Saturday, November 19, 2011

Shorthanded Louisville Impresses At Butler

#7 Louisville 69, Butler 53
Louisville came into this game without injured star Peyton Siva, but they controlled it regardless with an excellent defensive performance. Butler's backcourt couldn't create anything (their three starting guards combined for 18 points on 5-for-22 shooting with 7 assists in 92 minutes). Khyle Marshall was the best player Butler had (20 points scored), but Louisville kept him under control, particularly on the boards (zero offensive rebounds for Marshall). Louisville still has issues on offense, but a lot of that will change whenever Siva comes back. Siva is a superb creator with the ball. Louisville plays next on Tuesday, against Arkansas State. Their next tough test will either be November 28th against Long Beach State or December 2nd against Vanderbilt.

Butler continues to struggle offensively. And while there's no shame in struggling against Louisville's defense, the reality is that Brad Stevens hasn't yet been able to develop a backcourt playmaker other than Ronald Nored. If defenses can take Nored out of the game, as Louisville did here (three points and seven assists), Butler doesn't really have anywhere they can go consistently with the ball. Khyle Marshall is a very good player, but his strength is on the boards - he's not an offensive playmaker. The player with the most potential to develop into that this season is probably Chrishawn Hopkins. After a disappointing 1-2 start, Butler has a couple of cupcakes before heading to play a confident Indiana team in Bloomington on November 27th.

Old Dominion 68, South Florida 66, OT
This was not a pretty game. Neither team had much offensive flow at all, with a lot of one-on-play on both sides of the floor. In years past Old Dominion was able to mask their offensive problems with outstanding offensive rebounding, but the loss of Frank Hassell and Ben Finney to graduation means that just isn't true any longer. But despite all their troubles, they were facing a completely undisciplined South Florida team. I don't know how many consecutive years we have to watch a talented South Florida underperform to realize that Stan Heath just isn't a good college coach. He's not a good enough recruiter to cover for his other deficiencies.

Old Dominion, a respectable 3-1 with a loss to Northern Iowa, will take on Kentucky tomorrow. It's hard to see them putting up too much resistance, though they'll put up a better effort than South Florida would have. Their next game after that will be Wednesday against Vermont. South Florida is also 3-1, though against a softer schedule (their best win was over Vermont). They will play Penn State tomorrow in a game where they'll have a clear talent advantage, but a coaching disadvantage. The only way South Florida will lose will be if they give the game away, which is a very realistic possibility.

Montana State 70, Utah 64
New Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak is going to have a long, long first season. Utah wasn't even good last season, and almost the entire team is gone. Of the five starters from last season, three transferred out and one is hurt with a broken foot. Right now, seemingly half of the lineup is made up of Juco placeholders until Krystkowiak can get some of his own recruits in place. And this loss was no fluke. Montana State just came into Utah and beat them fair and square. And this result doesn't even really stand out among their other early season games. Utah's other two games were a 21 point loss to Boise State and a narrow three point win over an NAIA school. As bad as the Pac-12 has looked in the early going here (Colorado and USC have looked particularly bad), Utah has looked the worst of them all. They now head off to Bahamas, where they'll play Harvard on Thanksgiving, and will play their second game against either Florida State or UMass. The only one of those three teams I'd give them much of a chance against would be UMass.

So what does this mean for Montana State? Not only did I pick their in-state rivals Montana preseason to win the Big Sky, but I picked Weber State as the top contender to Montana, with Eastern Washington and Northern Arizona as the other contenders. Does this win mean Montana State should be pushed into that discussion? They have a loss to a mediocre Arizona State team, and a win over an NAIA team. Considering the fact that Utah might just be awful this season, I need to see more from Montana State to treat them as a true contender in their conference. Their next Division I opponent will be Idaho, a week from today.


Des said...

Personally I thought Louisville did well with all the injuries and without siva to create offense. They still scored over 1.3 points per possession by my count which is prettty impressive even with they didn't really feed dieng in the post at times

Jeff said...

Hmm, I get a different number. The official possession stats aren't always available right away, but I have a back-of-the-envelope way of calculating it and I come up with 64 possessions, which is 1.08 PPP.

In case you're wondering my formula, I do:

Possessions = FGA+0.4*FTA+TO-OR

I do the calculation for both teams, and if there's a discrepancy between the two teams I take the average.

How did you calculate it?

Des said...

I just did a rough estimate based on possessions and points + free throw (no proper calculations) without turnovers and OR ( probably the biggest difference ).