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  • FYI
    Here are the stats from the Concord WLU Game. I also compared WLU stats from the Frostburg game, showing relative percentage change from Frostburg. Negative percentage means decrease in performance (except for turnovers). In the Frostburg game, WLU was playing very high level basketball in terms of the WL brand of basketball.

    I think the stats tell a fairly convincing story. As much respect as I have for the skills of the WLU players, these skills are not why they win 85% of their games over the last decade. It is the WL style of basketball that allows a team to average 1.26 points per possession for an entire season and lead the nation in scoring margin. It works because it is based on sound game theory for winning in the game of basketball.

    When WLU players (who are truly gifted) see a clearly inferior player opposite them, it can be very tempting to listen to the sirens’ song of “He can’t guard me. I can score on him at any time.” If one succumbs to that melody, then WL becomes just another dribble drive team, like most of D1, with correspondingly lower points per possession that is consistent with that style. A good D1 team would be lucky to average 1.09 points per possession (excluding Gonzaga), which is a far cry from 1.26 generated by the WL style.

    High points per possession depends on ball movement, player movement, offensive rebounding, forcing turnovers, avoiding committing turnover and exhausting the opponent, both mentally and physically, to carry the team during those nights when WL is shooting poorly and the opponent is playing at a high level.

    If the players don't revert to the WL style, WV State has the talent to run them out of the gym in a dribble drive game.


    To support these assertions, just look at the decline in key WL stats from Frostburg to Concord, such as:

    Assist to Turnover ratio – down 74%
    Assists per 100 Possessions – down by 69%
    Turnovers per 100 possession – down by 18%
    Offensive Rebound % of Missed Shots – down 27%
    WEST Lib Stats West Liberty Concord % change WLU stat from previous game (Frostburg)
    POINTS 83 91 -38.1%
    FGM 28 29 -37.8%
    FGA 63 53 -19.2%
    FGPCT 44.4% 54.7% -23.0%
    3FGM 5 7 -64.3%
    3FGA 23 18 -28.1%
    3FGPCT 21.7% 38.9% -50.3%
    FTM 22 26 -26.7%
    FTA 27 34 -18.2%
    FTPCT 81.5% 76.5% -10.4%
    REBOUND OFFENSIVE 10 11 -23.1%
    REBOUND DEFENSIVE 16 22 -61.0%
    REBOUND TOTAL 26 33 -51.9%
    ASSISTS 8 13 -74.2%
    TURNOVERS 17 22 0.0%
    BLOCKS 1 2 -66.7%
    STEALS 10 5 -23.1%
    Num Possessions 82 79 -15.5%
    Points per Possession 1.01 1.15 -26.7%
    Assists per 100 Possessions 9.8 16.5 -69.5%
    Turnovers per 100 Possessions
    (< better)
    20.7 27.8 18.3%
    Assist to Turnover Ratio 0.47 0.59 -74.2%
    Offensive Rebound % of Missed Shots 28.6% 45.8% -27.5%
    Last edited by Columbuseer; 01-27-2021, 02:20 PM. Reason: fixed typo in stat for offensive rebound percentage of missed shots (last stat in table)

    Comment


    • Good stuff, Columbus. Thanks for crunching the numbers. And, yes, WLU needs to get back to its game or WVSU will dominate the game tonight.

      Historically, the game immediately following the letdown game is usually a textbook version of WLU basketball. Let's hope that's the case tonight.

      I think I remember a few years ago--didn't the offensive record game against Glenville immediately follow the letdown game against WVWC? It just seems like when they slide into an inferior style of play, the following game is usually a pretty good specimen of WLU ball. Here's hoping that's the case tonight against a very talented WVSU team.

      Comment


      • Disappointing year so far for the men’s and women’s team

        Comment


        • I'll anxiously await Columbus's statistical analysis of what happened last night. I hate that the statistical category that seemed to play an outsized role was the one marked PF in the box score. But there are far bigger problems than that. You don't beat good teams shooting 30%.

          But I'm not sure it's time to hit the panic button just yet. The last time WLU lost back-to-back regular season games, they went on to participate in the Final Four. So, let's hope Howlett and Bolon can rally the troops the same way that Crutch & Bonifant did five years ago.

          Comment


          • (And let's also relish the fact that the team we cheer for hasn't lost back-to-back regular season games in 5 years. That's not something most fan bases can boast).

