November 28, 2007

Breaking Down the Box - FSU

DISCLAIMER: I like box scores! Of course they never paint a true picture of the game they tell you so much and I love staring at them for a long time and gleaning whatever I can from the box. The game itself is a story of punches and counter punches that is fascinating. The numbers in the box can't capture the defensive battles, the minor coaching adjustments or the one or two significant plays that often determine the outcome. But more often than not the team that does the right things (rebounding, not turning it over, taking good shots, etc) more than the other team will come out victorious.

I think this will be a regular post-game segment here at GopherNation (I know you'll eagerly await each segment!), with 3 sub-headings...

2 out of 3 - In any game if you win 2 of the 3 stat battles (shooting%, rebounding, turnovers) you will usually win that game. In several years of coaching at the college level (around 200 games) it was very rare when somebody lost a game winning the "2 out of 3".

MN - 33.8%
FSU - 42.3

Reb - 36/37 - essentially even

TOs - 18/16

So we lost 3 out of 3. Rebounds were basically even, you could argue we did better on the boards when you factor in that we had 19 offensive boards. But we were severely out shot and we gave them 2 extra possessions with our turnovers. And to compound our shooting woes, when the gophers 3 best players combine for 25.8% shooting (8/31), they will struggle mightily and lose those games.

Tempo-Free Zone - I really am enamored with "tempo-free stats." Explained HERE, but in a nutshell if gives you things like rebounds, turnovers, assists, etc based on your possessions. Current offensive stats are skewed towards teams that play "up-tempo" and therefore have many more possessions. And on the flip side defensive stats are skewed towards teams that play a slow "pace" and then hold teams to fewer points. Not because they play great D but often because the other team just has fewer opportunities to score. Anyway, these stats are fascinating and when applicable I'll give my thoughts here.

I'm new to this temp-free business so I'm not exactly sure how to analyze this. The only games I have to compare the FSU stats to are the previous 3 gopher games. I'll make this game the elementary version...

Possessions = FGAs - orebs + TOs + (0.475 x FTAs)

Once we know the amount of possessions in a game we can accurately get the following key stats...

effective FG% - this gives your total FG % but it gives a little boost for 3s. Because 3 > 2.
Off Reb% - what % of your missed shots do you get back
Def Reb% - what % of your opponents missed shots do you get, ending the possession
TO % - % of possessions you turn the ball over

Off Points per Possession - this is a key stat. It is basically points per game but it balances out up-tempo teams with your teams that slow the pace.
Def Points per Possession - read off PPP
Efficiency Margin = OffPPP - DefPPP (roughly 60% of teams with EffMarg of .10 or better make Sweet 16)

FSU game? - the numbers that jump out are our lack of points per possession and our eFG%. This was by far our lowest PPP output. Prior to the FSU game we were scoring at a rate of 1.124 ppp, we ended the FSU game at .816 PPP. That is a dramatic drop, which was probably determined by our eFG% which was a season low 38.7%. Surprisingly this wasn't our worst game in regards to turnovers. 24.1% of our possessions ended in turnovers (C Mich was 34%!).

X-Factor - this is that 1 stat in a game that often overrules any other stat. Something like shooting 32 free throws to my team's 10, but I'll get to that in a moment. If there isn't a statistical anomaly this is where we throw out the box score and give credit to an outstanding performance or a great coaching move.

If you watched only the first half it would be easy to say that Isaiah Swann was the X-Factor. But he was held in check in the 2nd half and really was a non-factor. There were 2 X-factors in this game.

1. the gophers 3 seniors who combined to shoot 25.8% from the floor. Since there is very little depth, talent or experience outside of the three seniors, we won't win when they barely make a quarter of their shots. They were bad and that killed us.

2. free throw discrepancy. Both the first and second halves started with FSU gaining a 7 to 1 foul advantage. Minnesota racking up quick fouls and FSU's aggressiveness to the hoop led them to a +22 free throw attemps advantage. That is huge. They scored 21 more points from the line than did the gophers. Tough to overcome that.

Likes and Dislikes

LIKED - Blake Hoffarber, looks more and more confident also was team's leading scorer.
DIS - Dan Coleman's shooting. 3/12 is just bad and it didn't stop him from trying.
LIKED - Tollackson's rebounding. 10 boards, 5 offensive is good effort by the big man.
DIS - Lack of any interior presence. Tollackson rebounded, but we didn't even look at the post in the first half and the 2nd half we looked pathetic trying.

What Does this Mean?

Ultimately I'm disappointed that Tubby actually lost a game. I was kind of hoping for an undefeated career record, but I guess even the great ones lose once in a while.

Hopefully this will be a wakeup call and in the long run will benefit this gopher squad. They aren't a great team, but the team they lost to was not much better. Often making mistakes throughout a game but still winning doesn't drive home the message that we have to play better. Losing the game will hopefully remind them that they are vulnerable and they'll improve. That's all I'm asking. They work hard and give max effort on the court, but they need to improve every game or the Big Ten season will be a rough one again.

No comments: