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  • Lucky to escape tonight. I'll look forward to your "observations from a dummy," Columbus. The most troubling stat to my untrained eye is a mere 10 team assists. Dyer's line was a disappointing 1 assist and 2 turnovers (might be the first time he's ever had more TO than A). Ball was sticking a bit too much tonight. I'm sure that means points per possession were down.

    But the one silver lining is this: We've been saying on this board for a while that this is a team that finally has guys who can just hit the rack and make plays on an off-shooting night (putrid from the arc tonight). And with the game on the line, Pat Robinson was a beast. McKinney had a huge game getting in the lane and creating havoc as well. What we saw tonight was a team gut one out with sheer will and athleticism on a night when jumpers wouldn't fall (not even a good showing from the free throw line). We've been saying it for a while, but tonight was the living proof. Interested to see your recap, Columbus.

    Comment


    • Scrub, you nailed it. Without the elite athletes on this team (Patrick, Malik, Will, Bryce, Marlon to name a few), we don't win this game. If we only had one great player, opponents would have doubled him.

      Observations from a Dummy: WLU at NDC- Sometimes you encounter the perfect storm…

      How do you beat a team that:
      1. Has many players having career nights
      2. Cannot miss shooting - 48% overall, 47 % from three and 77% free throws
      3. Outrebounded WLU 40 to 32
      4. Has 60% more assists
      When you are:
      1. Horrendously shooting from three (22%) – if not for Zach Rasile, we would have shot 9% (2-22) from Three
      2. We are not playing particularly well on defense on switches to close out shooters or keep them away from the rim.
      3. Some of our shot selection was average in that there was no one under the basket.
      4. We had low assists because no one was making shots.
      NDC Strategy
      • NDC played straight up man-to-man and tried to stay in passing lanes to slow down the ball rotations. They were betting that they could defend without much help.
      • If they broke the press and had a clear opening for a layup, they would attack. Else they would work the ball until they got a good shot.
      • Most of the NDC players are good 1-on-1 players who can make contested shots.
      • They have good three-point shooters, one at 51% and another 48%. Statistically, they shoot as well as WLU from three and overall.
      • They want to slow the game down, for they do not have much depth and fatigue is a risk.
      WL was keeping the game close by:
      - getting 18 points off turnovers to 4 for NDC. and committing only 5 turnovers to 14 for NDC.
      - Exerting withering defensive pressure, which proved to reap dividends in the waning moments
      - Drawing fouls, which sent some NDC players to bench
      - Our weave on offense was giving them trouble in the second half.


      For most teams, this perfect storm would have been “one of those nights”, a statistical aberration that results in an unavoidable loss. But not for this team. WLU will do whatever it takes to avoid losing.

      Keys to the Game IMHO
      • Fatigue started to tell on NDC late in the game, and our players could sense it. WLU has some elite athletes who can finish at the rim after contact. WLU had to score quickly and match NDC score for score, for time was becoming a factor and NDC was milking the clock. We were behind and we had to keep it a one possession game.
      • With 4 minutes to go, WLU started cranking up the pace of the game, making NDC players, many of whom had played heavy minutes, sprint to keep up with them. WLU was taking NDC to the rim for and-ones.
        • In the last 3:12 Patrick scored 10 of WLU’s last 14 points, including two and-ones. Few players can stop him in the half court when fresh without help, much less at the end of the game. The defense was spread so there was little help. NDC cannot double team him or Will, Malik, Bryce, etc. will take them to the rim.
        • Down by 2, Bryce makes an incredible inside move to tie the game at 82.
        • Patrick makes a cross-lane runner to tie the game at 84 with 1:40 left
        • Marlon comes up big on defense, blocking a layup and keeping it in play
        • Everyone was making foul shots.
        • WLU subbed in best defenders on defense and best scorers on offense on change of possession in last minute.
      • Brilliant Coaching move- Down by 3 with 38 seconds to go, NDC calls their last time out to set up a play to get a quick open look for a three. That would give them time to foul and get another 3 at the buzzer to tie or win. As they start to inbound the ball, WLU goes to some type of zone (shape shifting between 2-1-2 and a 3-2). WLU is a man to man defensive team!No timeouts left and the play they called is useless. The defense was confusing them and NDC could not improvise in real time. After wasting 23 seconds, they try a desperation layup that Marlon or Will blocks but keeps the ball in play for Bryce to grab and pass to Malik with 11 seconds left. He ices two FTs for a safe 5-point lead.

      WLU basically stole a game that statistically they should have lost. Hats off to the coaches and players for refusing to lose.

