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Game 3: Bradley Recap

November 21, 2011

The Sioux suffered their first loss of the season to MVC foe Bradley in a game that was even more defensive than it looked just by looking at the scoreline. The Sioux held Bradley under a point per possession but managed just .86 PPP themselves in what hopefully will be their worst offensive output of the season.

The Sioux defense probably wasn’t as good as the PPP data indicates as they allowed Bradley to shoot 57% from inside the arc and were benefited by the Braves shooting just 21% from three. They also kept Bradley off the glass well, allowing only 19.4% of the rebounds to be snagged, another great effort by this team on the glass.

Offensively the Sioux took care of the ball well, turning it over at just a 16.3% clip, but couldn’t put the ball in the whole, shooting 40% from two and just 6-25 from three. They also shot 13 fewer free throws than Bradley, a pretty poor effort inside.

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Bradley Preview

November 17, 2011

Fresh off a pretty good win against Idaho State the Sioux travel to Bradley to take on the 2-0 Braves. Bradley hasn’t really played the toughest schedule so far, but will be our toughest opponent to date:

First year coach Geno Ford brings back 3 starters, though they did graduate the best player off their 2010-11 team, Andrew Warren. Last year Bradley was the 313th best offensive rebounding team in the country, but this year they have rebounded very well in their first two games, grabbing 38.4% of their own misses, though it remains to be seen whether they are just crashing the boards harder or whether it is some talent differential.

Because of Bradley’s height they are shooting a robust 56.9% from two and haven’t had a single shot of theirs blocked so far.

Fortunately for the Sioux that advantage doesn’t really translate to the defensive end as Bradley allows opponents to shoot 52.8% from inside the arc, and they are just 182nd in defensive rebounding. If the Sioux try to crash the boards a bit in this one they can perhaps capitalize on that and get some second chance points.

Bradley also doesn’t do too well forcing turnovers, forcing opponents to turn it over on just 17.6% of their possessions, which is 275th nationally. They turn it over on 20.8% of their possessions (140th) themselves, but the Sioux defense has been quite ballhawking, as they force opponents to cough it up on 32.6% of their possessions, which is 7th best in the entire country.

Despite some apparent Sioux advantages, their first road game of the year is probably going to be their first loss of the year. KenPom predicts a 71-62 loss and gives UND a 20% chance to win. Still, if they can shoot the three well and grab some offensive rebounds they have a very real chance to go 3-0.

Idaho State Recap

November 15, 2011

Granted Idaho State wasn’t a very good team last year, and I doubt they will be a good team this year (picked last in the Big Sky) but I am still rather surprised the Sioux won the game last night. I was perhaps a bit blinded by their narrow loss to Oklahoma, but that’s a really good win for the Sioux. With the bulk of the team being made up of Sophomores, I’m not saying the Sioux can challenge for the Big Sky autobid in two years but they can perhaps put in a nice mid conference finish and build the program from there.

Anyways, as for last night’s game: The positives are many, as the Sioux managed a 52.2% eFG, including shooting 50% from two. They also shot 36% from three, and took more threes than they did twos. I love shooting the three, especially in mid to low major basketball, so that is an excellent job by the Sioux to maximize the number of points they can come away with. Defensively the Sioux were excellent as well, allowing Idaho State to shoot only 37.5% from two. That is especially good when considering they have a 7 footer.

Speaking of which, that makes the Sioux rebounding effort even more impressive. They snagged 32.3% of the offensive rebounds available and allowed Idaho State to grab only 33.3% of theirs. Those numbers probably won’t fly on a season long basis, but against a team that outsized them as much as Idaho State does it is an impressive effort indeed.

Another impressive effort was the number of turnovers the Sioux forced. Idaho State turned it over on nearly a third of their possessions, which is nearly 15% higher than the number of turnovers the Sioux forced last year. If they can consistently do that I think they’ll cruise in GWC play.

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Game 2 Preview: Idaho State

November 14, 2011

One 1-0 and one 0-1 team meet at the Betty tonight as the Sioux host Idaho State. Setting aside the weirdness factor of the Sioux hosting a bigger (and better) program, let’s not confuse season records with team effectiveness: Idaho State is very much the favorite tonight.

