Monday, January 17, 2011

Bulldog Defense Was A Drain On The Knights

Adrian 69, Calvin 59

You're simply not going to win many games when you have more turnovers than made field goals.

The Adrian Bulldogs have one of the top defenses of any Division III team (THE best, if you're a believer in the Massey ratings), and they certainly worked over the Knights on Saturday. Calvin turned the ball over 17 times (30% of their possessions) and was out of sync all evening on the offensive end.

A poor offense was certainly to blame for this loss. Or, at least, that's how it looked at first glance. Upon further investigation, it appears that the defense should share at least half of the blame, if not more.

Here's the two teams offensive numbers from the game:


So Calvin was definitely off their usual offensive pace (season's offensive efficiency has been around 107), but 101.8 is a little above what might be considered "league average" (usually right around 100). To get to their average mark of 107, they would have needed to score about three more points, and that still wouldn't have been enough for the win. So, a sub-par offensive performance isn't solely to blame for the loss.

Offensive efficiency rating (OEff) is points per 100 possessions. In this game, each team had about 58 possessions.

The offensive efficiency rating of 119.0 that Adrian put up is quite high. Coming into the game, their average rating was in the neighborhood of 92. Had Calvin held them to that mark, they would have only allowed the Bulldogs to garner 54 points. Some of the extra points came from fouling late in the game, but even if we took away five or six points, the Calvin defense would still look poor.

Game Chart


These numbers are surprising to me as well. If we look at the PPWS column, we discover that no one had a particularly poor day with scoring efficiency. PPWS (points per weighted shot) approximates how many points a player scores per attempt to score; it's an individual scoring efficiency rating of sorts. The weighted shots part comes because the formula factors in free throw attempts. An average day would be about 1.00. Anything in the 1.10-1.20 range is very good, and anything over 1.20 is outstanding.

So, when Calvin was actually able to get a shot off, they were quite successful. It's the turnover numbers that prevented the Knights from scoring more points. 30% for the team is way too high. From the radio broadcast, it sounded like it was a combination of good defense and poor decision making. Can't be careless against a really good defense.

The really good Calvin teams are the ones who can clamp down on defense. This year's squad isn't there yet, and that's the reason they're struggling.

1 comment:

  1. Good post. Defense is really the key to the Knight's season turning around. I remember in '06, the team had a lot of underclassmen and inexperienced players, but they ended up winning the MIAA regular season because the few upperclassmen at the time did an excellent job at showing leadership and getting everyone to play hard-nose defense.