            Comment


            • I thought West Liberty was the best?

              Comment


              • This team needs a serious shake-up. And there is about zero time to do it in. They are not playing WLU type basketball and haven't really done so all season except in small spurts.

                For a number of reasons, its good that I'm not the coach. But if I were, several of the starters and supposed stars would be seeng some serious bench time and I'm talking end of the bench bench time. You want to take most of the shots? Here, have a seat next to me so I can explain during the game why thats not a good thing. You want to dribble drive every time you get the ball? Here, sit on the other side of me while I explain to you why we don't play that way.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by IUPalum View Post
                  I thought West Liberty was the best?
                  Depends on what u mean by the best.

                  wlu rarely has the best, most athletic players at each position. To quote Crutch, we have not won a pre-game warmup yet!

                  However, I would suggest that the wlu style of play gives a team the best statistical chance of winning. To support this assertion:
                  1. Wlu has highest winning % over last 10 years than any d1 or d2 school. Same for home court winning percentage.
                  2. wlu was using the 5-out, or small ball offense since 2004. If it were a gimmick, many d1 schools would not be using it, albeit 15 years later.
                  3. Press Virginia has shown pressure can be very effective even at d1, if u have the right personnel. Too bad they could not shoot the three.

                  However, wlu is not unbeatable. But most coaches would take 85% winning %.
                  But to win a national title, you must have some luck and have to defeat “blue moon” teams, where the stars have aligned to create a combination of personnel that places their level of play far above their typical level.
                  Examples are findlay in 2008-2009 (beat ohio state in exhibition in 2007 with same players). Augustana about 5 yrs ago ( beat iowa) and of course nw Missouri state.

                  Comment


                  • FYI
                    Stats on WLU vs WV State game by halves, for it was a tale of two halves.
                    Some observations:
                    First Half:
                    1. Very good ball and player movement in 1st half. Tremendous effort. I saw players make the extra pass because they realized they were not in good 3 point shooting position. Playing at 22 assists per 100 possession rate, which is much improved.
                    2. Forced 14 turnovers in first half with tremendous energy.
                    3. Shot 23 threes in the first half, but only made 8 for 35% and only 37% overall
                    4. WLU was averaging only 1.00 points per possession, which is concerning, given that they were sharing the ball. Fortunately, WVSU was at a horrendous 0.76 points per possession and terrible 0.36 assist to turnover ratio.

                    Second half:
                    1. WLU movement without the ball slowed down (fatigue), and players had to resort to dribble drive late in the shot clock, or there was no one to pass the ball who was open).
                    2. WLU points per possession rose to a good 1.19 pts/possession
                    3. WVSU went from a 0.76 to an unbeatable 1.46 pts. per possession.
                    4. WVSU hit 17 of 20 foul shots in the second half and committed fewer turnovers.

                    Summary:
                    -WVSU is a very talented team. They have 4 players shooting over 37% from three for the season, but they are also excellent 1 on 1 players.
                    -WVSU protected the ball much better in the second half.
                    -WLU lost because they could not stay in front of their man on dribble drives and shot 14-45 from three. When you are playing a team as gifted as WVSU, IMHO you have to shoot 40+ % or generate turnovers if you are having trouble guarding them.
                    -I think some of the WLU dribble drive was out of necessity as no one was moving to get open for three and someone had to take charge. That said, I saw some folks doing post moves with back to the basket with 3 guys near them. Someone had to be open for a three. A close in contested post shot is one of the lowest percentage shots in basketball (according to Caldwell coach of Glenville).
                    -WLU played their guts out to try to win the game, crashing the boards and hustling.
                    -I was somewhat surprised by no calls when WLU hit the deck.

