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Username Post: Topic Split: Tops in the league on Pomeroy!        (Topic#20880)
bradley 
Masters Student
Posts: 779

Age: 68
Reg: 01-15-16
Topic Split: Tops in the league on Pomeroy!
12-24-17 03:23 PM - Post#241256    
    In response to SRP

Aiken is a wonderful player who is tenacious, ferocious and clutch. He, like Cannady, have many pluses but also areas that they need to improve upon. Aiken and Cannady play different roles for their teams although in many ways, they have similar skill sets although Aiken is a better passer and creator while Cannady shoots and rebounds better. I would take either one of them on my team and depending who were the other players, I would select one or the other. The advantage with Aiken is that he is a sophomore not a junior like Cannady.

Personally, I think some of the Crimson fans have somewhat rose colored glasses regarding Aiken especially this year although it does not compare to their evaluation(s) regarding Edosomwan in the prior two years. I am sure that Aiken's shooting will significantly improve over the course of the year and he will become even more of a force.

As to Chambers and Weisz, I will always have a different view as to value to the team vs. what pure statistics say. They would play on my team any day of the week, month or year.

 
SRP 
Postdoc
Posts: 3494

Reg: 02-04-06
12-24-17 03:28 PM - Post#241257    

Haven't watched Harvard much, but the mystery here is Towns. Too passive, not getting good PG service, or what? He should be the scoring option Mike mentioned.

 
Mike Porter 
Postdoc
Posts: 2390
Mike Porter
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Reg: 11-21-04
Topic Split: Tops in the league on Pomeroy!
12-24-17 04:16 PM - Post#241259    
    In response to SRP

Mike - serious Q: what the heck is up with Amaker's lineups? Seem nonsensical to a casual observer.

 
SRP 
Postdoc
Posts: 3494

Reg: 02-04-06
12-24-17 04:49 PM - Post#241261    
    In response to Mike Porter

And why aren't there long angsty threads about lineups over on the Harvard.board?

 
Quakers03 
Professor
Posts: 7462

Reg: 12-07-04
12-24-17 05:35 PM - Post#241263    
    In response to SRP

You already know that answer. The same reason I just wasted 10 minutes reading about Cannady vs Aiken on the Penn message board...

 
PennFan10 
PhD Student
Posts: 1702

Reg: 02-15-15
12-24-17 08:58 PM - Post#241268    
    In response to Quakers03

I think I Aiken will be first team all Ivy. But if Towns isn’t also first team I suspect Harvard will have a disappointing season.



 
SRP 
Postdoc
Posts: 3494

Reg: 02-04-06
12-24-17 09:30 PM - Post#241270    
    In response to Quakers03

Feel free to start a Betley vs.somebody thread and we'll be happy to clog the Penn board about that, too.

 
TheLine 
Postdoc
Posts: 3599

Age: 54
Reg: 07-07-09
12-24-17 09:45 PM - Post#241271    
    In response to SRP

If I have to endure a Harvard vs. Princeton PG urinating contest on this thread any further then P38 and I will start plastering Woods for POY posts on your threads.


 
Old Bear 
Postdoc
Posts: 3424

Reg: 11-23-04
Re: PGs
12-25-17 12:00 PM - Post#241277    
    In response to TheLine

Save a little love for Anderson and Smith.

 
mrjames 
Professor
Posts: 5233

Loc: Montclair, NJ
Reg: 11-21-04
12-26-17 09:24 AM - Post#241311    
    In response to Mike Porter

  • Quote:
As to Chambers and Weisz, I will always have a different view as to value to the team vs. what pure statistics say. They would play on my team any day of the week, month or year.



This is one where the coaches very much agree, and I don't as much. I don't like being on my own against the coaches, so I'm probably wrong there. There's definitely a leadership component to consider here, but from a raw output perspective, both Chambers and Weisz maybe got more credit for who they were at their peak than who they were as seniors. I'm in the minority on that opinion, though.

  • Quote:
Haven't watched Harvard much, but the mystery here is Towns. Too passive, not getting good PG service, or what?



Between foul trouble, food poisoning and some Amaker decisions, Towns has only played about 50% of team minutes. I think that's coloring the view of how he's played this year. When he's on the floor, he's using 31% of possessions and taking 32% of the shots (49% eFG) and he's scoring 22 pts per 40 mins. He's gone over 20 in a game already three times this season. His biggest issues to work through are bad fouls defensively and taking some tough shots - almost like he wants to prove how tough a shot he can make.

