Saturday, December 31, 2011

Recap: Georgetown 49, Providence 40

The Georgetown Hoyas and Providence Friars conspired to set back organized basketball at least 50 years with a nearly unwatchable performance this afternoon at the Verizon Center. The good guys pulled it out, 49-40; the game was considerably closer than the final score indicates.

How bad was it? The Hoyas failed to record an assist in the second half, which I suppose would be a bigger deal if they had made more than eight shots from the floor in the Vespers half.

Henry Sims was the second-best player on the floor today for Georgetown, but made only 2/13 2FG attempts. That included settling for six jumpers (and missing them all).

It gets worse - you could be a Providence fan and watch Gerald Coleman shoot an amazing 1/8 on FTs. Yeah, I thought it was a typo too, so I checked multiple box scores to confirm. He came into the game shooting 69% [=61/88] for the year.

As a team, the Hoyas ended up shooting 33% eFG - very close to the 34% effort against Howard five games ago.  Georgetown has only record two sub-40% shooting games in the previous two seasons (the two losses last year against Cincinnati), so this is clearly the stat to keep an eye on as conference-play unfolds.

So how did the Hoyas pull it out?
  • the aforementioned Gerald Coleman disaster on the FT line
  • limiting turnovers
  • defense
The defensive effort, highlighted by Alan in yesterday's post, is going to have to be where the Hoyas make their bones this year - for the first time since 2008, the Hoyas have an adjusted def. efficiency below 90% (yes, it's still early).  Rust never sleeps, and defense doesn't slump; so long as Georgetown can keep this up, they'll have a puncher's chance in games when their shots aren't falling.

But the other positive to take away is that the Hoyas played another game without committing many turnovers [TO rate = 12%].  Now the Friars aren't a team built on steals [265th nationally on turnovers forced coming into the game], but Georgetown was able to finish the game with a 13-7 turnover edge.  Those 6 extra possessions ending with a scoring opportunity - in a game where the Hoyas averaged 0.82 pts / possession - was roughly equivalent to a +5 point advantage.  A huge difference when G'town led by only four points with less than a minute left.

Let's run the numbers:

.            Home                            Visitor   
.            Georgetown                      Providence         
.            1st Half  2nd Half   Total      1st Half  2nd Half   Total
Pace            30        30        60
Points          27        22        49          19        21        40   

Effic.         88.9      74.4      81.8        62.5      71.0      66.8  
eFG%           39.7      26.7      33.1        26.0      30.8      28.4  
TO%             6.6      16.9      11.7        26.3      16.9      21.7  
OR%            20.0      40.0      31.1        33.3      31.8      32.6  
FTA/FGA        20.7      30.0      25.4        40.0      38.5      39.2  

Assist Rate    70.0       0.0      38.9        33.3      57.1      46.2  
Block Rate     20.0      22.2      21.1        11.1       8.3       9.5  
Steal Rate      6.6      13.5      10.0         3.3       6.8       5.0  
2FG%           38.9      33.3      35.7        25.0      27.8      26.3  
3FG%           27.3       0.0      17.6        20.0      25.0      23.1  
FT%            66.7      66.7      66.7        60.0      50.0      55.0

more stats after the jump

Friday, December 30, 2011

A Comparison

Color me optimistic this morning.  I'm pretty sure the source is simply halo from the Louisville win and general guilt from having let Brian carry this blog for the past two months, but either way, it occurred to me that this team is kinda, sorta, in that-wow-we-might-be-really-good way similar to the last Hoya Big East regular season champs.

This website keeps non-conference stats, and 2011-12 has all of one conference game played, so non-conference stats are what I'm going to use to compare.  I won't be ignoring the important (read: conference) games in the commentary, but the stats listed will all be non-conference.

The Center of Attention.
Stat           Hibbert [Sr]       Sims [Sr]
Poss%             26                 29  
ORating          122                118
OReb%             14                  9
DReb%             17                 18
ARate             15                 31
TORate            14                 18
Goofiness          8                 10
Block %           10                  8
Team Def Rating   88                 86
Indiv D Rating    89                 84
Monster Points     1                  0

I know. I'm as surprised as you. They have different strengths and weaknesses, but offensively, they have been similarly effective. We know that Roy's performance translated well to conference play -- his low post moves did not lose effectiveness, but we did see his offensive rebounding decline and turnovers increase as he became the focus of better defenses.

