Wednesday, February 22, 2012

About last night

While updating some of the stats pages this evening, I noticed something troubling in Georgetown's defensive effort last night against Seton Hall. It's not that the Hoyas allowed a team to shoot an eFG pct of 71%, but rather what kind of shots they allowed and the lack of turnovers. Allow me to explain.

Seton Hall shot out of their minds last night. It happens sometimes, as I pointed out in the game recap.
Let's take a look at the shots made by the Pirates last night, versus the shots made by Georgetown in their best shooting game of the season, versus Marquette [eFG = 70%]:

                     Dunks   Layups   2pt J's    3FGs     FTs
Seton Hall (2/21)     2/2      8/15     7/11     8/13    15/19  
.                    1.000    0.533    0.636    0.615    0.789
Georgetown (1/4)      0/0     12/12     9/13     6/18    13/23  
.                             1.000    0.692    0.333    0.565  

Comparing the two games, the first thing you should notice is that the Hoyas and Pirates shot at about the same unconscious rate on their 2FG jump shots, making around 2/3 of their attempts. Those are the kinds of shots that defenses want to allow, and when a team makes that high a percentage it's trouble.

The Hoyas made everything they shot in the paint [12/12], while the Pirates made only a very good 59% [10/19]. A defense can live with 60% allowed on inside shots, so long as they can minimize those attempts. The Pirates had more than 40% of their field goal attempts from at or near the rim, which was a problem last night. The Hoyas, by contrast, only attempted 28% of their field goals as layups against Marquette (that selectivity may also explain the high shooting percentage).

The obscene shooting by the Pirates from behind the arc - as we were recently reminded by Ken Pomeroy - can be considered beyond the control of the Hoyas. Ken further expounded upon the idea today to point out that defenses can control how often a team will attempt a 3FG, but just don't have much control over how many of those attempts go in. To put it more succinctly, shit happens.

Obviously, Seton Hall also made a higher percentage at the free throw line than Georgetown in the respective games, but again those rates were within the range of variance that you can shrug at.

There's one other big stat difference between the two games:
                     TO   Poss   TO Rate
Seton Hall (2/21)     8    54      14.8  
Georgetown (1/4)     17    65      26.2
Not only were the Pirates shooting at an unconscious clip last night, they weren't giving away many possessions without scoring attempts. Meanwhile the Hoyas were able to beat Marquette in spite of a very sloppy game with the ball - in a 60 possession game, that difference in turnover rates is an extra 7 possessions, or an extra seven points for the Hoyas at their scoring clip last night.

Big deal, you say, it was just one night.

Well, here is how Hoyas' opponents have played in conference in their first 11 games, then the last four:
                     TO   Poss   TO Rate
Games 1-11          149   713      20.9
Syracuse (2/8)        9    63      14.3
St. John's (2/12)     6    57      10.6
Providence (2/18)     8    64      12.6
Seton Hall (2/21)     8    54      14.8

That is a troubling development. Either the defense is going to have to start generating more turnovers, or the team is going to have to live with giving up more points.

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