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Username Post: UMass        (Topic#20671)
HARVARDDADGRAD 
Masters Student
Posts: 832

Loc: New Jersey
Reg: 01-21-14
11-13-17 03:31 PM - Post#236140    

Welcome to 2017-18 Harvard Basketball. Saw MIT online and was at Lavietes Sunday. Mike James has supplied some analytics on twitter while Kevin Whitaker summed things up on NYCBuckets. Time for some less professional observations:

- Lavietes looks great! Thanks for the legroom
- UMass students far outnumbered Harvard students. Need to stop accepting driven achievers who have their own things to do. Can't "spectator" count as an extra-curricular activity?
- Thanks to refs. Some helpful calls late.

As for the game:
- Aiken was great. Hope he can withstand the beating he will likely take as he continues to drive the lane.
- Towns was stifled on offense Sunday after scoring 20 on Friday. Did really step up on defense. Seth's defense on CJ Anderson was a key to the victory as UMass offense down the stretch consisted of screening/isolating for Anderson. Harvard will need Seth to show up on offense more consistently though.
- Lewis was great against 300lb+ Holloway. He needs to make bunnies though, not just dunks. Staying out of foul trouble Sunday while pushing a mountain was impressive.
- Nice game by Johnson. Quiet 10 points, some big plays on defense. Key late three pointer.
- Amaker focused on defense, utilizing Baker and Haskett off the bench more than anyone else.

By the way, thanks for the OT. Made 7 hrs of driving worthwhile.

Looking forward:
- Someone other than Johnson/Aiken needs to hit a three. Among Towns, Bassey, Djuricic and McCarthy, it will happen.
- Rebounding: Aiken should not be the leading rebounder. Lewis with only 4 disappointing, but could reflect an effort not to foul and/or the task of bodying Holloway. Baker was strong on the boards (6rebs/14min). Egi will help when he returns.
- Point Guard: Haskett and Juzang are serviceable, but not strenghths at the point. McCarthy on his return could be the answer. Remember, he started his entire freshman year at PG. Good shooter as well.
- Although Siyani was awesome, it has been noted that because Amaker's offensive scheme uses much of the shot clock that the PG needs to be able to create as the clock runs down - often with a step back 3. Aiken is remarkable at something that was not Siyani's strength.

End of Game:
- Did anyone doubt Aiken was going to take the last shot, and then the next last shot? Got to the rim the first time (miss), hit the 25 footer the next time. Gonna be exciting, and stressful.
- Great defense on UMass' Anderson. But, at end of regulation and at end of OT, UMass was down by 3 and hit a three each time. Wonder if playing 6'10" Baker on a shooter might be an option (e.g., remember Agunwa Okolie). I recall that Penn's Donahue hit a game winning 3 over Baker late last year, but he had to retreat to about 35 feet to do so.

Bottom line: Harvard did not look like Ivy Champ against MIT or UMass. A lot of work to do.

This week:

Thursday: at Holy Cross. Somehow, HC has won last three years. Lightning quick PG Benzan was apparently at Lavietes scouting Bryce Sunday. Interesting to see what happens when an opponent focuses on shutting down Bryce.

Saturday: See you at Manhattan! Great excuse to stop by Arthur Avenue after the 2pm game (and before the Dec. 6th Fordham game as well).

Edited by HARVARDDADGRAD on 11-13-17 03:36 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
HARVARDDADGRAD 
Masters Student
Posts: 832

Loc: New Jersey
Reg: 01-21-14
11-17-17 10:38 AM - Post#236774    
    In response to HARVARDDADGRAD

Unfortunately, Holy Cross has Harvard's number. As feared, Benson wreaked havoc defensively, thwarting Bryce's ability to take over the game ala UMass. Harvard continues to miss bunnies, although it rebounded well (40 to 27). Interior defense allowed Holy Cross to drive the lane and finish, permitting Holy Cross to shoot 59% in the first half.

Despite all that, and despite Holy Cross' crazy good shooting and Harvard's poor shooting, Harvard almost won. Unless Harvard hits the three's (8 for 29) expect teams to stay with a zone.

On the positive side, Seth Towns scored 24 and had 10 rebounds in only 26 minutes (foul trouble). Best news was the emergence of freshman Danilo Djuricic. The 6'8" forward is known for his long range shooting (3 treys). He is also showing a good nose for the ball and good hands, grabbing 7 rebounds and blocking 5 shots. I still like Corey Johnson, but Danilo provides a different dimension in defense and rebounding. With Johnson, Djuricic, Towns and Aiken, the three's should rain.

Hopefully, with Chris Egi's return, Djuricic, Baker and Towns will help Lewis protect the rim and grab rebounds. Unfortunately, Henry Welsh isn't yet the answer. Also, there are very few guards who can make Bryce work as hard as he had to last night.

Unless this squad hits three's, the St. Mary's game could be rough.