                    IMHO no need to hit the panic button. We lost to a very good team during an off night shooting.
                    WLU vs WV State jan 27 2021 WL Half 1 WL Half 2 wv state half 1 wv state half 2
                    POINTS 45 51 37 63
                    FGM 15 16 10 22
                    FGA 40 43 31 31
                    FGPCT 37.50% 37.21% 32.26% 70.97%
                    3FGM 8 6 2 2
                    3FGA 23 22 9 4
                    3FGPCT 34.78% 27.27% 22.22% 50.00%
                    FTM 7 13 15 17
                    FTA 10 15 22 20
                    FTPCT 70.00% 86.67% 68.18% 85.00%
                    REBOUND OFFENSIVE 7 11 6 3
                    REBOUND DEFENSIVE 18 9 18 16
                    REBOUND TOTAL 25 20 24 19
                    ASSISTS 10 7 5 9
                    TURNOVERS 8 4 14 6
                    BLOCKS 3 0 1 0
                    STEALS 10 3 6 2
                    Num Possessions 45 43 49 43
                    Points per Possession 1.00 1.19 0.76 1.47
                    Assists per 100 Possessions 22.2 16.3 10.2 20.9
                    Turnovers per 100 Possessions
                    (< better)
                    17.8 9.3 28.6 14.0
                    Assist to Turnover Ratio 1.25 1.75 0.36 1.50
                    Offensive Rebound % of Missed Shots 28.0% 40.7% 28.6% 33.3%


                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by boatcapt View Post
                      This team needs a serious shake-up. And there is about zero time to do it in. They are not playing WLU type basketball and haven't really done so all season except in small spurts.

                      For a number of reasons, its good that I'm not the coach. But if I were, several of the starters and supposed stars would be seeng some serious bench time and I'm talking end of the bench bench time. You want to take most of the shots? Here, have a seat next to me so I can explain during the game why thats not a good thing. You want to dribble drive every time you get the ball? Here, sit on the other side of me while I explain to you why we don't play that way.
                      I know what you mean, Boat. Columbus might be right that the off-ball movement wasn't very dynamic in the second half which resulted in some stagnant one-v-one possessions. But, honestly, guys might also stop working to be open off the ball if they know the man with the ball is just heading to the rack regardless.

                      In particular, it seems like Pat Robinson's decision making is doing nothing but declining. It's true that he's recognized as one of the guys in the league who is very hard to stay in front of. But he also finds himself a victim of help D once he beats his own man. A blocked shot from a help-side defender is not as successful as dishing it off the open man that help-side defender just released.

                      But Robinson's suspect decision making aside, I honestly think the biggest problem during this stretch has been the absolute non-factor that Yoakum has been. Following last year, I would have argued with anyone that Yoakum was WLU's best player pound-for-pound. He can't make a shot this year (inside or outside). He just looks off, and I'm not sure what it is. But without his contributions, the offense gets significantly more pedestrian.

                      And I'm with you, Boat. I'd love to see more time on the floor for guys like Butler, Rasile, and Watson (while guys like Robinson & Yoakum get some time to figure it out). Butler has been very good. The two freshmen have made some freshman mistakes. But you can't question the effort or decision making. Despite some youthful experience errors, Rasile & Watson have shown that they're willing to go 100% and that they're willing to play the WLU way.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Scrub View Post

                        In particular, it seems like Pat Robinson's decision making is doing nothing but declining. .
                        The data does not support your assertion. This season Patrick is the best shooter on the team this year both fgs and threes and it is not even close. Same for last night. Just look at the box score for wv state. His assist to turnover ratio was 2:1. I would look elsewhere for more blatant examples of bad decision making. There is plenty of that to go around. Also, I see no good that can come in naming players on a message board. It is obvious from the box score. I trust the players and coaches to improve the performance of the team. No one wants to win more than they do.
                        Last edited by Columbuseer; 01-28-2021, 06:05 PM.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Columbuseer View Post

                          The data does not support your assertion. Patrick is the best shooter on the team this year both fgs and threes and it is not even close. Just look at the box score for wv state. His assist to turnover ratio was 2:1. I would look elsewhere for more obvious exmpkes
                          I had a feeling you might fact check me, Columbus. ; )

                          I was simply responding from gut feel . . . and it feels like Pat is going to the rack more and more frequently. Granted, he's talented enough to finish a reasonable amount of the time (which might account for his shooting percentage not suffering too badly), but as you've eloquently pointed out above, the ball sticking in hands and heading toward the rim without making extra passes causes the team's whole concept to break down. Perhaps the stats say others are worse offenders than Pat in this regard, but during important late possessions in each of the last two comeback attempts there loom large in my memory possessions when Pat seems to be trying to force it at the rack and running into 2-3 waiting defenders. It's possible those are anomalous possessions, while still being memorable for the situation in which they occur.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Columbuseer View Post

                            The data does not support your assertion. This season Patrick is the best shooter on the team this year both fgs and threes and it is not even close. Same for last night. Just look at the box score for wv state. His assist to turnover ratio was 2:1. I would look elsewhere for more blatant examples of bad decision making. There is plenty to go around. Personally, I see no point in naming names of more aggregious offenders.
                            Well, we seem to be more than willing to heap accolades, by name, when things are good, we should be willing to name names when things are not going well.

