Maverick Maniac's Musings

January 14, 2013

2012-13 Omaha Men’s Basketball – Game 20 Recap – Western Illinois

Filed under: Men's Basketball,Omaha Mavericks,Recaps — Jon Green @ 8:25 am

Highlights on this page…

Omaha continued the pattern this year of playing games with some positive signs and some negative signs. It seems every game is just a different combination of the two and moral victories are things I’m believing in this year. Saturday was one of the more bizarre games in an interesting season. Do we focus on the positives of an 11-2 start and a run at the end that turned a 19 point game into a seven point game over 2:36? Do we highlight Omaha scoring 74 points, the most Western Illinois has given up this season, and shooting 44% from the field against one of the better defensive teams in the country and only committing seven turnovers?

Or do we focus on the fact that Omaha went 3-13 from three, 15-24 from the FT line (your competition level doesn’t make those any harder), and allowed their opponent to shoot 57% from the field (56% from 3) en route to scoring 1.30 points per possession? That was better than Western Illinois did in their last game, against a Division III school. The last time Western Illinois performed this well offensively was a 110-55 win over Harris-Stowe, an NAIA school. That game took place SEVEN YEARS AGO, November 18th 2005.

Here is the season ranking of the offensive performance each school has had against Omaha this year…

Date Opponent Off Rating Season Rank (vs. D1) Last Time Better vs. D1
11/9/12 Northern Illinois 0.84 5th
11/14/12 @ Texas Tech 1.24 1st 1/4/11
11/16/12 @ Tulane 1.10 6th
11/18/12 @ Nebraska 1.12 3rd
11/23/12 Bethune-Cookman 1.22 2nd
11/24/12 Chicago State 0.99 2nd
11/29/12 @ North Dakota State 1.43 2nd
12/1/12 @ South Dakota State 1.09 5th
12/4/12 @ Wisconsin 1.25 5th
12/9/12 @ Iowa State 1.30 2nd
12/15/12 @ Denver 1.29 1st 2/18/12
12/22/12 @ Texas-Pan American 1.12 2nd
12/29/12 South Dakota 1.22 4th
12/31/12 Kansas City 0.89 12th
1/3/13 @ Oakland 1.15 1st 3/17/12
1/5/13 @ Fort Wayne 1.30 1st 2/26/11
1/10/13 IUPUI 1.07 5th
1/12/13 Western Illinois 1.30 1st 11/18/05 (non-D1)

We see that Omaha has allowed five teams to have their best game and five teams to have their 2nd best game. Only one team hasn’t had a top-six performance, a Kansas City team who has been pretty bad most of the year. Only five teams have been held under 1.10 points per possession. Only 24 teams in the country average 1.10 ppp or more. The most efficient team in the country is Creighton at 1.19 (tied with Indiana, Pittsburgh, Michigan). Omaha has allowed 9 of their 18 Division 1 opponents to exceed that number.

Omaha is tied for 344th out of 347 teams in defensive points per possession (Grambling is also at 1.16). The only teams worse? Presbyterian and The Citadel at 1.19. Oof. Defense is a major problem right now for Omaha. They are actually a bit worse than where they were last year (1.15). Omaha would have to be 6th best team in the country on offense JUST TO BE EVEN (and expect to be around .500). This team has to get better at defense in order to win games long term.

And yes it’s tough being a school in transition to D1 (especially as quickly and out of the blue as Omaha did) and especially playing a grueling road schedule so no one should be expecting success this year. Hopefully though we see some development on the defensive side as Omaha has a long way to grow. We’ll get chances to see nine of those teams again. It’d be a good sign if Omaha could be stronger defensively in the 2nd go around than in the 1st.

As far as how the actual game went, Omaha jumped out to an 11-2 lead and you thought maybe just maybe this could be a big Saturday. Western Illinois didn’t even take their first lead until 2:35 to go in the 1st half. They led by three at the half, 32-29, but I couldn’t help but dwell on the fact that Western Illinois was on a 30-18 run and Omaha had scored 11 points from the 16:25 mark to the 1:24 mark. For the most part Western Illinois were dominant in the 1st half. Omaha got streaky a few times and made it look decent.