That's a concern for Sims; similar slides in either or more games where his shot is rolling out, and his effectiveness will start to rely almost entirely on his passing. And we know from experience the backdoors are severely cut down in conference play.

It is interesting to note that this year's Hoyas are statistically superior to the '07-08 Hoyas in non-conference defense. Some of that is opponent, but it's a nice sign for this year's Hoyas and Sims in particular.  

Verdict: Sims isn't having a Ya-Ya year; he's having what we'll call a Sims year in the future. Ya-Ya went from nothing to decent; Sims is well beyond that. But Roy was still better, though possibly by not as much as I thought.

the rest of the breakdown after the jump

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Recap: Georgetown 71, Louisville 68

Georgetown survived a late 11-point run by the Louisville Cardinals to pull out an impressive road win against the #4-ranked team in all the land to kick off Big East conference play.

I didn't get my hands on the Hoyas stats package until late tonight (thanks as always to Mex Carey for coming through in the clutch) so you'll get only a stats dump tonight.

The briefest of summaries:
  • Hoya bench (Trawick, Hopkins) - good
  • Otto Porter - very good
  • Markel Starks - tremendous

(Edited to add some morning-after thoughts)

Having had a night to sleep on it, I'm beginning to wonder if last night's game isn't the perfect example of why Georgetown tends to struggle to live up to early season expectations.  The Hoyas were unconscious from behind the arc in the second half, and now delusion is running rampant.

The important stats to consider from last night were:
  • Turnovers.  The Cardinals win by turning over their opponent - it fueled their late-game comeback.  Indeed, of Georgetown's 16 turnovers, 13 were by Louisville steals, i.e. live-ball turnovers.  The Hoyas entered last night's game having turned the ball over 17.3% of possessions, good for 25th nationally.  That trend was out of character for JT3-coached teams, who tend to be far too sloppy with the ball.  Last night's game may indicate that the team is regressing towards the mean now that the level of competition has improved.
  • Outside shooting.  There are few better ways to punish an opponent than to make a high percentage of 3FGs.  The Cardinals are a great defensive team against inside shots [def 2FG% = 37.9%, 4th], but just mediocre against shots behind the arc [def 3FG% = 35.5%, 223rd].  The Princeton-variant offense that the Hoyas use is very good at generating open looks from deep, and Markel Starks and Hollis Thompson certainly took advantage.  But the Hoyas aren't going to shoot 64% from deep in most games, no matter how open they are.
  • Defense. The Hoyas starters yesterday struggled a bit with the Cards version of the dribble-drive offense.  Nate Lubick especially ended with a poor defensive rating in limited minutes, but all the starters were at or above a defensive rating of 100 for the game.  But here, the Hoyas real strength this season came to the fore - the massive length that Coach Thompson can roll out from his bench.  Porter, Trawick, Whittington and Hopkins all got serious burn last night in their first conference road game, and all rated better than the starters defensively.  And that may be the key to the Hoyas' season:  for the first time since 2008, Coach Thompson may have - and trust - his bench.

Let's run the numbers:

.            Visitor                         Home      
.            Georgetown                      LOUISVILLE         
.            1st Half  2nd Half   Total      1st Half  2nd Half   Total
Pace            33        33        66

Points          32        39        71          35        33        68   

Effic.         97.7     118.4     108.1       106.9     100.2     103.5  
eFG%           47.8      62.0      55.2        51.7      45.2      48.3  
TO%            27.5      21.2      24.4        15.3      12.1      13.7  
OR%            40.0      28.6      34.5        31.6      31.8      31.7  
FTA/FGA        56.5      44.0      50.0        31.0      25.8      28.3  
Assist Rate    50.0      46.2      47.8        61.5      58.3      60.0  
Block Rate      0.0      10.0       5.6        16.7      10.5      13.5  
Steal Rate      9.2       3.0       6.1        21.4      18.2      19.8  
2FG%           44.4      42.1      43.2        56.2      40.0      47.2  
3FG%           40.0      83.3      63.6        30.8      36.4      33.3  
FT%            76.9      72.7      75.0        55.6      62.5      58.8

Monday, December 26, 2011

What's a good early season worth?