      Last edited by Columbuseer; 02-13-2021, 11:52 PM.

      Comment


      • Here are stats. For a horrendous shooting night, WLU averaged a surprising 1.14 Points Per Possession (PPP) on 78 possessions, primarily due to having very few turnovers. In addition, we cannot underestimate the cumulative effect of the WLU defensive and offensive pressure in creating fatigue on a team with limited quality depth. In the last 6 minutes or so of the game, NDC seemed a step slow on defense. The fatigue factor helps WLU when everything else is going wrong.

        In watching the last minute again, I loved how WLU disguised their intentions after the NDC timeout with 38 seconds. They started to find their man on the out of bounds play, just like their normal defense. Then at the last moment, they fell into a zone. Too late for NDC to change the play. Great deception to get a little more of an edge.
        Statistic West Liberty at Notre Dame (OH)
        POINTS 89 84
        FGM 29 30
        FGA 69 62
        FGPCT 42.0% 48.4%
        3FGM 6 7
        3FGA 27 15
        3FGPCT 22.2% 46.7%
        FTM 25 17
        FTA 33 22
        FTPCT 75.8% 77.3%
        REBOUND OFFENSIVE 11 8
        REBOUND DEFENSIVE 24 32
        REBOUND TOTAL 35 40
        ASSISTS 10 16
        TURNOVERS 5 14
        BLOCKS 6 2
        STEALS 8 3
        Num Possessions 78 78
        Points per Possession 1.14 1.08
        Assists per 100 Possessions 12.8 20.5
        Assists to FG Made ratio 34.5% 53.3%
        Assist to Turnover Ratio 2.00 1.14
        Turnovers per 100 Possessions
        (< better)
        6.4 17.9
        Other Team Defensive Rebounds 32 24
        Offensive Rebound Efficiency % 25.6% 25.0%
        Effective FG % 46.4% 54.0%
        Effective FG% Difference (team-Opp) -7.7% 7.7%
        FGA % Diff ((team FGA-Opp.FGA)/Opp FGA) 11.3% -10.1%
        Last edited by Columbuseer; 02-14-2021, 12:19 PM.

        Comment


        • Every now and then, the "athletic ability" (i.e. ability to play AAU-style ball) can win a game but usually, it comes up short. WLU is 1-3 when playing isolation/take everything to the rack/AAU ball.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by boatcapt View Post
            Every now and then, the "athletic ability" (i.e. ability to play AAU-style ball) can win a game but usually, it comes up short. WLU is 1-3 when playing isolation/take everything to the rack/AAU ball.
            I don't think anyone is suggesting that we change the WLU style. However, the style does not require we only shoot from three. It requires that we get a "good" shot, whether it is a three or a slash to the rim. I contend that every one of the shots taken in the last 4 minutes were good shots.

            IMHO, if you play dribble drive long term, the team efficiency will be somewhere around 1.0 points per possession over the long haul, which will not result in an 85% winning percentage. WLU historically is over 1.2 PPP, which translates to an extra 16 points over 80 possessions compared to 1.0 PPP.

            However, I contend that we were not playing dribble drive offense in the last 4 minutes, for we did pass the ball, and all shots were within the individual player's proven capabilities.

            In addition, the situations in the 3 losses are not comparable. There were many factors yesterday that were significantly different than the three losses. To name a few:

            1. The defense - NDC has many talented quick 6-0 guards. Their strategy was to play more straight up man-to-man to deny the open three point look and use their quickness to stop dribble drives to the basket. In the losses, the opponents were playing with more pack-line defensive tendencies and with bigger players, which allows the defense to collapse on dribble drive teams.

            2. Lack of depth caused NDC to get tired. When you can get by your opponent on the first few dribbles with a clear path to the rim, you have to take it; then kick out if the defense collapses. In the 3 losses, the defense was ready and waiting to contest the shot and there were no open looks at the rim and we did not kick out. The NDC defense was much more spread out and could not provide timely help defense.

            3. We were running out to time and had to stay within one possession. We were down 2 with under two minutes left. We had to score, by making goals or getting fouled (we were in the double bonus). In the three losses, we were dribbling into the teeth of the defense from almost the opening tip. Yesterday, in the last 3 minutes, we could not afford the time to rotate the ball for 20 seconds and hope that the three goes in. If we saw an opening we had to exploit it. Only by taking it to the rim could we make a goal or draw a foul. I can recall in past years, when one could look at the 3 point shooting percentage and often determine whether WLU won or lost the game because we had no one who could finish at the rim. Now when we are as cold as ice, we have more options at crunch time near the end of the game (besides losing).


