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Messages - eric17

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Penn State Basketball / Re: We are recieving votes!
« on: December 15, 2014, 08:18 PM »
That being said, this year's non-conference schedule was better than a lot of people are stating...not so much that the teams are better but that it's a smart schedule.  We will play 6 of 13 games away from the BJC (especially b/c they're winnable games).  To me, that's smart scheduling and it's also good for the RPI.

Not sure I follow your logic here.   In 2009, when we were left out of the dance almost entirely because of our weak OOC schedule, we had an OOC schedule rank of 313.  RPIf forecast projects us to be ranked 276 in that stat this year.

Is it slightly better?  Maybe slightly.  I don't think anybody is exaggerating when they say this is a very weak schedule though.

And just three days ago it was projected at 224. Conference play will sort it all out.

Penn State Basketball / Re: Duquesne
« on: December 10, 2014, 06:46 PM »
Just look at the Maui Invitational, who went out of their way to add "Maui on the Mainland" just to appease high major coaches that wanted to maximize their schedule with 31 games.

Bottom line, it only makes sense in the convoluted loophole riddled NCAA rules and regulations.

In fact, I'm not even sure if there's rules or not. Purdue was the first team I noticed having these non-bracketed games about 4-5 years ago. But in their 2013 schedule release it states:

Purdue will kick off the Old Spice Classic in West Lafayette on Nov. 24 when it hosts Siena in a non-bracketed round game. NCAA legislation permits teams to play a maximum of four games as part of exempt multi-team events, such as the Old Spice Classic. The Boilermakers are thus permitted to play a team in the originally contracted field within 14 days of the start of the Old Spice Classic. The game has been approved by ESPN, the promoter of the Old Spice Classic, and will be considered part of the event in historical records.

Penn State's game with Akron was after the Charleston Classic, so clearly there wasn't any rule in effect any more stating it had to be two weeks before the bracket. Basically, coaches realized playing in the 8-team brackets screwed them out of a game, so presumably the NCAA response is to allow these non-bracketed games (which also run a high-risk of playing the same team twice in the non-con like Purdue did with Siena last year and PSU would've this year had they met Akron in the bracket in South Carolina).

Penn State Basketball / Re: Duquesne
« on: December 10, 2014, 12:15 PM »
You can either schedule 29 regular season games or 27 regular season games + an exempt event that can be up to four games. In 2010-2011, PSU didn't participate in an exempt tourney, so they had 11 non-con games (+18 B1G games = 29). In the 8-team ESPN exempt events, bracket play only allows for 3 games, which is why it's becoming more common to see non-bracketed games add a fourth game to the event for some teams. For PSU this year, that fourth game was Akron. I think there's some rules for this fourth game to qualify as part of the event (something like it has to be no later than a week after the bracket play ended) but I don't know exactly what it is. So it was Penn State's choosing to maximize the games on the schedule to play Akron. Otherwise, there would only be 30 games this season.

Penn State Basketball / Re: Va Tech
« on: December 3, 2014, 06:47 PM »
Oh, that's it?

I thought it was some other picture

Chambers was doing his usual twitter PR and actually responded to PSUMBB's original tweet. But since the reply came after that frat bro's rap lyrics reply, twitter displays it as Pat Chambers replying to Julius Pringle as being all about that murda game #ATTITUDE

Penn State Basketball / Re: vs Akron IGT
« on: November 26, 2014, 09:44 AM »
I give Chambers a lot of credit for putting Dickerson back in there in the second half. Considering the last 3 games, PSU was only able to get going with a smaller line-up. It really paid off. What can PSU and/ or Dickerson do to get that kind of effort going forward? I hope this can continue.

Great point. It sounds like all Pat did at halftime was challenge their manhood and inserted Dickerson and Thorpe to start the second period. Those two dudes caused that crazy 16-0 run themselves from the very beginning. Clearly, Pat's decision paid off. (Side note: Geno is just great in the open floor, ain't he?).