Western Illinois started quickly in the 2nd half and though Omaha cut a nine point lead to seven at the 16 minute mark, Western Illinois went and took control of the game at that point. The biggest lead was 22 with 6:26 to go but really most of the 2nd half you knew there was no chance Omaha was coming back. Western Illinois was just too strong offensively, too strong defensively and there was no reason to think Omaha had a chance. When Western Illinois was up 22 it was a 69-38 run since the 11-2 start. Omaha was just getting destroyed.

Omaha made it interesting late. A 77-58 lead with 4:22 left became 77-70 with 1:46 left. Omaha went to a full-court press defense and scored a lot of easy baskets in transition. Their pressure defense really seemed to get Western Illinois out of sorts. Other teams Western Illinois will face later in the year should take note of this and try it. Really gave them some problems. The momentum ended when Terell Parks dunked over Matt Hagerbaumer who gave an intentional foul in the process. Parks fell on his wrist and didn’t return. He was due to get X-Rays when they got back to Macomb. Haven’t seen anything about the results though his twitter is free of any loathing, perhaps a good sign.

Terell Parks is a heck of a player. Really dominant inside and as good as they come at this level. He had 19 points, 11 rebounds, and a couple of blocks in 29 minutes. He picked up a couple early fouls but didn’t commit one the rest of the game. Western Illinois is a good hard-working team and would be a great representative of the Summit League in March if they make the tournament.

Omaha did get 18 out of Justin Simmons, most of those during that furious comeback late. Alex Phillips heated up a bit to get 13 points while CJ Carter added 12, but on a poor 5-15 shooting performance. John Karhoff didn’t get a lot of chances inside but still scrapped together 10 points and seven rebounds against Parks. An admirable performance by the hard-working center.

Omaha now has a few days off before traveling to Cal State Bakersfield for a game on Saturday night. Cal State Bakersfield is 6-13 and losers of three straight. The Roadrunners defeated Omaha in two games last year, 75-65 in Omaha and 84-63 in Bakersfield. A non-conference win would be a big boost heading into the 2nd half of the Summit League schedule.

It was Over When: It’s a fact that Omaha was down 77-58 with 4:22 left. If you look at the probability of a comeback at that point it is astronomically low. If you are down 19 with 16 minutes left it’s apparently a 0.4% chance (KenPom blog). I think it would have been the biggest comeback in college basketball this year by far. Now the question is was it truly fair to say that Western Illinois was ever in danger of losing the game?

Western Illinois allowed a 12-0 run over 2:36 to get it to seven with 1:46 to go. That’s a point every 13 seconds. To get the next seven points would require, at that pace, another 1:31. And that’s assuming no baskets. If Western Illinois got just two more points then you need 1:57 to get those nine points. While it was as exciting as can be watching them storm back, I think it was really over the whole time. If you disagree and want a late “over when” moment it was when Terell Parks dunked on Hagerbaumer and was intentionally fouled with 1:35 to go.

So I’m going with 14:44 to go in the game when Jack Houpt hit a 3 to put Western Illinois up 47-35. Remember that Omaha started the game up 11-2 with 16:25 left in the 1st half. So over the next 22 minutes or so Western Illinois went on a 45-24 run. I had a hard time believing at that time that Omaha could somehow find a way to comeback. Interestingly outside of the 11-2 start by the time Omaha mounted the furious comeback it was a 75-47 run. Western Illinois really dominated most of this game.

Player of the Game: John Karhoff gets the nod today for a very impressive stat line despite the tough matchup with Terell Parks. I give the nod to Karhoff here over some of his teammates who put up points late because Karhoff did his work all afternoon long, not just in a final minute fury where it’s debatable if the game was really in question.  Karhoff scored 10 points on 3-6 shooting from the field and 4-6 from the FT line. He grabbed seven rebounds including four offensive boards for Omaha. Karhoff did foul out after playing 30 minutes, but Terell Parks is hard to defend.

