Sunday, February 15, 2009

Two crucial home games

Obviously, at this point of this season, every game is critical. But I think that, the next two home games vs. Louisville and West Virginia, really stand out. If UC can win one of these two, they have a great chance of making the NCAA tournament, imo.

They will both be tough games; Pomeroy has Louisville ranked 16th in the country and WV 6th. But I think there’s a decent chance the Bearcats can pull off a win.

Anyway, since we’ve last chatted, UC has beat Notre Dame at home, Georgetown on the road, St. Johns at home, and lost to Pitt on the road. You had to figure winning two out of those four would have been impressive; three is just great.

Cincy now has some real quality wins to hang their hat on:

@ #47 UNLC
#41 UAB
#21 Georgetown
#37 Notre Dame
@ #21 Georgetown

The worst loss is a respectable one –  #71 Providence at home.

UC’s NCAA tourney hopes rest on two things: one, how they perform in their final five games and the BE tourney. Two, how the committee evaluates the likes of Georgetown and Notre Dame, very good teams that have less-than-spectacular records.

It is a toss up at this point, whether UC will be dancing or not. But, let’s face it, nobody expected to even be thinking about it this year.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Shots per minute

I continue my consistently inconsistent blogging with a look at shots per minute. That’s simply shots per minute played and it gives us a decent look at who is most likely to pull the trigger when they’re on the floor. In the table below, along with shots per minute, I’ll also list shots per 40 minutes, which puts things into perspective a little bit:


I left of Miller, but for the sake of completeness, he shoots .38 shots per minute, which is like 15 per 40 (though he has only played 32 mins).

In a perfect world, the guys who shoot most often would also be the best shooters. Let’s take a look. To measure shooting, we’ll use effective field goal %, which adjusts for the three point shot: fg + (.5* 3pt fg)/fg att

Yancy Gates’ eFG% is essentially his actual fg% because he’s shot only four threes all year. It’s at 49.4%, good for fourth on the team, and ahead of everyone with substantial playing time, outside of Toyloy.

Vaughn’s eFG% is right behind Gates’ at 49%. So far, no problems.

Alvin Mitchell, who shoots a three 70% of the time, has an eFG% of 47.8%. Larry Davis, another three point specialist, is at 45.7%. Dion Dixon, the third straight long range threat, is at 43%, or last on the team. In defense of Dixon, he’s shot 41% over the last seven games and looks to be a better shooter than his early numbers would indicate.

Mike Williams has an eFG% of 48%, just behind Gates and Vaughn. McClain doesn’t play too much, but shoots a ridiculous 69% from the field. Bishop’s eFG% is a decent 46.3. Wilks is a solid 53.4%, but like McClain, doesn’t see a lot of playing time.

Toyloy, who rarely shoots, is at an impressive 60%, as that is what he’s shot on the year (all 2 pointers).

Okay, so this is easy; Toyloy is the second best shooter on the team, by eFG%, so make him shoot more! Not so fast; Toyloy’s shooting percentage is high because he shoots a lot of very makeable shots. He only pulls the trigger when he has a good chance of scoring. On the other hand, someone like Gates or Vaughn, take many more difficult shots. So, if Toyloy was all the sudden asked to shoot as much as those guys, his field goal percentage would almost certainly go down, as he’d no longer be able to wait for an “easy” shot.

That’s why it’s not so cut and dry as to how often players should shoot. Replacing Vaughn’s, Davis’, Dixon’s, and Mitchell’s threes with more shots by Toyloy and McClain makes sense on paper, but probably wouldn’t work so well in real games.

It appears to me that, in general, the Bearcats are doing a decent job distributing their shots to their better scorers. It’s not like we’ve got a guy who is a poor shooter, who is getting the most shots on the team. Williams may want to shoot more often, Dixon and Davis a little less. Working in some more shots for some of the role players, like McClain and Toyloy, may also be a good idea.