Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Aftermath - IPFW

On a game which MSU was expected to win, they did...but getting to the win was a bumpy, bumpy ride, which the 70-59 score might not indicate. MSU's points per possession (OP^3) was good (70 points for 63 possessions = 1.11 points per possession, anything above one is good), and their defense was...meh, as 0.95 points per possesion (DP^3, the inverse of OP^3 - here, anything below one is good, but I was expecting more against IPFW) were allowed. As I was listening to the game online, I kept asking myself, how could the game be this close? I went through the usual suspects:
  • Turnovers? Surprisingly, turnovers aren't the main culprit. MSU turned the ball over a lot in the first half, but finished the game with 10 total turnovers, three less than IPFW's 13.
  • Free Throw Shooting? Slightly out of the norm, with Spartan players going 19-28 from the line (67.9%). If MSU shoots their typical 75-80%, they win by 13 instead of 11. Still, the shaky performance is not solely the fault of below average foul shots. Point to take completely out of context on message boards: Delvon Roe was 1-4 on free throws.
  • Rebounding? Back to normal after getting outrebounded against Idaho. MSU recovered 38 rebounds to IPFW's 28, with 16 of those 38 coming on the offensive glass.
  • Bad three point shooting night? Now we're starting to get somewhere. MSU shot 27% on their threes. Compared to their 37% 3-point percentage from last year, that percentage fell off a bit. Let's consider those misfires the secondary cause.
  • Bad shooting defense? I didn't see the game, but according to the stats, this would appear to be the main cause of struggles tonight. IPFW shot 46% overall and 39% from three. Those values are much greater than the 40% and 31% respectively allowed last year. Hopefully this was just a hot shooting night for a couple players from IPFW; the stats show this to be the case as Ben Botts and David Carson were a combined 7-11 from three, all other IPFW players were 0-7. I hope the three-point defense isn't a trend, as Idaho shot 46% (6-13) from behind the arc.
What was good about this game? Raymar completely took over the game in the second half, making most of the key baskets to put IPFW away. Lucas was solid as well, chipping in 17 points, and three assists against one turnover. Delvon Roe scored his first points as a Spartan, putting in nine points on 4-7 shooting, and contributing a couple of blocks.

In conclusion, this game could've been disasterous, but it wasn't. For that, I am thankful, but let's hope that this game isn't a sign of things to come.

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