Thursday, November 11, 2010

Box Score Observations - Minn State

Opening Comments: Once again I am writing this without having seen a single play of the game nor did I hear it on the radio. So, this is based strictly on the numbers.

As always, please point out those nasty typos. I cannot type this much without major screw ups. I rely on all of you as copy editors.

Summarizing the game in a few words: UW destroyed MSU inside the arc scoring a stunning extra 30 points and holding MSU to only 32% shooting inside the arc.

Pace: The game was a zippy 71 possession, at least zippy by UW’s standards. Last year we averaged 60 possessions.

Efficiency: How did our offense and defense compare with the UWL game? UW scored 93 points instead of 84 against UWL, and in both cases our defense gave up 59. But, since we now all know and love tempo free stats, we will be dividing by 71 possessions instead of 63. So, UW’s offense was about the same (UWL- 1.33, MS 1.31) with the UWL game being slightly better. But, our defense improved from .94 to .83.

Most people unaware of tempo free stats would assume the 94 point outburst was our best offensive performance. Not so.

Bottom line, our offense was excellent and on par with the UWL game. Our defense was also excellent, significantly better than the UWL game.

Shooting: UW was lights out inside the arc. The deep ball and free throw lines were more or less equal. UW restrained ourselves and took only 28% of their shots from deep. Why bother launching long shots when the pickings are good inside?

eFG%: MSU hit at 40% eFG% while UW was an excellent 64%.

3 pt shooting: MSU heaved two more deep shots (17 to UW’s 15) and both teams made 6. So, UW ended up with a good 40% make rate while MSU was a good 35%. For scoring, it was a draw at 18 points each.

2pt shooting: Inside, it was the varsity versus the freshmen. MSU made a lowly 10 of 31 shots, or 32%. They would have been better off bombing from three and hitting 35% and scoring one extra point per make.

UW found the pickings easy inside. UW was a stunning 25 of 38 or 66%. Yikes!

Inside, UW took 7 more shots and made 15 extra baskets. That is a stunning plus 30 inside.

1pt shooting: Fouls were plenty and foul shots resulted. MSU went to the line 29 times and hit 21 for a respectable 72%. UW was 25 of 34 for an equally respectable 74%. So, the quality was about the same but the quantity favored UW to the tune of 4 extra points.

Rebounding: Rebounding was a draw. Both teams had comparable offensive rebounding numbers but UW had fewer opportunities since we had fewer misses.

UW Defensive end: When MSU was shooting, 36 rebounds were available and they got 12, or 33% of their misses. While this is on the national average, it was a poor showing my UW’s standards. UW has historically been one of the best in the nation at protecting their glass. Last year, we were second in the nation holding opponents to 26.3%.

UW Offensive End: When UW shot, there were fewer misses (see section on shooting inside the arc). Twenty five shots were available for rebounds and UW grabbed 8, or 32%. By UW standards, that is a pretty good day. Regular readers know that Bo’s strategy is to get back on defense and not press the offensive glass too hard. Last year we grabbed 30.5% of our misses, a lowly 249th in the nation.

Turnovers: UW took advantage of MSU’s giving ways and accepted 20 turnovers while only giving back 11. MSU had a dreadful 28% turnover rate while UW was a sparkling 15%.

Opportunity Index: UW had a plus 5 opportunity index. For those unfamiliar with OI, it adds together offensive rebounds and opponent turnovers for both teams and compares.

Last year we had a discussion about what is worth more – a turnover or an offensive rebound. We (okay, I – I cannot speak for everyone here) concluded they were approximately the same. Each results in a team getting the ball and a fresh shot clock. Since they are of equal (or nearly equal) value, they can be added together. Hence, the opportunity index was born.

The way to interpret this is to think that in a 71 possession game, UW had the ball 5 extra times.

As an aside, I have always had a problem with assist to turnover ratio. They compare two things of wildly different value. Assists are of marginal value at best (a basket made without an assist is just as valuable as one with an assist) while turnovers are clearly a bad thing.

Fouls: Both teams were foul happy. MSU had 24 and UW 21. Last year we had 16 per game and our opponents 17.

Playing time: Bo went 10 deep (I use 10 minutes as a cutoff – arbitrary I know). Smith (21 minutes) and Bruesewitz (23 minutes) got starts and Brust (12), Evans (11), Valentyn (10), Gasser (17), Jarmusz (10), and Berggren (14) all had significant playing time. Perhaps of most importance, Wilson got the day off. It will be interesting to see where he fits in when back in service. He may find himself getting Wally Pipped.

Notable Performances: Leuer picked up an impressive 25-11 dub dub in 25 minutes of action. Jon, long will the tales of your exploits be told around the campfires of my people.

Taylor got 20 in 24 minutes with zero turnovers. Bruesewitz got 9 and 4 boards including 6-6 from the line. Evans had the distinction of fouling out in 11 minutes of play. Let’s hope that is an aberration.

For MSU, Mason got 20 points in 25 minutes, following in Tony Mane’s footsteps. Let’s hope we do not have a perimeter defense issue. We should keep an eye on this as the year unfolds.

Grading Shetown’s Predictions

Regular readers know that I hold Shetown’s feet to the fire on his predictions. Yes, everyone makes predictions on message boards, but we normally only hear from people when they got it right. Not here! We have high standards around here J

1. The Badgers score more than 35 points in the paint. Let’s try this again, against a better team. Hit UW scored 40 points in the paint.

2. The freshman combine for more than 15 points. I’m upping the ante on you guys, I hope you come though for me. Miss. Brust (1), Dukan (2), Gasser (4), and Anderson (0) totaled 7.

3. The Badgers grab more than 40% of the rebounding opportunities on the offensive end. Mankato is a decent defensive rebounding team, but I like the longer and more athletic Badgers to continue their offensive rebounding assault from Saturday against the Mavs. Miss. UW got 32%. This was a rather aggressive prediction that did not come home.

Closing Thoughts: I look forward to watching the game and seeing the beauty of basketball unfold.

I am thinking about adding “points in the paint” to the analysis. I am not sure what I would do with it, but if it correlates with winning, it might have some value. Fortunately, the number is calculated in the box score. Other things include:

Points off turnovers

Second chance points

Fast break points

Bench scoring

Bench scoring is typically worthless, in my estimation. That has more to do with substitution patterns than some game insight, IMHO. But the others might have some value.

For one thing, I am curious if turnovers have a higher PPP than typical possessions. Points off Turnovers along with second chance points might relate well with opportunity index. We shall see.

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