Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Boogie Man

If you've been watching Drexel games this year, reading your well put together game notes, or reading this blog, you may have noticed the Dragons among the elite in the nation in turnovers.  As of this print, Drexel has moved into the #1 position in the country at turnover rate, and as a fan, as a numbers guy, and I'd imagine as a coach, that's been the cool thing about this years team, this is a team that won't beat themselves.  With a couple of exceptions this year, they've held their own or better on the boards, and they don't turn over the ball, so the number of offensive possessions that the other team receives are limited, and they need to perform well in them in order to beat the Dragons.  Well, that's the plan anyway, until The Boogie Man joins the Drexel roster.

Presented without comment, the conference play Free Throw Rates for CAA Teams (OK, there will be a lot of comments shortly):

Really looking forward to DU/C of C this week.  Or not.

FTR nationally is up this year, but the Dragons still find themselves in rarefied air relative to their teams of old.
   Free throw rate is derived as Free Throw Attempts over Field Goal Attempts.

In five CAA losses, the most consistent player against the Dragons has been FT Line.  Opponents have scored over 20 points per game from the stripe in Drexel's losses in conference play, and they haven't even been shooting lights out in those games, they're averaging 28.2 attempts.  Giving up 20+ points per game from the line will make your defense look worse than it is, except that fouling is part of the defense.  On a team that has the bodies to compete, but doesn't have the depth that they would like, foul trouble will be even more important just in keeping bodies on the floor too.  With the offense playing well, avoiding cheapie fouls should be priority 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 down the stretch, with maybe a hint of focus on rebounding as well.

We ran thru some of the fouls from the JMU game yesterday that put JMU on the line, here are some more examples from the UNCW game, many of which fit into the "low hanging fruit" basket insofar as fixing them goes.

Here's foul type one, the rookie.  Nothing here that isn't easily fixable, no reason to try the faceguard against this guy, and Rodney needs to be using both arms and getting them up:

Here's a second foul and this time it's a team effort:

In the first shot, you see the transition defense has held its ground and the Dragons are in their standard man to man.
In the second step you see Kazembe getting blown by in two steps by Chris Dixon as the Dub has a small lineup on the floor and the Dub pushed the mismatch.
Lastly you see Rodney coming over to help but not getting there in time.  He goes for the block and again, he isn't straight up.  Dixon is still able to get the shot off after the bump on the body and a mismatch on Abif just became Williams' fourth foul and an and one opportunity.

Rodney's fifth foul?  You guessed it, Mike Eades alleged that his arms weren't straight up on this shot:

Mike Eades probably needs an eye exam - go Tech yourself sir

If it seems like we're beating up on Rodney Williams here, it's for two reasons.  First, DU TV didn't get the first time UNCW went to the line on camera (it happens), two, this was a rare game where DU didn't put a team on the line that often, and three, PUT YOUR DAMN ARMS UP!  Five bucks says that's nicer than the coaches will tell it to him.  For the record, he only picked up three fouls in 29 minutes against JMU in the game following this one, and the foul rate has come way down for Rodney from early in the year, this was the only game that Williams has fouled out of in the last month, and good on him for showing that kind of improvement as a freshman.  It's that time of the year where freshman hit the wall now, and while it looks like he punched through that wall like a Sochi hotel room door in the last game, its a situation worth monitoring.

There's real, easy, cleanable stuff here.  The team has a few more days this week, while preparing for the soon to be Pre-Valentine's Foulfest Massacre in Charleston on Thursday, and then the week before the conference tournament to hit on these easy markers.  Clean them up, put The Boogie Man back in his place, and gain 5 points a game.  That's real and that's spectacular, and there's no easier way to get it.  Cut down 5 points a game on the defensive end?  Suddenly this team becomes really, really good.

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