Friday, March 16, 2012

You Can't Handle the Truth: A Preview of Sunday's Game

I wouldn't call myself superstitious, per say. But if I write a preview column using movie quotes for an NCAA tournament game and the Pack advances, I'm definitely keeping the good mojo going and writing another preview based on movie quotes.

San Diego State got Anchorman (both located in San Diego). Georgetown gets A Few Good Men (both located in DC). Apologies in advance because I'll be out of town all Saturday so this is a very hastily written column that's probably littered with errors. It was hastily written or nothing.

"It doesn't matter what I believe. It only matters what I can prove."  
A personal favorite of mine, as stat nerd. Last Saturday night on the seven hour drive back from Atlanta, I wrote a column saying that I believed NC State belonged in the NCAA tournament. On Friday they proved it.

"They beat up on a weakling; that's all they did. The rest is just smoke filled coffee-house crap. They tortured and tormented a weaker kid. They didn't like him. So, they killed him. And why? Because he couldn't run very fast. 
To NC State's surgical dismantling of San Diego State in the opening round. That looked like a proven BCS team taking the best shot of a small conference school and calming using its size/strength to take over late in the game. It was an impressive display for a team that had struggled against NCAA tournament caliber competition all season. Unfortunately, its not going to be that simple against Georgetown - a long, extremely athletic team that's been ranked in the top 15 all season for a reason.

Oh, thanks, Jack. And I want to tell you that I think the whole f***ing bunch of you are certifiably insane. This code of honor of yours makes me want to beat the shit out of something. 
Let's be honest, playing against Georgetown's Princeton style offense can bring out the worst in both defenses and fans watching at home - its not fun for anybody.  The Hoyas are currently 294th in the nation in pace, which isn't quite into Virginia territory but its not far off. The team will have to avoid getting as frustrated as Pack fans in order to avoid giving up easy baskets late in the clock.

"You gotta trust me, you keep your eyes open and your chances of catching ball increase by a factor of 10."
For Georgetown's only real offensive weakness - turnovers. They aren't Florida State or anything, but they turn it over on almost 20 percent of their possessions and they do everything else so well that this is comparatively their weakness. A couple of turnovers and some transition baskets would certainly help the Pack get going.

"... I'm gonna rip the eyes out of your head and piss into your dead skull! You f***ed with the wrong Marine!"
This is essentially the attitude I'd like the entire team to have going into this game, but it especially applies to CJ Leslie. He sort of faded out of the action on Friday, though his flashes of brilliance were quite brilliant. He's capable of being the best player on the floor in any game, and the Pack desperately needs him to go out with a chip on his shoulder on Sunday.

I've been promoted up through the chain of command with greater speed and success than you have. Now if that's a source of tension or embarrassment for you, well, I don't give a s***. 
I couldn't really find a quote that fit with 'awesome passing 6'10" player who is the focal point of the offense'. Sorry, I'm blaming all these really good Friday night games. But lets use this quote to talk about Henry Sims regardless.

Sims is an amazingly odd player. The Georgetown offense runs through him and he leads the team in assists (his 27.2 assist rate would rate fourth in the ACC behind Marshall, Zo & Tanner Smith). That's so odd and unique for a 6'10" player that it makes me extremely worried for the Pack - he is the definition of a match-up nightmare. If there's an consolation its that he, like the rest of the Georgetown squad, isn't a very effective shooter.

"I strenuously object?" Is that how it works? Hm? "Objection." "Overruled." "Oh, no, no, no. No, I STRENUOUSLY object." "Oh. Well, if you strenuously object then I should take some time to reconsider." 
The Hoya defense blocks 13.5% of all shots taken by the opposition. It's just one strength of their incredible defense, on that thrives on using their size and agility to force misses. Opponents don't shoot well inside or outside, and Georgetown limits second-chance opportunities with its 70% defensive rebounding rate.

"I eat breakfast 300 yards from 4000 Cubans who are trained to kill me, so don't think for one second that you can come down here, flash a badge, and make me nervous."
There's this saying, that I'm not sure I believe, that 'defense travels'. In other words, if you are a great defensive team it matters less where you play - home or away or at a neutral site. Georgetown is a great defensive team that will not be very worried about an upstart No. 11 seed causing a lot of trouble. They won't be nervous at the start, but if the Pack jumps out ahead and stays there for awhile the nerves might start to creep in a bit.

"And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall."
The Pack wants Scott Wood taking 3-pointers, it needs Scott Wood making 3-pointers. The Hoyas have the best perimeter defense in the nation (repeat, nation - as in best out of 340+ teams). Opponents are shooting 26% against them from 3-point range. The Pack doesn't rely heavily on the long shot, which is good, but it needs Wood to make a few just to keep the Hoya defense focused in on him to hopefully give Zo, Leslie & Howell more room to operate.

"You can't handle the truth!"
The truth, unfortunately, is that Georgetown is the superior team. The Pack is playing well, but its going to need to have one of its best two or three games of the season to have a chance against Georgetown. And if the Hoyas play well, they'll need their best game of the year. The Pack has come close against some of the top teams in the nation but hasn't broken through - so they have a chance but they'll be legitimate underdogs on Sunday. Pomeroy only gives the Pack a 28% chance of knocking off Georgetown.

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