NCC 88- Central (IA) 83
TOs: 26 forced
NCC 94- Luther (IA) 77
TOs: 37 forced
Coaching college basketball is SO glamorous!
Sorry for the layoff since my last blog post on Tuesday. I didn't see my wife and cats for four days, getting back home at 4:30 a.m. on Thursday night (Friday morning), then getting up again at 9, taking care of a few errands, then back to Naperville for a short practice, and topping it all off with a recruiting night on the town.
But you don't want to hear about my sad life. The good news is that--despite the Formula numbers--we actually looked like a System team again with our second and third straight wins on the road in Iowa against (previously) undefeated Central College, and (previously) 3-1 Luther.
We gave Central some excellent opportunities to work on their free throw skills by putting on the line 46 times. That, along with the other Formula numbers you see above, make it hard to understand how we won. We shot only 53% from the foul line ourselves, 23% from the arc, and were -29 rebounding. The most telling stat was our 17% ORBs. But Central seemed a bit uncomfortable with the pace, shooting poorly from the field. It's interesting that we could shoot 11-47 from the arc and still outshoot our opponent: 38% to 34%!
Luther was a different story. The press was outstanding, forcing 37 TOs. Our players were very active and seem to be anticipating well. But once again our offensive rebounding was awful at 24%.
This is a ticking time bomb. It is our Achilles heel. It will catch up with us eventually if we don't start making it a matter of priority. We absolutely must improve in this area, and our demonstrated inability to score 100 in any game this year reflects that reality. We hit 17-40 threes vs. Luther (42%) and still only scored 94 points! A System team has to rebound well on the offensive boards or else will risk losing games on those nights when shots just won't fall.
Now don't get me wrong. We are thrilled to be 4-2 right now. We are seeing tremendous improvement in almost all aspects of System performance. Except one. Tick...tick...tick...
I've had two conversations with System coaches the past few days, and felt like a hypocrite telling them how essential offensive rebounding is to System success when we are doing such a substandard job of it ourselves. Here's the bewildering part, though: we know we can do it when we want to... we just don't want to very often. How do I know we are able to be a solid ORB team? In the second half of our win at Benedictine last Saturday we got 53% ORBs after really emphasizing that point at halftime. Then we get 21% ORBs over the next two games.
"What drills do you use to improve offensive rebounding?" asked one coach. My answer: there ain't no drills (at least, there aren't any that you aren't already using). There's only this... make it a big deal! It's not what you talk about, it's what you emphasize.
Are you emphatically emphasizing this point with your team? Give them feedback on their ORB performance at every halftime and after every game. Preach it... sell it... plead, beg, demand. Do what you have to but never forget...
Offensive rebounding is the most important stat in System basketball.