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  • West Liberty National Ranking as of 2/1/22
    • West Liberty is in the top 5 nationally in 9 categories!
    • 90th percentile in 14 categories!
    • WLU now shooting over 50% FGs and nearly 39% from three point range
    • Assists are nearly 21 a game
    • Assist to turnover ratio is an amazing 1.71, considering the rapid pace of play and the increased number of possessions in a game.

    Date National Ranking West Liberty rank Value
    2/1/2022 Scoring Offense 1 99.20
    2/1/2022 Scoring Margin 1 21.00
    2/1/2022 Assists Per Game 2 20.90
    2/1/2022 Steals Per Game 3 11.60
    2/1/2022 Turnover Margin 3 8.00
    2/1/2022 Turnovers Forced 3 20.15
    2/1/2022 Assist Turnover Ratio 4 1.71
    2/1/2022 Three-Point Attempts 5 604.00
    2/1/2022 Three-Point Field Goals Per Game 5 11.70
    2/1/2022 Offensive Rebounds per game 10 14.10
    2/1/2022 Field-Goal Percentage 14 50.03
    2/1/2022 Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage 26 38.74
    2/1/2022 Free-Throw Attempts 27 406.00
    2/1/2022 Free-Throw Made 30 290.00
    2/1/2022 Total Rebounds per game 42 39.25
    2/1/2022 Rebound Margin 51 4.00
    2/1/2022 Blocked Shots Per Game 69 3.60
    2/1/2022 Free-Throw Percentage 141 71.43
    2/1/2022 Defensive Rebounds per game 184 25.15
    2/1/2022 Field-Goal Percentage Defense 208 45.78


    • Observations on 2021-2022 West Liberty Teams versus Previous Teams
      It is problematic to compare teams with those of prior years, as the strength of the schedule and overall conference strength can vary. For example, this year's out of conference schedule for WLU was the strongest in recent memory. With that caveat, here are some comparisons with past years. Overall, WLU is approaching parity with teams of past years.

      As WLU has improved in passing the ball and moving without the ball, the stats have steadily climbed toward the typical stats of teams from prior years.
      • Stats that are better than average
        • Scoring margin of 21.4 points a game is impressive, given the out of conference schedule.
        • The margin in assist to turnover ratio between WLU and opponents is incredible at 1.18. One factor are the shutdown defensive guards are disrupting the offense.
        • Assists per game
      • Stats that are consistent with prior teams:
        • FG PCT
        • Three-point attempts per game is just slightly over the average
        • Shots per 40 minutes
        • Steals per forced turnover
        • Possessions per game at 80.
        • Assist to turnover ratio is at the median value, but just below the mean value.
      • Stats that are below average value of prior teams
        • FT % - Although it has been climbing to over 71%, it is still below the 75% average.
        • Points per possession has been climbing from 1.19 to 1.24, and is approaching the 1.26 average. By comparison, the best in D1 is probably Gonzaga at about 1.19
      TeamYear WLU2021 WLU2020 WLU2019 WLU2018 WLU2017 WLU2016 WLU2015 WLU2014 WLU2013 WLU2012 Mean Median
      GP 20 23 31 33 30 32 35 32 35 36
      FG Pct 50% 49% 51% 50% 48% 49% 50% 52% 49% 52% 50% 50%
      3FG PCT 39% 37% 41% 43% 38% 36% 41% 41% 40% 41% 41% 41%
      FT PCT 71% 75% 77% 78% 77% 72% 73% 71% 75% 76% 75% 75%
      Reb Per Game 39 43 42 42 44 41 43 40 42 41 41.64 41.70
      Avg Pts Per Game 99.2 101 102 101 105 97 98.4 101 99.9 103 100.72 100.65
      Shots per 40 min 73 74 75 71 77 70 69 69 72 72 72.16 72.25
      Points Per Shot 1.36 1.36 1.37 1.40 1.36 1.34 1.42 1.46 1.36 1.43 1.39 1.37
      Points Per Possession 1.24 1.25 1.27 1.27 1.28 1.25 1.25 1.28 1.26 1.28 1.26 1.27
      Possessions per game 80 81 80 79 82 78 79 79 79 80 79.76 79.62
      Three FGA per Game 30 30 28 28 34 31 29 27 30 27 29.48 29.37
      FGA per Game 73 74 75 72 77 72 69 69 73 72 72.72 72.65
      Assist to Turnover Ratio Margin (WLU-Opp.) 1.18 0.80 0.95 0.51 1.22 1.10 0.80 0.83 1.05 1.06 0.95 1.00
      Assist to Turnover Ratio 1.71 1.58 1.62 1.49 1.98 1.96 1.80 1.70 1.84 1.65 1.73 1.70
      steals to forced TO Ratio 57% 55% 57% 55% 56% 54% 55% 62% 59% 59% 0.57 0.57
      TO per Game 12.2 11.5 11.5 12.0 10.5 9.3 11.2 11.8 10.3 12.9 11.31 11.49
      Assists per game 20.9 18.2 18.5 18.0 20.8 18.2 20.1 19.9 19.0 21.3 19.50 19.48
      PPP Margin (WLU - Opp.) 0.27 0.24 0.29 0.15 0.26 0.22 0.23 0.21 0.23 0.30 0.24 0.24
      Scoring Margin (WLU - Opp.) 21.4 20.4 24.0 11.8 21.9 18.2 18.9 17.6 18.0 24.1 19.62 19.65


