Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pasting at the Pavillion


Or...The Double-Sided Domination Edition

I was planning on writing about games three through six—a veritable troika of cupcakes—collectively. I hadn’t planned to do an individual post for the UIC game. But then last night’s game happened, and I think it merits recognition.

First, some team numbers.

University of Illinois-Chicago

69 possessions (W 93-58)

Scoring Efficiency
NU
UIC
PPP
1.35
0.84
P/FGA
1.82
0.94
TS%
70.24%
39.00%
Four Factors
NU
UIC
eFG%
71.57%
34.68%
TO%
18.84%
15.94%
OReb%
35.71%
30.19%
FTA/FGA
62.75
41.94
Shooting Percentages
NU
UIC
3P%
55.00%
38.89%
2P%
64.52%
25.00%
FT%
62.50%
57.69%

As dispiriting to a fan as the previous two games were, last night’s game was inspirational. It was obviously the best performance of the year, on both sides of the ball. The PPP and eFG% for NU’s offense were phenomenal. For context:

  • The last time NU put up 1.35 or more PPP was Feb. 9, 2012 at home against Iowa. NU scored 1.39 PPP and won 83-64.
  • The only time NU shot better than 71.57 eFG% since 2008 was on Nov. 30, 2010 at home against Georgia Tech. NU shot 77.1 eFG% and won 91-71.


The defense wasn’t bad, either:

  • The .505 scoring efficiency margin is the best since NU held a .622 PPP margin over SIU-Edwardsville at home on Jan. 20, 2011 in a 98-55 win.
  • NU has held only 11 opponents since 2008 to 34.68 eFG% or lower.


I have one quibble: NU’s FT%. The ‘Cats did a fine job of getting to the line (.6275 FTAs per FGA) but missed too many free throws. The D1 average this season is 68.6%. NU is shooting just 65.7% on the year, and its foul shooting against UIC was even more foul than usual. The ‘Cats are still leaving too many points at the stripe.

Now some individual numbers:

ORtg
%Ps
%Shots
eFG%
Pts
Pt/FGA
Drew Crawford
158
17%
15.69%
81.25%
18
2.25
JerShon Cobb
140
14%
11.76%
66.67%
8
1.33
Sanjay Lumpkin
140
21%
9.80%
80.00%
10
2.00
Dave Sobolewski
138
29%
27.45%
78.57%
25
1.79
Tre Demps
138
23%
13.73%
78.57%
13
1.86
Alex Olah
123
22%
9.80%
60.00%
10
2.00

Having six players with an ORtg over 120 is ridiculous. Normally, I’d say that your fourth-rated offensive player being the highest usage player is not a good thing. But then your fourth-rated offensive player typically doesn’t hit 78.57 eFG% and put up 25 points on 14 FGAs like Dave Sobolewski did. If Dave had any flaw in his offensive game last night, it was his foul shooting (3 of 9). Otherwise, he was on.

The other guys in that table had superb offensive games as well, and much credit should go to Chris Collins and his staff. The ‘Cats were better positioned, and they did a great job of working together to create great looks for each other. This team looked lost on offense against Stanford and ISU; against UIC they were very much found.

One more note: Crawford, Cobb, and Lumpkin were outstanding on the defensive glass, posting DReb% of 26.79, 54.95, and 45.71, respectively.

NU continues with another patsy (on paper) in IUPUI Friday night at Welsh-Ryan. Gardner-Webb visits Monday. I’m eager to see if NU can sustain this performance, build some confidence, individually and collectively, and head out to Vegas on a high note. They’ll need to be on to take down Missouri and UCLA.

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