Friday, January 13, 2012

Stats-and-More versus Kalamazoo

Win Probability

I’ve highlighted a few of the ‘bigger’ plays of the game. For Kalamazoo it was Adam Peter’s two point shot in the first half that gave the Hornets a six point lead – it would be their biggest lead of the evening – the win probably graph gave Calvin only a 30% chance of coming back to win at this point.

Calvin’s top play of the night was a three point play by Tom Snikkers just one minute into the second half. David Rietema came up with a steal and found Snikkers streaking toward the hoop. Snikkers received the pass, drew contact, and laid the ball up and in. He hit the free throw to give the Knights a three point lead – a lead they would not relinquish. This play netted Calvin 30% in the win probability column, from about 50% up to about 80%.

The final play I called out was a jump shot by Bryan Powell that gave the Knights a nine point lead with under ten minutes to play. The result of the play added about 14% to Calvin’s win probability total, bumping their percentage up to 96%.

Game Chart

Van Eck0.330.180.2500.500.

First things first, the shooting has got to get better. Calvin is now running on seven straight games in which their team points per weighted shot average has been below 1.00. Last season never saw more than two consecutive games with a PPWS below 1.00. The huge bulk of the trouble is simply not making shots. Last year’s club had an effective field goal percentage just north of .500, but this year’s team is struggling to stay above .450.

Turnovers aren’t getting close to coming off of my personal ‘areas of concern’ list, but we’ve seen Calvin handle the ball much better in the early going here in conference play. In the three games, they’ve turned the ball over on 17%, 19%, and 12% of their possessions. Considering 18% is about where we want Calvin to be (and 19-20% is about league average), these numbers are acceptable. Including the non-conference games, Calvin’s right at 20% for the year.

It was another rough, rough shooting game for Tom Snikkers, but it was really a tale of two halves. In the first period Tom settled for mid range jump shots and found himself with only three points on seven shots and two free throws attempts (roughly 0.38 PPWS). He appeared more committed to getting to the basket in the second half, and that resulted in eight points on six shots and four free throw attempts (roughly 1.00 PPWS). That’s still not great scoring efficiency, but it is in the acceptable range (especially when the team as a whole is struggling so much).

It wasn’t a great offensive night for Tyler Kruis, but he did a nice job defensively on Joe Preoplec (6-14, 5 TO, blocked twice), so I’m more than willing to give him a pass. I’m not sure what it was with the officiating in the Pacific Northwest, but after getting in lots of foul trouble in two games out there, Tyler has picked up just two total fouls in his three games back in Michigan.

Please join me in hearty encouragement of Jordan Mast and his deadly three point shot. I’d like to see him eliminate the pump fake and dribble from his repertoire and replace it with ready-aim-fire at every opportunity. Jordan’s shooting just over 45% on his three pointers this season, but he’s only attempting about two per game. I’d love to see him fire up four or five three point shots every time out.

Player Efficiency Chart

Van Eck12.62615112522104.068.235.8

It’s really interesting to see how well the offense did when some of the bench players were in the game. Part of it is probably ‘our bench is better than your bench’, but even so, it’s nice to see some of the bench players see quality results.

Those offensive efficiency numbers need to all be north of 100 against a team like Kalamazoo, but those efficiency margin numbers are solid. The defense really drove the game, and they’ve really been good this year. Calvin’s defensive efficiency rating for the season is 97.3 which is just slightly better than Calvin’s average over the previous seven years had been.

We can find a really good example here of why I like efficiency margin so much better than plus minus. Look at the difference between the stat lines of Snikkers and DeBoer. Matt was a +8 on the game while Tom was ‘only’ +3. Looking at their efficiency margin numbers, we see much less of a difference as both players were very nearly +14.0 (that’s points per 100 possessions). What we see, though, is that Tom played in four more defensive possessions than he did offensive possession and Matt played in three more offensive possessions than he did defensive possessions. So one player was granted three extra possessions in which to score, and the other was granted four extra possessions in which to be scored upon.

Up next: @ Alma.

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