            Comment


            • The desire to play 1 on 1 ball at WLU seems to be a relatively new situation that has really come to a head this year. It was particularly apparent in our 3 losses. It's not that we aren't shooting 3's, it's more that we appear to have devolved into only two offensive options...Either get an open 3 and take it OR take it all the way to the hole. Gone from our offensive arsenal is beating your man and pulling up for an open 18 foot jumper or driving to pull the D to you and kicking out to an open wing. Seems like once a player decides that he is going to drive and the ball hits his hand, he is taking it ALL the way to the rack no matter what. If i've seen it once I've seen it at least 20 times were a WLU player gets the ball at the 3 line, does an up move to get his defender off ballance, drives past him and crosses 20 feet of no mans land were he is largely unguarded and could pull up for a short jumper, to take the ball inside were he takes a twisting contested reverse lay-up. When it goes in, you go WOW, what an athletic move! But what I wonder is why didn't he just take the open 18 foot jumper?? Wouldn't have been as WOW inducing...but would have counted the same on the scoreboard and had much less chance of being blocked OR getting called for a charge.

              Unscientific observation, seems like teams have figured out that the way you play WLU this year is to contest the 3 and then collapse all the way inside because WLU ain't going to take a mid range jumper or kick the ball out on the drive.

              To your point about being down 2 with 2 minutes to play, I observe that 2 minutes is an eternity in WLU time. I've seen them score 10+ points in that time span many times!
              Last edited by boatcapt; 02-15-2021, 09:31 AM.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by boatcapt View Post
                The desire to play 1 on 1 ball at WLU seems to be a relatively new situation that has really come to a head this year. It was particularly apparent in our 3 losses....
                I could not agree more about the decisions in the three losses...
                I think it is prudent to look at the 4 games since those three losses prior to NDC. We averaged over 30 assists per game and played WLU ball.

                So if the 1-on-1 horse we are beating from the three losses is not dead, it is at least on life support LOL.

                But I thought we were discussing the end of the Notre Dame game.

                Generally speaking, no argument that WLU can score in bunches. Again, It just doesn't usually happen when the opponent is leading at the end of the game (under 2 mins.). Why? Because their primary focus has shifted just on protecting the ball and milking the clock, with scoring a secondary concern except for getting FTs.

                In the last 12:30 of the game, how many turnovers did NDC commit? TWO. Their spacing was much better against pressure. So expecting a flurry of turnovers in the last two minutes against a guard-laden team with good handles is optimistic, to put it kindly.

                In the late stages of the game, you have to take what the defense is giving you and take it quickly. So I guess we will have to agree to disagree.


                Last edited by Columbuseer; 02-15-2021, 03:33 PM. Reason: Corrected time of game of last two NDC turnovers to 12:30.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Columbuseer View Post
                  I could not agree more about the decisions in the three losses...
                  I think it is prudent to look at the 4 games since those three losses prior to NDC. We averaged over 30 assists per game and played WLU ball.

                  So if the 1-on-1 horse we are beating from the three losses is not dead, it is at least on life support LOL.

                  But I thought we were discussing the end of the Notre Dame game.

                  Generally speaking, no argument that WLU can score in bunches. Again, It just doesn't usually happen when the opponent is leading at the end of the game (under 2 mins.). Why? Because their primary focus has shifted just on protecting the ball and milking the clock, with scoring a secondary concern except for getting FTs.

                  In the last 12:30 of the game, how many turnovers did NDC commit? TWO. Their spacing was much better against pressure. So expecting a flurry of turnovers in the last two minutes against a guard-laden team with good handles is optimistic, to put it kindly.

                  In the late stages of the game, you have to take what the defense is giving you and take it quickly. So I guess we will have to agree to disagree.

                  It will be an interesting finish. WL got a good draw in that the three teams that beat them ... they only play once in the regular season. Rest of the way only Fairmont will have a shot at them. That's a real big one next week. The first meeting was so ugly by both teams it was hard to grasp much.

                  I chalk up the Concord loss as a fluke. I know they have some nice players but they are just 5-5. WV State seems to have figured some things out against WL and has quality depth. Charleston has the makeup to be a bad match-up with strong guards and an elite, big post player.

                  It should be a fun conference tournament ... with probably 4 teams having a shot to win it.

                  Comment


                  • And with Hillsdale, Findlay, Mercy, & Gannon (among others) beating down the door, one of the 4 teams you mention having a shot to win the MEC tournament might have to win that tourney to stay alive. There's a reasonable possibility only 3 MEC teams get in the regional tourney, but there are 4 (maybe 5 if you think that Glenville is for real and that their start wasn't just a flash in the pan) MEC teams that can do damage in the conference tourney. Depending on how these last few weeks play out, there might 1 or 2 dangerous teams heading into that tourney with everything on the line. That makes them even more dangerous.

