Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Tale of Two Box Scores

On a busy day in college basketball that saw Ken Tutt, Caleb Green, and the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles upset much-hyped KU, and Torrell Martin turn in a Jekyll and Hyde like performance between the first half and second half of a near Winthrop miss against much-hyped UNC, my gaze is still stuck on two games between two mediocre (at best) D-I programs against non-DI opponents on opposite coasts. The games I'm referring to are VMI vs. Virginia Intermont, and Cal-State Northridge vs. Redlands. Why my interest in these games? Because both were played at a pace so fast that frenetic doesn't do it justice. VMI won 156-95 (not a misprint). They took 118 shots, and 61 threes. They forced 47! Intermont turnovers, while only giving up 8 themselves (which would translate to slightly under 5 in an average game). All in all, there were 228 total possessions in the game, meaning that, on average, each team had the ball for approximately 10.5 seconds every possession - that's nearly six possessions per minute, every minute, for 40 minutes! Keep an eye on VMI - they've posted over 100 in 4 of their 6 games (counting exhibitions) and look determined to play a very up-tempo style.

Over on the left coast of the country, Northridge was forced into a frenetic game by Redlands (which is famous, along with Grinnell in Iowa, for playing this style of game). Northridge won 159-97 (not a misprint). They took 87 shots from the field, making an astonishing 62 (or 72%). Redlands played the chuckers in this matchup, shooting 62 threes (making only 16) out of 82 shots. The game featured 65 assists, 63 turnovers, and 88 rebounds. This game was played even faster than VMI-Intermont, with 239 total possessions. My favorite stat, though, reflects why some coaches like to play this style - 32 players recorded minutes in the game, with 24 of those players getting double figures, and no one playing more than 19 minutes. These frenetic styles may be wacky, and may not appeal to the idea of traditional basketball, but they're as egalitarian as it gets, and for that, they should be lauded.

No comments: