Stat Steps Defined Herd Basketball

Updated 2 years ago by Ed McCarnes
Dan D'Antoni
Dan D'Antoni

Fan enthusiam bubbled with the selection of Dan D'Antoni as the Marshall mens new basketball coach.

The bubbles continued to grow as summer and fall media reports painted word developments and general buying into the D'Antoni style program.

Victories in the season's first three games gave birth to hope of a major turn around in the success challenged program.

That hope vanished quickly as opponent generated realities focused high watt spotlights on the program's shortcomings and voids.

Fans rode a non-amusing roller coaster of success and shortfalls. The trip started in game four. It concluded with a first round exit from the post season C-USA tournament.

As the ride continued concensus focused. Significant player development and quality recruiting would be the crucial brakes to terminate the ride.

Two major stat steps illuminate the status of the rebuilding effort. The first is to compare 2013 - 14 with 2014 - 15.

The review creates an irregular pattern of plus and minus. Add an overview and inductive conclusions to more accurately locate the program.

Marshall improved its 3-point conversions, 3-point percentage, assists, and free throw percentage.

Points, total field goals, field goal percentage, free throws, rebounds, and blocked shots declined.

The second step is to compare MU to its opponents.

Against 2014 - 15 opponents The Herd led in 3-point goals, free throw percentage and blocked shots.

The composite of opponents recorded more field goals, free throws, rebounds, assists and points with less less turnovers. The composite alsoruled field goal percentage and 3-point percentage.

Conference statistics paralleled all game numbers. Marshall led in 3-point goals, 3-point goal percentage and blocks. Steals ended in a tie. Both away and neutral site numbers declined.

What lies behind the numbers?

Inconsistency was a diminishing but year long issue across both offensive and defensive spectrums. Included were periodic shooting, rebounding, turnover and defensive woes. From game to game what affliction(s), if any, would appear was everybody's guess.

Development of the 3-point game was and is a major plus. So is winning at home. Beyond the arc scoring is an anchor staple in D'Antoni's offensive strategy.

Based on observations, young teams and developing programs win first at home. Victories at hostile sites and neutral venues come from skill development and focus maturity.

Statistics and observations raise questions about the strength presence of the inside game. Final stats show minimum impact from power forwards and centers as a group.

Defensive breakdowns in the transition game and failure to close on 3-point

shooters lessened but remained extant. Defense against point blank shots wavered from passive to aggressive through the season.

Time, practice and recruiting are cures to these problems. D'Antoni, for the first time, has a full off season to work with. Players have bought into the D'Antoni approach. Practice can develop the necessary execution skills. Recruiting of skill capable players is also essential.

Analysis of the factors provides the final lock indicating program's place. Triangulation locks on (A) time, (B) practice, and (C) recruiting.

For the success challenged program and its win starved fan base, any one or combination of those factors that achieves will be fine.

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