November Review: CalAskaYork

==November Review Part I==

In his pregame press conference for the Wagner College basketball game, St. John's head coach Steve Lavin stated that the team is around where he expected them to be - 4 wins, 1 loss or 3 and 2, knowing that they would try to win all the games, but that both Arizona State and St. Mary's posed a serious challenge to a Red Storm team that struggled to win conference games last year.

Coach has to be happy with the month of November. He and his staff have installed a new system, new offensive plays, a slightly different attitude. And Lavin is settling back into coaching.

No matter what anyone says, there cannot be a substitute for actual game coaching, fast decision-making and information-processing that one gets in game action. And it had been seven years since Lavin last roamed the sideline.

There's not a quantifiable way to tell if Lavin is/ was shaking off the coaching rust, no counter-factual world to compare his decisions to. And in early season games, many coaches would rather stick with one plan to see its flaws rather than fall back on gimmicks that don't teach the team lessons for the future. The team is winning, Lavin's won games with his new systems.

I think in the glaze of excitement over the Arizona State, though, people forget that St. John's was 5-0 in 2009's November, with wins against solid NCAA-possible teams in Temple and Siena. In fact, each game from this season has a corollary in last year's schedule:

LONG ISLAND Young, guard-oriented low/ mid-major DRAKE
ST. BONAVENTURE Mid-level team with athletic forward BALL STATE
BROWN Unheralded Ivy with shooting prowess COLUMBIA
SIENA Tough mid-major coming off of recent NCAA success ST. MARY'S
TEMPLE Tournament-possible team from good, not great conference at neutral site ARIZONA STATE

Talent-wise, Drake should be better than Long Island University, but according to Pomeroy's rankings last year of Long Island and this year's rankings for Drake, they're similar. St. Mary's is better than Siena by the ratings; Temple was a better opponent than Arizona State, though the Sun Devils should have better talent; and St. Bonaventure was better than Ball State by a fair margin. But there are similarities to note. Last year's team went 5-0, with close calls against Brown and Bonaventure and come-from-behind victories against both Siena (losing 31-36 at the half) and Temple (losing 21-22 at the half).

It's early. I am in no way saying that there is no difference between last year's team and this year's team. But last year's team did come from behind to win in that early month. And this year's team did lose leads against St. Mary's College and Ball State, pulling the latter out at the end - as the Red Storm did against St. Bonaventure last year.

The numbers show some interesting NON-differences from last year's first five November games:

2009
Pace
PPP
EfG%
TO%
OR%
FTR
2p%
3p%
FT%
StJ
68.6
1.06
50.5
19.8
35.1
36.2
52.0
31.5
70.2
Opp
0.96
45.6
21.9
32.0
35.5
46.9
28.0
73.0
2010
Pace
PPP
EfG%
TO%
OR%
FTR
2p%
3p%
FT%
StJ
64.8
1.16
51.8
15.1
37.3
46.3
51.5
34.9
66.2
Opp
0.96
48.0
24.1
31.8
41.7
43.2
36.1
72.8

(notes on the table: data gathered from Statsheet.com. For definitions of the headers, see Basketball Reference. I use free throws attempted/ field goals attempted for FTR, Free Throw Rate.)

St. John's might be more exciting than last year - because of the turnovers and made shots, which send the pulse racing. But they are also playing definitively slower than last year's edition. I have no problem with slow-down ball, but fans always complain about slow games, so it's important to remember that they're not playing at some breakneck speed.

But seeing that increase of .10 points per possession is a sight to behold. The magic of made shots and not turning the ball over, offensive competency! That is a cause for excitement, and a hope that in conference play, the Red Storm can shorten those lulls of scoring ineptitude that caused them to lose leads.

The ability of the team to get to the line seems to have improved, though they have been sent to the charity stripe at the ends of games, so that number doesn't speak necessarily to the team's ability to draw contact. And the conversion rate at the line is down from what it was last year at the same time. The offensive rebounding has also been very good, grabbing 37% of available misses instead of 35%.

The team will want to work on getting opponents to miss a little more, however. Increasing the gap between turnovers is great, but teams find figure out the gaps in the zone to get shots up. And the Red Storm defenders have to be there to make sure those shots don't go through the net.

More to come this week on the changes in the players.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Rumble In The Garden

You must be a member of Rumble In The Garden to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Rumble In The Garden. You should read them.

Join Rumble In The Garden

You must be a member of Rumble In The Garden to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Rumble In The Garden. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker