Another Basketball Mid-Season Look – Wins vs Losses

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    WV Wolf

    State’s basketball team has a week off and we’re at just past the halfway point of the ACC season so there have already been a couple of great entries
    [See the full post at: Another Basketball Mid-Season Look – Wins vs Losses]


    Nice writeup, really drives home why this season is so frustrating for me as a fan. There’s no clear target or quick fix. Every time the team loses, there’s a breakdown of some kind, but never with consistency to say “Hey, there’s the problem that needs to be fixed.” As an engineer, I want to fix things. Drives me insane when the data is indeterminate. It’s a wonder I can watch sports at all these days…


    Great post, thank you. Like you, hard to draw conclusions.

    1) Love that picture!!
    2) “…we’re at just past the halfway point of the ACC season…” – I know it is true, but it really seems longer. So many peaks and valleys.

    Field Goal Percentage – Would be nice to correlate with number of shots taken. Just a guess, but when the external guys aren’t hitting I suspect they place more emphasis on running the offense – which should get the bigs more, and better, shots. When Trevor and Ralston are hitting, who needs to pass? (in their minds)


    Thanks so much for compiling these numbers. Always interesting and valuable to contrast in W’s vs. L’s.

    It almost seems like if Washington has a good game we lose.” Poor Kyle 🙁

    I love his energy and attitude, just wish his decision making would come along.


    I draw the same conclusion about KW. If he’s scoring more, it *seems* the other main guys are not. That said, I like his energy and his work and am happy that he contributes regularly.

    That said, this team needs work in most areas in order to even sniff being a top 25 team.

    A huge and glaring issue is the ubiquitous lack of composure at critical times, which routinely costs us close games, and also the complete lack of ability to keep the hammer down, the foot on the throat, the pedal to the metal, the heel to the steel, or whatever other analogy you want to toss out there. Not sure how you measure those things statistically, but they are a problem and directly put us in a position to lose…frequently.


    I think KW PLAYS more in losses because Gott is searching for points. At the risk of being labelled a whiner again, I wonder if KW’s minutes are higher in our losses.

    The opponent 3 point percentage difference is huge. When you combine that with the shot block stats, it suggests that teams are going inside out on us a lot to drive up the 3 pt percentage.

    Thanks for all of the stats.

    WV Wolf

    I think KW PLAYS more in losses because Gott is searching for points. At the risk of being labelled a whiner again, I wonder if KW’s minutes are higher in our losses.

    Kyle averages 22.0 minutes in losses vs 20.0 in wins. So you’re right, he does play more in losses but 2 minutes doesn’t seem too significant.


    I usually stop at the point where you have to admit that “you are what your record says you are”. I’ve never really tried to pull the stats apart to see exactly why your record is what it is.

    1.21JW has done this from time to time with tempo-based stats that try and eliminate one key variable (pace) that changes from one opponent to the next. Another confounding effect is that the stats accumulated against Sisters of the Poor pickup squads don’t really answer the key questions.

    I suspect that if you pulled apart the stats a little further, you would find that in the losses, State is stymied on offense by a better defense and is unable to return the favor. If you pull up the RPI trend graphs from my mid-season review, you would see that the top 5 teams have either been steady or risen throughout the course of the season….ie the cream rises to the top. The next five teams on the bubble have been up and down throughout the season as they have good games, bad games, and mostly get beaten by the teams at the top…ie the very definition of a bubble team.


    Looks to me like the teams try to shutdown the outside game which means shutting down Turner and Lacey.
    If they would not settle for threes all the time they might not get shut down so easily. Also it shows that maybe Kyle and ABU has more room to work when the defense extends out to the 3 point line.


    No surprises. Shot selection and defense are the most glaring problems for this team. This is a constant among gottfrieds pack teams. Been commented on at length by many folks on here.

    I suspect that if you look at conference play, the gaps are even wider. Even though we’ve played a tough schedule, some of those fg% numbers are skewed by the weakest of our non-conference opponents.


    Hey guys – I’m more of a glass is half full guy which is rare in wolfpack country I know. However, after reviewing our losses (after being prompted by another poster) If we lost by less than 10 points which we have 6 times, the average margin of victory has been 3.33 points. Our last two are the only WTF losses which are hard to explain.

    To many poster’s points, we are just over 1 possession away from drastically different record. Our team is insanely young. They have potential to be better just like the Cavaliers of this season through their first 30 games, the Heat a few years ago through their first 25-30 games.

    I say this to say, I don’t believe we are all that far away from being a great team. Our team identity has changed alot from last year on offense and unfortunately not so much on defense. Due to the schedule, we still have a chance at this point in this season to make noise but more importantly, this article points out to me that the most significant area of need is defense. Looking at the great defensive teams, they aren’t very youthful so it comes from experience and playing together.