Season Total:
Justin Simmons (5)
Matt Hagerbaumer (4)
John Karhoff (4)
Alex Welhouse (3)
Alex Phillips (1)
Caleb Steffensmeier (1)
CJ Carter (1)

Player Ratings (Positionally Adjusted Win Score):
Matt Hagerbaumer – 2.558
Alex Phillips – 1.591
Jacques Coleman – 1.420
Caleb Steffensmeier – 1.263
Alex Welhouse – 0.959
John Karhoff – 0.815
Justin Simmons – 0.698
Tyler Egli – 0.000
C.J. Carter – (-0.486)
Marcus Tyus – (-1.302)

Matt Hagerbaumer did go 2-2 with three rebounds and a steal in 10 minutes. Nice production in his limited time. CJ Carter did score 12 yesterday with four assists, but he went 5-15 from the field.

Season Total:
Matt Hagerbaumer – 1.400
Justin Simmons – 1.131
Alex Welhouse – 0.862
Caleb Steffensmeier – 0.768
Marcus Tyus – 0.698
Alex Phillips – 0.679
C.J. Carter – 0.560
John Karhoff – 0.448
Koang Doluony – 0.380
Jacques Coleman – 0.100
Simon Krych – (-0.092)
Tyler Egli – (-0.427)

Marcus Tyus fell from 3rd to 5th after a rough game while Alex Phillips moved from 8th to 6th after a good showing.

Team Ratings: Omaha was able to get a lot of possessions out of this game. I think a lot of it was due to the fact that Omaha’s defense present Western Illinois with looks they were comfortable with all game. No reason for Western Illinois to wait for a shot if a good shot is available, so the pace was faster than they usually play. Omaha did a good job offensively (1.04) but defensively they were not good (1.30). Omaha didn’t shoot great but they were very good at not turning the ball over. Omaha got beat on the glass pretty bad but they were better on the offensive glass than the defensive. Omaha wasn’t able to get a lot of shots created off the pass but 15 FTs and some good possessions late allowed them to score on over half their possessions.

Possessions: 71
Offensive Points per Possession : 1.04
Defensive Points per Possession : 1.30
eFG%: 46.8%
Turnover Rate: 9.8%
Offensive Rebounding: 28.6%
Defensive Rebounding: 65.2%
A/B%: 28.6%
Floor%: 54.3%
FT Prod: 23.8

Response to 3 things to watch:
1) Dealing with pace – I didn’t think the pace was a problem for Omaha. The possession count ended up pretty close to Omaha’s normal numbers and above Western Illinois’ normal range. I think some of that was due to how easy Western Illinois found the offensive side of the court (62% eFG%, 61% Floor% – number of possessions with points) and some of it due to the late comeback. Omaha seemed to struggle with finding great shots for stretches but they only committed seven turnovers.

2.) Omaha’s Shooting – It wasn’t as good as it looks, the late run made it look better, but it wasn’t even all that good to begin with. 44% from the field but 23% from three and just 63% from the FT line. Omaha shot just 32% from the field in the first half.

3.) Alex Welhouse – Alex Welhouse didn’t have an awful shooting game, 2-5 from the field and 1-1 from three, but he wasn’t able to get involved offensively to the extent I was hoping to see. Omaha wasn’t able to create a lot of shots as a team, only 28.6% of their baskets were assisted on, and I think that doesn’t play to Welhouse’s strengths.

Prediction Response: I did not think this game would be as high scoring as it ended up being. It really could have been an awful blowout and should have been really. It was a 15 point loss, not all that embarrassing, but the lack of three-point shooting was a real downfall.

Upcoming Opponent: Omaha has a whole week off before traveling to play at Cal State Bakersfield (6-13) next Saturday night at 9 PM. Cal State Bakersfield lost to Cal State Fullerton 74-62 on Wednesday and is off until the Omaha game.


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