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Monday Morning Point Guard

November 16, 2015

I rarely blog games that I haven’t attended.  

But i feel obligated to make a few comments about the Rams’ impressive  84-78 road win over a Northern Iowa squad. 

Northern Iowa is a solid MVC program.  They are coming off a fantastic season where they were nationally ranked, earned a 5-seed in the NCAA Tournament, and advancing to the 3rd round.  Just 5 short years ago they were a Sweet Sixteen team.  Sure they are different from last season (things change!) but they have players and they have a good coach.  

It was not an accident that Vegas had them favored by 7 points.

It was also not an accident that CSU figured out a way to win the game.  Maybe on paper it would be considered an upset, but it sure didnt look like an upset on TV.  The Rams looked like the better team as they showed solid play in the paint, attacking the rim, and from the perimeter.
The advanced stats reveal some pretty interesting things.

First, CSU scored 1.18 points per possession.  That is a very high number.  Only Wichita State and Louisville had higher offensive efficiency vs. Northern Iowa last season.

More impressive is that the Rams did it without a lead pony.  Last year, JJ Avila was the guy.  His possession rate over the course of the season was 28%.  There were games where he was involved in well over 30%.

Yesterday against Northern Iowa, not one Ram had a possession rate higher than 23%.  It was the consummate sharing of the ball effort with guys stepping up and making shots in the structure and flow rather than embarking on individual tangents.  Crisp passing, intelligent parries toward the basket, post feeds done with a high level of precision for a road opener.

Three guys scored 16 points. Two others finished in double figures and another fell just short.  Balance, balance, balance.   During the game, Gian Clavell and Joe De Ciman went on mini-streaks of their own but it was with the help of teammates getting them the ball in good spots.

John Gillon had a quiet 16 points.  As a 6th man last year he was expected to play with high energy off the bench  and provide a change of pace.  This year he is running the show from the point.  And so far he is doing it the way a point guard should.  By getting the team into their sets, dictating offensive tempo, and making good choices of when to involve teammates and when to make an individual play.  

Joe De Ciman had 16 points (with a measly 13% possession rate), 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals, and 0 turnovers.  His poise and leadership are important at tough road venues.

There’s a ton of room for growth on this team.  They show flashes of being a decent rebounding team but they need to get better for those nights when the shots aren’t dropping.  Defensively, they’ll need to stay in front of their man a little better.  And contest opponents’ shots without jumping themselves out of position for a rebound.

As a CSU season ticket holder, I am excited that I’ll get to see this team play up close and personal 20 times or so this season.  As a long-time college basketball fan, they have the potential to be a really fun team to follow.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Judge Smails permalink
    November 16, 2015 3:19 pm

    How many dunks did CSU have? Who had the better uniforms? These are the important questions the informed CSU fans need answered!!

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