      • Yoakum is back!


        • Wow it sounded like there was some kind of medical issue with someone in the background of the broadcast right before halftime


          • Two quick observations from the WVSU game (and mine will be anecdotal as opposed to the statistically backed observations we'll get soon from Columbus):

            1. Rasile's Defense: I thought Rasile took a huge step forward as a defender in this game. WVSU was regularly running a high pick, knowing that WLU switches on all picks unless it's McKinney (he's too quick to duck under picks to render the pick effective). It seemed their plan was to exploit those switches and let Pittman & J. Moore work against a guard and Abram work against a big. On multiple occasions, Pittman had the ball (and a head of steam) at the top of the key with Rasile as his newly switched mark. I was so impressed with Rasile's commitment to sit down, stick out his chest, and go body-to-body with guys twice his size. And on more occasion than one, he forced that player to give up the ball or force a wild shot. Yes, he picked up 4 fouls banging with the bigs, but I was so impressed with Rasile's bulldog mentality that often thwarted WVSU's attempt at exploiting a perceived mismatch.

            2. Robinson's Unselfishness: For the second time this year, WVSU has found a way to bottle up Pat Robinson (a near-impossible task on most nights). Thankfully, in both games Bryce Butler stepped up big time to fill the production gap. But the most impressive part about it (aside from WVSU's strong defense) was that Robinson never once tried to force something and "get his." He knows he's "the man" on this team (to the degree that any one player is "the man" on a WLU team), but he also knows that when he's held down as a scorer, he still has other ways to help this team (assists, offensive rebounds, defense, etc.). So impressed that Robinson never got baited into forcing things and continued to feed his teammates and keep the offense rolling. That shows big time leadership and maturity, and that's precisely what the young Hilltoppers need from Robinson night in and night out (whether the scoring is there or not).

            Strong win overall. Always good to get out of a WVSU game with a W. Much respect to that team--they always give WLU a spirited fight.
            Last edited by Scrub; 02-03-2022, 07:24 AM.


            • Scrub - Great analysis!

              Zach - last year, guards would have had the green light to immediately take him to the rim. No more. More experienced, athletic guards are no longer getting by him. As a result, his minutes are going up. We now have 4 strong defensive defensive guards. I too am impressed by how intelligently he guards bigs in the post. He is an aggressive rebounder too. As he has gotten more comfortable, his shooting is back to where it was in high school, when he destroyed the Ohio all tme career record for three point goals as a junior. His record may never be broken.


              • Scrub- great point about Patrick.