                    If WLU doesn't take care of business against FSU next week, they may find themselves in a position to need that tourney win in order to avoid attending the regional tournament on their own home floor as mere ball boys and stat runners.

                    Comment


                    • I'm with you scrub,.
                      The mec has beaten each other up and confused things.
                      Barring some upset, I see findlay, Hillsdale and mercyhurst as locks.,
                      that leaves 3 openings.
                      if the mec Tourney winner gets auto bid thar leaves 2 slots. As u said, if someone gets upset in the last few games in the season, it could get very hard to pick those final 2.
                      also have hope findlay or hillsdale wins their tourney too.

                      imho a ndc loss would have forced us to win the tourney.

                      Comment


                      • Do note that Findlay had a terrible week this week and now shows 4 losses on their record. But, they have that signature win against Hillsdale on their record from back in December. Can't take that away from them. I wouldn't count the Oilers out of anything just yet. Especially with the mess the MEC has become this year. Charleston likely has the easiest path to a "secure" spot. After that, it's a dog fight between WLU, WVSU, FSU, & Glenville. The upcoming WLU/FSU game might just become a sort of de facto "play in game." Both teams gotta have it.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Scrub View Post
                          Do note that Findlay had a terrible week this week and now shows 4 losses on their record. But, they have that signature win against Hillsdale on their record from back in December. Can't take that away from them. I wouldn't count the Oilers out of anything just yet. Especially with the mess the MEC has become this year. Charleston likely has the easiest path to a "secure" spot. After that, it's a dog fight between WLU, WVSU, FSU, & Glenville. The upcoming WLU/FSU game might just become a sort of de facto "play in game." Both teams gotta have it.
                          Thanks scrub. Was not aware of findlays losses. Hope ndc or others can pull some upsets in the last week and wlu can win out.

                          Comment


                          • FYI WLU National D2 stat ranking (through midnight Feb 14)
                            NCAA ranks the 312 D2 schools in 31 national statistics, of which only 26 are relevant to the WLU style (see note below).

                            WLU ranks in the:
                            • top 50 in 24 of the relevant 26 categories
                            • top 20 in 19 categories
                            • top 10 in 12 categories
                            • top 5 in 9 categories

                            Note: The WL style is incongruous with some statistics, such as fewest fouls, personal fouls per game, fewest turnovers, turnovers per game, scoring defense, etc., which leaves only 26 relevant stats for WLU.
                            Date Stat Rank Value
                            2/14/2021 Scoring Offense 1 104.8
                            2/14/2021 Assists per game 2 20.8
                            2/14/2021 Total Rebounds per game 2 45.58
                            2/14/2021 Scoring margin 3 24
                            2/14/2021 Turnover margin 3 6.3
                            2/14/2021 Steals per Game 4 10.6
                            2/14/2021 Turnovers forced per game 4 19.25
                            2/14/2021 Defensive Rebounds per game 5 29.5
                            2/14/2021 Rebound Margin 5 9
                            2/14/2021 Offensive rebounds per game 6 16.08
                            2/14/2021 Assist to turnover ratio 7 1.61
                            2/14/2021 Total steals 9 127
                            2/14/2021 Blocked shots per game 12 4.3
                            2/14/2021 Total Assists 15 249
                            2/14/2021 Three Point FG Defense 16 30.20%
                            2/14/2021 Free Throw Made 19 240
                            2/14/2021 Free Throw Percentage 20 77.67%
                            2/14/2021 Three-point FG per game 20 10.6
                            2/14/2021 Total Blocks 20 52
                            2/14/2021 Free Throw Attempts 30 309
                            2/14/2021 FG percentage 32 48.26%
                            2/14/2021 Total Rebounds 34 547
                            2/14/2021 3-point FG attempts 38 358
                            2/14/2021 Total three-point FG Made 40 127

                            Comment


                            • WLU has been in win or stay home since the final horn in Charleston on Jan 30. One more loss and they are probably out of the Top 6 and their only route to the tourney is through the MECs automatic bid. EVERY game for them is must win.

                              Comment


                              • Wlu cannot overlook frostburg. When we played them earlier, their star player had the green light to jack up bad shots. Before their wvsu victory, somebody gave them the wlu version of the vulcan mind meld. They were rapidly passing the ball and giving up good shots for great shots. Went up 20 in 1st half.

                                Comment

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