Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Stats Tell a Story

71 FGAs
31 Threes
31% ORBs (24% in second half)
35 Turnovers
+3 Shots

The good news is that we did improve parts of our defense, forcing 35 turnovers, and taking the lead with a 10-0 run coming out in the second half. The bad news is that we committed 33.  That explains why we had just 71 shots and a +3 Shot Differential, while getting off only 31 threes.

One other quick comment about the defense.  Yes, we forced turnovers and seemed to be rotating better, especially in the early part of the game.  But as I mentioned yesterday, the back end is suspect because we aren't transitioning with any sort of plan to generate chaos or force the tempo... in effect just running back into a 3-2 zone.  Obviously this is not going to work until the players start to understand that it makes no sense to rest on defense when they are only playing for 40 second shifts.  Offensively, 31 three point attempts tells a story too.  We cannot seem to create enough open looks for our three point shooters when playing a sound defensive team like Carthage. 

In talking with Gary Smith yesterday, we concluded that at ONU (where we averaged 57 threes a game last year, and broke our college women's basketball record with 621 makes), we were a very athletic team, and could therefore get away with using a simple drive-and-kick spot-up game. This allowed us to successfully execute the Olivet offense that I explain in our book and DVD series.  Since our offense was loosely patterned after Paul Westhead's LMU attack, (likewise, a simple approach that requires better than average athleticism to score if the initial break is stopped), it's not as good a fit for a team like NCC with a roster of more average athletes.

The moral of this statistical story?  Coach Arseneault's Grinnell offense will counter these problems, and might be something we'll have to look at in the future.  31 threes is not System basketball, and our 33 turnovers (24 by non-point guards!!!) is not any kind of basketball.  The Grinnell offense will definitely result in more 3FGAs, and is designed to limit penetration by anyone except the PGs and a few other proven ball-handlers.  Maybe when the story of NCC basketball is finally told, the Grinnell attack will end up becoming our future Prince Charming. 

But not this year. I know Michelle agrees with me that February is no time to tinker with wholesale changes to the offense.  Am I disappointed in our performance last night?  Yes... it's getting frustrating to once again play well for a half against a good team, only to implode later in the game.  But I'm optimistic that all good stories (after some plot twists) eventually have a happy ending... we just don't know when that will be.

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