Idaho State went into Norman and lost by only 4 to the Sooners. Oklahoma is a bottom of the barrel Big 12 team, but they are still a Big 12 team and Idaho State should be as encouraged as the Sioux should be concerned.

Idaho State had almost a point per possession at Oklahoma despite shooting only 29% from three. Normally when a mid major comes close to an upset it is via an inordinate amount of threes, but the Bengals more than held their own inside the arc, shooting 58.3% from two. Two point offense is much more predictive than three point offense, so the Bengals look to be a good team indeed.

Individually they had four players in double figures vs. the Sooners, the most efficient of whom was Dejan Kostur. Kostur had a 66.6% eFG against the Sooners (all shots coming from two).

The one area where the Sioux can perhaps take advantage of the Bengals is turnoverwise, as Idaho State turned it over on 26.7% of their possessions in Norman. With the depth the Sioux have they can perhaps force a few turnovers of their own. Idaho State didn’t really rebound well either, allowing a 41.9% offensive rebound rate and rebounding only 34.3% of their own misses. The Sioux are a good rebounding team, so I expect them to do well on the glass (defensively, at least) so if Idaho State cools off shooting wise an upset is possible. I just wouldn’t expect it.

 

Game 1: Sioux Beat Waldorf

November 13, 2011

It was only vs. an NAIA opponent so let’s take everything with a grain of salt but the Sioux basketball team opened up the 2011-12 season with a very strong opponent. The Sioux scored 1.22 points per possession and allowed .84 per trip for the Warriors. It was a dominant performance in all facets of the game, as the game was 99.5% over with 8:30 left in the game (for more on how to tell when the outcome is no longer in doubt, read this).

The Sioux shot the ball reasonably well, with a 51.4% eFG, but that was dragged down by an abysmal performance from three, as they shot just 4-18 (22%) as a team. I would expect that number to go up given that the Sioux shot just under 34% as a team last year (and it will have to go up a lot more if they want to make some noise in the Big Sky next year but that is a post for another day).

The Sioux were great on the glass, grabbing 42% of their own misses. Some of that is due to the height advantage, but given that the game was 76 possessions long when the average Sioux game was just 67.6 possessions last year I do wonder if the Sioux haven’t committed to the offensive glass a bit more this year rather than making sure they get back on defense at any cost. They had a below average effective height last year so that’s probably not a viable long term strategy, but we’ll see.

In more encouraging news, the Sioux turned it over on just under 12% of their possessions, nearly cutting their 2011 rate in half. Again, it’s only Waldorf, but it is an encouraging sign that the kids are maturing perhaps even a bit ahead of schedule.

A look at the four factors and some player notes after the jump: Read more…

Great West Basketball Preview

November 3, 2011

Note: Efficiency Margin = points per possession – points allowed per possession. The above totals are for Great West Conference games only.

The Great West Conference is most assuredly the worst in all of college basketball, and the only one whose winner doesn’t receive an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, but nonetheless it would be nice to see the Sioux win the league in its last season in the league (hopefully) and get some experience before moving to the Big Sky (again, hopefully) and the big jump in competition that comes with it:

1. North Dakota

The Sioux were the third best team in the regular season, but won three games (by a total of 4 points) in the conference tournament to win the GWC postseason title. And that was with four Freshmen. With all five starters back the Sioux have a great chance to win the GWC regular season title, though of course in this conference it doesn’t really matter who wins the regular season title.

The main guy to watch is obviously Troy Huff. His efficiency numbers weren’t that great last year, but having to take a bulk of the shots as well as create a bulk of the offense as a Freshman is tough to do, even at the lower rungs of D1 basketball. With the improvement of his fellow Sophomores hopefully some pressure will be taken off him and he can really shine this year.

