MBB Game 13: Pitt 56 FSU 48

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Will it be lucky or unlucky number 13 as the Noles take on the #3 team in the country. Check out yesterday's post for an initial discussion on the Pitt offense.

According to our friends at Pomeroy.com...we have a 10 chance of winning this game.

What do you think?

N.B. So close....so so close. The score does not reflect how close this game was. Unfortunately, a couple of late turnovers and poor shooting down the stretch the Noles let one slip away. But...we can play with the big dogs. Despite 18 turnovers and only shooting 29% from the floor...we were in this one. Our defense played out of its mind. Douglas went for 20. My players of the game are Echefu and Demercy. Douglas had his usual 20 points, but Demercy and Echefu did a great job on the boards. 11-2...pretty good way to start the year. Watch out ACC!

This season, the Noles have beat a team from the SEC, Pac-10 and Big East...can we repeat our triumph over the Big East? Through out the last few game threads, many of us have been eagerly looking ahead to tonight's game. Pitt is one of the elite teams in the country and will make a run late into the season. There has been a lot of press about how good this team really is.

Let's take a look at who they are and what they have done so far this year.

Strength of Schedule Rank: Opposing offense...145  Opposing defense...147

No Player Ht Wt Yr G %Min ORtg %Poss %Shots eFG% OR% DR% FTRate
23 Sam Young 6-6 215 Sr 11 72.7 118.6 231 29.1 80 33.4 34 56.7 276 7.3 14.3 31.1
2 Levance Fields 5-10 190 Sr 11 72.0 130.3 39 20.1 17.5 51.8 1.4 6.9 45.9 365
5 Tyrell Biggs 6-8 240 Sr 11 61.1 120.8 170 16.1 17.7 54.8 369 10.7 308 12.1 28.8
45 DeJuan Blair 6-7 265 So 10 59.8 130.2 40 25.5 302 24.3 65.3 25.8 1 29.0 8 43.9
3 Jermaine Dixon 6-3 190 Fr 11 58.0 100.9 17.5 19.9 42.9 3.1 8.1 17.9
22 Brad Wanamaker 6-4 200 So 11 37.3 99.0 18.7 11.9 61.7 1.4 17.9 60.0
11 Gilbert Brown 6-6 200 So 7 32.0 104.6 19.2 18.5 46.3 7.9 13.9 32.5
12 Ashton Gibbs 6-2 190 Fr 10 29.1 130.3 16.3 17.8 64.3 0.9 4.3 31.4
52 Gary McGhee 6-10 255 So 11 26.8 102.5 13.3 10.5 52.6 15.1 13.8 47.4
35 Nasir Robinson 6-5 210 Fr 10 25.9 102.9 13.7 10.9 47.4 8.8 10.5 36.8
1 Travon Woodall 5-11 185 Fr 10 22.0 85.5 16.8 16.8 30.0 0.0 11.2 16.0
Best 95.6 148.3 37.5 39.4 77.8 25.8 36.5 114.3
100th Best 85.6 125.0 28.7 30.6 61.9 13.7 22.7 66.2
500th Best 74.4 111.5 23.8 24.9 52.5 9.2 16.3 39.3