                            IMHO...The "answer" to WLU struggling is not to abandon the WLU style, the answer is to double down. MORE pressure on the press, MORE ball movement, MORE effort to find the open man. It clearly is not abandoning the style in favor of individual players playing 1 on 1.

                            We dodged a bullet in not having to play Glenville or we could be looking at three straight losses AND the prospect of playing a very game Charleston team!

                            Bottom line, what we've been doing the last two games is NOT working. When we go all AAU, we become a VERY beatable team. If we abandon our style when things get rough against UC, we will probably be looking at another loss.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Scrub View Post

                              I had a feeling you might fact check me, Columbus. ; )

                              I was simply responding from gut feel . . . and it feels like Pat is going to the rack more and more frequently. Granted, he's talented enough to finish a reasonable amount of the time (which might account for his shooting percentage not suffering too badly), but as you've eloquently pointed out above, the ball sticking in hands and heading toward the rim without making extra passes causes the team's whole concept to break down. Perhaps the stats say others are worse offenders than Pat in this regard, but during important late possessions in each of the last two comeback attempts there loom large in my memory possessions when Pat seems to be trying to force it at the rack and running into 2-3 waiting defenders. It's possible those are anomalous possessions, while still being memorable for the situation in which they occur.
                              You are not alone. The problem with gut feelings, mine included, is that they are often... wrong. That is why I always like to look at the data after watching a game.
                              Some preconceived notions are:
                              -A dribble drive to the rim that misses by a skilled scorer is a worse decision than a stumbling, bumbling, putback attempt or walking call contested by 3 defenders after an offensive rebound.
                              - A costly turnover or missed shot at the end of the game is what cost the team the game

                              in football:
                              - you should always punt on 4th down if you are inside your 30 yd line.
                              - you should try to pin the opponent deep with a long kickoff
                              - you should practice punt returns so you have get better field position after opponent punts.

                              I mentioned the football items, because the data analysis of thousands of plays at every level indicate that to optimize your chances of winning:
                              - you should NEVER punt.
                              - You should always onside kick
                              - You should never try to field a punt or try to block a punt

                              Pulaski Academy High School of Little Rock follows the data. A school of < 500 students, they have won 8 Arkansas state titles in the last 10 years and was the #1 offense in the USA.
                              They beat a private school out of Richmond VA (football factory) that had 7 high D1 recruits.
                              They stomped Tyler TX who has 2200 students

                              Often they are leading by 35 points by halftime, which invokes the mercy rule of a continuous clock.

                              Bill Belichick has called the coach Kevin Kelley, "the best high school coach" in America and meets with him to talk about football.

                              Just some examples of preconceived notions or gut feelings that are wrong.


                              Comment


                              • If it ain't broke, don't try to fix it.

                                Statistical comparisons that say otherwise aside, clearly somthing is different between this years version of the Toppers and years past...PARTICULARLY over the last two games. There are many ways to get to the same statistical number. Similar to a QB who put's up a lot of passing yards when his team is behind vs one who puts them up when the game is on the line...At the end of the day, the box score says they had comperable performances but when you watch them play, clearly one was better. I think anyone who has watched WLU play over the last 10+ years and then watches their performance for most of this season would pretty quickly come to the conclusion that something is not right. When I was watching the first game this year I remember thinking, somthing doesn't feel right. Yea, they won big as they have many times in the past and most of the stats looked similar to years gone by, but it just didn't SEEM right. In every game over their first four, I came away with the same feeling...something just isn't right, but most of the time, the final game numbers said everything was as it should be. So even though I was concerned, I chalked most of my gut feel to different season, different players or me just misremembering and glossing over the rough spots of previous seasons. Last two games, at least for me, have shown that there is indeed somthing different about this years Hilltoppers.

                                To quote Christopher Walken "I've got a fever and the the only prescription is more cow bell!" If Walken was watching WLU this year, he might advise the Toppers that he again had a fever, and the only prescription was "More WLU style!"

                                Walken is very wise and the Toppers would do well to listen to him!!!!

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