Monday, March 15, 2010

Wofford Pre-Game Analysis

Opening Thoughts: It’s that time of year again! Call me crazy, but I think this team has the most potential to reach a Final Four in Bo’s tenure with the variety of scoring options. And I feel like they laid their egg of the season against Illinois and still were in striking distance at the end. Regardless, first things first. The Badgers find themselves as a 4 seed in the East region, with a first round opponent in Jacksonville called the Terriers, hailing from Wofford. Where the hell is Wofford? Haha, just kidding Terrier fans, I know you are in Spartanburg, SC… because I wanted to know the answer during this past football season. The Terriers are 26-9, riding a 13-game winning streak, have won 19 of their last 20, and 22 of their last 24. They are the Southern Conference regular season and tournament champions.

Forums to Visit: Terrier Fans

What the Expert Nerds Say:

Jeff Sagarin ranks Wisconsin #14 and Wofford #82. He makes Wisconsin a 13-point favorite.

Ken Pomeroy ranks Wisconsin #3 and Wofford #87. He predicts a 63-52 Badger victory in 58 possessions and gives the Badgers a 90% chance of winning.

Wofford Rotation:
*G – 6’0” SO Brad Loesing (6.0 PPG, 3.0 APG, 1.6 RPG, 33% 3PT, 75% FT, 101.9 OR, 15% Poss, 14% Shot, 22% TO, 2% OffReb, 5% DefReb, 3.6 FTR, 38% of FGAs are 3PT)

*G – 6’1” SR Junior Salters (7.7 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 1.4 APG, 37% 3PT, 100.8 OR, 18% Poss, 24% Shot, 12% TO, 2% OffReb, 11% DefReb, 1.3 FTR, 72% of FGAs are 3PT)

*G – 6’2” SR Jamar Diggs (9.4 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 2.6 APG, 76% FT, 37% 3PT, 101.6 OR, 23% Poss, 20% Shot, 21% TO, 2% OffReb, 12% DefReb, 7.4 FTR, 27% of FGAs are 3PT)

*G – 6’5” JR Tim Johnson (6.1 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.0 SPG, 89.6 OR, 23% Poss, 20% Shot, 20% TO, 11% OffReb, 29% DefReb, 5.0 FTR, 0.5% of FGAs are 3PT)

*F – 6’6” JR Noah Dahlman (16.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 58% 2PT, 122.6 OR, 26% Poss, 29% Shot, 9% TO, 14% OffReb, 12% DefReb, 4.9 FTR, 0.3% of FGAs are 3PT)

G – 6’1” JR Cameron Rundles (6.6 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 1.4 APG, 103.2 OR, 19% Poss, 17% Shot, 17% TO, 3% OffReb, 12% DefReb, 7.1 FTR, 45% of FGAs are 3PT)

G – 6’8” SR Corey Godzinski (3.7 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 55% 2PT, 87% FT, 104.4 OR, 16% Poss, 21% Shot, 9% TO, 3% OffReb, 14% DefReb, 2.1 FTR, 56% of FGAs are 3PT)

G – 5’10” SO Jason Dawson (2.9 PPG, 1.2 RPG, 1.2 APG, 86.1 OR, 16% Poss, 14% Shot, 32% TO, 1% OffReb, 10% DefReb, 1.9 FTR, 72% of FGAs are 3PT)

F – 6’6” JR Terry Martin (4.5 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 53% 2PT, 111.0 OR, 20% Poss, 19% Shot, 17% TO, 11% OffReb, 18% DefReb, 6.3 FTR, 0% of FGAs are 3PT)

G – 6’5” SO Kevin Giltner (3.6 PPG, 59% 2PT, 77% FT, 101.1 OR, 16% Poss, 18% Shot, 25% TO, 3% OffReb, 6% DefReb, 1.9 FTR, 68% of FGAs are 3PT)

F – 6’5” FR Nathan Parker (2.1 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 82.0 OR, 26% Poss, 24% Shot, 30% TO, 11% OffReb, 21% DefReb, 3.0 FTR, 6% of FGAs are 3PT)

OR = offensive rating, or personal points per possession
Poss = possession usage when on the court
Shot = share of shots taken when on the court
TO = percentage of personal possessions ending in turnover (20.4% is average)
OffReb = % of offensive rebounding opportunities grabbed by player (anything in double digits is good)
DefReb = % of defensive rebounding opportunities grabbed by player (anything above 15% is good for forwards/center, double digits for guards)
FTR = # of free throws taken per 10 field goal attempts (3.78 is average)

Note: If I don’t list a player’s 2PT%, it’s not above 50%, if I don’t list 3PT%, it’s not above 33%, and if I don’t list FT%, it’s not above 75%

Style Profile:

Offense – Their offense is predicated around 6’6” big man Noah Dahlman. He shoots about as often as Trevon Hughes and Jon Leuer. It also seems that their abundance of guards like to drive to the lane constantly as they attempt the 40th most free throws and attempt only 31% of their shots behind the 3-point line (201st most). Senior guard Junior Salters is their 3-point specialist, attempting 181 treys. The next most frequent 3-ball shooter is junior guard Cameron Rundle, with 72 attempts. Junior guard Jamar Diggs and sophomore guard Brad Loesing are their primary drivers on offense, as they are the only guards on the roster to attempt more than 88 two-pointers and have significantly higher assist rates than anyone else on the team. Diggs is freakishly good at getting to the free throw line, getting more than 7 freebie attempts for every 10 field goal attempts. One thing not going for them is their efficiency. Dahlman and Terry Martin have great individual offensive efficiencies, but the rest of the team is average or worse. Essentially, they are like having Jon Leuer and Jordan Taylor on the court with a bunch of Tim Jarmuszes, Mike Bruesewitzes, and Ryan Evanses efficiency-wise.