  • Quote:
Mike - serious Q: what the heck is up with Amaker's lineups? Seem nonsensical to a casual observer.



They are. We can all criticize Amaker's in-game coaching, but he enforces a very strong culture within the program. Many of the seemingly crazy things he does (and throwing away about 10 poss per game in about half the games already this year with some bizarre starting lineups qualifies) are meant to reinforce that culture. The injuries/illnesses have contributed to things getting even weirder than usual this year. My hope is that everyone has gotten the message, because a full strength Harvard squad should be competitive at Minnesota and vs. Vermont. And, conversely, sticking with the same recent starting lineup could lead to Harvard getting embarrassed in both.

 
HARVARDDADGRAD 
PhD Student
Posts: 1091

Loc: New Jersey
Reg: 01-21-14
12-26-17 02:32 PM - Post#241320    
    In response to mrjames

We are days away from the start of the Ivy season. I don't think I'm going out on a limb to suggest that if this Harvard team continues to play the way it has, 2017-18 will be a season of mediocrity, with a chance to lose almost any game, and a middling record. Certainly, not what anyone expected.

I'm not capable of providing the analytics, but here are the problems - and solutions I see. Apologies if anyone finds this obvious.

Offense:
- The Big 3 need to be healthy and score consistently, likely scoring 40 to 50 ppg among them. Chris and Seth need to aggressively attack the Ivy rims.
- Regardless, Harvard HAS to shoot 35% or more on three's. Inside-out offense doesn't work unless Harvard has a response to the triple teaming that Chris Lewis is facing. Seth Towns is leading the league in 3 point shooting percentage (50%), while the team is worst in the league at 27%. Johnson, Aiken, Bassey and possibly Djuricic need to hit their 3's at a higher rate.
- Transition buckets are key, although I expect Princeton to continue it's strategy of abandoning the offensive boards to get back on defense.
- Fortunately, this is a good FT shooting team. -
- Looks like we don't have a true PG, so the load continues to fall on Bryce. Is there any chance Tommy McCarthy can play this year? Would it matter?

Defense:
- Coach Amaker is a defense first guy. The high usage of Bassey, Haskett and, for certain matchups, Baker is evidence of this.
- To me, the health of Chris Egi is key. He may be the best interior defender on the team. Without Egi, Seth ends up in foul trouble when he draws a strong active 4. Djuricic and Baker (health?) can help, but Egi's presence is crucial. Weisner Perez is strong and active, but he just isn't tall enough for most interior matchups.
- To my surprise, Harvard seems to have the bodies to play reasonably effective defense on the perimeter, but without Egi, interior defense (especially challenging penetration to the basket) has been a challenge.

Rebounding:
- The talent is there, with Lewis, Towns, Bassey and Djuric. Looks like Henry Welsh has a ways to go.
- Egi and Baker need to be healthy so the Crimson can compete underneath for a full 40 minutes.
- Perez is an amazing offensive rebounder against certain lineups, but not against all. He'll have his moments though (e.g., Jonah Travis).

Harvard is very very fortunate that it doesn't start the non-Dartmouth league schedule for a full month. Ironically, although I am a staunch opponent of the Tournament, it may help Harvard this year - 75 days to get healthy and figure things out. Maybe Harvard can become healthy in that time and the Big 3 can light things up for a weekend. The current 'half empty' glass still has the talent to runneth over at any given time.



 
bradley 
Masters Student
Posts: 779

Age: 68
Reg: 01-15-16
12-27-17 10:04 PM - Post#241414    
    In response to mrjames

Quote:
This is one where the coaches very much agree, and I don't as much. I don't like being on my own against the coaches, so I'm probably wrong there. There's definitely a leadership component to consider here, but from a raw output perspective, both Chambers and Weisz maybe got more credit for who they were at their peak than who they were as seniors. I'm in the minority on that opinion, though. (Quote)


There was some talk at the beginning of the season that the graduation of Chambers and Weisz may not have a significant impact on the fortunes of these programs based on various statistical indices. There was also some talk that the Harvard freshmen class performed very well last year (true) and that the initial difficulties at the beginning of the year might be due to graduation losses -- Chambers and Edosomwan?? There may be some truth in both statements although I suspect that the Chambers graduation has significantly impacted results, pre and post injuries. Something appears out of sync as to how the offense is being run and certainly, the issue has accelerated as a function of injuries. I had Harvard winning the regular season and they may still do it but something seems wrong.

