At long last, I have a review of Friday night’s game against Drury, but I feel compelled to share the reason for my delay. Melissa’s car was stolen at some point Sunday night, and when you add that to the stress of trying to close on our house, well, it’s been a rough few days. I did manage to listen to some of the game on Friday, although I mostly just followed the live stats. Our Harding broadcast crew tends not to be the most objective team, so that may have been better, anyway.
Here are the team and individual stats:
You’ll notice a few of Dean Oliver’s stats there at the end. Floor% is similar to true shooting percentage, using Oliver’s estimates of scoring possessions and total possessions. IPP is individual points produced, similar to Hollinger’s game score (GS). I also show the percent of total possessions used by the player and his offensive rating, which would be the number of points he produces per 100 possessions. You can see that a team of Matt Halls would do quite well in that respect, aside from possible handling and rebounding issues.
Hall had one of his better games, mainly because he got back to the free throw line and scored 9 of his 27 points there. He still seems like more of a stand-up shooter than he used to be. I don’t know if that’s injury-related, but he’s just not as consistent as an inside threat this year.
It looks like Trent Morgan may have taken things into his own hands a little too much in this game. Shooting is not yet a strong point for him, and his 4-of-10 effort stands out as one of the poorer lines for the Bisons. Usually those performances are reserved for Cole Kee, who was an efficient 3-for-4 (all threes). He did play some minutes at the point, it would appear, so I guess it’s not all bad. Barnett has been better this year (though inconsistent), and Bibb does not appear to have improved at all offensively, so Morgan may be a step in the right direction there. If he shoots better, that should work out fine.
It’s hard for me to analyze the coaching in this game, since Drury is a very strong team and the Bisons are clearly fatigued. Perhaps they could have been conditioned better, and the Bisons’ up-tempo style can’t be helping that aspect of the game. Against better opponents, it’s usually a good idea to slow things down, giving them fewer opportunities to pull ahead, but it’s also difficult to break from your overall philosophy.
As usual, the Bisons are playing faster than any other GSC team this year, averaging 76.3 possessions per game to the league’s 72. That’s not as large a margin as it has been in previous years, though. They’ll just have to keep forcing turnovers for the pace to work to their advantage. As a smaller team with inconsistent outside shooting, that would seem to be the ideal strategy: play tenacious defense and make a concentrated effort to get easier inside shots on offense. They’ll just have to be faster and better conditioned than their opponents come January, which of course is much easier said than done.
The Bisons play today and tomorrow in Hawaii before coming home for the holidays. I won’t be following either of those games live, since they both start at 1 AM EST, but I will try to have reviews up promptly. Then, they’ll have a tune-up against Central Baptist on January 4th before starting the Thursday-Saturday GSC schedule at Arkansas-Monticello on Saturday the 6th.
The latest stat file can be downloaded here.