Friday, February 6, 2009

Guest Contributor Ray Floriani:  A Possession-Based Convert

by Ray Foriani

NEWARK, NJ – It is about 11:53 at night. Fatigue and a cold interview room are taking their toll. Then Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez has a personal revelation. "A lot of people look at points allowed to determine if a team is good defensively." The Seton Hall coach said. "Points allowed is affected by the pace of the game, we prefer to look at points per possession." Hearing this gave a spark to the interview. Suddenly the prospect of getting out of the Rock past midnight on a single digit temperature night wasn’t so bad after all.

Gonzalez revealed his tempo free affinity to explain that his club’s 91-81 win over St. John’s did not constitute a poor defensive effort. He was half right.

At the Half…

St. John's3388
Seton Hall34132

Final totals…

St. John's71114
Seton Hall73125

The Hall defended for a half. The final twenty minutes St.John’s scored 52 points on 38 possessions for a whopping 137 efficiency. Gonzalez is right giving up 81 points does not necessarily mean bad defense. On the other hand, while noting his affinity for points per possession, the Hall coach did not let the press know the Hall’s final mark (1.14 or 114 efficiency) was decidedly too high.

Both teams had turnover rates under 20%.

TO Rate
St. John's15
Seton Hall18

The ‘half full’ crowd could say both teams valued the ball; the ‘half empty’ could note the poor defense couldn’t even force a turnover.

A final note about Seton Hall's shooting. The Pirates, led by another sterling performance by Jeremy Hazell (31 points), shot better beyond the arc than inside of it.

3 Pointers2 Pointers
Seton Hall81457%214250%

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