Guest Contributor Ray Floriani: Tempo Free Observations on the PC Upset

dave@friarblog —  February 26th, 2009 7:11 PM
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by Ray Floriani

Ray has been a basketball writer for over 25 years, and was named the 1999 NIT Media Man of the Year. You can find more of Ray’s writing at Basketball Times, Hoopville, and College Chalk Talk.

Following Providence’s upset win over Pitt on Tuesday, a number of interested parties, including Villanova by the Numbers’ Grey Cat, asked my opinion of the contest. I did not want to use the age old football coaches mantra, “I have to see the tape”, but did expressing interest in reviewing a tempo free box score. Some notes on PC’s 81-73 victory.

The Friars  pushed the pace. Pitt is a 67 possession team in conference play. Providence got the contest to 72 possessions. That does not sound significant but those 5 possessions add up. Another factor in facing a power team like Pitt is get them out of a half court grind it out setting. Get the game in the open floor which PC did.

Care of the ball. Providence had a superlative turnover rate of 12%. On the other side, Jamie Dixon’s Panthers checked in at a poor 25% TO rate. On the season Pitt’s TO rate is 16% so this was a tough one for Dixon and company.

Pitt’s offensive points per possession is 1.15. Against PC it was 1.01, see turnover rate and 47% effective field goal percentage as factors. Providence is a 1.05 points per possession on offense that exploded for a gaudy 1.14. Again, see TO rate plus 53% effective field goal percentage.

Overall Pitt was subpar on offense and defense. But don’t blame it on ‘Fat Tuesday’ or dead any spots on the Dunkin Donuts Center floor.  Providence did a great job on both ends and the major reason behind Pitt’s struggles.

On that night yours truly was covering Syracuse’s thorough dismantling of St. John’s  at MSG. Ran into Bob Wenzel doing color work. He agreed the Pitt loss was a good ‘coaching tool’. Not saying the Panthers came to Providence complacent. Still, the game serves as a reminder of the cliché’  ‘there are no nights off in the Big East’. 

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