"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Using Oooze, part deaux

A few weeks ago I offered a mildly hysterical perspective on Ousmane Barro's slow start to the season. That entry was prompted by a number of factors, namely: Barro's failure to start a game this season (he started 32 last year), the intimation that Oooze was foul prone, the precipitous decline in his production across the board, and the notion that the inimitable Dwight Burke emerged as the starter.

OK, so maybe I was hasty in rushing to judgment in asserting that Oooze should start and play more, and that Burke should sit and play less:

  • Dwight Burke, you've surprised the heck out of everybody this year. Where the heck have you been for the past two seasons? Your marvelous development as an upperclassman has to surprise even the most optimistic Golden Eagles fan. Bravo, man. Keep it up. But again, where did this come from?
  • Barro's supposed "proclivity for early foul trouble." I went to great lengths to demonstrate that last season, Barro didn't have this affliction -- in fact, he fouled about as often as Wes Matthews and less than Dan Fitzgerald. But, as one of my more sane co-conspirators pointed out, "look you simpleton, last year Barro was our only decent option at the '5'. A foul on him was a way bigger deal than a foul on one of our 600 guards." Bingo.
So, when Tom Crean discussed the new big man rotation in the latest bit from Todd Rosiak - - I guess I have no choice but to be converted:
We started the season bringing Ousmane (Barro) off the bench for no other reason than I didn't want him in early foul trouble because last year I felt we had too many games - go back to the Wisconsin game; the whole dynamic of the game changed when we had to sit Ousmane down - and we wanted to guard against that a little bit, he said. Still get him quality minutes but let the game get going before we get him in. Well, Dwight Burke's making it tough for me to change my mind. I look at those two as being contributors.
Bottom line: the rotation seems to be working.

I still can't get over the decline in Oooze's overall production this year after seeing such consistent improvement in him in each of the previous three seasons. However, the formula might just be better for the make-up of this team. After all, depth on the frontline was (is?) one of the primary weaknesses for this bunch......perhaps the two-headed monster can hold that line just enough to get this team over the top.


Anonymous said...

With Trevor out, giving Burke playing time has been critical. He goes up strong and finishes, in contrast to Ooze. Ooze can run the floor, take a dish and his wingspan causes disruptions to opponent's O. Both can give fouls on gimmies knowing there is some depth between them. Watch for Trend to get more time in the upcoming cupcake games as Lazar picks up way too many reach in chippies.

Gene Frenkle said...

Ooze has given the team another component coming off the bench.

He can come off with David and Fitz (when healthy) and go up against the sub centers and run them ragged (hopefully).

Like Crean says, so far, the rotation is working and there's no way you can punish Burke right now by reducing his minutes...not the way he's playing.

Three games in 7 days. Should be a fun upcoming week.

Anonymous said...

While things are certainly looking good, I think it's still a little too early to give Dwight Burke a crown. If he has a bad game in Madison, win or lose, none of this hype would be going on.

I must agree that Burke's strong finishes have been impressive. Not something I remember seeing from him last year, and still not something we see from Barro.

Another thing that has been ignored about Ooze's dropoff is that it didn't start this season. Go back to the game-by-game stats from last season and you'll see he was scoring in double digits nearly every game and getting some double-doubles. Starting with the DePaul game his numbers really flattened out; his rebounding was still nearly as good but his scoring was cut in half.

Anonymous said...

I think one has to look at the productivity of the sum of Burke and Barro since they share the minutes. Against Wisconsin, their total stats were impressive.

Henry Sugar said...

I did a quick view of the productivity of Ouse/Burke in comparison to last year.

Last year they consumed 8.8% of total possessions (Ouse - 7.4% ; Burke 1.4%). This year they are at 9% (Ouse 5% ; Burke 4%), so their actual involvement is about the same as last year.

However, the two together are a lot more productive than last year. Last year they were getting about 1.1 Points Per Weighted Shot (PPWS). This year they are at 1.27 PPWS. That is a huge improvement. This year, the Five Position is the second most efficient "player" on the court (just behind LH at 1.29). As context, 1.30 is generally regarded as a very good player.

Against UW, the two players combined for 21 pts 7/10 on FGs, and 7/10 on FTs, with 13 TR (9 Offensive). Usage was 13% and they scored 1.42 PPWS. The Five Position was a S.T.U.D.

FYI - Burke leads the team in offensive rebounds (7).

Henry Sugar said...

Oops - Burke has 17 Offensive Rebounds.

Anonymous said...

One cannot simply look at how many times Ooze fouled out. One needs to look at, which I am sure is not easy, is how many times he picked up two fouls in the first few minutes and relegated our rotation to Buke and Kinsella for the rest of the first half. That happened a ton. Beyond that it is a moot point, Burke is outplaying Ooze's socks off. First of all Burke is significantly better on defense, does not fall down after every rebound, goes not go for every shot fake and find himself out of rebounding position, Burke catches the ball better, Burke does not miss uncontested layups, Burke dunks and finishes with authority. Burke handles the ball significantly better on the bounce if necessary and is a significantly better passer. Ooze runs the court better than Burke...that is all. While I do not think Ooze is playing as well as he did last year that makes no difference. Burke is playing way way way better than Ooze did last year.

Anonymous said...

The Warriors will go only as far as their ability to hide their bigs. The fact is, both suck and shouldn't be more than role players at this level. Why avoid the truth? Keenan Nankivil is sitting on the UW bench, but he could be getting 25 minutes a game with MU.

MUWarrior71 said...

A great string on Ooze and Burke. But going back to the beginning, Trend is not going to see more playing time. The games have been there for him to play more and he hasn't, for whatever reason. No reason to think that will change.