'Cause I Know You Love Your Tempo-Free: Barnstormin' (Also, the post-game thread for 'Cats at Gophers)

MBAKWE SMASH! - Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

It's a SoP Mashup! The fledgling 'CIKYLYTF vs. the usual hoops post-game thread. I'd put up Sterling the vomiting guy, but he's still out of hurl from Wednesday night. Alright, now on to the tempo-free take...

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For one half, Coach Carmody had his team poised for both an improbable road win and for setting basketball back by over 50 years. Prediction: BC's coif will go all Doc Brown, and Under Armour will make a new line of "Sobo-vests."

Welp, that got out of hand really fast. Again, I wish I had a box score by half, as that was arguably our best defensive half of the year (or as Loretta8 noted on twitter, "since the Hachad era."). Also, since Rodger didn't catch the game, consider this your postgame thread, as well.

Pace and Points Per Possession

For the breakdown, I'm using Sporting News.

I calculated 54.4 possessions for the 'Cats, while the Gophers got 54.2 Pretty easy here, let's call it 54 possessions.

In terms of Points Per Possession:
'Cats: 0.94
Minnesota: 1.27

Yes, even after that debacle of a first half, Minnesota was able to rev their efficiency up to 1.27. I'd pin alot of that on the Austin Hollins Sexplosion in the second half and their relentless tail-kicking on our defensive glass.

Four Factors

Effective Field Goal (eFG):
'Cats: 45.2%
Minnesota: 54.2%

Turnover Percentage (TO%):
'Cats: 20.3%
Minnesota: 27.8%

Offensive Rebound Percentage (OREB%):
'Cats: 24.2%
Minnesota: 62.5%

Free Throw Attempts/Field Goal Attempts (FTA/FGA):
'Cats: 11.5%
Minnesota: 58.3%

Takes on the Tempo-Free

  • While Austin Hollins led a great 3pt performance for the Gophers (43% tonight, compared to season average 32.4%), it was the Gophers Voltron-esque control of the offensive glass that was the gamebreaker tonight. (Hate that that's the second game in a row I have to use that adjective for an opponent's performance.) The 'Cats failed to close out the Gophers on the glass and it killed them tonight.
  • Minnesota lived at the line, thanks our desperation and double bonus at the end of the game. However, they were well positioned by consistently attacking the glass. We were very perimeter tonight, and that prevented us from drawing enough fouls.
  • The 'Cats gave themselves a chance by protecting the ball and forcing turnovers tonight - the Gophers fumbled the ball at a 27.8% clip which is terrific (consider that Stephen F. Austin is ranked 7th in the country by forcing opponents with a 27.2% TO rate) particularly during a uber-low possession game. But again, they needed to MAKE SHOTS. (Maybe we should make a shirt? Naaaaahhh)

Burning Storylines

Life after Drew Crawford and Reggie Hearn.

Ladies and gentlemen, here is your wing play:
Chips: 29m, 9 points, 4 boards, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block, 2 TO
Marco: 17m, 3 points, 3 boards, 1 assist, 1 TO
Tre: 14m, 10 points, 2, boards, 1 assist, 1 steal

HAM seems to struggle on defense with the switches, but his length does help him clog passing lanes. I really do like the cut of his jib on offense, he's got onions with his range. He had a terrific baseline drive and dish that unfortunately led to Trevor Mbakwe's impersonation of Jadeveon Clowney. Despite his wiry frame, which I hope gets tougher, he does look like that he belongs out there. We need Marco to hit those open looks so we can open up the middle. Finally, it should be time for Tre to get some more run - yeah, it was scramble time, but he also has no fear about taking a strong drive (or trying to take a charge) or chuckin' it from deep.

How'd we do at the 5?

Alex Olah: 24 m, 2 points, 4 boards, 1 steal, 1 block, 2 TO
Michael Turner: 11 m, 0 points, 0 boards, 1 TO, 5 Personal Fouls
Chier Ajou: 1 m. (TRILLION CLUB, BABY!)

To answer the question, "we didn't." Of course, Trevor Mbakwe is a beast, and I don't envy having to do hand-to-hand combat with him for 40 minutes. But, we needed much much more from the 5 tonight. Professor Mbakwe provided a master class tonight for Olah and Turner, and hopefully these guys learned that you gotta come correct inside the paint. The one play that provided hope, that nice pick and roll that led to an Olah dunk. We need alot more of that this year as teams will continue to be aggressive in the man-to-man. I don't want to harsh too much on our guys here, as they're young. Blame can be afforded to our wings as well, as they still miss getting the ball to Olah when he's got position.

Savvy Veteran Watch (a.k.a "So, Sobo and Swop?" + "Reg-GIE!")

Sobo: 37 m, 10 points, 5 assists, 1 board, 3 TO
Swop: 37 m, 6 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 0 TO
Reggie: 27 m, 11 points, 1 board, 1 steal, 2, TO

Reggie played solidly tonight, but I think he tweaked his ankle again which reduced his effectiveness. I give Sobo alot of credit for being an iron-man tonight and for fighting the whole way. Still need more points from Swop - she showed some post moves tonight, and he's just going to have to take it on. I'm starting to buy into the cliche - "these guys are role players that need to take on the role of the starter." Of all 3, Reggie seems the most advanced on this, with Sobo close behind. Swop still seems to be missing that extra gear - he went 3 for 6 tonight, so it wasn't like he was being greedy out there.

Anything else?

We had a Cerina sighting, but for only 2 minutes as it seemed like the ankle was still no good. We also saw some JM3, but he was just killing a bit of time.

Back-cuts

  • In running the "Burn" offense, you're trying to control tempo. We achieved that in the first half, as Minnesota was gummed up. However, with so few possessions, you have to be damn near perfect on offense - we still left a bunch of points out there on missed layups, FTs and open 3s. We deserved to be up at least 2 possessions at the half. While that doesn't seem like much, it gives you a cushion against the run.
  • Austin Hollins broke the game open and gave the Gophers that 3-4 possession cushion (which against our slowdown is like 6-8 possessions). He was 32.4% going into the game, so it's not like he was a front-line threat. But again, that's why the Gophs are a top 15 team - they can get offense from anywhere - and when that Barn is rocking, then shooting is just flinging stones into the Mississippi river.
  • In terms of our effort - I thought we had great energy on defense in the first half. However, Tubby did a nice job using his bench early, and in effect wearing our starters down. We need to figure out how to maintain that for the whole game (again, perhaps that's why you run the Burn, as that is in effect like playing defense with your offense). Again, our defensive boarding sucked massively, but with the Gophs coming in at rebounding 40% of their misses, that was to be expected. I wonder how much of that was due to us just wearing down at the end of the game.
  • Looking ahead: To burn or not to burn? We travel up to Happy Valley on Thursday to take on the kenpom #163 Penn State Nittany Lions. This may sound odd, but I think we have enough to go toe-to-toe with these guys, and the "Burn" might actually work against us. They don't defend the 3 that well, and they can't hit it, either. It's not like they dominate the boards, though their saving grace is that they do protect their defensive glass. I might be tempted to run the "up-tempo" Princeton O, but then again, maybe we could use the practice in running the "Burn" if we're committing to this all season.
  • Overall, keep ya head up, 'Cats fans - at least none of our guys got brained by a stanchion.
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