That second half just had the feel of a turning point for this season. They've looked pretty pedestrian (to put it politely) the first 5.5 games. That second half last night is the potential this team possesses. Hopefully they continue to progress with another strong performance Friday, and I won't be surprised if this turned into a springboard for the rest of the season.

Penn State Basketball / Re: vs Akron IGT
« on: November 26, 2014, 09:14 AM »
Akron missed a few easy looks early, but on second watch, not sure why you run an alley-oop for a player who can't play above the rim and the open 3 came off a scramble situation. So yes, missing shots is a big part of the game as Taylor and Garner missed some great looks that were set up beautifully, too. You can't always credit Penn State's defense for that. But you're selling the total defensive effort from Penn State in the second half way short, particularly Dickerson. Forsythe, Robotham, they all kept attacking him in the first 6 minutes of 2nd period and failed more often than not down low. It was an impressive display. 

Penn State Basketball / Re: Upsets Everywhere: 14-15 Edition
« on: November 25, 2014, 11:53 PM »
Rough game for Rutgers tonight, lost 68-50 to St. Peter's from the MAAC.  And that is with Kadeem Jack back in the line-up as well...

And Desi Washington not playing for St. Peter's with an injury.

Penn State Basketball / Re: Freshman debuts
« on: November 18, 2014, 11:12 AM »
Just three years ago with Trey Lewis. 28 points in his first two games on 4-7 2PT FG, 5-11 3PT FG, and 3-5 FT.

I knew I was bound to miss somebody.  Thanks Eric.

I didn't know I couldn't compute simple math. Trey scored 26 to match Shep thru 2 games. He did not outscore Shep.

Penn State Basketball / Re: Charleston Classic
« on: November 18, 2014, 11:08 AM »
Brooks had a smooth stroke but the release and trajectory was always so low before his senior year.

The reality is Penn State needs more memorable big men and forwards so we can avoid these stretch comparisons between the select few that could actually contribute consistently at this level.

Penn State Basketball / Re: Freshman debuts
« on: November 18, 2014, 11:00 AM »
Just three years ago with Trey Lewis. 28 points in his first two games on 4-7 2PT FG, 5-11 3PT FG, and 3-5 FT.

Penn State Basketball / Re: Recruiting
« on: November 17, 2014, 01:25 PM »
Just dropping by to say 2016 F/C Dylan Painter was at the game yesterday. He is [unheralded], so he might not be exciting news. Not sure what the staff is doing looking at someone that's not from Philadelphia. Sorry to disappoint.

Penn State Basketball / Re: Morgan State
« on: November 12, 2014, 07:18 PM »
Just so everyone knows, BTN Plus and GoPSUSports All-Access are now two totally separate subscriptions. If you want the hoops games, get the BTN Plus subscription. It will not be available through All-Access (which CBS rebranded as College Sports Live).

No one has made it a point of emphasis to offensive rebound in this league last year

No one has made an emphasis, or most teams in the league just happen to defensive rebound well?  Iowa was the 19th best O-Reb team in the country, Indiana and Purdue were top 30 also.  That's 5 games on our B10 slate.

Not sure why we're bringing in numbers from weak non-conference mid majors that don't have the same level of athletes to compete on the boards. I don't think that's relevant.

Michigan State had their worst offensive rebounding team in over 10 years. If they ain't offensive rebounding, and the rest of the numbers fall where they did, I don't think many teams made an emphasis to offensive rebound. Purdue and Iowa did rebound really well, but not in the 40%+ range that Michigan State used to live in and win games by. Purdue was pretty much awful in every other statistical category, so their offensive rebounding didn't put pressure on teams to stop it. Iowa's attack was so efficient and well-balanced that their rebounding was just another weapon in their arsenal. Indiana at just 33% isn't great and the majority of the credit goes to the NBA's 9th overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft. 

Now if you want to make the argument that Northwestern skewed the numbers, I'll listen, but I'm probably not gonna buy it.

Boy, I can't believe the AD pulled one over on you, Lar!

Rothstein got that stat from our SID, which has also marketed the stat to the hoops Twitter/Facebook/Instagram feeds earlier this summer. I've quietly let it go unmatched, because it is just a marketing ploy by them. But the stat, while gorgeous in appearance, is not the real story.