2. Utah Valley

Utah Valley was far and away the best team in conference last year, outranking everyone else by more than 50 places in the KenPom rankings. Oddly enough, the Sioux played them rather tough, losing in 4 overtimes at home and then by 3 in Utah. Isiah Williams is their version of Troy Huff, but he was a lot more efficient (probably because he is a Senior). They got a huge chunk of their points from the free throw line last year, and had three guys who shot 85% or better. Read more…

On The Sioux-Gophers Series

November 3, 2011

The Sioux enter unfamiliar territory this weekend, playing the Gophers in a series in which the Gophers are ranked ahead of them. One thing that is not unfamiliar however, is the hilarity of Gopher fans. Probably my favorite thing about Gopher fans is that they chastise the Sioux nickname, all while calling us the Sue. I’d say that is both hypocritical and misogynistic, but then I would have to explain to Gopher fans what those words mean.

This weekend’s series is being played at Mariucci Arena, and whether you’re watching it on TV or going in person, don’t be fooled: it’s not that full all the time. It only seems that way because the only time UND fans pay attention to Minnesota is when the two teams play, and the only time Minnesota fans go to games is when the two teams play. What you’ll also notice is that the ice sheet at Mariucci is so large you can barely see the fans across the ice. And thank god because have you seen U of M girls? However, you can still hold a perfectly normal conversation with one of them from your seat, given that it is usually as quiet as a church service in there (assuming said fan can understand vocabulary above an elementary school level).

In fact, when checking how often Minnesota fans talk about North Dakota compared to the inverse, you’d think that it was UND who was the Big 10 school and Minnesota was the school only good at one sport. (Well, that’s half right: the Gophers have a pretty bad ass women’s hockey team).

On the ice, the Gophers have probably been playing better hockey, if you discount the fact that they have played Sacred Heart and Anchorage (the hockey version of Goldy steamrolling a bunch of grade schoolers) while UND has played BC and Maine, but given that Minnesota thinks of itself as Havard academically, they’ve always considered things to be equal, as long as they’re doing relatively the same thing. Harvard has a world renowned chemistry department, whereas Minnesotans can make a mean batch of meth, so clearly they have the same chemistry know how. Maybe that’s how the U of M has such a good dental school.

All we need to know about Gopher fans is this: They claim to have invented the stick salute. In a related story, I have come up with this fantastic new thing called electricity. It appears too many Minnesotans have been listening to Michelle Bachmann.

Did I have to write this post? Not really. All I really would have to do is point out that an entire presidential term might pass without seeing the Gophers in the NCAA tournament (seriously, would they even know how to make it to their regional site? Though it would be a huge home ice advantage for them, given how neither ever has big crowds). But this was more fun to do, and I look forward to getting emails that are well reasoned, thought out and grammatically correct on this subject from Gopher fans.

Rankings Monday

October 31, 2011

A weekly rundown of where Sioux teams are ranked. If I miss any, or if you publish rankings and would like to be included, please let me know in the comments, by tweeting me @siouxblog or by emailing me at fetch9 at gmail dot com.

Men’s Hockey

INCH – 17th

USA Hockey – 15th

USCHO – not up yet. Will update when it is.

TCHB – 16th

Women’s Hockey

USCHO – not up yet

USA Hockey Magazine – not up yet

Football

Coaches poll – 25th

TSN – Unranked

 

 

A Tempo Free Stats Primer

October 31, 2011

With the basketball season set to tip off for real in a little over a week, I thought a post introducing some of the stats I’ll be talking about on here would be helpful. I’ll also throw a link to it at the top of the blog so you can reference it whenever you want. The following was originally published at Rock Chalk Talk

The basic crux of tempo free stats is thus: teams play at different paces. Especially in college basketball, where there are 300+ teams of varying skill level and depth. To call one 80 ppg team equivalent to another 80 ppg team is a misnomer. 80 possessions for each team (roughly) is what you would call a fast game and 60 (again, roughly) is what you would call a slow one. Last year the D1 average was 66.7 possessions per game. The fastest team was Alcorn State (77.6) and the slowest Denver (57.9) Read more…

Sioux Beat Minot State; Coach Jones Reacts

October 31, 2011

http://www.fightingsioux.com/mediaPortal/embed.swf

I’ll be starting to ramp up the basketball coverage here soon, so stay tuned.