David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
B1G Action: Feline Phylum style. Nerds rule again, which means that we've exorcised the ghost of DeChellis. Time for the tempo-free take on the 'Cats first conference win.
For the breakdown, I'm using ESPN.com.
Pace and Points Per Possession
Pace: I calculated 58.4 possessions for our 'Cats, while PSU had 63.2. Split the difference you get 60.8, so we'll round up to 61 possessions.
'Cats: 1.15 PPP. Coming into this game, we were averaging 1.04 PPP and allowing 0.97 PPP
PSU: 0.89 PPP. Coming into this game, PSU was averaging 0.98 PPP and allowing 0.98 PPP
The Four Factors
Effective Field Goal (season average coming into tonight):
'Cats: 55.2 (50.2)
PSU: 34.2 (45.5)
Turnover Percentage (season average coming into tonight):
'Cats: 9.8% (17.6%)
PSU: 18.0% (20.3%)
Offensive Rebound Percentage (season average coming into tonight):
'Cats: 23.1% (28.8%)
PSU: 33.3% (33.7%)
Free Throw Attempts/Field Goal Attempts (season average coming into tonight):
'Cats: 54.2% (34.3%)
PSU: 39.1% (34.5%)
Takes on the Tempo-Free
- After a slightly shaky first four minutes, the 'Cats got comfortable. They were making shots and they were protecting the ball. They were burning it at 72% eFG in the first half, but cooled off in the second. Meanwhile, the Nits couldn't hit anything. The 'Cats defended perimeter pretty well, it seemed that the Nits missed a bunch of inside shots. (I calculated their 2pt% at 35% tonight. Ewwww.)
- In terms of O-boards, we kept PSU to their season average. In terms of overall season, this was at about our average. Considering that Michigan and Minny straight up whooped us by taking 53.4% of their misses, this was a much better performance. We need to hold opponents to 32% (that's national average) to give ourselves a fighting chance.
- 'Cats also got to the line, which was true to form for PSU (they had been allowed opponents 48.4% FTA/FGA coming into tonight), however the 'Cats were 17-26. Reg was 7-11 from the stripe, way more attempts than anyone else, so his performance set the tone for the team's FT performance.
Savvy Veteran Watch (a.k.a: Sobo, Swop and Reg-GIE!)
Swop: 37 m, 17 pts, 7 rebs, 3 asts, 1 block, ZERO TOs.
Sobo: 35 m, 18 pts, 3 rebs, 5 asts, 2 stl, 1 block, 1 TO.
Reg-GIE: 30m, 14 pts, 4 rebs, 1stl, 1 block, ZERO TOs.
Our savvy veterans came through huge. The stats don't tell the whole tale of toughness that this trio brought tonight. Perhaps this was the difference between the two teams - our veterans produced. They certainly weren't role players - credit to these guys for being pillars tonight. I'd say moving forward, getting Sobo and Swop going early will be a key bellweather on how the team performs.
Life without Drew Crawford
Ladies and gentlemen, here is your wing play:
Chips: 27 m, 10 pts, 3 rebs, 1 ast, 2 TO
Marco: 14 m, 0 pts, 2 rebs, 2 asts, 4 fouls
Demps: 16 m, 5 pts, 1 stl, 1 TO
For me, the story was Kale Abe. His defense was shaky early, but he got it going as the game went on. Plus, the kid is fearless: 3 for 5 from downtown (one of them would've been a 10 pointer in MTV Rock n' Jock). Thought he had a good game in that he was productive and he appeared to be in the right place. He had more "No, no, no, YES" shots go his way -- Don't know if we want to discourage that, particularly because we weren't BURN-ing tonight. Marco had a night to forget - he just seemed off as he missed 4 treys. I don't worry about him, he's streaky we didn't need his scoring as badly (thanks to PSU's ineptitude). Demps could use some more minutes - had 2 floaters rim out. He looks spry out there, and like Chips, he ain't shy about chuckin'.
How'd we do at the 5?
Alex Olah: 22 m, 2 pts, 8 rebs, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 2, TO
Mike Turner: 16 m, 2 pts, 3 reb, 1 ast, 1steal, 2 blocks, ZERO TO
The points weren't there for us, but they combined for 11 rebounds, 4 blocks and only 2 TOs. We also held their frontcourt to a combined 11 points. If you can't get points, I'll happily take this kind of defense. Turner bounced back from a poor performance and he gave us productive minutes. Looks like Olah got pulled when he got cut up - I don't know if that was precautionary (as we were up a bunch by then) or if it was due Carmody liking Turner's banging on defense more than Olah's offense. Good times at the 5, guys.
- Nah. No Cerina, which concerns me as this team seems tailor made. We could sure use his thump against Herky.
- JM3 got into Club Trillion!
- There are no easy wins on the road in the B1G. Except when Penn State can't MAKE SHOTS. But it's the Bryce-Jordan center, our house of horrors. Alright, fine, this was a night where we got pretty much whatever we wanted on offense, and just as youthful Penn State Nittany Lions were rattled after falling behind.
- We don't need no stinking Burn tonight. I bet we stay in attack mode against Iowa, as well.
- If we can protect our boards like we did in the first half (we got 75% of rebounds), then that'll help out our defense tremendously. Seemed like the second half we devolved into trading buckets.
- Moving forward: Iowa looked tough against MSU tonight, but that was at home and they let Sparty off the hook. How do they respond? Quick look at kenpom, while they defend the trey pretty good, they seem quite PSU-esque: they don't hit the 3, they send their opponents to the line, and they're ok rebounding wise. 'Cats at home - I think this is very winnable - especially if the three Amigos stay productive. What's the over-under on Coach Fran throwing a chair in this one?