How many FGA didn't get logged because our bigs fouled on the attempt last season? Yeah, we were pretty good at stopping opponents' 2PA, but only when we didn't foul, which as you know, was not very often. If Penn State's defensive free throw rate wasn't so atrocious, the stat would have much more juice to it. But there are a significant amount of attempts out there in no man's land that probably should have counted as a make, because the opponent had multiple opportunities to score off of it.

The free throw rate only tells half the story.   The other issue is that even though our opponents often missed, all too often we failed to get the rebound (last in the conference) and they got another chance anyway.

You must be getting old ;)

But seriously, I'm surprised we're this far apart on this. I was actually just about to reference just how bad PSU's FTR was in comparison to the rest of the league and was going to use DREB% to do it! So here it goes:

In conference play, the aggregate free throw rate was 37.8. Penn State's defensive free throw rate was 51.5!!!!!!! Pretty damn far from the mean, especially when the majority of defenses fell in the 35.0-45.0 range of this metric. The second worst defensive free throw rate in the conference was Michigan State at 44.2. Penn State's so far out of the ballpark compared to their conference brethren here. Then you consider PSU doesn't force turnovers, which means their opponents probably shot more FGA, which then means it's even more absurd that PSU has a higher FTR. Because just like 2P%, it's easier to have a good percentage if the denominator is smaller. When the denominator is bigger (in case of PSU's FTR), the numerator (# of free throws attempted) must be pretty astronomical to still have a rate that high. We have a pretty serious fouling problem.

EDIT: Catching myself here before Lar calls it out. The suggestion PSU doesn't force turnovers is not meaningful and should be disregarded. Not sure how I could reference just about an hour ago that fouling lowers your FGA and then completely forget it, but I just did. PSU's 940 FGA were the fourth lowest allowed in conference play.

So let's look at defensive rebounding. Penn State finished worst in the league, oh my gosh, but that's not the real story. I've read you, yourself say over and over again on this board that the rule of thumb is keeping your opponents under 33% or 1/3 of the opportunities. Penn State did that at 32.5%! The aggregate in conference play was 29.3%. The difference there between Penn State's performance and the rest of the conference is negligible. Who cares? No one has made it a point of emphasis to offensive rebound in this league last year, and with how weak some of these frontcourts are looking in Bloomington, Champagne, Ann Arbor, and elsewhere in the league, I doubt this is going to dramatically shift next year.

Which is why Ross' defensive rebounding is not that big of a deal. Bench him ;)

Boy, I can't believe the AD pulled one over on you, Lar!

Rothstein got that stat from our SID, which has also marketed the stat to the hoops Twitter/Facebook/Instagram feeds earlier this summer. I've quietly let it go unmatched, because it is just a marketing ploy by them. But the stat, while gorgeous in appearance, is not the real story.

How many FGA didn't get logged because our bigs fouled on the attempt last season? Yeah, we were pretty good at stopping opponents' 2PA, but only when we didn't foul, which as you know, was not very often. If Penn State's defensive free throw rate wasn't so atrocious, the stat would have much more juice to it. But there are a significant amount of attempts out there in no man's land that probably should have counted as a make, because the opponent had multiple opportunities to score off of it.

if he's taking good looks

And when was that ever a problem last year (which is another reason I love Jack's game)? Some will obviously complain about the 3-point shots he took, but he rarely forced the issue. If the defense was not respecting his pop off the ball screen, he was going to shoot it, as coached. He just lost his legs on his shot in February. Hopefully Moore and Dickerson can eat close to 25-30 mpg at the 5, so Jack can manage his fouls.

Frankly, I would keep feeding Jack until we find his threshold and his efficiency dips. Because if Jack shot just 30-35% from 3 in conference play, we're looking at a 120 ORTG season on 18-20% of possessions. That's a line not seen in this program in quite a long time. For a 3rd or 4th scorer, those are the kinds of guys the DJ Newbills and Tim Fraziers need to support a successful offense.