It is good for Princeton and the IL that they do well against Minnesota and Vermont but these two games, especially Minnesota, are probably going to be very challenging. Amaker will probably figure it all out at the end of the day. Just an opinion based on eyes not numbers.




 
mrjames 
Professor
Posts: 5233

Loc: Montclair, NJ
Reg: 11-21-04
12-28-17 11:58 AM - Post#241443    
    In response to HARVARDDADGRAD

I don't disagree. Unless Harvard does something really strong against Minny, Vermont or Wofford, the Crimson will have the lowest game score ceiling in the non-conf (currently 72 in the win over St. Joe's) of any year under Amaker. And the average game score might be the worst of any year under Amaker as well. Yikes.

There is no doubt this team is lost without Bryce. In the 388 possessions he's been on the floor, Harvard is 98 ORAT, 97 DRAT (and with decent three-point shooting, that ORAT would be in the 100s against the No. 84 schedule nationally). Without him on the floor, on 203 poss, Harvard boasts an 85 ORAT, 96 DRAT. Much like Chambers in 2013, the value over replacement PG is absolutely massive from Bryce to the bench. Splits for the folks getting time in Bryce's stead when he's on the bench:

Rio Haskett (120 poss w/out Bryce): 83 ORAT, 112 DRAT
Christian Juzang (140 poss w/out Bryce): 88 ORAT, 94 DRAT

(An aside: Funny that Spencer Freedman will be 20 in June... he could be a massive add to Harvard's bench, umm, right now).

Lost in a lot of the concern is the fact that in 106 poss, the Top 5 lineup of Aiken, Bassey, Towns, Johnson and Lewis is 105 ORAT, 93 DRAT. But that represents just 18% of Harvard possessions (what would equal about 13 poss per game), which needs to rise. From there, you can put less pressure on players that have value but have been pressed into service out of position (Juzang, who is a miserable PG, but a serviceable scorer off the ball; Perez, who could be a nice Jonah-type energy guy, but should only be on when Bassey and other low usage guys are off; etc.). And you can start limiting the minutes of guys who just may not be ready to produce yet (Rio Haskett - 84 ORAT/103 DRAT in 280 poss, Harvard is 102/91 in 311 poss without).

No one knows if this team can actually get healthy, though. They've really only played a few games at full strength, and there's no guarantee that the rotation will magically get there to start Ivy play. There's also no guarantee that Amaker figures out how to maximize the value he can get from his players. If those things don't materialize, it will all depend on which players get time and miss time - Aiken missing time would be a death knell. As would Lewis. Towns might be recoverable if this team shoots the three better, but it would certainly limit Harvard's upside.

All that being said, the peripherals for a full strength Harvard team still look incredibly strong. Harvard's jump shooting has been insanely poor (111 ORAT on poss with a 3, 82 ORAT on poss with a 2PTJ)., but it's at a 145 ORAT on at rim poss and 157 on 2FT poss. Harvard didn't all of a sudden forget how to shoot the ball - it's just luck and it will regress, not just due to regression to the mean, but hopefully because the best shooters will play more. Harvard takes 40% of its shots from 3 and another 27% as 2PT Js, so if it bumps up its jump shooting poss ORATs to last year's numbers, that would be worth about 9.5 pts/100 poss, moving Harvard's current 94 ORAT to nearly 104. Add to that a decline in the TO Rate from 20.9 to 18.9 (as it did last year as well) and you'd get about 1.4 poss back per game, times a ~130 ORAT on non-TO poss, and you'd get another 1.9 pts/100 poss, bringing that ORAT up to the 105-106 range.

Pair that with a defense that has been just south of 100 and you get an efficiency margin in the +6-7 range, which would put Harvard in the 90-95 range nationally. Not exactly where a lot of people thought Harvard would be, but way better than it is right now and enough to take Harvard from a questionable Ivy tourney berth to possible 1-seed.

Still, though, the team is a mess right now. Leave aside the starters from the last two games - the mere fact that Tommy feels it necessary to send that message is NOT good. He's messed around like this in the past, and Harvard has started humming down the stretch. At the same time, you worry that some of players are just in Tommy's dog house, and that's one that's tough to get out of, no matter how much more you'd help the team than the other guys (see: Zena, Kenyatta, etc.). If Tommy continues to send messages into Ivy play, expect Harvard to underachieve, and maybe even miss the Ivy Tourney entirely.