2-point 3-point
No Player Ht Wt Yr ARate TORate %Blocks %Stls FTM-FTA Pct FGM-FGA Pct FGM-FGA Pct
23 Sam Young 6-6 215 Sr 13.6 13.4 294 4.1 277 2.6 34-51 .667 69-119 .580 16-45 .356
2 Levance Fields 5-10 190 Sr 36.5 32 15.8 0.3 1.7 33-39 .846 23-47 .489 14-38 .368
5 Tyrell Biggs 6-8 240 Sr 5.4 12.3 207 1.6 2.0 13-21 .619 28-58 .483 8-15 .533
45 DeJuan Blair 6-7 265 So 9.8 12.4 210 4.1 271 4.1 104 24-43 .558 64-98 .653 0-0 .000
3 Jermaine Dixon 6-3 190 Fr 13.2 17.2 3.4 357 3.0 389 10-14 .714 26-48 .542 5-30 .167
22 Brad Wanamaker 6-4 200 So 19.7 36.8 0.0 3.6 13-18 .722 11-20 .550 5-10 .500
11 Gilbert Brown 6-6 200 So 11.2 21.9 2.3 2.9 10-13 .769 11-26 .423 5-14 .357
12 Ashton Gibbs 6-2 190 Fr 12.7 17.1 0.0 0.5 9-11 .818 6-14 .429 11-21 .524
52 Gary McGhee 6-10 255 So 1.3 22.7 6.4 0.5 4-9 .444 10-19 .526 0-0 .000
35 Nasir Robinson 6-5 210 Fr 14.4 22.7 0.0 2.6 3-7 .429 9-19 .474 0-0 .000
1 Travon Woodall 5-11 185 Fr 25.9 21.8 0.0 3.7 2-4 .500 6-13 .462 1-12 .083
Best 47.9 1.6 20.1 8.1
100th Best 31.0 10.4 6.8 4.1
500th Best 19.9 15.5 2.6 2.8

(The number in the unlabeled column is the player's national rank in that specific category. Go here for the definitions of all the stats.)

This is a well balanced team that has some play makers. The first thing to notice is the percentage of minutes played by the respective players. DeJuan Blair, who is outstanding, is only playing about 60% of the possible game minutes. Seems low...not typically for a big man. Alabi has a low percentage as well. But look at the rest of their top players,, only playing abou 70% of the possible game minutes. Toney Douglas has played clsoe to 95%. Their Bench has played 35.2% of the possible game minutes, which ranks 0th in the nation. This tells me two things: 1) Their bench is deep and 2) They have won many of these games without significant minutes from their starters, meaning fresh legs.

The next staggering figure is the ORtg (Offensive rating), which looks at personal offensive effeciency. As Pomeroy puts it...anything over 110 is good and 120 is excellent. They have 3 players over 130 (one of whom doesn't get a ton of minutes) and 2 over 110.

Then take a look at DeJuan Blair's line. Lots of national rankings...but look at his offensive rebounding percentage....25.8%. This is the percentage of possible offensive rebounds a player gets and is calculated with the following formula:

PlayerOR / [%Min * (Team OR + Opp. DR)]

Apparently, anything over 10% is excellent. Now, we have to keep in mind the type of offense that Pitt runs...a 4-Out, 1-In Motion offense that has a significant component of dribble drive. That means Blair is coming from the weak side on many possessions and cleaning up the boards and getting a lot of tip ins. His eFG% is 65%. That tells me he is doing his job and making the buckets around the rim. There have been some who argue that a lot of these stats are padded due to the competition Pitt has faced this year.

Their season strength of schedule is the following:

Strength of Schedule Rank: Opposing offense...145 Opposing defense...147

The Noles is the following:

Strength of Schedule Rank: Opposing offense...69  Opposing defense...206

Hmmm....So far this year our opponents average ranking in the Pomeroy Index has been 144. Pitt's is a little more difficult to calculate as one the teams they played is not ranked in the top 344...meaning it wasn't a Div I team. If you rank that team as number 345, their strength of schedule has been 131. But look at their margin of victories. They have simply taken care of business on both ends of the floor.