Ross needs to make great strides to come close to that. And maybe he does have a senior revelation (which if he does, NCAA berth becomes a great possibility). But if he doesn't...I've stated my case ;)

So we can argue that Jack has a lot more upside as a scorer, and he was only a soph to Ross being a junior last year.  But to act like one is 'ridiculously' better just isn't the case.  At least not in conference play.

He was still highly effective inside (and I do like the fact that he shoots two-pointers to three-pointers at a 2:1 ratio instead of Taylor's 1:1 ratio), but your point is valid and my hyperbole deserved to be called out.

Why I like Donovon's game? He gets shots off. He doesn't turn the ball over in the paint unlike every other Penn State big man since ... (I will let the older crowd finish this because I don't recall anyone that's comparable outside of wings like Claxton/Brooks). Even as an overmatched center, he still gets shot off inside and converts at an effective rate.

His 3-point shot obviously fell off (I did chart this the other day), but like my post stated, I think his jumpshooting woes can be attributed to disjointed playing time from foul troubles and the physical fatigue he endured in his first full Big Ten season playing out of position against much bigger players. I just refuse to believe someone can be a 47.5% 3-point shooter through the first 18 games and a 12.5% 3-point shooter the last 16 games. The Big Ten is tough, but that kind of drastic downturn is more than just a shooting slump IMO.

We'll see. I could be 100% wrong.

The problem with your post was it was filled with inferences and assumptions that you now acknowledge you knew weren't the case.

What? I didn't realize we were required to know the future to be able to post here! My posts are inferences drawn from last season's observations and numbers. I'm trying to justify the position of Ross Travis might not start or play as many minutes this year, and it's not because we 'underappreciate' him or disregard the strong parts of his game. Donovon Jack was ridiculously efficient in comparison to Travis, when he was on the floor. The problem was Jack couldn't stay there due to foul trouble. If he can stay there this year, he absolutely should, because Ross ain't helping the anemic offense. Feel free to disagree.

Quote from: rwd5035
You have moved the goal posts......

Just don't say he actually was used on a lot of our possessions because that is inaccurate.

Again, what? He used the 3rd or 4th most TOTAL possessions on the team last year. It really is that simple. He shouldn't use as many possessions this year, unless he shows substantial improvement in this area of his game. Since he has a low usage rate, which I think you understand, the only way to eliminate or redistribute his shots are to cut his playing time. And that's what this discussion is all about, isn't it?

Quote from: rwd5035
Improving our eFG% is important, but the idea that NOTHING ELSE MATTERS until we do so is just a full out fallacy. We need to be more efficient scoring the ball, that is completely true. I still maintain that our defense needs to improve too and it needs to improve a lot. We need to shoot it better but we need to get better looks too. We need guys to take more efficient shots, more corner 3s, less long 2s, more going to the bucket. However, do we have the PG on this team to find the open guys in space, deliver the right pass where it needs to be? That's my biggest concern with this team and I'm worried that we will see another season of hero ball, which I expect will see our eFG% not improve as much as you want it to improve, whether Ross is on the floor or not.

I've already explained this, like some of my other points already, so this is my last response to you. I believe in Dean Oliver's theory that eFG% is weighted more than the other four factors to a team's success. Does nothing else matter? Of course not. But shooting is priority #1 to me (and apparently others on this board) and I'd hope the staff is evaluating why they've been absolutely terrible in this department since they arrived. They have their full roster now. There's no excuse to have a player play 75+% of the available minutes while contributing just 45.8% eFG% on only 17.6% possessions. That combined with the black hole of missing production at the 5 position leaves an easy-to-defend offense. It forces DJ's and Taylor's hands to produce under more duress since teams would rather see Travis/Dickerson try to beat them. Do we not remember how Ross was targeted by opposing defenses as the player to foul on Penn State in late-game situations?

Ross is going to be in the starting lineup Friday. But if the season starts out the way his prior 3 years have gone, it's time for the staff to see what other cards they have to be prepared for Big Ten season. Because 3-on-5 in this league is tough to grind out a winning record.