                They were collapsing on him when he started to drive, just like Fairmont did. He did not take the bait. When he then dishes to teammates for threes, their strategy collapses and the defense has to spread. He was a monster on offensive and defensive glass against taller players as well as on defense. He has become a complete team player.


                • Observations on WLU vs WV State 2/2/22
                  • WVSU was arguably the hottest team in the country, owning a 10-game winning streak with convincing victories over Fairmont and Charleston. WLU had handed them their last loss in a dramatic come back from a double-digit deficit.
                  • WVSU is tall, long, athletic, with great shooters. One could argue that in a 1-on-1 game, WVSU would defeat most of their counterparts at WLU. The WVSU strategy was to leverage this athletic advantage to attack the rim after breaking the press, just like Fairmont did. They had some success, with some pretty dunks, which nevertheless only count as 2 points.
                  • So how did WLU even win, much less lead by 17 points late in the game on the way to a12-point victory 96-84? IMHO:
                    • The continuous pressure of WLU caused WVSU to tire in the last 8 minutes of each half. Leading to open looks and easy baskets for WLU. It also reduced WVSU effort on the boards and getting back on defense. Many times, WLU would get a rebound and dribble past 3 WVSU defenders before even crossing the half court line.
                    • WLU was pushing the pace at every opportunity. Combine that with WVSU sprinting to attack the rim after breaking the press, and the fatigue accumulates. The multiple platoons of WLU helps them stay fresh. WVSU did not have sufficient quality depth.
                    • WLU was unselfish and avoided difficult, low percentage shots.
                    • Although WLU committed more turnovers than usual, (19 to WVSU 21 TOs), many of their forced turnovers led to easy baskets, where WVSU did not get so many easy baskets off turnovers.
                    • WLU had 12 steals, compared to only 6 for WVSU.
                    • WLU, despite being smaller, controlled the boards, 42-34. More importantly, they got an impressive 38% of the missed shots on their glass.
                    • WLU made the extra pass to get a great shot.
                    • WLU hit 83% of their FTs.
                  Opponent WEST VIRGINIA STATE
                  Date 02/02/22
                  Score 96-84
                  w/l W
                  FG 35
                  FGA 70
                  FG Pct 50%
                  3FG 6
                  3 FGA 19
                  3 FG PCT 32%
                  FT 20
                  FTA 24
                  FT PCT 83%
                  Off Reb 14
                  Def Reb 28
                  Tot Reb 42
                  Reb Per Game 39.4
                  PF 24
                  Assist 18
                  TO 19
                  Blk 4
                  Stl 12
                  Pts 96
                  Avg Pts Per Game 99.0
                  Steals per Forced TO 57%
                  Assist to TO Ratio 0.95
                  Assist per FG 51%
                  Points Per FGA 1.37
                  Points Per Possession 1.12
                  Num Possessions 86
                  OppDefReb 23
                  Off Reb Effic 38%
                  Forced TO 21
                  Game num 21
                  Two Pt FG % 56.9%
                  Effective Shooting % 54.29%
                  Last edited by Columbuseer; 02-03-2022, 06:10 PM.


                  • Viktor Kovacevic was another key factor in the victory over WVSU with his energy level. He
                    • contested shots
                    • got 7 rebounds
                    • Scored 11 points on 5-7 shooting
                    • Got 3 assists on great interior passing
                    • Dove for loose balls
                    • Even guarded Abrams outside to prevent threes and did not let him drive by him
                    • Used better judgment in avoiding needless fouls and stayed out of serious foul trouble (3 fouls)


                    • Originally posted by Columbuseer View Post
                      Even guarded Abrams outside to prevent threes and did not let him drive by him
                      I was going to mention that as well. The flip side of Rasile doing a nice job hanging with Pittman/Moore was that Viktor did a great job hanging with Abram as the other half of those high-pick-switches.