 
HARVARDDADGRAD 
Masters Student
Posts: 832

Loc: New Jersey
Reg: 01-21-14
11-17-17 10:46 AM - Post#236775    
    In response to HARVARDDADGRAD

Forgot the real reason Harvard lost - 23 TO's. Seemed that they tried to force things into the zone, often by dribbling through it. Aiken (7) was trying to will the team to victory against an uber quick defender, but Bassey (6 TO's in 20 minutes) and Haskett (4 TO's in 14 minutes) exposed the need for someone like Tommy McCarthy to help take the ball handling load off of Bryce.

 
mrjames 
Postdoc
Posts: 4841

Loc: Montclair, NJ
Reg: 11-21-04
11-17-17 11:21 AM - Post#236778    
    In response to HARVARDDADGRAD

This is going to sound strange, but I'm actually encouraged by last night's performance.

Harvard's not going to shoot 28% from three all year, and it's not going to turn the ball over on 33% of possessions all year (though I suspect it will continue to do so against Holy Cross each year from now to eternity). Also, opponents aren't going to shoot 8-for-16 on two-point Js and 14-for-32 (44%) on non-at-rim shots all year. Nothing you can do there. If Holy Cross shoots closer to average on jumpers, probably a different conversation today despite all the TOs and shooting problems Harvard had.

Also important to note that Harvard's worst TO Rate game last year was... Holy Cross at 31%. Much like last year, I'd expect that to decline, meaning that the Non-TO ORAT is a more important metric to look at. Last night that was 147, which Harvard only eclipsed twice last season (vs. Dartmouth 151 and at Princeton 150). Harvard's average last year was 133, but didn't eclipse 125 until the 4th game of the season, after which it only fell below that mark four times the remainder of the season.

From a personnel standpoint, some oddities are arising. The frontcourt rotation makes a lot more sense right now than the backcourt with Djuricic and Baker looking like solid rotation pieces along with Lewis. Harvard is still missing a contributing piece in the backcourt, especially until Corey gets going. Here I was concerned that the 2018 class has three non-posts and only one big and it looks like that might be where the need is!

At any rate... sure having the L is ugly, but Holy Cross is a Division I basketball team, and you're not going to beat any Division I basketball team if you turn the ball over on 33% of possessions, don't shoot very well and the opponent does shoot quite well. It's a testament to how good this team will likely be that it was able to be in a game where it was so unfortunate in those key areas...

 
HARVARDDADGRAD 
Masters Student
Posts: 832

Loc: New Jersey
Reg: 01-21-14
11-17-17 11:34 AM - Post#236779    
    In response to mrjames

Eye test = Math

Thanks Mike!

So, what is the answer in the backcourt? Someone other than Bryce needs to shoulder the ball handling load. You think that Corey and/or Rio are the answer? What about Tommy?

 
SRP 
Postdoc
Posts: 3140

Reg: 02-04-06
11-17-17 11:37 AM - Post#236780    
    In response to mrjames

If HC is still playing an ameba zone without a shot blocker underneath, you'd expect a lot of TOs and a high non-TO success rate, because that D stakes a lot on messing up the offense's ball movement at the expense of leaving parts of the court thinly patrolled.

 
PennFan10 
PhD Student
Posts: 1122

Reg: 02-15-15
11-17-17 11:42 AM - Post#236782    
    In response to SRP

Good insights. I was curious about Chris Lewis playing only 12 minutes? That seems light given his skill set.

 
mrjames 
Postdoc
Posts: 4841

Loc: Montclair, NJ
Reg: 11-21-04
11-17-17 11:44 AM - Post#236784    
    In response to SRP

For sure - less on the getting to the rim for a shot, because Holy Cross was good about stopping drivers once they got through the perimeter wave, but more about getting to the FT line (the collapsing folks were often late) and getting out-rebounded (Harvard had a 46% OREB rate).

That being said, Harvard's non-TO ORAT against Holy Cross has been extremely crappy the last three years, so it's nowhere near a given that the Crimson will perform well on non-TO possessions.

 
mrjames 
Postdoc
Posts: 4841

Loc: Montclair, NJ
Reg: 11-21-04
11-17-17 11:46 AM - Post#236785    
    In response to PennFan10

This time of year, Tommy rides players that are playing well and Danilo was having himself a night. Wouldn't read too much into that.

 
Southbridge Street 
Freshman
Posts: 50

Age: 57
Reg: 03-18-11
11-17-17 01:53 PM - Post#236800    
    In response to mrjames

HC freshmen played 84 minutes. Harvard took Holy Cross' main offensive threat, Charles, completely out of the game. He was a non-factor.

The coach in charge of HC's defensive schemes is none other than Joe Scott.

The archived video of the game should he here.

https://watchstadium.com/live/harvard-at-holy- cros...


 
SRP 
Postdoc
Posts: 3140

Reg: 02-04-06
11-18-17 02:14 PM - Post#236862    
    In response to Southbridge Street

Video kept freezing so I gave up, but it looked more like a 2-3 matchup zone than an ameba in the early going. Scott does like to force turnovers.

 
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