 
JadwinGeorge 
Junior
Posts: 274

Age: 69
Reg: 12-04-15
12-28-17 12:42 PM - Post#241448    
    In response to mrjames

Mike, sometimes you mystify far more than you enlighten. You have no peer in your area of expertise. What I got from your 1000 or so words is that Harvard's "peripherals are incredibly strong" but "the team is a mess right now." The Crimson are a "possible 1-seed" or might "miss the Ivy Tournament entirely."

 
mrjames 
Professor
Posts: 5233

Loc: Montclair, NJ
Reg: 11-21-04
Topic Split: Tops in the league on Pomeroy!
12-28-17 12:57 PM - Post#241450    
    In response to JadwinGeorge

Ha - that's actually pretty much it: If the stuff that's normally pretty predictive holds, Harvard will be very good. If Harvard is an anomaly (either due to continuing injuries or Tommy deciding to send lineup/playing time messages for the remainder of the campaign), Harvard will probably be about where they are right now (clear 4th-best but with the potential to get picked off and miss the tourney entirely).

Up to the reader which path they think is more likely!!!

 
HARVARDDADGRAD 
PhD Student
Posts: 1091

Loc: New Jersey
Reg: 01-21-14
12-28-17 12:59 PM - Post#241451    
    In response to JadwinGeorge

It’s this year’s Harvard squad that mystifies me!

My take from Mike’s contribution was that Harvard’s starting 5 are more than competitive, but injuries/illness, 3 point shooting below statistical historic expectations and putting freshmen in unexpected roles have been problematic.


 
PennFan10 
PhD Student
Posts: 1702

Reg: 02-15-15
12-28-17 01:05 PM - Post#241452    
    In response to mrjames

Wow. That's a pretty big delta from no IL tourney to a 1-seed. I can't say I disagree. The injuries are not in anyone's control but if TA can just let the Bassey/Aiken/Johnson/Lewi s/Towns lineup play 20+ minutes a game I would think Harvard is still the favorite.

I am mind boggled about guys like Robert Baker, who is athletic, tall and skilled but looks like a poor man's Sam Jones on the floor.

 
SomeGuy 
Postdoc
Posts: 4578

Reg: 11-22-04
12-28-17 01:39 PM - Post#241464    
    In response to PennFan10

OOC, it has been a different season from what we expected. Nobody except maybe P38 thought Princeton, Harvard, and Yale would all be outside the top 100 this year. Princeton may have righted the ship, Harvard has some good peripherals, and Yale still could get Mason back. But if none of those things happen, this could really be a wide open race where Harvard is close enough to the Ps to win the regular season with a 170 Pomeroy rank, and close enough to Columbia, Cornell, and Brown to come in 5th. Just a weird year with parity when I for one thought the gap between the top 3-4 in the league and the rest was widening. At least for half a season, it has shrunk.

I think in the end we wind up with the same 4 playoff participants as last year. But I'm not nearly as confident of that as I was at the start of the season. Should be a fun ride.



 
mrjames 
Professor
Posts: 5233

Loc: Montclair, NJ
Reg: 11-21-04
12-28-17 02:23 PM - Post#241467    
    In response to SomeGuy

For me, the only real surprises thus far have been Penn and Brown.

Since getting blown out at Miami, Princeton has played like a Top 100 team (and like a fringe Top 50 in its last 6). Harvard and Yale have been devastated by injuries - the Crimson have seen everyone but Chris Lewis and Rio Haskett miss at least a game with injuries, food poisoning or other illnesses and Yale has missed some key players beyond Mason and Bruner for a game here and there. For who they've both gotten minutes from, I'm not surprised at where we are, but if we're judging irrespective of how we got here, where we are with both is surprising, for sure.

Penn has been remarkably consistent, which has been very surprising. Even from last year, the ceiling was high (winning at UCF and La Salle), but Penn's worst game scores thus far being a 22 at Fairfield and a 37 vs. UMKC is worlds better the 6 vs. George Mason and 5 vs. Brown). And Brown has the frontrunner for ROY in Desmond Cambridge, a decent set of freshman contributors around him and a strong sophomore class making this team dangerous in a way I didn't think was possible.

 
bradley 
Masters Student
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Age: 68
Reg: 01-15-16
12-28-17 02:42 PM - Post#241469    
    In response to mrjames

It is truly impressive as to your knowledge of the "numbers". Being somewhat of a dinosaur, I rely on my eyes but certainly take a hard look at the numbers.

During the first 10 games (4-6), Bryce, Lewis and Towns (7 out 10 with a 1-2 record when he played limited or minutes) were on the floor. Although Bryce clearly shot significantly below last year, the Harvard offense looked stale and predictable. The other two players on the floor besides the big 3 simply passed the ball in a circuitous manner. Many times, the shot clock would be getting near the end and one of the big three would get off a lower percentage shot.