                      • Originally posted by Scrub View Post

                        I was going to mention that as well. The flip side of Rasile doing a nice job hanging with Pittman/Moore was that Viktor did a great job hanging with Abram as the other half of those high-pick-switches.
                        Against a streaky, quick release, athletic, 3pt jump shooter (like Abram), a mobile, long-armed, 6-8 forward like Viktor can be an effective deterrent, both physically as well as psychologically, as it can make the shooter think about a possible block, which takes them out of their groove. We might see this matchup scenario again, if an opponent gets hot from downtown.


                        • Bryce Butler is starting to play at an all-conference level in the last few games. Against wvsu and their very athletic bigs, he had 23 points on 10-16 fgs, 13 rebounds, 7 assists and 5 steals, despite being undersized inside. Recently, he has been flirting with double-doubles nearly every game.
                          He made an incredible post move against Pittman, an all conference player. I had never seen that move done before by anyone. It was a triple reverse pivot that left Pittman grabbing air.

                          It reminded me of a very difficult dive that divers had thought was impossible. It has only been captured on video once.
                          In deference to that dive, I have named Bryce's move the "Triple Lindy"!


                          • This was a high-level basketball game between two very talented, well-coached teams.
                            The Charleston strategy was sound:
                            • In a departure from previous meetings, UC chose to attack the rim after breaking the press in transition.
                            • They spread the floor to try to create space for their strong inside players
                            • They were effective at drawing fouls inside
                            • They are one of the best shooting teams in D2 and proved it for the first 10 minutes of the game, averaging over 60%.
                            • They hit the glass hard with their tall lineup, trying to prevent second shots by WLU.
                            • Minimize the turnover advantage for WLU
                            UC succeeded in most of their goals. They averaged 1.17 points per possession, which is better than all but two teams in D1 (Purdue and Gonzaga at 1.20 and 1.19, respectively). Their effective shooting percentage was 51%. They were ahead by as many as 12 points in the first half. So why did they fall behind by 18 in last 5 minutes of the game, in route to a 12-point loss?

                            IMHO, the reasons were the WLU style, implemented by talented 1-on-1 players, who chose to share the ball.
                            • Patrick Robinson III has always been nearly impossible to guard. Now Bryce Butler has joined him, as UC had no one who could defend him. So, they naturally drew attention for help defense. However, instead of taking a contested shot, which they could often make, they kicked the ball out to a teammate for a wide-open look.
                            • The cumulative effect of fatigue that occurs in the last 5 minutes of each half, from:
                              • the WLU full court traps on missed shots as well as made field goals.
                              • the effort spent by UC to try to close out on shooters after Patrick and Bryce (and others) have sucked the defense inside.
                              • The suffocating half-court defense that stifled the offensive continuity of UC.
                            • Six different players were 50% or better from Three-Point range, led by Montague and Rasile. The team shot 69% from three on 11-16. A huge factor was the kick out pass, which left players with wide-open, relaxed shots.
                            • When they shot 2-point FGs, they were good, on balance shots at 61% success.
                            As a result, WLU averaged an incredible 1.35 points per possession, despite the fact they turned the ball over more than their average. Their effective shooting % was an amazing 75%.

                            Given their quality depth that allows effective platooning to exhaust the opponent, their suffocating half-court defense, and the fact that everyone can shoot and share the ball, when WLU is on their game, they are a very dangerous team.

                            Team West Liberty at Charleston (WV) Advantage to:
                            Date 2/5/2022 2/5/2022
                            Score 96-82 WLU
                            w/l W WLU
                            FG 32 23 WLU
                            FGA 50 50 =
                            FG Pct 64% 46% WLU
                            3FG 11 5 WLU
                            3 FGA 16 15 =
                            3 FG PCT 69% 33% WLU
                            FT 21 31 UC
                            FTA 28 41 UC
                            FT PCT 75% 76% =
                            Off Reb 6 12 UC
                            Def Reb 23 16 WLU
                            Tot Reb 29 28 =
                            PF 27 26 =
                            Assist 13 6 WLU
                            TO 15 14 =
                            Blk 4 2 WLU
                            Stl 6 6 =
                            Pts 96 82 WLU
                            Avg Pts Per Game 98.9 78.3 WLU
                            Steals per Forced TO 43% 43% =
                            Assist to TO Ratio 0.87 0.43 WLU
                            Assist per FG 41% 26% WLU
                            Points Per FGA 1.92 1.64 WLU
                            Points Per Possession 1.35 1.17 WLU
                            Num Possessions 71 70 =
                            OppDefReb 16 23 UC
                            Off Reb Effic 27% 34% UC
                            Forced TO 14 14 =
                            Game num 22 22 =
                            Two Pt FG % 61.8% 51.4% WLU
                            Effective Shooting % 75.00% 51.00% WLU
                            Last edited by Columbuseer; 02-07-2022, 09:47 AM.


