Sunday, February 15, 2009

West Virginia Post Game -- Ouch!

The Wildcats took to the road on Friday evening and played the Mountaineers of West Virginia University in the Coliseum, WVU's 12,000 seat arena. There is some good news (yes, there is...) and some bad news. First the good news:
1. Dwayne Anderson played just under 20 minutes. He wore a flexible brace while scoring 6 points and grabbing 6 rebounds. He should get nearly a week between games to rest the knee.
2. No one was injured during the play of this game.
3. Did I mention no one was injured?

And now the bad:
1. The loss was not unexpected, Pomeroy cast the 'Cats as dogs in Morgantown by a 5 point margin. No, it was that final margin, 21, and the way it happened that has me shaking my head.
2. West Virginia lacks a big dominant center. Like Villanova, they have a (seemingly endless) supply of 'tweeners -- players who fit somewhere between a guard and a center who man (based on skill set and dimensions) either the paint or the wing. Villanova ought to match up well with a team like that, but for reasons beyond me to this point, don't. Consistently don't match up well.
3. The host school provides the box score, and since West Virginia does not provide detailed boxscores, a complete split box (by halves) was not possible until Sunday...

OpponentWest Virginia 
 Offense Defense

Halftime Adjustments...
The 1st half started as a defensive tug-of-war -- the two teams scored a combined 10 points (7-3 WVU) through the first 6 minutes of the 1st half. Then Dante Cunningham sat with his second foul, and the two teams scored a combined 76 points over the next 16 minutes, as the Mountaineers broke the game open and took an 18 point lead (52-34) into the half-time. As a follow on to the keys to the game portion of the preview note the green & red highlighted sections in the table (above). The Wildcats needed to keep West Virginia's eFG% under 48.5; the 1st half was a disaster. While the 'Cats tightened up in the 2nd half they were playing from down (at least) 15 for most of that half.

The Mountaineers 2nd half shooting declined as the 'Cats got out and contested their open shooters, but the Wildcat's offense was not good enough to help them climb out of the hole they dug in the 1st half. Rebounding on both ends of the floor was disappointing. The 'Cats needed to control the 'Eers 2nd chance opportunities. And they did not. Nova's turnover rate, 23.0, was higher than their average 18.6, & consistent with a lower winning percentage at higher turnover rates. West Virginia's defense? Using the forced turnover calculation guest contributor Ray Floriani wrote about earlier this month, WVU's steals (4) divided by VU's turnovers (16) yields a forced turnover rate of 25%. While not a precise measure, it does suggest that Villanova's play may have lacked focus and urgency. Not particularly good characteristics this late in the season and against this type of opponent.

1. The Mountaineer's guard Da'Sean Butler (HS teammate of Casiem Drummond) had a career night, scoring scoring 43 points on 12-23 (6-13, 6-10) and 13-15 shooting. Butler took nearly 40% of WVU's shots when he was on the court, scoring in an efficient manner, as his eFG% of 65.2 (and PPWS of 1.43) suggest.
2. The Coreys combined for 29 points on 11-20 (3-8, 8-12) & 7-8 shooting. In an paradoxical turn, the shorter Corey (Fisher) scored his points on the inside, by repeatedly driving the lane and finishing at the line. The taller Corey (Stokes) was 3-6 from beyond the arc and 2-2 from the line.
3. Sitting Cunningham with fouls in the 1st half did not appear to alter the Wildcat's game plan. Fisher and Reynolds continued to attack the lane and draw fouls, as suggested by Nova's 110.0 FTA/FGA rate. The problem developed when the 'Eers did not foul as the 3FG% and 2FG% suggest. Kickouts to shooters on the wing did not translate into points. While I don't have a 1st half OR%, I suspect, from the gamelong OR% of 31.4, that the 'Cats were not getting many 2nd chance opportunities.
4. The Wildcat's offense went through Reynolds (30.2% of the available shots) and the two Coreys (Fisher -- 24.8; Stokes -- 26.5). Scottie, the focal point of WVU's defense, did not have an inside presence to divert attention, as both Anderson (20.2) and Clark (13.3, around his season-long Shot%, but too low given the circumstances of this game) did not make up Cunningham's numbers (typically around 27%), and Pena had only 2 FGAs (both misses) in 18 minutes of play.

Ref Notes
Pat Driscoll, Tony Greene and Frank Scagliotta, praised by the ESPN crew (Bob Wenzel & Mike Patrick) as among the best, called an unexceptional game (that's good). If West Virginia fans felt the home cookin' was not working for them, they were correct. The Mountaineers were whistled for 20 fouls, about the average for home teams when playing Villanova, and they got to the line for 28 FTAs, just a bit above average (given the scoring differential, I assume there were no change of possession fouls given by the 'Cats). Villanova was called for 24 fouls, just a few above average for away games this season, most likely the result of more aggressive defense while attempting comebacks. The 'Cats did benefit from quite a few FTAs (32 -- many in the 1st half), within the standard devieation, but very close to the upper boundary.

Roster Report
Senior Dwayne Anderson, diagnosed with a hyperextended left knee and bone bruise suffered during the Marquette game nevertheless started in Morgantown and played 19 minutes. Early speculation (and an announcement he would sit for the WVU game) now appears to have been pessimistic. The teams takes a 6 day break before playing Rutgers on Thursday.

The team posted a more detailed than usual game recap called (appropriately enough) "The Butler Did it".
Chris over at IBBW posted a good recap with some cutting thoughts about several players.
Tim over at Nova News posted his recap/commentary ("Unlucky Night for #13 Villanova on Friday the 13th") yesterday.


Unknown said...

Maybe Butler wanted to punish Nova for some perceived slight to his high school team mate. Whatever. Looks like he was on a mission.

Sometimes you just stink the joint up. Even if it's consistently at their place. Time to move on and refocus.

Glad I fell asleep at the half and didn't watch the second half.

I do hope we see them and Ct. down the road on a neutral court. In Ct.'s case I would have liked it to be at full strength.

greyCat said...

I had the same thought Stan, but I doubt Drum was a motivation. It also occurred to me that the Coliseum is becoming the new Dunkin Donuts Center for the 'Cats -- that place on the road we really don't want to see them play in.

If the 'Cats see the Huskies again, I would rather it be in the NCAAs. As for West Virginia, while Butler did have a career night, I am not sure Villanova really matches up well with them. If the 'Cats win 2 in the BET though, chances are they will see at least one of those two again.

Unknown said...

I had the same thought about match-ups when I looked at the roster and stats prior to the game. They're slightly "longer" and they are lean.They can run and they do have hops and they can guard well.

Anonymous said...

ESPN's ombudsman officially nixed the interactive text messaging nonsense--congrats on making change

Villanova Viewpoint Publisher said...

Hello, greyCat-

Very tough evening for the Wildcats..

On the question of the WVU Coliseum becoming the new version of the Dunkin' Donuts Center/PCC in Providence:

Both WVU and PC are difficult venues for opponents. Obviously, we've played a lot more games at PC, and as Whitey Rigsby noted on the radio last week at PC: "Weird things happen in this building." It's true. There was that long stretch of not winning - at all - up there, etc.

Looking at the history:

The 1990 win @ PC was the only win VU had up there in the entire '90s... and from 1991-2004, VU had a single win (2000) and a dozen losses...

Hopefully, it won't be that bad @ WVU... Fortunately, we haven't gone there as often (WVU wasn't in the conference when we played everyone twice a year, and when we had divisions, they were in the opposite one)...

Villanova Viewpoint Publisher said...

Forgot to mention-

My recap for WVU is up now...