But would Dickerson's impact mattered if Brandon Taylor doesn't hit 4 treys? Or Newbill was absolutely clutch in the last minutes?

I think that really sums up your whole POV here.  You want to disregard the defensive end of the court.  Would DJ's or Brandon's offensive contributions have even mattered if JD hadn't come in and clogged up the lane to keep us in the that game?  It's chicken or the egg.  But you seem convinced that only the offense matters here because it's the only thing easily measured on an individual basis.

I'm all for trying out different lineups this year.  If we find something that really works which doesn't have Travis in the mix so much?  Great!  I think we would probably be a really good team if that's the case. 

But Jack shot 23% from 3-pt in B10 play last year, even if I agree with you that he's a better offensive player than he showed last year, he still shot the ball terribly last year.  That really happened.  And it could happen again this year, maybe he's another late bloomer who won't get it until his senior year.  Or ever.  Lots of guys with potential never pan out. 

You seem to have written Ross off as a guy who could potentially breakout, but you're ready to assume Jack is a lock to figure it out this year.  And I'm just not so ready to assume those things. If guys step up and prove they're worthy of taking minutes, they will get minutes.  But what Ross does is not something we should write off so easily imo. 

No, I don't. Both offense and defense are of equal value to me. Please don't assume that I think otherwise.

I also firmly believe scoring (and conversely, stopping scoring) is the single-most important aspect of a team's offense (and conversely, defense). Rebounding, turnovers, fouls, they all factor in, but they can't have as much of an impact on the overall end product. It still comes down to who can score and who cannot score in today's game.

Penn State's offense has been woeful under Chambers. The defense hasn't been much better, but their adjusted KenPom defensive efficiency has outranked their offensive efficiency for each of the past 3 years. The primary cause for the Lions' offense has been terrible shooting. This seems to be universally accepted here, since everyone is pointing that out as a key to the season.

So why isn't anyone analyzing why Penn State's shooting has been poor? Well, for one, Tim Frazier took a great portion of the team's shots and did not convert them at an efficient rate. Then there was Ross Travis, who attempted the fourth most shots on the team, at an even worse effective percentage. Frazier's gone, so his shots need to be distributed evenly to more efficient shooters like Jack, Taylor and Newbill, who all posted 48.0%+ eFG% even with their well known struggles with the 3-ball in conference play. Then there's Travis, who if he takes the same shot volume, is still a terrible shooter. C'mon guys, it's gotta be acknowledged that he's a primary reason for the shooting struggles.

So either he breaks out, which I suggested in my article and don't think it's a farfetched as others, or he takes less shots. Penn State already has one man on the floor that the defense doesn't have to worry about in Dickerson/Moore (although it's not fair to say Julian has no offensive game, but past history suggests that's the safe assumption). Travis doesn't use many possessions when he's on the floor anyway, so how do you decrease his shooting volume? You decrease his playing time.

So when you make that decision, then you move on to how does his absence affect the defense and you try to compensate. With incredible help-side shot blockers in Taylor, Jack and Dickerson, maybe they can get away with it. But it depends greatly on how much Jack/Dickerson can limit their fouling. 

So you seem to have taken offense to some of my points and most of your last reply basically stated we don't know anything for sure. Of course, we don't! I never said otherwise! I have no idea if Payton Banks is an option. Or if Donovon Jack can really stay out of foul trouble. We are hypothetically discussing what this season's going to bring in this thread, are we not? Some suggested Travis might see less playing time because of his offense, and some here seemed to take offense to that suggestion. I find it to be a very real possibility and am arguing why it is a reasonable suggestion this particular senior could lose playing time.

But I did want to address this part of your post:

Quote from: rwd5035
Investing so many possessions would imply, at least in my mind, that he's being used a lot when he's on the floor or that we are running a lot of sets for him. As judged by his usage rate and watching the team last year, that's not really the case. He's not being used that much on the offensive end of the floor.

I am not going to do the math for you to grasp the concept I'm trying to convey. Hopefully Lar or somebody has the motivation to explain this concept in a better manner than me. Ross Travis, due to the nature of his playing time, used the third most possessions last year. Or maybe 4th, behind Taylor (like I said, not doing the math). That's not a stat that can be indicated by the raw usage rate.