    The fact that this team still expects “the other guy” to box out is a sign of youth and inexperience. I wished it would have gotten fixed sooner but its still very much a work in progress. Lastly, save Raslton Turner and the unknown key transfer our team remains in tact for the first time since I can remember. We know this team can compete with anyone when it defends so a run in the tourney isn’t out of the question for us to do something special this year. However next year, barring any bad transfers it will be the first time I have any expectations for greatness and competition near the top of the ACC. Hell we did it this year on the backs freshman and sophs (in our program – nobody over two years on the court playing for us). Next year I will expect our players to have learned how to collectively box out, get offensive boards and second chance points, be in position both offensively and defensively to be opportunistic (Duke and UNC offensively, Duke & UVA defensively), consistent effort for 40 mins, role players knowing when to step up as the primary guys are off, big men not disappearing for games at a time.

    To me each of those problems are signs of youth an inexperience playing together and I think they are correctable. I can see the problems and I can think of Calipari teams that were much more talented but had the same problems, and the same for Duke and UNC teams.


    A few random observations, FWIW. I’m just looking at the 11 conference games.
    1. We have outscored our opponents by 18 points, yet we have a losing record.
    2. Fouls seem to be significant: we have committed 30 more fouls than our opponents. We have had 9 disqualifications compared to zero by our opponents. Abu, Anya, Washington, and Turner have been foul prone. How much time have we lost from those 4 due to foul difficulties?
    3. We are a good 3-point shooting team, with Lacey at 41%, Turner at 39% and Barber at 50%(!) after making 8 of 16.
    4. I was thinking that we had lost some games due to making a poor percentage of 3-pointers, but when I looked just now, I couldn’t find an example. Against Clemson, for example, we made 6 of 14 (43%) of threes, but only 12 of 49 (24%) on 2-pointers!
    5. The most lopsided loss in the conference was not against Virgina, Duke, UNC or Notre Dame, but Clempson(!) at home by 11.


    Again, what’s astounding about gottfried’s teams is their offensive efficiency despite their often poor shot selection. Other than wood in years 1-2, Williams in 1, and turner last year, we’ve not been a good 3pt shooting team. Now we are, but we frequently take contested deep 3s early in the shot clock. And our bigs, once a strength struggle to finish or attack the basket. We take too many jump shots, and get too little going to the basket, in the paint, and at the line. When your defense blows, that’s not a recipe for success. The duke wins are anomalies.


    We need to play as a team, sharing the ball, and working the ball inside and out, for good shot selections. And definitely play defense like it matters, when the game starts, not when we have fallen far behind, and have a fierce exhausting effort to catch back up, which has come up short every time.


    We are not a “crazy young basketball team”. We start a 5th year senior, 4th year junior and 2nd year player at the guards. Frankly you are not going to see that much experience very often. Also we have another senior that Gott does not play. We CAN be more experienced but chose not to be.

    BTW We are the 62nd youngest team in the country. That means there are 61 younger teams than us.
    It is a bad argument to say we are losing because we are young. It is wrong and frankly not that relevant.


    KW muttering to himself coming out of the tunnel tomorrow:

    “I am the angel of death. The time of reckoning is at hand.”


    I think some of the mistakes we make are because our team hasn’t played with each other that long and as a whole we are youthful. In fact the longest tenured player has played for us for 1 and 3/4 seasons. Can’t emphasize that enough. Our best player is in his first year with us. Even the Cavs struggled with LBJ, Kyrie, and Kevin Love, the heat with LBJ, DWade and Bosh while they gelled.

    Conference Analysis. Of the teams ranked ahead of us in the standings only Pitt and Duke have teams that have only one Junior and one Senior that play more than 10 minutes like we do. Duke recently joined this club after getting rid of Suliamon.

    Only UNC and UofM have 6 at least 6 FR&SO’s that average more than 10 minutes. NC State has 7.

    My point is, if we had the same team today plus any “one” of (Insert TJ, RP, TL) or if any of our other players (especially our bigs, think about the difference a Junior Richard Howell made) with one more year of experience, some of the losses we have this year are wins. Player development plus experience playing in the system matter and our kids haven’t had much time to develop together.

    Some other coaches can make up for the experience factor with talent advantages a la Coach K, Calipari, and Self. However, most good consistent teams (look at any Pats, Seahawks, Atlanta Hawks, Spurs, OKC, LBJ teams after the all star break of year 1) have talent and experience playing together.

    Put another way, of our player minutes from players with over 10 minutes per game, 67% of those minutes come from Freshman and sophomores. Compared to 28% from UVA, ND 50%, UNC 56%, 40% Louisville, 52% Syracuse, Clemson 43%. Duke is similar to us @ 65%but they have a talent advantage over us.

    We have sufficient talent and are collecting the experience necessary to build a successful program. It will suck to lose Ralston but I think we can cover his production and next year we should have what UVA has this year barring any major transfers / Lacey going pro.

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