Monday, February 23, 2009

Syracuse #02 Post Game -- Sweeping Out the Dome

For the second consecutive game the Wildcats went off script on their possessions. And for the second time they won, only this time the Nova Nation did not have to hold it's collective breath as the clock wound down. The official website has the AP wire story & the official box score. The breakdown by halves...

 Offense Defense

Half Time Adjustments...
The first half was a horse race, won by the Wildcats, not by more efficient shooting, but by the better turnover differential, getting to the line and offensive rebounding -- 2nd chance opportunities (see table, green highlight). The Wildcat's offensive efficiency, at 132.1, was well above their adjusted efficiency (111.7), even as their defensive efficiency, 114.9, was on schedule to be one of their worst of the season (certainly among those games they won). The interesting shooting stat for Syracuse was 2FGMs (83.3 on 10-12 -- not a typo) versus their 3FGMs (35.3 on 6-17). So why did the Orange keep shooting 3s? I don't know, but that has to go down as one of the great half-time adjustments that was not made, as the Orange came out and did essentially the same thing in the 2nd half -- out of 41 FGAs, 22 were 3s (6-22) and 19 were 2s (10-19). Consider that had they reversed the ratio (with the same accuracy) they would have won the game. By the single point projected by Pomeroy's efficiency differential. Villanova's accuracy from inside the arc was consistent from half-to-half. Unlike Cuse, Nova did shift (very slightly) to take more FGAs inside. It was a good decision as their accuracy from beyond the arc declined rather significantly. Ordinarily Villanova looks for about 1 in 4 points to come from 3FGMs, the distributional shift from 3s to FTMs was due more to not taking the 3FGAs.

Like the Philadelphia tilt, the Orange were down, but not out. They retook the lead with a 19-9 run over the first 7½ minutes of the second half, but could not hold it as the 'Cats outscored them 32-27 over the final 12½ minutes. A final rush over the last 1:14 minutes had the Orange outscore the Wildcats 7-4 in sequence uncomfortably reminescent of Syracuse-Georgetown game of the previous weekend. Except the 'Cats made their shot (though they suddenly could not get the ball over the mid-court stripe...), and the Orange, with 4 missed 3FGAs in the last 10 seconds unable to put the game into overtime. .

1. On a day when Scottie Reynolds was strangely quiet and Dante Cunningham uncharacteristically inefficient offensively, senior Dwayne Anderson stepped into the breech. Anderson cracked the starting lineup last season when he decided to dial back his 3s in favor of defense and rebounding. Today he dusted off his shot and dropped 22 points on the Orange by shooting 8-14 (4-6, 4-8) & 2-3 in a very balanced attack. Anderson's eFG% was 71.4; his PPWS was 1.43, both very efficient and proficient. Anderson also pulled down 5 rebounds (2-3-5) while dishing 2 assists and grabbing a steal.
2. Shane Clark came within 2 rebs of recording his 2nd double-double of the season as he scored a season high 15 points to pair with his 8 (5-3-8) rebounds. Clark's board contribution nearly overshadowed his scoring, as he again demonstrated his ability to dominate the offensive boards. He logged an outstanding 18.4% of the offensive rebounds. Shane logged an eFG% of 75.0 to go with a PPWS of 1.52. He added 2 assists (and 2 turnovers) in another well-timed productive outing.
3. The Corey Fisher-Jonny Flynn playoff was clearly won by the Wildcat...


Corey F. again scored 16 points in 24 minutes of play. He appeared motivated by the ultra-competitive point guard from Syracuse.
4. Cunningham, Reynolds and Anderson served as the first 3 options on offense, with Corey Stokes a not especially efficient 4th option, followed by the very efficient Clark and Fisher. A very efficient Reggie Redding stepped back, taking only 9% of the available shots he nevertheless scored 11 points on 3-5 (0-1, 3-3) and 5-6 shooting. He also posted an outstanding eFG% (60.0) and PPWS (1.40). Reggie dished a team high 7 assists (against only 1 turnover) and grabbed 6 steals.
5. The minutes distribution was a bit uneven as the staff went with a 9 man rotation. Tchuisi and Pena saw just a bit time (0 and 5 minutes respectively), while four of the other 7 (Anderson, Cunningham, Redding and Clark) took 30+ minutes and Corey Stokes took an unusually low (for him) 13 minutes. The surprise however were the minutes allocated to Reynolds and Fisher. Both took minutes in the low 20s (Reynolds -- 23, Fisher -- 24).

Ref Notes
James Breeding, Ed Corbett and Curtis Shaw comprised the crew on Sunday. Compared to the Center affair, this game was positively gentlemanly, as the teams were whistled for a combined 38 fouls. All three crew members were able to get through the entire game. The 'Cats again benefited from the foul/FTA differential, though their numbers were within the standard deviation. Syracuse might feel shortchanged as their FTAs, at 14, were 10 below the average for home teams this season (just on the low side of the standard deviation).

Other recaps/analysis
Borrowing a leaf from Pete's notebook, Nova News has posted a teaser recap with the promise of more later (an special Oscar edition Tim?).
Before turning the keys to the kingdom back to a traveling Mike, Ed'77 over at took one last turn with an indepth recap of the game. Good job Ed.
Chris over at IBBW was first to post with a recap/analysis that took note of individual players on both teams. Putting the ball in Scottie's hands at the end of the game is a predictable strategy Chris, even the Orange know the inbounds pass is going to him. Scottie's attempts to dribble through the double team is a calculated risk intended (much like driving the baseline with the clock running down) to draw contact and get the foul call. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. If the trap is good (those traps were) then the someone has to go to Scottie and take a pass. Preferably someone who can hit a foul shot (because that will come next).
Publisher over at Villanova Viewpoint posted a detailed recap that identified senior Dwayne Anderson, along with junior Reggie Redding as the difference makers.


Tim said...

You know me too well. Nice prediction on the Oscars edition.

greyCat said...

Just a lucky guess Tim. You have come up with a number of creative awards that provide a subtle commentary on the game. Your best picture is a best picture. But the one of the Syracuse bench cracks me up.

Unknown said...

I've admired your posts on Benchwarmers for some time. Thought you would be interested in this statistical look at the NBA by Michael Lewis. My apologies if you've seen it already.

greyCat said...

Paul -- thanks for the note and link. I had not seen the article, but will give it a read.

Unknown said...

gC, not sure if you watched ESPN's Gameday program last Saturday when they talked about the NCAA selection committee. The announcers were all discussing whether or not there were enough basketball "experts" on the selection panel and if memory serves me correctly they all thought the panel would benefit from more expertise. I thought this was somewhat disingenuous, especially by Jay Bilas who also argued selection was largely a matter of applying a formula. My thought was why don't they have economists perform the selection? AD's and Commissioners are political animals and make political decisions. In fact the NCAA already uses committee assignments as a "carrot" of sorts, and committee heads, usually conference commissioners, are even more blatant in using their influence (see Virginia's seeding with Craig Littlepage in charge several years ago). Wouldn't it make sense, given that the selections have become largely formulaic thanks to records, RPI's, etc. that we have economists or statisticians make unbiased selections based on the numbers? Interested in your thoughts on this. I am also curious to see how the selection committee addresses a relatively weak SEC, given that the committee head is the SEC commissioner.