  Offense Defense
Date Opponent Result Site Pace Eff. eFG% TO% OR% FTR Eff. eFG% TO% OR% FTR
Fri Nov 14 Fairleigh Dickinson (s) (sr) W, 86-63 H 68 126.1 59.2 16.1 44.4 18.5 92.4 52.0 29.3 23.6 26.5
Mon Nov 17 Miami OH (s) (sr) W, 82-53 H 67 122.2 65.7 20.9 31.4 31.5 79.0 34.5 19.4 30.1 27.6
Fri Nov 21 Akron (s) (sr) W, 86-67 H 62 137.9 49.2 11.2 55.7 61.7 107.4 56.0 19.2 25.5 28.0
Sat Nov 22 Indiana PA (s) (sr) W, 86-60 H 65 133.0 56.1 13.9 50.7 25.8 92.8 40.5 13.9 30.6 15.9
Tue Nov 25 Belmont (s) (sr) W, 74-60 H 68 109.2 68.9 26.6 26.4 46.7 88.5 34.9 19.2 47.6 23.3
Fri Nov 28 Texas Tech (s) (sr) W, 80-67 N 76 105.0 50.0 21.0 41.8 41.5 88.0 42.2 13.1 19.8 29.7
Sat Nov 29 Washington St. (s) (sr) W, 57-43 N 58 97.7 38.5 13.7 30.9 56.3 73.7 41.7 24.0 19.0 8.3
Wed Dec 3 Duquesne (s) (sr) W, 78-51 H 70 110.8 48.5 25.6 57.1 27.3 72.5 42.7 34.1 39.7 21.8
Sat Dec 6 Vermont (s) (sr) W, 80-51 H 75 106.4 44.6 17.3 45.6 33.8 67.8 30.6 22.6 26.8 30.6
Sat Dec 13 MD Baltimore County (s) (sr) W, 91-56 H 58 157.2 66.2 12.1 55.0 9.2 96.8 54.1 22.5 28.3 8.2
Wed Dec 17 Siena (s) (sr) W, 79-66 H 68 116.1 47.0 10.3 42.2 34.3 97.0 44.6 14.7 28.9 18.5

 

Miami (OH) and Washington St. have been their most difficult competion thus far. They have been held under 70 points only once this year. They have allowed only 4 teams to score more than 60 points.

Raw Tempo: 67.1 poss/40 min  National Rank=190
Adj Tempo: 66.8 poss/40 min National Rank=200

Offense Defense
Raw Efficiency : 119.0 ( 4) 86.2 ( 19)
Adj Efficiency : 122.5 ( 3) 83.6 ( 13)

Effective FG% : 53.4 ( 46) 42.6 ( 26)
Turnover Pct. : 17.7 ( 32) 21.7 (139)
Off. Rebound% : 44.0 ( 6) 30.0 ( 80)
Free Throw Rate: 23.5 (189) 22.7 ( 9)

3-Point FG% : 35.7 (116) 31.2 ( 95)
2-Point FG% : 53.3 ( 38) 40.2 ( 20)
Free Throw Pct.: 67.1 (196) 68.5 (175)
Block Pct. : 6.6 ( 67) 10.6 ( 90)
Steal Pct. : 8.0 ( 51) 13.1 ( 26)

3PA/FGA : 27.6 (287) 35.8 (265)
A/FGM : 63.4 ( 32) 55.7 (184)

Lots and lots of green. They get it done at both ends of the floor and I would argue that they have done so against similar competiton to what we have played. However, they have only played two games away from Pitt. We've played all over the country, winning tough games against big name teams away from home. Advantage us.

In my previous post, I mentioned how their offense runs. They wear you down until you make a mistake...wasn't that a Top Gun line or something? Anyway. Their tempo is slow. They don't run and gun and try to score quickly in the possesion. They are taking about 1.6 shot attempts per minute of game play, which is pretty quick. But look at the turnovers. They don't give the ball up and they force turnovers...so they get a good ammount of shots, but not a ridiculous ammount. Some teams average closer to 2 shots per minute of game play.

Can I point out any weaknesses? That is a tough task. They're experienced, averaging 1.5 years of college experience, 207th in the nation. They have 3 stud seniors and Blair who is only a sophomore. We have one edge in raw numbers: size. Granted we have this by default against any other team in the country as we are the tallest team in the country per minute of game play.  Their height is 76.3 inches, or 6'4". Our average is 6'7 or 79 inches. Their tallest player is only 6'10. Blair is only 6'7" (DO NOT let that fool you).

