Thursday, January 29, 2009

So...what's going on?

In the midst of a five game losing streak, there's been a massive amount of potential reasons for the losses.

Many of these are psychological in nature, revolving around team chemistry, leadership, toughness, etc. I don't discount the idea that these things are very real and have a very real effect on the team. I'm simply not going to talk about them here, because I don't have any way to verify them. And no one outside the team really does.

With that said, here's a fact-based view of the losing streak.

Offense Versus Defense

The very first thing I try to look at after a loss is a view of whether the Hoyas lost because of poor offense, defense or a combination of both. I do a very quick chicken scratch of their actual efficiencies for the game versus a simplistic expected efficiency (basically an average of our offensive and our opponent's defensive efficiency and vice versa). In other words, if the Hoyas have an defensive efficiency of 90 and our opponent has a 110 offensive efficiency, I would expect a defensive efficiency of about 100. If they gave up a 105, my plus/minus here would be -5 -- or 5 efficiency point versus what I'd have expected.

The chart below details the results.

Game              Offense         Defense
Duke +4 -12
West Virginia -17 -8
Seton Hall -14 -3
Cincinnati -10 -9
Marquette +12 -30

The above is versus expectations, and for the year, Georgetown is about seven points better per 100 possessions on offense than defense. If you rework the chart to compare our performances if Georgetown was perfectly average, the chart would look like this:

Game              Offense         Defense
Duke +21 +1
West Virginia -2 +5
Seton Hall -6 +6
Cincinnati 0 +1
Marquette +12 -16

Either way the result is the same.

The offense functioned well versus Duke and Marquette, and awful in the three middle games. The defense was below expectations in every game and absolutely horrendous versus Marquette.

In other words, the defense has been consistently bad. In fact, the Hoyas last real quality defensive game was probably versus Connecticut. The Hoyas simply outscored Syracuse.

The Hoyas haven't held an opponent under 100 points per offensive possession since 2008. Last year, the Hoyas gave up over 100 in four of 21 Big East games.

Don't get me wrong -- the offense fell apart for three games straight. But this will make it real simple:

Year              Offense         Defense
2007-08 117.2 86.4
2008-09 116.5 91.8

Does it get clearer than that? There's no doubt that the offense has been worse during this slide, but last year (or the year before) our defense is the difference between 0-5 and possibly 4-1.

Next post (hopefully before tomorrow), I'll take a look at the defense and see what's different.

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