Quote from: rwd5035
Unproductive possessions is not what you were referring to. You were talking about investing possessions, i.e. his use in possessions. Showing his usage rate shows that he's not being used that much. If you want to make the argument that he's not good for our spacing or offense that's fine, just don't move the goal posts when you imply he's being used a lot on offense.

You can't use just his usage rate as I've tried to say repeatedly, but why do you think his usage rate is so low? Because he's so inefficient! The common law of usage states efficiency decreases with usage. He's already so inefficient so you are correct, he's not likely to eat more possessions. But why have a player on the floor for so much if that's all he can provide at position where there seemingly are other alternatives. Isn't that a good reason for why the offensive shooting has been so awful?

Quote from: rwd5035
Surely it must depend on what the sacrifice on the other areas of the floor is? We can't just assume that an improvement in shooting is going to make things better when we don't know the effects on the other areas of the floor.

Correct. But we also know nothing matters unless eFG% improves substantially. So why not start there?

I think they should both be on the floor together though.  Either the 3/4 or 4/5.  Not all the time, but I don't think it's a bad option for much of the time. 

I think Jack needs to play as much at the 4 as possible. That means as much Dickerson/Moore at the 5 as we can get away with. Jack's offense is so much better than Travis' that he needs to be on the floor as much as possible. That's where masking his foul woes come in. Stop having him matchup with guys 30 pounds heavier than him, so he can avoid foul trouble.

I just disagree with this entirely.  Even if there is some truth to parts of it under certain circumstances, I'm not sure how you can state it like it's an irrefutable truth of basketball. 

You've never seen a great shot blocker impact the game defensively by himself?  A great rebounder like Rodman or Faried isn't individually impacting the game?  I think it's harder to measure the impact that individuals make on defense, but it doesn't mean they aren't making a difference.  A large one in some cases.

Of course they impact a game. We saw it with Dickerson last year at Ohio State. But would Dickerson's impact mattered if Brandon Taylor doesn't hit 4 treys? Or Newbill was absolutely clutch in the last minutes? Dickerson's contributions were remembered because his lack of contribution on the other end was hidden by his teammates' production. If Penn State can mask Travis' lack of offense, then that's great. I don't think they can because we know there's not going to be much offense from the 5-position, and I think there are at least options to experiment with at the 3/4 with Taylor, Jack and Banks.

I find it incredibly hard to believe that a senior who has started his whole career is about to get benched because he hasn't been a great shooter throughout his career.

Don't get me started on the rant of how meaningless it is who exactly starts basketball games. Ross will be 'benched' in the context of he won't be one of the first guys on the floor. He is very much going to stay in the rotation. I'm talking about going from ~30 MPG to about ~20-22 MPG if his offense is just the same.

Of course eFG% is more closely linked to winning than defense or rebounding. No one has said contrary. Scoring more points is going to win a team games, scoring points more efficiently than the other team is going to win teams games.

Defense or rebounding are a part of the equation though and they can't even be looked at in isolation. Defensive rebounds are almost as important to defending well as team defense itself actually is. Defensive rebounds finish defensive possessions and can lead to fast break opportunities or good shots in transition. That's why it's important.

Not really sure what your real point is here. I know Ross is a great defensive rebounder and defensive rebounding is important to a defense's success. But you can end a possession by forcing a turnover, too. And again, defensive rebounding is a team ability, while scoring is an individual ability. If Ross isn't on the floor, will no one else on Penn State's roster be capable of corralling the rebounds now available since it's not going into Ross' hands? We don't know that until we see less Ross on the floor (which hasn't been the case, he's logged so many minutes the last 3 years). If Penn State can rebound just as effectively without Travis on the floor, then why exactly is he?

