Thursday, January 22, 2015

Hofstra - Learning From Our Mistakes

Final:  Hofstra 86, Drexel 58

Player of the Game:  Damion Lee
Key to the game:  Interior Defense
Next Game:  Saturday January 24th vs College of Charleston at the DAC

Drexel lost by 28 last night, and it wasn't as close as the score makes it seem.

Adam Hermann correctly notes that Hofstra shot themselves in the foot enough to keep this a game until halftime.  The game should have been over long before that.  Going in everyone knew that there was a high odds shot that Hofstra would be the better shooters, and would likely not turnover the ball a ton.  The Dragons responded by going small again, leading to their absolute obliteration on the boards.

86-58 is what happens when you get outshot, outrebounded, and lose the turnover game.  This is a good time to remember that there are no victims, only volunteers.

Caption:  65%!!!!

Drexel moved to the four guard set as of the Iona game.  Since that game they have played a weaker schedule than they did in the first half of the season, and yet have stepped backward in almost every statistical category. They worst stat may not be on that chart: Opponents have gone from shooting 47% from two to 54%.

The only time that last nights game was remotely in question was when Hofstra settled for three point attempts at the close of the first half.  They only took 2 three point attempts in the first 6 minutes of the second half and saw their lead balloon from 8 to 21.  A Hofstra team that has lived and died by the three this year simply said "eh, we don't need to shoot em," and they were completely correct.

So if DU can't defend the paint in a four guard set, and if rebounding is off 10% since they have moved to it, then the rational behind the four guard must be either defending the perimeter or offense.  There's two different problems if the reason for the four guard is defending the perimeter.  One, the paint should always be the primary concern on defense.  Two, opponents were hitting 33% before the switch to the guard heavy line, and the weaker opponents that they have faced since they moved to the four guard have hit at 36%,

That leaves the only tenable thing that the four guard could be helping as offense.  While turnovers are down, the Dragons effective field goal percentage has dropped from 44% to 42% since the switch.  Tavon Allen (36%), Freddie Wilson (33.5%) and Sammy Mojica (39.2%) each have worse effective field goal percentages than any contributing player since Gerald Colds.  Forcing an extra member of that group onto the court only makes your offense worse, not better.  And it's not remotely close.

So there you have it.  We know the other option, going to a short bench at forward isn't attractive.  We know that Austin Williams especially has struggled to find himself this year and that Tyshawn Myles needs some conditioning work.  But we see the way that the defense improves when these guys return to the roles that they practiced all offseason.  Bruiser has said the Dragons won't outshoot anyone in this conference, so we know the importance that falls on turnovers and rebounding as well. What we don't know is the thought process that is going through the staff right now.  They're smart guys, and they see something.  The question is what?

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