If you've been reading the Hoya interwebs since the Memphis game, you may have come across a note that Georgetown has wrapped up the pre-Big East part of the schedule with a 10-1 record, and this is the fifth consecutive season that the Hoyas have started the season 10-1.

Of course, not all 10-1 records are the same.  As I write, Georgetown sits 12th in both polls, and 14th in Ken Pomeroy's ratings.  Meanwhile, the Seton Hall Pirates have run off an 11-1 record so far, but can get not a whiff from either poll and Ken rates them 55th overall.  While the teams have played comparably difficult schedules so far [G'town = 252nd, SHU = 274th], the Hoyas rate high by beating the bad teams by a lot, and for beating (or losing to) some better teams - Georgetown's only loss was to Kansas, while the Hall fell to Northwestern.

But that's not why I'm writing.

What I am actually curious about, is whether early season performance is a useful predictor of what comes later in the year.

The simple answer is "Yes."

I want to be careful to spell out a few definitions before I proceed.
  • The data set shown in the figure above is for all Big East teams for the seasons 2006 to 2011 (the six seasons played since the expansion with Conference USA teams)
  • Early season refers to games in November and December - I'm not discriminating for whether a game is conference or non-conference here.  Early season is represented on the x-axis
  • Later games means just that:  all games played after Dec. 31st. More pointedly, I'm not limiting the discussion to merely how a team performs in a single-elimination tournament (conf. or NCAA).  Late season is represented on the y-axis.
  • I'm not going to be using win-loss record but rather Ken Pomeroy's stats [adjusted efficiencies] to evaluate how a team performs.  The stat of interest here I'll call "net adjusted efficiency" which is simply adj. offensive efficiency [aOE] minus adj. defensive efficiency [aDE].  You can find aOE and aDE on Ken's ratings page (free to all).  I'm happy to acknowledge that his "Pythagorean" rating is probably a bit more accurate, but it's also a lot more complicated.
The scatter plot is fairly impressive - using Ken's stats, there is a clear linear trend between how well a team plays early and how well they will play later.

Lots of fancy-pants analysis, what it means for Georgetown, and predicted Big East wins for all teams after the jump.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Recap: Georgetown 70, Memphis 59

 Georgetown jumped out to a big lead, then began coasting a bit too early tonight but hung on to win convincingly, 80-69, against the Memphis Tigers at the Verizon Center.

After a fairly evenly matched first 18 minutes, Georgetown used a 20-3 run bracketing half time to jump out to a big lead against the Tigers tonight. The spread grew to as many as 20 points before Memphis switched into a 2-3 zone to slow down the Hoyas' offense. Georgetown began to bog down in the half-court, and a spate of six turnovers in a nine-possession stretch brought the Tigers to within 7 points with 4:26 left in the game. But the Hoyas managed to score nine points over their next seven possessions, never allowing the Memphis to get any closer in the game.

Vegas pegged the the Hoyas to be -5 coming in, and Ken Pomeroy agreed (favoring the Hoyas by 7), so an 11-point win should feel like a big deal to Georgetown fans - but I didn't feel particularly excited about the win.  Part of this might just be the quality of the game itself, with the frequent fouls and turnovers, but a bigger part is a worrying trend creeping in: blowing big leads.
  • Against Alabama, the Hoyas lead by nine points with under 3:00 left in the game and watched the Tide take the lead before Hollis Thompson hit a game-winning 3FG.
  • Against Howard, the Hoyas jumped out to a 17-0 lead and still were ahead by 16 points with a minute left in the first half, and watched the the Bison close to with two points several times, including with less than 6:00 in the game.
  • And now tonight.
I'll suggest that this is the sort of thing that happens with a young team - the Hoyas rank 273/345 nationally in experience as per KenPom - and is just something that the fans will have to suffer through this season.  So far, the results - a 10-1 record and a nationally-ranked team - have made it worthwhile.

