"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

Monday, January 07, 2008

West Virginia Numbers Recap

In our West Virginia Preview, we said to watch for the following keys to the game: Turnovers (TO Rate), Marquette's Offensive Rebounding Percentage (OR%), and effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%).

The bottom line is that when you look at all of the Four Factors (below), West Virginia won in every category. This makes it very, very difficult to win, and is probably why WVU ended up with the highest Efficiency against Marquette of any opponent for the season.

Despite the first 10 minutes of the game, the Turnover Rate didn't actually end up being a significant factor. Both teams ended up fairly close to their season averages. In addition, although West Virginia shot 50% from three, 48% from the field, and 68.2% in the second half of the game, the eFG% difference was not overly significant.

The big difference in this game was the OR% and the FT Rate. Rosiak's blog entry showed that Marquette only got five rebounds in the second half and zero of those were offensive rebounds. For a team like Marquette, that was rated #7 in the country at 42.6% on Offensive Rebounding %, this is horrible. To put this in context, Marquette had their lowest OR% of the season, and it was one of four times that it was an OR% less than 35%.

The Free Throw Rate really hurts. The number means that almost 60% of the time WVU took a shot, they also took at least one free throw. Even Duke only got to 51%! This is the worst that we have done against any other opponent. Marquette's Pomeroy Game Plan shows a negative correlation to Defensive Efficiency. In other words, the more free throws our opponents shoot, the less likely Marquette is to win. This may sound intuitive, but it is not the case for a team like West Virginia. In doing our preview, we considered looking at the Free Throw Rate as a key, but decided against it because West Virginia is an average team (179 / 341 Division 1 Schools) at getting to the line with a free throw rate of 23.9. Therefore, WVU typically shoots a free throw 25% of the time they take a shot, but they far exceeded this figure against Marquette. Please note that this is NOT a gripe about the refs, because one cannot attribute this discrepancy to the refs.

Individual Ratings

Here are the individual ratings for the team. Basically, the only net positive performer on the team was Lazar Hayward, who spent a lot of time on the bench. Other than that, when a team loses by fifteen, there is plenty of responsibility to go around for the loss. Remember that higher than the team Offensive Rating is good and that lower than the team Defensive Rating is good.

In summary, this really was kind of a stinker game by Marquette. Our team had season worsts in Offensive Efficiency, Defensive Efficiency, Offensive Rebounding %, and Free Throw Rate. Even with all of that, Marquette was still in the game with 10 minutes to go. West Virginia is a good team, and Huggins didn't get to 600 wins by being an idiot.

The good news is that we don't expect Marquette to perform as badly moving forward, and that there's a short turnaround before Seton Hall. Our team is much better than they showed in Morgantown, and they'll prove it again soon.


Gene Frenkle said...

Henry, a lot of your stuff goes over my head, but some of it is interesting to read. I was wondering...any stat that shows who's the most effective - statistically - from an offensive standpoint when he's on the floor. For instance, when X is on the floor, MU is at its best.

Just curious.

Rob Lowe said...

Gene, my goal is that eventually the material we use for stats does not go over anyone's head. For example, the four factors are just a different way of looking at field goal %, offensive rebounding, turnovers, and free throws.

In response to your question, the most effective view from an offensive standpoint is going to be the offensive rating. You can get season summary views at Pomeroy's site (scroll down on the link). The highest ORtgs on the team are Lazar (126.0), Cube (126.5), and Ouse (111.8). Burke and Fitz have very high ORtgs, but those are in limited minutes.


Ideally, you want a player that combines a high Offensive Rating with a high usage (% Poss).

For a different twist on your question, "when x is on the floor, MU is at its best" - that is the "net points added" stat which also accounts for defensive contributions. McNeal gets more points on the defensive end than the offensive end. The season leaders for net points added are James (58.0), McNeal (56.8), and Lazar (47.1). Next closest is Cube at 13.7.

Hope this helps