Defense - The Terriers play mostly man-to-man defense, forcing about 2 turnovers every 9 possessions. Of those turnovers forced, a little less than half of them are steals. Their opponents have the 6th lowest assist to made field goals rates and take a bit less than a third of their shots from behind the arc (lowest 33%). This suggests that they play higher pressure defense and jump on passing lanes, getting steals, preventing assists and 3-point attempts. This is also corroborated by the fact that they usually play 10 men deep and occasionally 11, 7 of which are listed as guards. They are height challenged, as they have only 1 player over 6’6”, 6’8” guard Corey Godzinski, who seems to be a Bill Cole (of Illinois) that can’t make threes although he takes a lot of them (23% on 62 attempts).

Key Players:

Noah Dahlman – Noah is the younger brother of MSU alum Isaiah, and is the inside presence for the Terriers. He has one of the best offensive efficiency rating in the nation, with a ridiculous 122.6. This is done by shooting 58% inside the arc, 70% from the line, and turning it over at the same rate as Jon Leuer (8.8%). He isn’t a shot-blocking threat or good defensive rebounder (nearly the same rate as J Bo for both), but is an elite offensive rebounder, grabbing nearly one in every 7 rebounding opportunities on that side of the floor. Luckily for us, he’s undersized at 6’6” and isn’t a threat from the perimeter, being 0 for 3 from deep on the season.

Jamar Diggs – Diggs is kind of like Wofford’s Trevon Hughes. They shoot similar percentages (TH better from the field, Diggs better from the line), draw similar amounts of fouls, and dish out a similar rate of assists. Where they diverge is interesting. Diggs turns the ball over 50% more often than Trevon and attempts 70% less threes, which lead to a lower offensive rating for him (101.6 to TH’s 107.8), but, as previously stated, he gets to the free throw line nearly twice as often as Hughes. A full 38.3% of his points come from the line… the closest team to that mark is at 27.7%.

Tim Johnson – Johnson isn’t listed as a key player due to his offense. He has an efficiency rating of 89.6, which is a smudge better than Ryan Evans. He shoots a dreadful 38% from the free throw line and 44% from the field (0/1 from 3). What he is good at, which is a ridiculous understatement, is rebounding. Despite only being 6’5”, he is the 3rd best defensive rebounder in the country, grabbing 29.2% of all of their opponents’ missed shots. He also isn’t too shabby on the offensive end, grabbing 11.3% of Wofford’s missed shots (for comparison, Keaton is at 10.1%).

What Wofford is really good at:

1. Getting to the line. The Terriers are 40th in the nation at getting to the charity stripe, taking 9 freebies per 20 field goal attempts.

2. Defending the arc. Their opponents’ shoot 30.9% from three, which is the 40th worst in the country.

3. Defensive rebounding. Due in large part to Tim Johnson, Wofford is the 38th best defensive rebounding team in the country, grabbing 29.2% of all their opponents’ misses.

4. Avoiding steals. Although they aren’t quite in the top fifth of all teams at taking care of the ball, they are at not getting their pockets picked. Wofford gives up a steal about once every 13 possessions, 16th least often in the country.

What Wofford is really bad at:

1. Blocking shots. Due to their lack of height, Wofford blocks just 1 in every 17 two-pointers their opponents attempt, which is the 34th worst in the nation.

2. Avoiding blocks. Also due to their lack of height and will to attack the rim, the Terriers get the ball sent back in their face almost once for every nine two-pointers they attempt. Only 76 teams are embarrassed more often.

Relative Efficiency:

When Wofford has the ball: Wofford has scored 1.058 PPP (1.028 adjusted) in their first 34 games, while UW has given up 0.93 (0.873 adjusted) in their first 31.

When UW has the ball: Wofford has give up 0.934 (0.931 adjusted) in their 34 games, while UW has scored the 1.117 (1.165 adjusted) in their 31 games.

Pace: Wofford has played at 66 possessions per game and UW’s has played at 60.

Top 100 Wins and Bottom 247 Losses:

Wofford Good Wins = @ Georgia (82), South Carolina (88)

Wofford Bad Losses = @ Bradley (120), @ Western Carolina (173), Appalachian State (131), @ College of Charleston (159)

UW Good Wins = (N) Arizona (86), (N) Maryland (10), Duke (1), Marquette (28), OSU (4), @ PSU (92), Purdue (13), @ Northwestern (77), Michigan (60), PSU (92), MSU (24), Michigan (60), Northwestern (77), @ Illinois (52)

UW Bad Losses = @ UW-GB (155)

Note: I changed it to top 100 since Wofford didn’t have any top 50 wins.

My expectations:

1. Jon Leuer scores 15 or more points. Wofford may be athletic enough in the front court to stay with Leuer and Nankivil on perimeter, but Jon can just shoot over the top of them all day in the paint.

2. Jordan Taylor scores 15 or more points. The Terriers will put their best perimeter defenders on Trevon and Jason, leaving him with a defender he can likely abuse.

3. Wisconsin blocks at least 6 shots as a team. The Terriers love to attack the hoop and don’t have the size to do it with multiple rejections each game. Wisconsin is a much better shot blocking team, with Leuer, Nankivil, Evans, Hughes… and Bohannon, than your average SoCon team.

4. The Badgers hit better than 35% from three-point land. My guess is that with Leuer eating up Wofford inside, they start trying to double down on him, giving the rest of the team open looks from outside that they should knock down.

My Prediction: The Badgers dominate the paint, beating the Terriers 64-50 in a 56-possession game.

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