Let's run the numbers:

.            Home                            Visitor   
.            Georgetown                      Memphis         
.            1st Half  2nd Half   Total      1st Half  2nd Half   Total
Pace            32        34        66
Points          35        35        70          28        31        59   

Effic.        109.1     102.1     105.8        87.3      90.4      89.1  
eFG%           58.0      38.5      48.0        45.5      46.6      46.1  
TO%            21.8      23.3      22.7        31.2      23.3      27.2  
OR%            30.8      57.1      47.1        28.6      36.8      33.3  
FTA/FGA        32.0      84.6      58.8        40.9      27.6      33.3  

Assist Rate    53.8      66.7      59.1        55.6      69.2      63.6  
Block Rate     12.5       4.5       7.9         5.3      16.7      10.8  
Steal Rate     15.6      14.6      15.1         3.1      17.5      10.6  
2FG%           52.6      38.9      45.9        43.8      54.5      50.0  
3FG%           50.0      25.0      35.7        33.3      14.3      23.1  
FT%            75.0      68.2      70.0        88.9      50.0      70.6

More stats after the jump

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Recap: Georgetown 81, American 55

After struggling against the American Eagles in the first half, the Hoyas stopped turning the ball over and started making shots, and that was your ballgame, 81-55.

There was considerable consternation last time out as the Hoyas struggled with their shot against the Howard Bison, but today's result hints that it was a one-time performance. Georgetown's eFG% of 65% was their best effort from the floor since their game at Chaminade during the Maui tournament.

The biggest difference between halves was turnovers. American went into half-time with a 9-5 advantage in turnovers forced [and 5-2 in steals]. The Eagles weren't necessarily turning the errors into points - only 4 points after steals - but rather the turnovers were symptomatic of the Hoyas sloppy play. Georgetown ended 9 of 31 [= 29%] offensive possessions without a scoring attempt. No single player was the cause of all the give aways as Starks, Sims, Lubick and Clark all ended the Lift-off half with multiple turnovers.

Coach Thompson made a clear adjustment in the locker room, as the offense pointedly ran through Henry Sims at the high post in the Vespers half - Henry had all of his 6 assists in the second half with only a single turnover.  For the half, Georgetown had the better of American 10-3 in turnovers and converted six Eagle live turnovers (i.e. steals) into 11 points.

Meanwhile, the Hoyas suddenly were running amok in the paint in the Vespers half - Georgetown shot a ridiculous 18/19 after the break on dunks, tips and layups, while attempts only 12 jump shots (and making just three). This was after attempting only one (!) in-close shot in the first half while hoisting 19 jumpers.

And with today's win, the Hoyas have wrapped up the easy part of their schedule: the previously over-rated (pay) but now under-rated Memphis Tigers arrive at the Verizon Center on Thursday night for a rematch of the overtime battle in Hawaii, then Georgetown heads to Louisville for a brutal road opener of conference play.

Let's run the numbers:

.            Home                            Visitor   
.            Georgetown                      American         
.            1st Half  2nd Half   Total      1st Half  2nd Half   Total
Pace            31        34        65
Points          32        49        81          26        29        55   

Effic.        102.5     145.0     124.3        83.2      85.8      84.4  
eFG%           55.0      71.0      64.7        39.3      53.8      46.3  
TO%            28.8       8.9      18.4        16.0      29.6      23.0  
OR%            40.0      25.0      31.8        20.0      26.7      22.9  
FTA/FGA        65.0      22.6      39.2        21.4       7.7      14.8  

Assist Rate    77.8      52.4      60.0        70.0      41.7      54.5  
Block Rate     18.8       0.0       9.7         9.1       4.2       5.7  
Steal Rate      6.4      17.8      12.3        16.0       0.0       7.7  
2FG%           45.5      79.2      68.6        50.0      53.3      51.6  
3FG%           44.4      28.6      37.5        16.7      36.4      26.1  
FT%            76.9      71.4      75.0        66.7      50.0      62.5 

More stats and thoughts after the jump

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Recap: Georgetown 62, Howard 48


In a game where the Hoyas could simply not make a shot in the second half, Georgetown gutted out a closer-than-the-score win today against the Howard Bison, 62-48.

The Bison are not a nationally-ranked powerhouse (currently sitting at 306/345 per KenPom's ranking), so I suppose I should be in hysterics. After opening the game with a remarkable 17-0 run, Georgetown seemed to completely lose offensive focus and watched Howard reel off a 32-17 run of their own.

