FanPost

A Post About the Offense

I know I'm not the only one who is a bit worried about the way the offense has played lately. Since I'm a nerdy nerd nerd face who has nothing to do on a Tuesday night, I decided to look through the past 5 games and find out what's happened. I put the Ken Pom ranks of the team defenses after the team we played. In parentheses, I included the possessions in each game. 

DePaul - 213 (56)

Georgetown - 55 (64)

UConn - 24 (78)

West Virginia - 32 (61)

Providence - 94 (69)

Just based off the numbers, we played no 'elite' defenses, and one top 25. The offense had scored at least 71 points the 5 games previous to this stretch. One of the keys seems to be that opponents are slowing us down and forcing the Cards to play half court. What's interesting to note, is that West Virginia, UConn and DePaul slow played us, something that ND has become a little famous for this season, and all 3 had chances to win late. It took Peyton Siva heroics to win 2 of those games. 

A few teams tried to slow us down earlier in the season. Jackson St (64), San Francisco (57), and USF (64) didn't have the talent to pull it off. Drexel and Kentucky played to 63 possessions, and we know how those turned out. Marquette did for a half, but we were able to speed them up in the second half. 

One of the biggest things holding the Cards back is lack of execution in the half court. Since it's a team game, I'll run through the box scores to see who's underachieving, overachieving and achieving. There isn't a name for the third one I don't think. 

First off, here is how the Cards rank in offensive efficiency. In parentheses are the percentage of possessions used. All that is, is the percent of possessions that end with the player taking a shot, making it, turning it over, and so on. I got the numbers from KenPom

 

  1. Kyle Kuric 128.4 (13.9)
  2. Gorgui Dieng 114.1 (19)
  3. Stephan Van Treese 113.1 (12.1)
  4. Chris Smith 112.6 (19.4)
  5. Terrence Jennings 110.2 (20.9)
  6. Preston! Knowles 108.9 (24.6)
  7. Elisha Justice 106.6 (16)
  8. Peyton Siva 104.9 (24.5)
  9. George Goode 104.5 (17.4)
  10. Mike Marra 98.1 (19.6)
  11. Russ Smith 84.5 (28.5!)
Not only does Russ Smith dominate the ball to the point that he's Louisville's "go to guy" on KenPom because he uses over 28% of the possessions when he's in, but he's second in shot percentage at 29%. Preston is first of course.
I decided to go through the box scores, and add up the total number of shots made (FGs and FTs) and shots attempted, points, turnovers and the first number is minutes. 
DePaul
  1. Terrence Jennings 37,  5/11 - 10, 2 TOs
  2. Peyton Siva 35, 6/16 - 6, 1 TO
  3. Mike Marra 33, 2/10 - 6, 2 TOs
  4. Stephan Van Treese  28, 3/3 - 6, 1 TO
  5. Chris Smith 25, 5/8 - 10, 0
  6. Kyle Kuris 32, 10/14 - 19, 0
  7. Elisha Justice 3, 1/2 - 2, 1
  8. George Goode 2, 0/0, 0
  9. Russ Smith 2, 1/1 - 2, 3 TOs 
Yeah, Russ played 2 minutes and had 4 possessions. He's kind of a ball hog. Marra and Siva had really bad shooting games. Spoiler alert about Kyle Kuric, he's been on fire from 3 lately, 8-14 the last 3 games. Speaking of which. 

 