I'm sensing a contradiction here. So essentially, we should sacrifice our best rebounder and a good defender because we haven't been a dominant defensive team with him? I think that would suggest that we need the team as a whole to defend better. In fact, I think improving defense is going to be as critical to this team as improving shooting from the outside. We gave up too many 3s last year and that needs to change greatly, not to mention forcing turnovers where we were one of the worst teams in college basketball last year. Just like us improving our shooting and getting better outside looks on the perimeter are important for success, team defense is going to be a major factor in us improving.

Again, defense is a team ability. Of course we need to get better defensively as a team. But it's about finding the right ingredients. Of course you would assume Ross is a great ingredient to have because of his individual abilities, but every end product he's been a part of has been mediocre. That does not automatically make you a starter because you're a senior. If Penn State can defend just as well or a little bit worse than without Travis, but can score much more efficiently on the other end of the floor, that's a trade-off Chambers absolutely has to make.

I don't really know what you expect from this team then. This team is riding D.J. Newbill this year, it's going to need its senior and upperclassmen presences to play well and smart down the stretch of games. That's what is going to win us games. If Ross isn't out on the floor in end of game situations that's going to be a major problem for us because who is playing instead of him? We will miss his rebounding and defense.

I expect Pat to try some of his other options. We do have 5 unknown newcomers. We do have Geno Thorpe, who many expect to make a significant sophomore leap. And we have two rising juniors who have been so much more productive on offense in the frontcourt.

So what is your solution?

Play more Donovon Jack and Payton Banks to at least see what we got.

His usage rate was 6th on the team last year (17.3%). We aren't investing that many possessions in him. Do you want to know who was below him on this?

Donovan Jack, Graham Woodward, Geno Thorpe, Jordan Dickerson, Alan Wisniewski, Kevin Montminy, Zach Cooper.

We are missing Allen Roberts and Tim Frazier from the players ahead of Ross Travis. I don't think we'll see Ross' usage eclipse 20% this season, if it does I'd be very surprised. We just aren't using him in that many possessions.

This is what I refer to when I question if some people really grasp the concept of these stats. You can't refer to usage without factoring in their playing time. Usage refers to how often you are involved in the offense when you're on the floor. Ross Travis has been on the floor a SIGNIFICANT amount the last two years. His usage rate could be last for all I care, his playing time still gives him a ton of unproductive possessions. It has not helped Penn State's offense at all, and some of us think it's been a detriment.

Do they? What evidence do you have of this? We have a lot of things to improve on, there are many things to look for this season to see if we've improved on including offensive rebounding, forcing turnovers, fouling, improving 3 PT defense, shooting better from 3, being more efficient on offense including shooting more efficient shots and less long 2s. I don't think it's wrong to point out our various areas that need improvement, they won't all improve. But we do need to see improvement in some of these areas if we are going to make noise this year.

It's not wrong to point out what they could do better. It is wrong to expect that they can improve in all areas. I'm not saying that's what you're suggesting. I'm saying the priority #1 should be shooting, even if that comes at the sacrifice of other areas they were actually performing better in. You gotta crawl before you can walk. And as we've found out the last three years, you can't crawl if you can't score.

Points scored AND points allowed, this is the home of 36-33 let's not forget. 

Yup, but one player can score by himself on offense. One player can't prevent scoring on defense. Therefore, everyone has a better chance to make an impact on offense than they do defense, no matter what cliche you'll hear from coaches. How much did Talor Battle hinder Penn State's defense? Guess what, it didn't matter, because they wouldn't have been on the floor without his offense.

I disagree with a lot of what you're saying here.  We won league games last year when we defended well.  Just based on our roster alone, it seems far more practical to focus more on defense and rebounding than trying to out-gun the other teams in the conference on a nightly basis.

I will happily agree to disagree. I will also point out the only time this team went to the NCAA tournament recently, it was because of their offense and not their defense. I personally don't feel like this program can recruit enough high-level athletes to be able to think we have a shot at stopping Wisconsin/Michigan State's entire attack.

Look, if we had some legit 20ppg scorers just rotting away on the bench because Ross is playing... I might agree with what you're saying here.  But I think the offensive gains you're talking about from other guys at his position are marginal at best, and whatever they give you in offense they probably hurt you equally or more on the other end of the court.  So I side with experience here until somebody else proves themselves, and there will be plenty of opportunities to do just that. 

