13 January 2014

GAMBLE Report 1.13

@NW 49 Illinois 43 - Recap

Shortly before the game it was announced that NW point guard and haper whipping boy Dave Sobolewski was out of the lineup with a concussion. Inexplicably it did not occur to Illini head coach and Powder stunt double John Groce to try to exploit NW’s exposed ball handling weakness through presses and traps.

This glaring mental gaffe was compounded by some horrid Illini shooting but even then the game was still there for the taking late in the second half. Give some credit to NW for the Illini’s offensive struggles. CCC had the wherewithal to pack the lane and challenge the brick laying Illini to knock down open three pointers. The Illini could not.

The game remained close because NW’s offense continued to struggle. It wasn’t until Tre Demps hit a trio of treys during a three minute spurt over the final third of the second half. This outburst changed the complexion of the game from a 34-34 tie at the seven minute mark to a nearly insurmountable 43-36 NW lead with less than 4 minutes to play.

Backed into a corner with time a strong NW ally Groce had no choice but to call for presses and traps. And you know what? NW crumbled under the pressure. The Illini turned NW over four times in less than a minute. FOUR TIMES! That’s #horribad.

It turned out to be too little too late for the Illini. Illinois did whittle down the NW lead from 9 points to 2 but could get no closer thanks to Drew Crawford knocking down two big free throws with 14 seconds to play.

Any win is a good win and we are glad that NW is not going to go winless in the B1G. But anyone who thinks this win is a sign that the team is turning a corner is going to be sorely disappointed.

GAMBLE Reports

Kenpom had given the Illini a 68% chance of winning last night with a predicted score of 58-61. With the NW upset win the GAMBLE Reports should be less a horror show. Sorta…..

Overall NW’s ranking improved 12 spots to 155 which is now only 23 behind the decimated 2013 squad. On offense things continue to get worse. NW dropped another 23 rungs to 298. There are now only 53 division one teams with a worse performing offense. Sickening.

As expected the defensive statistics are much improved. NW bounced back 31 rungs is now at its high water mark at 37th ranked defense in the land. Heady stuff but will it continue? The B1G GAMBLE Report does not paint a pretty picture…..

The Illinois game was only NW’s fourth B1G game. With that small sample size and a very good defensive game that allowed Illinois to score only 43 points one might think the AdjD would’ve improved from 12th. Nope. NW's defense in the first three games was really THAT bad. As noted the AdjD figure is still worse than NW’s 2013 B1G effort.

NW also remains dead last in overall Pomeroy rating and AdjO of course. CCC did manage to break his basement deadlock with CBC in defensive eFG percentage so there is that.

Next up:

Sparty comes to E-town on Wednesday.  Kenpom gives NW a 15% chance of winning which sounds way too optimistic even if Payne does not play.  Kenpom needs to check for a glitch in his prediction machine.  There is not a snowball's chance in hell that NW will score 57 points against Michigan State.  NW will be lucky to score 50.