Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tweet! Ugh

I had the pleasure of getting my hoop watch on in person last night, as I went with a couple of friends to the Villanova-Georgetown game at the Phone Booth last night in DC (HD box here). I definitely like to watch games at home, especially when they're in HD, but it's good to see them in person, too, especially with friends. It's cool to be able to focus on whatever I want, rather than just what's on camera (I watch the coaches and benches a lot), and every now and then something interesting happens during a timeout.  However, the view is often not as good or as close, as was the case with our upper deck seats last night (I was with Villanova alums).

All of that said it was an interesting game. I thought a handful of things over the course of the game, which I will now share with you.

  • The Hoyas didn't seem to get Roy Hibbert enough touches. It seemed like they were thinking about it early, starting with big Roy's first possession dunk, and they seemed to focus on it at times, but there were long stretches where the Nova fan next to me and I kept wondering why he wasn't getting the ball. That said, perception was definitely in contrast to reality (or at least the numbers), as Roy used 31% of the team's offensive possessions while he was on the floor, and he was atypically inefficient with them, posting an O rating of 80.1.  I think you can give credit to the Wildcat D there.
  • Villanova didn't seem to have much offense outside of Scottie Reynolds. This one is not so askance with the numbers. Reynolds scored a tidy 45% of the team's points for the entire game (they scored only 2 in the 1:47 he was on the bench). So that's why it seemed that the rest of the team didn't score all that much: they didn't. That is despite the fact that some of them jacked it up quite a bit. Corey Fisher struggled to score, putting up just four points on 16 shots from the field. He had a woefully inefficient game, posting a 35.7 O rating while using 35% of the team's possessions.  Ouch. Ultimately, Villanova had the worst eFG% I've seen in a while: 27.2.  It's really amazing that Villanova was able to do enough other things to stay in the game. Those other things included rebounding a full 34% of their missed shots and forcing Georgetown to turn it over on one quarter their possessions. Shooting a lot of free throws helped, too.  Hitting 82% of them helped even more.
  • I wondered if Jessie Sapp was sick or hurt. Sapp, who is often a very efficient offensive player, played just over 24 minutes, and I thought the Hoyas missed him on O during the second half. In fact, according to kenpom's stats, Sapp plays the most minutes of all the Hoyas this season. So was he hurt or sick? Or was JT3 just going with a more defense-oriented package in the second half, as it seemed to me (indicated by long stretches for Ewing, Rivers, and, to a lesser extent, Macklin).
  • Jonathan Wallace may have found his shot again. Wallace had been so broken on 3's in recent weeks that it caused the BHK to postulate a Wallace injury.  He hit a quality 3 of 8 from out there last night, and he seemed to hit them late in the game.
  • There were a lot of fouls called that aren't often called.  There was a stretch in the first half were Villanova was whistled for 2 or 3 moving screens in a row.  Now, I generally think the refs can call a foul on almost every screen that's set, but it seemed like a lot.  Interestingly, all of those whistles came from a ref who was standing right in front of JT3.

Those were the things I thought mostly, but the story of the game was really the whistle at the end. With the score tied, Georgetown defended Scottie Reynolds's drive quite well (although there was definitely some contact as he went baseline -- not much, but some), and forced a turnover. Wallace came out with it and started dribbling up the sideline, as pretty much everyone thought we were headed to OT. Not so, though, as Corey Stokes was called for bumping Wallace along the sidelines. The Nova fans around me erupted with disgust. I wasn't sure. From our very far away vantage point, it looked like there was some contact, albeit not, as the fans near me were unanimously claiming, necessarily more than when Reynolds drove baseline just seconds before. I just wasn't sure one way or the other. I don't like to advocate that refs swallow whistles at the end of games. I think they should continue to call the game correctly, and, more importantly, consistently. However, I will admit that I think refs should err on the side of not making a call if they're not sure.

I watched the end of the game again when I got home.  The Girl had recorded it for me, and the recording gave me a much closer view of the play (in HD, too!). That wasn't a foul. The ref's anxious whistle robbed all of us of an overtime, Wallace hit both free throws with 0.1 seconds on the clock to seal the victory. I'm not sure what would have happened in OT, as both teams were in serious foul trouble (there were 48 total fouls called, Villanova had already fouled out 3 guys and Georgetown 1), but I would have liked to have seen the players decide that one.

Tweet! Ugh.

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