Georgetown

  1. Kuric 37, 4/10 - 9, 2 TO
  2. Preston! 34, 5/17 - 11, 1 TO
  3. C. Smith 31, 4/10 - 7, 1 TO
  4. Siva 29, 3/7 - 5, 8 TO
  5. TJ 24, 10/14 - 18, 1 TO
  6. Marra 18, 2/5 - 5, 1 TO
  7. Goode 16, 3/5 - 4, 1 TO
  8. R. Smith 8, 0/3, 1 TO
This was a very inefficient day for everyone but Jennings. Preston had 11, but took a lot of attempts to get his points. Between him and Siva, that's a lot of possessions that don't end in points. Also, Russ Smith added a whole lot of nothing again. Siva only added 3 assists this game. Not his best effort. 
Connecticut
  1. Siva 42, 12/20 - 19, 3 TO
  2. Preston 42, 6/15 -15, 3 TO
  3. TJ 39, 11/21 - 16, 1 TO
  4. CS5 31, 2/8 - 4, 4 TO
  5. SVT 16, 1/1 - 2
  6. Kuric 29, 6/8 -15, 0 TO
  7. Marra 28, 2/5 - 6, 2 TO
  8. Goode 10, 1/3 -2, 1 TO
  9. Russ 6, 1 TO
Another very solid game by TJ. This makes 3 in a row counting DePaul, which I did. Siva had some ups and downs, up when it mattered, he was money. Preston had a second game in which his shot was not falling. He took 0 free throws in this game. He's only taken 47 on the season. Since he's the best shooter on the team, he needs to get there more I think. Two more left. 
West Virginia
  1. Preston 34, 4/17 - 10, 2 TO
  2. CS5 33, 7/11 - 15, 2 TO
  3. Siva 26, 7/9 - 14, 2 TO
  4. SVT 23, 1/2 - 2, 3 TO
  5. Dieng 14, 1/3 - 2, 1 TO
  6. TJ 26, 3/8 - 5, 0
  7. Kuric 17, 0/1, 0
  8. Russ 9, 1/7 - 3, 1 TO
  9. Marra 8, 0/2, 1 TO
  10. Goode 5, 1/1 - 2
  11. Justice 5, 1/2 - 2 
A third horrible shooting game by Preston. Luckily, Siva and Smith picked up the slack. Last one. 
Providence
  1. CS5 38, 10/16 - 19, 2 TO
  2. SVT 27, 5/5 - 10, 2 TO
  3. Siva 22, 3/5 - 5, 3 TO
  4. Preston 21 1/8 - 2, 1 TO
  5. TJ 17, 5/9 - 8, 2 TO
  6. Dieng 23, 5/8 - 8, 5 TO
  7. Marra 21, 1/7 - 2, 1 TO
  8. Justice 17, 2/4 - 6, 1 TO
  9. Kuric 13, 5/10 - 5, 1 TO
The guards basically did nothing against the Friars. Smith and SVT had big games, while Jennings and Dieng produced well off the bench. 
I've noticed a few things from this. 
  • The Cards production from the 4 spot has been horrendous lately. The shots have ignored that position as well, as SVT relies on offensive rebounds to score. Pretty much the same as Jennings, but he gets the ball in the post occasionally. Dieng was starting to show flashes, then he got hurt. As a result, things turned into 1 person being ignored, while the others put up shots. If you discount Jennings, who got at least 4 offensive rebounds every game but Providence, that means the offensive is rolling on jump shots. What's the most unsustainable offense? Long jump shots. When the Cards nail a couple in a row, they are dangerous. When they aren't falling consistently, they are much more susceptible to a closer game. 
  • Preston's shooting has fallen off after his 3 game hot streak against Marquette, St John's and Nova. He had a rough start to Big East play, and he's had a rough go of it lately. In fact, he's 19-74, which is 26%, in the 6 other games. In those 3, he was 23-47, 49%. Hopefully he can get his form back. 
  • This probably should have gone in the first point up top, but it's clear the offense that Rick Pitino is running is either not meant, or is not providing, touches inside. If Siva's driving, he's looking to dish out. If Preston's driving, he's going to pull up. If Kuric is driving, it must be practice. 
  • Speaking of which, Kyle Kuric needs to be more active in the offense. Pitino has talked about this lately, and for good reason. He's a good foul shooter. He should be able to score inside. He can pass. He needs to be as confident as he is from the korner, or on a camel or at a wedding reception. 
  • Finally, the main reason for the Cards struggling in the half court is pretty simple. The guys who take the most shots when things slow down are in the middle of the pack when it comes to being efficient. Nearly 50% of the shots are going to Preston and Siva. As you can see from above, their shooting isn't the best. I think this can be solved in 3 ways. 1) get some of the more efficient players involved more frequently. 2) try to get better looks for the guys who shoot more. Unless it's Preston, then try to get him guarded more. 3) Speed the game up, which is what the Cards try to do anyway. 
There you have it. A bunch of numbers and a problem with no solution. I have a feeling things will work out though. Go Cards. 

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