Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Villanova 77, Duke 54

There's not a whole lot to say when you shoot 27% for a game. You tip your hat to the other team for a good defensive performance (and it was a good defensive performance) and you wonder where the heck your shot went for 40 minutes. Duke shot 16-60. 16-60. 5-27 from downtown and 11-33 from 2. Villanova turned Duke into an exclusively jump-shooting team, and the jump shot just wasn't there. On the season, Duke got roughly 35% of their attempts as layups, dunks, or tip-ins. Against Villanova, that number was just 15/60, 25%. When you don't give yourselves good looks from inside, it's very difficult to score well. It also makes it more difficult to pick up easy second chance points. Shots from the paint put pressure on the defense, and often cause defenders to be out of place as they rotate, opening opportunities on the glass. While Duke was shooting jumpers from nowhere near the lane, Villanova was closing it off to offensive rebounding, gathering 36 of 44 Duke misses - better than 80%. Rebounding has hurt us in tournaments past, but usually on the defensive end. Thursday, Duke put up its single worst offensive rebounding performance on the year.

Villanova, by contrast, figured things out at the start of the second half and got the ball inside on Duke. Over the first 8 minutes, as they stretched the lead from 1 to 16, Villanova's attempts look like this: layup, jumper, layup, dunk, layup, layup, tip-in, layup, layup, three, layup, layup, jumper (paint). Of their first 13 second-half attempts from the field, 11 came in the paint. The Wildcats made 10 of those 13 shots, which is not terribly surprising when you get close looks at the hoop.

Watching the game (or at least the first ~30 minutes, until CBS put on the mercy rule in Washington State and switched to Missouri-Memphis), I actually thought Duke's offense played well for the first 15 minutes, despite not scoring. The offense was running smoothly (for the most part) and the Devils were getting exactly the looks they wanted to get - the shots just weren't falling. I sounded like a broken record, repeatedly saying after a miss "that's ok, that's a great look, it was exactly the kind of shot the play was designed to produce," and I wasn't just being delusional. The problem was, Villanova's defense got wise to what we were doing and began to shut it down, and Duke never adjusted. In the second half (again, what I saw of it) there was very little good running of the offense, and quite a lot of broken plays, late-shot-clock desperation shots, contested attempts, etc.

Here's the HD box. It is, quite simply, a blood bath. Henderson's offensive rating is sub-50 on a high usage night, and Scheyer's wasn't much better. There's not much spread in the plus/minus - we got whipped in the second half regardless of who was on the court.

And, as a bonus, here's the plus/minus from Villanova. Again, not much spread - Villanova outscored Duke regardless of who was on the court.




off def +/- off def +/- off def +/-
Reynolds 24 21 3 44 27 17 68 48 20
Redding 22 18 4 43 27 16 65 45 20
Cunningham 24 21 3 37 22 15 61 43 18
Anderson 17 16 1 28 15 13 45 31 14
Stokes 13 10 3 26 18 8 39 28 11
Clark 17 13 4 23 17 6 40 30 10
Fisher 13 14 -1 27 18 9 40 32 8
Pena 0 2 -2 19 11 8 19 13 6
Colenda 0 0 0 4 0 4 4 0 4
Tchuisi 0 0 0 4 0 4 4 0 4

26 23 3 51 31 20 77 54 23

So that's it for the season; however, unlike in past years, I'm not going to go into complete hibernation over the off-season. I'll pop back in occasionally for some post-mortems on this season (I was intrigued by the suggestion to compare this season to last season, and may do so in some detail) and I'm also in the process of going back in time and compiling data from Duke seasons past to better be able to place future individual and team performances in their historical contexts.


Jane Elizabeth said...

Things are looking a bit different now without either Gerald Henderson or Eliot Williams for next year.

Dylan Burkhardt said...

Dylan from UMHoops.com here. I see that you guys are posting HD box scores (although the google docs are broken) and I was wondering how you guys are doing them right now.

I can't find an email on here but shoot me an email (umhoops@gmail.com) if you get a chance.


Anonymous said...

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dougiedigital said...

"There's not a whole lot to say when you shoot 27% for a game."

I think that opening line is fascinating and speaks volumes about Duke's most recent game against a Big Least opponent. Of course, I'm speaking about Friday's game against UConn, which Duke won fairly handily DESPITE shooting just 29.6% for the game.

It's interesting how a poor shooting performance in the NCAA Tourney last year doomed the team to a blowout loss against Villanova, where this year's squad was able to overcome an almost equally bad shooting performance en route to a win that was really more lopsided than even the 9-pt final margin would indicate.

Can't wait to read your analysis on this year's team as the season unfolds! :)