Previewing Northwestern

2009 Scouting Report / 2009 Game Plan
2009 Stats
2010 Roster
2010 Schedule

 

Northwestern Offense '08-'09

Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 52.6 51
Turnover Rate 17.8 34
Off Reb Rate 27.5 316
FTA/FGA 29.4 325

 

"Perimeter-oriented" does not begin to describe Northwestern's offensive inclinations.  It's more like "oops, we accidentally scored inside the arc" or "EXTREME!!!!!!"  More than half of their field goal attempts have come from outside (25 3FGA per game) and they have five guys averaging 5+ 3FGA/40 minutes, which has those five on pace for 100+ 3FGAs this season.  Bill Carmody's teams have always put up a lot of threes, but never quite like this.  You can probably chalk it up to early-season wackiness.

The Wildcats had a top-50 offense in 2009 on the strength of those first two factors; 42.2% of their attempts came from outside, and they hit an impressive 38.6% of those threes.  This year's team hasn't been as successful from beyond the arc--they miss Kevin Coble and Craig Moore, who combined for 390 3FGAs and hit them at a 40% clip in '09--and their offensive efficiency has suffered as a result, but this is still a good offense.  The biggest test to date for NC State's defense, no question.

Coble had a fantastic, underrated 2009 season (a slow pace has its PR drawbacks); he scored the ball efficiently both inside an out.  If there's a prototypical Princeton Offense forward, he's it, and unfortunately those still do not grow on trees.  But that's only because Herb Sendek's genetic researchers have yet to make a breakthrough.  Top men continue to work the situation around the clock.  It's a testament to Carmody's system and player development that the Cats have been able to carry on successfully without such a valuable player.

Starters

Michael Thompson (5-10, 182) -- Thompson, who has upped both his involvement in the offense and his efficiency, is one of the reasons why Northwestern is keepin' on.  He's shooting well from everywhere on the court and enters Tuesday's game as the team's leading scorer.

Jeremy Nash (6-4, 191) -- Three-point specialist, role player.

Drew Crawford (6-5, 185) -- Ditto.

John Shurna (6-8, 210) -- Coble's injury has paved the way for Shurna's emergence as a go-to guy; he's taking 32.2% of Northwestern's shots when he's on the court, up from 24.6% last season.  His three-point shooting has suffered for the bigger workload, but he's made improvements to his TO%, OR%, and Ast%, which has allowed him to maintain an offensive rating similar to last year's.  That's no small feat.

Kyle Rowley (7-0, 280) -- Awful defensive rebounder for his size.  Embarrassingly bad.  He hasn't been getting a lot of minutes and probably won't make a significant contribution at the offensive end.

Bench

Luka Mirkovic (6-11, 235), who could start ahead of Rowley, and Alex Marcotullio (6-3, 180) round out the players averaging double-digit minutes.  Mirkovic shouldn't get too involved and at any rate doesn't score very effectively; Marcotullio, meanwhile, has been Northwestern's best three-point shooter (11-21, 52.4%).

Mike Capocci (6-6, 200), Davide Curletti (6-9, 232), and Ivan Peljusic (6-8, 215) are possibilities as well.

 

Northwestern Defense '08-'09

Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 49.6 191
Turnover Rate 24.4 12
Off Reb Rate 36.0 286
FTA/FGA 36.5 179

 

They forced turnovers in bunches last season, which was good since their FG% defense was merely adequate and they gave up lots of second opportunities.  Judging by how frequently their opponents settled for outside shots, this looks like a team that plays a lot of zone. (Pomeroy's defensive fingerprint thing agrees.)

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