                            • A few (potentially less learned) observations from UC game:

                              1. I can't recall a time when WLU lost the turnover battle (albeit only by one, but still). Hats off to UC's defense for causing some of that, and hats off to WLU for finding a way to win a game convincingly while nonetheless losing the turnover battle.

                              2. Your point about the wide open 3's is a good one. Cmont doesn't seem to like to shoot unless he's wide open (he seems to recognize that he's most valuable as a facilitator, unlike a Rasile or Denbow who, with their quick releases, don't mind launching with a closeout defender on the way). But UC had to be wondering where Cmont's scoring came from, and I think you accurately assigned it to the attention that Robinson & Butler were getting in the lane. The UC announcers were in awe of Butler the whole game--at one point they seemed to just throw up their hands and say there's just no one on UC's team who can check him right now. And therefore, Cmont couldn't help but launch (and make) when he found himself as wide open as he did. He's a good shooter, but he's obviously most comfortable (a la Luke Dyer) when he's wide open--which he was on Saturday.

                              3. McKinney with another silly T. WLU had Gable off his game for the duration on Saturday. He seemed to be whining, pouting, and chirping most of the game (which means he wasn't spending any time scoring). He was mentally checked out. But the moment you chirp back at him and get T'd up, you justify his whining and give him a reason to check back in mentally. If a guy wants to take himself out of the game, Malik has to shut his mouth and let the guy take himself out.


                              • West Liberty National Ranking as of 2/6/22
                                • West Liberty is in the top 3 nationally in 6 categories!
                                • West Liberty is in the top 10 nationally in 11 categories!
                                • 90th percentile in 14 categories!
                                • WLU shooting is improving - 50.47% FGs and 39.28% from three point range. Season Free throw % has improved nearly 1 % in just one week!
                                • Assists are over 20 a game
                                • Assist to turnover ratio is 7th nationally, at an amazing 1.62, considering the rapid pace of play and the increased number of possessions in a game.

                                Date National Ranking West Liberty rank Value
                                2/6/2022 Scoring Offense 1 98.90
                                2/6/2022 Scoring Margin 2 20.00
                                2/6/2022 Assists Per Game 2 20.40
                                2/6/2022 Steals Per Game 3 11.30
                                2/6/2022 Turnover Margin 3 7.30
                                2/6/2022 Turnovers Forced 3 19.91
                                2/6/2022 Three-Point Field Goals Per Game 6 11.40
                                2/6/2022 Assist Turnover Ratio 7 1.62
                                2/6/2022 Three-Point Attempts 7 639.00
                                2/6/2022 Field-Goal Percentage 9 50.47
                                2/6/2022 Offensive Rebounds per game 10 13.73
                                2/6/2022 Free-Throw Attempts 17 458.00
                                2/6/2022 Free-Throw Made 17 331.00
                                2/6/2022 Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage 20 39.28
                                2/6/2022 Total Rebounds per game 42 38.91
                                2/6/2022 Rebound Margin 45 4.00
                                2/6/2022 Blocked Shots Per Game 65 3.60
                                2/6/2022 Free-Throw Percentage 119 72.27
                                2/6/2022 Defensive Rebounds per game 180 25.18
                                2/6/2022 Field-Goal Percentage Defense 215 45.92