We are the best defense that Pitt has seen all year. So, can Leonard Hamilton get his team fired up to shut down this offense? Let's take a look at our numbers:

Raw Tempo: 67.9 poss/40 min  National Rank=160
Adj Tempo: 68.9 poss/40 min National Rank=125

Offense Defense
Raw Efficiency : 99.5 (183) 90.2 ( 43)
Adj Efficiency : 99.1 (185) 87.0 ( 32)

Effective FG% : 49.4 (148) 43.3 ( 37)
Turnover Pct. : 24.9 (307) 22.5 (115)
Off. Rebound% : 36.0 ( 90) 33.1 (161)
Free Throw Rate: 36.3 ( 9) 33.3 (115)

3-Point FG% : 35.8 (115) 32.9 (141)
2-Point FG% : 47.4 (186) 39.7 ( 17)
Free Throw Pct.: 71.1 (100) 64.3 ( 59)
Block Pct. : 5.9 ( 45) 18.1 ( 8)
Steal Pct. : 9.8 (170) 12.2 ( 55)

3PA/FGA : 32.3 (183) 37.4 (294)
A/FGM : 54.4 (160) 48.6 ( 65)

Yes...our achilles heel is our turnover percentage. We turn the ball over 1 out of every 4 possessions, yet somehow we continue to win games. These turnovers come in every flavor...offensive fouls, throwing the ball out of bounds, getting stuck in terrible traps, poor placement of passes. You name it we do it. Hamilton even joked after a game that it was like a game of HORSE.

Take a look at the positives. We get to the line. and we shoot the ball quite well when we actually hang on to it. Our offensive rebound percentage has steadily improved. Our defense is excellent, 39th in the nation. This is where we have a chance to stay in this game. If we force Pitt to grind it out in a low scoring game, we have the advantage. How so...we get to the line a lot and we shoot the ball well when we get there.

Although I didn't get to watch the last game, it was a huge step in the right direction. The addition of Kitchen has been key. He is aggressive around the rim and is distributing the ball well. Alabi finally woke up and had a huge game. He needs to be an absolute beast in this game and use his size to clean up any garbage coming off the rim.

I think the keys to the game will be the following:

  • Douglas must shut down their guards.
  • Alabi has to play bigger than he ever has before.
  • Singleton must use his athleticisim to his advantage and continue to drain the three. It will open up the offense.
  • Turnovers. Nuff said.
  • Kitchen must play more.
  • Reid has to keep a body on Blair. Blair will have a great game regardless but don't let him get easy boards. Having Alabi will help.

Hamilton put it well: "They don't have a weakness at any five spots on the court. They have great players at every position."

Here is their likely starting lineup:

Tyrell Biggs F 6'8" 240 Sr

Sam Young F 6'6" 215 Sr

DeJuan Blair F 6'7" 270 So

Levance Fields G 5'10" 190 Sr

Jermain Dixon G 6'3 190 Fr

Here are our starters:

F #31 Chris Singleton 6'9 220 (9.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg; 8.0 ppg and 7.8 rpg in 4 games vs. major opponents)
F #42 Ryan Reid 6'8 235 (8.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg; 9.0 ppg and 4.0 rpg in 4 games vs. major opponents)
C #32 Solomon Alab 7'1 241 (7.8 ppg, 2.1 bpg; 6.8 ppg and 2.0 bpg in 4 games vs. major opponents)
G #2 Jordan DeMercy 6'7 208 (4.7 ppg, 2.8 rpg; 4.8 ppg and 1.5 rpg in 4 games vs. major opponents)
G #23 Toney Douglas 6'2 200 (17.7 ppg, 1.9 spg; 14.8 ppg and 1.8 spg in 4 games vs. major opponents)

As of now the game is being televised on FSN. I don't know if it will be shown nationally. If anyone knows any different please speak up.

Here is what will likely be the radio link:

http://sportsradio1470.com/whbo4.asx

So....is Pomeroy correct? 10% chance to win? FSUncensored asked me if I believe in moral victories. I think if we can keep this one close, within 10 points, it will help us with the selection committee in March. Will a close loss get us in...no. But, it will get people to take a closer look at us. This should be a fun one. I only hope that we keep our focus and use our size to our advantage and control the game.

Go NOLES!

 

 

 

 

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