And this was a game where the Hoyas missed their last 11 attempts from behind the arc - many wide open - as well as several bunnies near the rim. The shots were simply not going to drop in the Vespers half, no matter how easy the look.

But I just couldn't get that excited - it felt like the Hoyas had another gear on defense that they could reach for if they had to (and they did). After the under-8:00 timeout in the second half, the Bison made a jumpshot to close the score to 42-40, then grabbed Jason Clark's missed jumper to go back on offense with a chance to tie or even take the lead.

Over the next 14 possessions, Georgetown outscored Howard 18-2 while forcing 10 turnovers. That stretch included 18 free throw attempts by the Hoyas, as they finally took advantage of their size and athleticism to overwhelm the Bison.


Let's run the numbers:

.            Home                            Visitor   
.            Georgetown                      Howard         
.            1st Half  2nd Half   Total      1st Half  2nd Half   Total
Pace            33        37        70
Points          30        32        62          17        31        48   

Effic.         91.4      85.4      88.0        51.8      82.8      68.1  
eFG%           38.0      29.2      33.7        29.6      47.4      37.0  
TO%            24.4      10.7      17.0        30.5      34.7      32.6  
OR%            41.2      18.2      28.2        27.3      30.8      28.6  
FTA/FGA        56.0     116.7      85.7        14.8      94.7      47.8  

Assist Rate    55.6      28.6      43.8        42.9      62.5      53.3  
Block Rate     15.0       6.7      11.4         0.0      10.0       5.6  
Steal Rate     12.2       8.0       9.9         6.1       8.0       7.1  
2FG%           50.0      35.0      41.7        25.0      40.0      31.4  
3FG%           11.1       0.0       7.7        28.6      50.0      36.4  
FT%            78.6      64.3      69.0        25.0      72.2      63.6

More stats after the jump

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Recap: Georgetown 84, NJIT 44

Not a lot to say after today's game, as the Hoyas turned a 14-point halftime lead into a 40-point rout of the NJIT Highlanders at the Verizon Center, 84-44.

Ken Pomeroy predicted a 26-point victory for Georgetown before tip-off, so the murmurs of discontent near the end of the Lift-off half were a bit misplaced. To be fair, there were two rough patches in the first half where Hoya fans could find room for complaint:  a 12-possession stretch midway through the half where the Hoyas committed 6 turnovers including 5 steals by NJIT, and an 11-possession stretch on defense where the Highlanders scored 18 points.  As these lapses overlapped, Georgetown watched its lead shrink to nine points [30-21].

Of course, a 29-2 run that started just before the intermission quickly swung things far the other way.

It's hard to get too excited about individual performances by the starters in a game like this, but Hollis Thompson's outside shot [6/7 3FG] was ridiculous today.

What this game does represent is an important opportunity for some of the Hoyas' bench players to get game time in order to impress the coaches. Mikael Hopkins [Net pts = +6.6] and Tyler Adams [+6.0] had a good old time out there abusing the smaller Highlanders, but I thought Jabril Trawick [+1.4] had the best afternoon of the non-rotation players:  it seemed to me that he took a personal affront to the Highlanders narrowing the score before halftime and helped wake up the defense.

Let's run the numbers:

.            Home                            Visitor   
.            Georgetown                      NJIT         
.            1st Half  2nd Half   Total      1st Half  2nd Half   Total
Pace            32        33        65
Points          42        42        84          28        16        44   

Effic.        130.8     129.0     130.2        87.2      49.1      68.2  
eFG%           66.0      56.9      61.1        46.2      19.0      31.8  
TO%            21.8      21.5      21.7        15.6      21.5      18.6  
OR%            33.3      56.2      46.4         6.7      23.1      17.1  
FTA/FGA        40.0      34.5      37.0        15.4      24.1      20.0  

Assist Rate    69.2      42.9      55.6        60.0      20.0      46.7  
Block Rate     33.3      47.4      41.9         8.3       5.6       6.7  
Steal Rate      9.3       6.1       7.8        15.6      15.4      15.5  
2FG%           50.0      50.0      50.0        50.0      21.1      32.3  
3FG%           53.8      45.5      50.0        28.6      10.0      20.8  
FT%            90.0      90.0      90.0       100.0      71.4      81.8

More stats after the jump

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Recap: Georgetown 57, Alabama 55

One great defensive half, one very good offensive half was just enough for the Hoyas to sneak out of Tuscaloosa with the win, 57-55.

