Here we are 6 games into the season. Let's see how we are doing.
Free throws - Good News:
While we are not shooting appreciably better than last year so far (68.1% vs 66.3%) there is both some good news and bad news here. Look at the individual stats:
Last yr This yr Improvement
Siva 68.1 94.4 +26.3
C Smith 68.2 86.4 +18.2
Dieng 53.8 63.6 + 9.8
All of the other returning players are shooting about the same or a little better than last year as well. So that's the good news, now for the bad news. And special kudos to Peyton and Chris Smith here for the huge improvement.
Free throws - Bad News:
All of the freshmen are shooting very poorly. Chane is at 56% and Zack Price is 0 for the season. Even Swop, who was a very good free throw shooter has started slowly at just 66.7%. Additionally, Chane is our #1 man in attempts with 25, and Gorgui is tied for second with 22. These guys need to get up to at least 70% and we should be fine at the line.
Free throws - 1 and 1:
We all know how much missing some front ends of the 1 and 1 have hurt us in some big games recently, so I thought I would track how well we do in this area. Here's how we are doing thus far.
Attempts Makes % 2nd Shot Attempts Makes %
Team 25 13 52 13 12 94
Dieng 9 4 44 4 3 75
C Smith 5 5 100 5 5 100
R Smith 3 1 33 1 1 100
Price 3 0 0 0 0 0
This is everyone with more than one attempt. As you can see, with the exception of Chris Smith's perfect shooting, we are pretty dismal. And just over half of the attempts are from our big guys (Dieng, Price and Behanan) who are 30.7% collectively. Fortunately, the rules change allowing two shots after the ninth foul will lessen the importance of this deficiency somewhat. Still, we are giving away some points here that could come back to hurt us late in some games. For example, in our last outing against Long Beach State, although we shot pretty well at the line (20 of 26 for 76.9%) we had 6 opportunities at the one and one and only made 3. So of the 12 potential points from the line, we got 5. Not saying this was the total reason but they were able to close the margin to 5 in the second half but it didn't help.
Rebounding - Good News :
As a team we are rebounding better this year over last with a +6.5 advantage over our opponents. I expect that improvement to continue as Chane develops, Buckles returns, Swop continues his solid play and Zack Price gets more playing time.
Rebounding - Bad News :
We were outrebounded for the first time last night by Long Beach State (37-32). And that team was not particularly big inside with a front line of 6'-7", 6'-8", 6'-6". That is troublesome when you consider some of the front lines we will face in the Big East - UConn comes to mind with Oriaki, Daniels and Olander at 6'9", 6'9", 6'8" and then Drummond off the bench at 6'10". We started Dieng, Behanan and Kuric at 6'11", 6'6", and 6'4" and often bring in Chris Smith at 6"2". That is a very small lineup. Rebounding could continue to be a problem area for us in the conference. Losing SVT will hurt us here too but hopefully Swop and Buckles can make the difference.
A few other observations from last night -
14 steals were our best effort of the year
11 turnovers were our fewest of the year
41.2% from 3 pt was our best shooting of the year.
This combination of protecting the ball, forcing turnovers and knocking down some shots can produce a lot of wins for us this year. If we keep up this intensity and continue to improve, we can be there in April when they cut down the nets.