Villanova's newly discovered shot defense. If this was a fall semester final, the Wildcat defense performed well below expectations. The problems defending the shot were exposed a bit in the second half numbers as the Midshipmen took better care of the ball (and got after their misses on the offensive glass). Despite the fact that their field goal efficiency dropped (after all, they only hit 6 of 14 beyond the arc...), fewer turnovers and more trips to the free throw line translated into more points per possession. The Wildcats still had the more efficient offense in the second half, but (as the point difference suggested...) the Middies narrowed that gap rather significantly.

As noted in the Navy preview, both teams held their opponents to virtually identical 44.4% eFG%, while scoring more efficiently. Navy's defense did hold Villanova to about 44% (44.7 actually), but Nova's shot defense held the Middies to 50.0% for the game. Not good.

1. Dante Cunningham scored his 5th double-double of the season. This is Dante's 9th career double-double. Dante has logged over 900 points over the course of his career.
2. Scottie, Dante and Corey Stokes again posed the triple threat on offense, as each accounted for nearly 30% of the team's possessions and shots when they were on the court. Scottie and Dante were efficient against Navy, but Stokes struggled a bit.
3. Antonio Pena may have struggled on offense, but the sophomore forward was a monster in the paint. Antonio pulled down over 16% of the offensive boards when he was in the game, but even more impressive, he pulled down over 33% of the defensive boards when he was in the game. That is over 1 in 3 defensive boards...remember he was competing with nine other players for those loose balls.

Ref Notes
This is the first game for Clarence Armstrong, though both John Cahill and Wally Rutecki have another game from this season under their (collective) belts. The crew did blow more whistles than the 'Cats have heard lately (past 3 games?), but the game was not "exceptional" for the amount of fouls called. Neither coach (if the Navy announcing crew read expressions and coach-referee exchanges accurately...) was particularly happy with Wally Rutecki, but is anyone...really?

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