Sunday, August 7, 2016

#CatsInSpain -- Villanova 89-49 Spain Barcalona All-Stars Revisited

The Complete Stat Sheet
For those who wish to review the entire game, Villanova has provided a video feed of the game and a completed box score that actually provides a few more details than your typical collegiate box score. With the more complete box score we also learned that...
1. Computed possession for the game is 80 -- consistent with exhibition games. Pomeroy listed the average possession rate for Division 1 games in 2015-16 at about 69 possessions. Villanova's possession rate was 66.5 (below) the Division 1 average. Exhibitions due possibly to the difference in level of play/skill tend to be higher, as much as 25% higher than the team might play versus comparable competition in Division 1 games. Versus the Barcelona All-Stars, the possessions were 20% more than they typically took last season.
2. For those wondering about the level of competition or comparable play, the closest game from last season might Villanova's 91-54 win over Fairleigh Dickinson to open the 2015-16 season. The 'Cats and Green Knights played for 77 possessions apiece with the 'Cats winning by 37 points.
3. The offensive efficiency rate (points scored per possession) was 1.11, actually lower than last season's average of 1.23 (again, per Pomeroy). While a little surprising given the ease of the win, this can also be attributed to simple lack of practice and a four month layoff of play in game situations. Versus FDU for example, the 'Cats dominated the game throughout, but still scored at a 1.18 rate.
4. The defensive efficiency (points per possession at which the opponents scored) was 0.61, good news for the "defense first" advocates among the Villanova faithful. For those looking for comparisons, the defensive efficiency rate versus FDU was 0.60, so the defense appears to be pretty close to season opening level, an observation consistent with onsite accounts of the game.
5. The turnover rate for the 'Cats was 19.9, high by last season's standards (and very high compared to the FDU game). Where the breakdowns occured might help direct future practices. The 'Cats turned over the Barcelona All-Stars at a 26.1 rate, well above the defensive turnover rate last season (20.6), and the rate registered versus FDU (16.9).

For those wondering if the strong showing is confirmation that Villanova is well on its way to a second National Title, exhale please. These are exhibition games which rarely confirm a great team. They more frequently expose weaker teams rather than affirm stronger teams. Losing an exhibition game can identify areas where the team may struggle versus even stronger competition.

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