I don't have a lot of scintillating analysis to offer tonight -  I find games like this effectively turn my brain to mush. Just a few thought before I go to bed:
  • The story line throughout the first half was how uncertain Alabama was against the Hoyas 2-3 zone.  Georgetown baited Alabama into playing a perimeter offense, and the Tide's cold outside shooting [0/9 3FG] played well into that.  But I thought Coach Grant's halftime adjustments ("Get it inside to Green.") and his team's ability to execute the game plan in the Vespers half was going to end up as the lead for the game recap, until Hollis Thompson came to the rescue.
  • The real story tonight (and one certain to be lost in all the excitement of the Hoyas' big road win) is the offensive game Georgetown played.  Make no mistake, Alabama is a great defensive team [ranked 7th by Pomeroy after tonight's game].  They do it by forcing other teams to miss shots [def. eFG% = 37.4%, 5th nationally], both in close [def. 2FG% = 37.8%, 10th] and from deep [def. 3FG% = 24.5%, 13th].  The Hoyas made their outside shots tonight [7/17 = 41%], but also maded just enough inside with a number of cutting layups [14/31 = 45%].  Scoring more than a point per possession on the Tide's home court is kind of a big deal.
  • In spite of all the pre- and early-season chatter about how deep this Georgetown team is and how much larger the rotation will be as the Hoyas play aggressive defense, tonight's game was a look at what we can expect for the rest of the season.  Nate Lubick played limited minutes thanks to three early fouls, but we saw essentially a 7-man rotation tonight (the starters + Porter and Whittington).  Coach Thompson plays a short bench in big games, and I don't think we'll see much of a change this year after all.
  • Jason Clark is obviously the offensive star for this team, but I think he's starting to spoil me in that I didn't feel that he had a remarkable game, just a solid one.  In fact, he was the best player on the court all night.
  • Hollis Thompson, on the other hand, may have made the step forward in confidence that this team needs to remain dangerous.  And I'm not just talking about that final shot - against Kansas and Memphis, Hollis used about 19% of the team's possessions when he was on the court.  That's typical of a role player.  Tonight, Thompson used more that 25% of available possessions, while still keeping his efficiency high
  • I expressed some doubts this morning about whether Henry Sims is legitimately having a breakout senior year. I always withhold the right to change my mind, and tonight's game is a start.  Would have loved to see Sims finish his reverse drive to the hoop with just under a minute left that would have gone a long way to lower my blood pressure, but otherwise little to complain about tonight.
  • I'm guessing the cognoscenti will be in full lather tonight about cutting Lubick's playing time, especially after his silly off-the-head turnover in the second half. Stats don't lie, and the fact is that Lubick actually didn't have a bad game - he struggled on the defensive end, but was better on offense that either Starks or Porter. With little indication of help coming from the bench at the 4/5 positions, I think Lubick will continue to get time to work through his issues on the court.

Let's run the numbers:

.            Visitor                         Home      
.            Georgetown                      Alabama         
.            1st Half  2nd Half   Total      1st Half  2nd Half   Total
Pace            25        30        55

Points          23        34        57          16        39        55   

Effic.         90.9     113.2     103.3        63.2     129.9      99.7  
eFG%           43.5      58.0      51.0        31.6      60.4      47.7  
TO%            23.7      16.7      19.9        23.7      10.0      16.3  
OR%            37.5      15.4      27.6        21.4      28.6      25.0  
FTA/FGA        21.7      20.0      20.8        31.6      54.2      44.2  
Assist Rate    66.7      58.3      61.9        66.7      46.2      52.6  
Block Rate     10.0       5.9       7.4        17.6       0.0       9.7  
Steal Rate      7.9      10.0       9.1         7.9      10.0       9.1  
2FG%           41.2      50.0      45.2        60.0      58.8      59.3  
3FG%           33.3      45.5      41.2         0.0      42.9      18.8  
FT%            60.0     100.0      80.0        66.7      76.9      73.7 

more stats after the jump