You yourself posted about your belief in Donovon Jack in this thread. I share this same belief. He is miles ahead of Ross offensively as a third or fourth scorer, and that's even with his 3-point shot free-falling into oblivion last year. And the guy has shown some of PSU's best shot-blocking since Booth. Now of course he fouls uncontrollably, as well. But I'd rather focus on fixing Donovon's foul woes than keep forcing Travis' round game into PSU's square offense.

I tend to think it's a lot of the backup QB being the most popular kid on campus syndrome here.  I really think Ross could have that Jeff Brooks senior season breakout, but even if he's the same player as last year for us that's not such a bad thing if we get progression from the other 4 starters.

I hope he has a Brooks' breakout, as well. Obviously PSU would be eons better if Ross could be a key component to the offense. I even went through the effort of making the comparisons in my preview of Ross (this is not intended to be some shameless self-promotion). But how often do those type of late breakouts happen? And if it doesn't, why are we still going to try to invest in a player who has been so responsible for the shooting inefficiency?

Interesting post!

And just so I'm not accused of underappreciating Ross, I will happily acknowledge that Chambers' team's best performance on a national scale has been their defensive rebounding. They've ranked in the top 35 his first two seasons and 78th last year. Ross deserves the most credit for that.

But defensive rebounding won't win PSU games. Shooting will. Ross has been a liability in that department. I don't see how that's debateable.

Bottomline here is players can be really good at a particular skill but still be a detriment to their team's chances at winning, mostly because of the makeup of their team. Look at Jermaine Marshall. Did he really improve that much at AZ State? No, he went to a team better suited to integrate the strengths of his game and mask his weaknesses. He had an incredible year and his #'s show that. Ross would absolutely flourish on a high-scoring team with an opening at the 3 spot with weak rebounders in the front court. But that's not quite what PSU is at the moment.

This Penn State team needs more shooters first and foremost.

It hasn't won this team games.

What makes you so sure of that?

Our record the last three years?

I subscribe to Dean Oliver who weighted eFG% to 40% of your success. Defense or rebounding can not be held to the same weight. That's what makes this game so much fun. Offensive success can be so individualized while defensive success is all judged by the team's performance. Ross Travis might be our best defender and rebounder, but he can't defend all 5 guys at once. If Ross' contributions on defense aren't winning this team games (like how Nebraska/Northwestern won games last year), then it's time for a change. Penn State has never been a dominant defensive team with Travis. Maybe things can change this year if the bigs stop fouling and Geno logs more minutes in the backcourt.

However, he has played the third most minutes the last two years behind Newbill/Frazier/Marshall, by far. For once I'd like to see this program try to not ride one or two horses all the way to wherever they go. It's not conducive to winning consistently or building a program. I think the Big Ten Geeks wrote something to that effect in their PSU preview last week. If Pat's trotting out Travis with Dickerson and/or Moore at the 5, that's putting a lot of pressure on the other three guys on the floor to score.

I'm not suggesting Ross is useless. I'm just trying to defend others' viewpoints that it is time to stop investing so many possessions in Travis if he doesn't quickly show improvement. To suggest Travis comes off the bench is a pretty fair, if not accurate, assessment IMO.  Weren't you saying it's better to have these one dimensional players-type players come off the bench anyway?

And a little side note rant here. With the APBRmetrics revolution, I think a lot of people don't quite grasp the underlying concept of the four factors metrics. They simply indicate how a team produces its overall efficiency. It's really, really hard to improve or be great in all 8 four factors. There's give and take with all of them. Wisconsin doesn't turn people over or do much offensive rebounding. Louisville was a poor defensive rebounding team and would foul quite a bit last year. Expecting PSU to improve in all of these areas at once is absurd.

The number one issue for Chambers' teams has been shooting. Travis has logged nearly 2500 minutes in that span. I'm willing to sacrifice a little defensive rebounding for some much better shooting because that's the most important factor in Oliver's original  equation. This game is ultimately judged by points and not rebounds, after all.

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