Sunday, February 3, 2013

Bouncing Back

The Cougars had the misfortune of playing Arizona after their worst offensive game of the season.  There was little doubt that the Cats would improve things on the scoring side of the floor, but the extent to which they did so was surprising.   By my count, Arizona had 65 possessions with which to work, and within those, they almost crested the 80 point mark, good enough for just over 1.2 points per possession.  I imagine that does not mean much to the casual basketball fan.  Here's how to think about it.

A typical Arizona game this season has 68 offensive possessions.  Scoring 1.0 points per possession results in 68 points.  If you add or subtract 0.1 points per possession, you are adding or subtracting around seven points from the final score.  You might think that the UCLA game was our worst offensive showing given the number of missed layups and dunks, but it was not.  In that game, the Cats had around 0.91 points per possession.  Against the Huskies on Thursday night, the number was 0.84.

At the start of the season, the offense was a well oiled machine.  Over our first five games, we averaged nearly 1.2 points per possession.  The NAU game was off the charts. Beginning with the 27 turnover game against Southern Miss, things started to slow down, and in fact since that time, a 15 game stretch, Arizona has not reached the 1.1 mark, although they came close against Oral Roberts and ASU.  If we look at this cumulatively, it is clear that offensive efficiency has been slowly and steadily declining:

Part of this can be chalked up to the increased level of competition in the latter half of the nonconference season and the first half of conference season.  A lot of it, though, is probably explained by changing offensive tendencies, like this one.  This is why last night's game was important.  The offense played very well, thus the little bump up at the end of that graph.  They almost shot 50% from the field.  The scoring was balanced and distributed with 10 players scoring and four reaching double digits.  All five starters scored at least one point per field goal attempted with Ashley and Tarczewski both getting two points per shot.  Turnovers were in the single digits, a very welcome sign.  Only two of 16 free throws were missed, and yes, it helps when Solo hits a three pointer from the other team's three point line. 

The nice thing about a long season is that there is time to address problems, and I think it's clear Sean Miller is doing that.  I like our chances next week.  The next serious challenge looming on the horizon is on Valentine's Day in Boulder.

No comments:

Post a Comment