Thursday, December 4, 2008

Preview -- Houston Baptist

The Wildcats host the Houston Baptist Huskies Thursday night at the Pavilion. After weathering a transition period of 2 seasons, Houston Baptist will play a 29 game D1 schedule this season.

Frontcourt vs frontcourt...
HB has started junior transfer Mario Flaherty (6-9, 230lbs) and senior forward Gordon Watt (6-6, 225lbs) a Purdue transfer in all six previous games. They will most likely start versus the Wildcats. Senior forward Demetrius Judge (6-6, 195lbs), a Mobley Area CC graduate started 3 games and has seen minutes (albeit diminishing minutes...) in the other three games as well. Andy Dillon (6-4, 215lbs) has also seen the court. Gordon Watt is the #1 front court scoring option. He typically takes more than a quarter of Houston's FGAs when he is on the court. He was fairly efficient in HB's first few games, but as defenses have begun to focus on him, his numbers have declined.

The 'Cats will start Dante Cunningham and Antonio Pena, much as they have in their seven previous games. Cunningham is coming off of a string of 3 outstanding games, in which he recorded double-doubles in two of them. Pena may be struggling a bit, but will most likely have a great game against the Husky front court. Shane Clark and Frank Tchuisi should also see large amount

Backcourt vs backcourt...
Senior Baron Sauls (6-2, 180lbs), a transfer from Texas Arlington, has started every game. Sophomore Fred Hinnenkamp (6-7, 187lbs), along with seniors Sean Morris (5-10, 180lbs) and Justin Wilson (5-6, 170lbs -- not a typo), a Texas Southern transfer, have split the other starts. Seniors Joe Atang (5-10, 180lbs), Andrew Puzyk (6-3, 185lbs) a JUCO out of Blinn JC, and Jimmy Sanders (6-4, 205lbs), a Kings Point transfer, have all seen minutes at the #2 and #3. Sauls and Wilson seem to be splitting the duties at point. Sauls, Puzyk and Morris generate offense that comes out of the backcourt.

Villanova will start Scottie Reynolds, Corey Fisher and most likely Corey Stokes. Corey Fisher was named to the Philly Classic All-Tournament team, and continued his good run through the Penn game Tuesday night. Reynolds and Stokes

Houston Baptist By the Numbers...
Houston Baptist has been playing for about 71.9 possessions per game, a bit above the D1 average pace team this season adjusted, according to Ken Pomeroy's Houston Baptist Scout Page which ranks the Huskies #44 out of approx. 348 - the current average for pace is 68.7. A four factors comparison of Houston Baptist's and Villanova's offense/defense (and defense/offense) shows...

When Houston Baptist has the ball...
Husky O44.924.731.425.8
'Cat D42.122.728.136.0

Houston Baptist's offensive efficiency (93.2, adjusted) is ranked #248 by Ken Pomeroy. Villanova has routinely held opponents in the 40s. Houston Baptist breaking 50 points in a 60 possession game with Nova would be a an "offensive win" for the Huskies. Of the four factors listed, HB ranks lower than 200 in 3 (eFG, TO% & OR%). A Wildcat offense to Husky defense comparison is even more striking...

When Villanova has the ball...
'Cat O52.018.442.834.7
Husky D56.118.240.537.3

HB's defensive rating, 120.7 (adjusted) ranks them #341 in the D1 pecking order. The Huskies are ranked #288 or lower in 3 (again, eFG, TO% & OR%) of the four factors. HB has particular difficulty stopping close in scoring (2FGAs). Expect another big night for Dante Cunningham.

This was the last game revealed in Villanova's 2008-09 schedule. The timing of the announcement and the placement of the game suggest this was a last minute arrangement, most likely the consequence of a failed negotiation.

Coach Wright has, with the exception of the Rhode Island game, rotated at least 10 players through the game, often allocating 10 or more minutes to between 7 and 9 of those players. The staff may give every player on the bench some PT against the Huskies, with almost all getting >10 minutes.

The game most likely will be played for about 68 possessions, close to the D1 average. An offensive/defensive comparison projects about a 40 point margin of victory, but the staff has shown an aversion to running up the score, and the team has "lost focus" when the point differential grows beyond 30 - 35. This one will likely not go beyond the low 30s.

Roster Notes...
Villanova --
1. Dwayne Anderson saw limited play against the Quakers for his first action this season. He moved with a noticible limp at the end of his run, the staff speculating that it most likely was soreness from inaction. Hopefully the staff will hold him out of this game.

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