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Northwestern vs. Lewis exhibition basketball game: Tempo-Free!

The new era of blah blah blah...macarthur31 looks at last night's exhibition tilt through Dean Oliver's Four Factors, and tries to divine this season's storylines.

Jonathan Daniel

Let's get this out of the way - I was a Bill Carmody fan.  He wasn't a perfect coach - his teams were marginally interested in defense and rebounding, you know the kind of things that wins championships.  He had no interest in recruiting in these modern times (as evidenced by his barely touched twitter account), nor did he seem to be moved by advanced statistics - you know, the kind of things win championships.    Nah, I supported Carmody mainly because I loved the Princeton Offense, that he ran a clean program, and I dug how old-school crusty the dude was in this current era of the Brand/CEO Head Coach - you know, the kind of things that don't position yourself to win championships.

But I'm a Northwestern fan, and with the change in new direction, I've got an open mind and hope that Coach Collins will take us to that "Point C," the NCAA tournament.  From my vantage point this off-season, he's done all of the right moves, and hope that Dr. Jim keeps up and can provide the institutional support that Coach Collins needs to succeed.  I look forward to the end of the "Hire/Fire BC" trope that seems to exist at the heart of each NU hoops thread.  I get that this is going to be a 3-4 year process, and look forward to enjoying the journey*.  (*the concept, and not necessarily the BTN Documentary Show)  With that, let's get to the Tempo-Free take....

Pace and Points per Possession

I calculated 63.4 for Lewis and 61.2 for the 'Cats, so let's split the diff and call it 62.

NU: 0.914 PPP
Lewis: 0.738 PPP

Four Factors

Effective Field Goal Percentage
NU: 42.2%
Lewis: 31.0%

Turnover Percentage
NU: 19.2%
Lewis: 11.2%

Offensive Rebound Percentage
NU: 20.6%
Lewis: 18.6%

Free Throw Attempts / Field Goal Attempts
NU: 62.2%
Lewis: 27.5%

Takes on the Tempo Free

  • By the numbers, this was probably one of NU's best defensive performances in recent memory.  Beyond the numbers, they were playing a team that didn't have a guy over 6'7", and play in Division II. 
  • Lewis' eFG was miserable.  This was probably due to the fact that they went 0-7 from three-pointslvania.  I can't recall the last time we shut out a team from distance.  Credit the aggressive wing defense of Cobb, Lumpy and Crawford who cut this option off from the Flyers.  On the other hand, it appeared to me that they missed a bunch of open looks as well.
  • The 'Cats got to the line early and often.  Unfortunately, their charity stripe woes continued - just 18 for 29.  If they look to reap the benefits of this motion offense, which appears to position Cobb and Crawford to slash, they need to bring that average up to 75%. 

Possible Burning Storylines

The Return 2, Electric Boogaloo (or should I say, "C&C Jumpshot Factory"?).  Cobb and Craw were not bashful last night, as I expect them to be the key drivers for this offense.  The former had 12 points on 11 shots, while the latter had 15 on 11 shots.  Not terribly efficient, but at least they snagged 13 boards together.

The kids can play?  The kids can play! We got our first look at Nate Taphorn and Sanjay Lumpkin (I'm conveniently forgetting those minutes he played last year), and both looked pretty comfortable.  Tap may have had the line of the night: 10 points on 4 shots, 4 boards 1 block, 1 steal, perfect from FT and 3PT in just 23 minutes, and sported a very smooth stroke from long distance.  Meanwhile Sanjay evoked thoughts of Luol Deng, as the ironman of the night (31 minutes), and chipping in with 8 points and 8 boards, an assist and a steal.  Both guys have nice long frames, and promise.

How's that Olah/Cerina at the 5 working out for you? Given that Alex had a few inches higher than his opposite number, he had an awfully meek stat line:  18 minutes, 4 points, 1 reb, 2 blocks.  Meanwhile, the senior Cerina logged 22 minutes and bagged 3 points, 9 rebounds, 1 block.  Again, it's just one game, but I'm surprised Olah only got 1 board.  On the other hand, if Cerina can protect the defensive glass like that in the season, that'll be a huge plus.

Other Thoughts

  • It sure was weird to see us run a non-Princeton offense.  I'll get used to it, but it sure looked like we were standing around alot.  I'm sure with guys like Vic Law and Bryant Mac comin' in, this pick-and-roll, iso-play type setup will suit them better - but I'm eager to see how a guy like Sobo (his line last night 1-6 FGA, 4 Assists, 3 TO) can thrive in this new system.
  • 9 guys got run last night.  Again, it's probably too early to tell, but I like going deep if anything to keep our guys fresh.
  • I know we're committing to man-to-man, but with all of this length, I'd love for us to throw in a zone once in a while as a changeup.
  • Coach Collins definitely looks the part.  I thought he was really classy during the half-time and post game interviews.  He's got some coach-speak, but at least to me, he seems very genuine.