Why? Watching several of the early games, my immediate and perhaps wrong reaction is that they miss Chambers and the big 3 might be simply too young to overcome. Just based on what Amaker is doing with the lineups recently, perhaps there may also be a leadership issue. I suspect that Chambers was Amaker's alter ego on the floor and the locker room.

The solution may simply be that shots will start to fall and all is good or is there are underlying issues even with the big 3 on the floor. The beauty of basketball is that we will know in the not too distant future based on results.

 
mrjames 
Professor
Posts: 5233

Loc: Montclair, NJ
Reg: 11-21-04
12-28-17 03:36 PM - Post#241473    
    In response to bradley

There's definitely something to Chambers' leadership and that's why he was on the floor. Though that was a double-edged sword last season.

From a pure playing perspective, though, if Harvard could have, it probably would have played Chambers and Aiken together for very limited minutes and given Aiken even more minutes than he played.

 
HARVARDDADGRAD 
PhD Student
Posts: 1091

Loc: New Jersey
Reg: 01-21-14
12-28-17 03:49 PM - Post#241474    
    In response to mrjames

Mike, what do you think about the contributions Egi and McCarthy could make? Of course, they've each now missed the entire practice period + OOC schedule. Egi has played 20 minutes, McCarthy not at all. I expected them to back up Lewis and Bryce, maybe even playing alongside at times.

As we saw against BU, Egi is a strong defender, shot blocker and rebounder. He may not score much, but when Chris Lewis is off the court Egi could contribute, likely grabbing all of Henry Welsh's minutes and then some.

McCarthy isn't really a PG, but he did play there the entire 2015-16 season. Throwing out his first three games that year (1 for 16), Tommy shot over 40% of 3's since then. Again, he's not 'the answer' at PG, but I'd like to see him take the load off Bryce, likely getting Farley's minutes and possibly some of the minutes from Juzang/Haskett. I wouldn't worry about 2015-16 TO's as there really was no other guard help.

Finally, what are you hearing about their availability?

 
mrjames 
Professor
Posts: 5233

Loc: Montclair, NJ
Reg: 11-21-04
12-28-17 06:24 PM - Post#241484    
    In response to HARVARDDADGRAD

Tommy would be huge for Harvard this year - he's the best backup point guard option they have and could gobble up usage with the second unit. Juzang is like Tommy but less able to pretend to be a PG, especially for any meaningful stretches. I don't have any reason to believe Tommy will be back any time soon. I think Bryce will be back soon, but don't know any specifics as to when (I'm hoping for at Minnesota, or else I think Harvard will get embarrassed).

Harvard two best backup PG options could both be playing college ball today but instead are playing at NMH and Mater Dei. Not much you can do about that, but the position should be a strength again next year.

I don't like Egi WITH Lewis, but I don't mind him out there backing up Lewis. Just have to be careful with usage rates... Egi + Bassey + Corey + a Baker or Rio, could lead to an offense with a lot of deferring into shot clock violations. Egi + Seth + Danilo + Bryce is totally fine.

My rotation would look like this:
30-35 mins:
Bryce
Corey
Justin

25-30 mins:
Chris
Seth (could be more, but foul trouble gets him at times)

15-20 mins:
Danilo

10ish mins:
two of (Perez, Egi, Baker)
Juzang (only as an SG, unless absolutely necessary)

5-10 mins:
Haskett (backup to Aiken, never with Aiken)

 
HARVARDDADGRAD 
PhD Student
Posts: 1091

Loc: New Jersey
Reg: 01-21-14
12-28-17 08:59 PM - Post#241487    
    In response to mrjames

That’s a shame that Tommy isn’t expected - he’s our backup PG

I only thought of Egi as the defensive rim protector backing up Chris Lewis

No backups for PG and C/PF is a problem

 
mrjames 
Professor
Posts: 5233

Loc: Montclair, NJ
Reg: 11-21-04
12-28-17 09:34 PM - Post#241491    
    In response to HARVARDDADGRAD

Shows you how strong the belief was that one of Bamba or Carter would end up there was. I’d have rather had Jemison than Forbes in the 2018 class, but Harvard definitely put a priority on both spots with Forbes as the PF/C and Kirkwood/Freedman as PGs. Think Harvard might have even gone harder at PF/C if 2019 wasn’t shaping up to be particularly strong in that area.

 
HARVARDDADGRAD 
PhD Student
Posts: 1091

Loc: New Jersey
Reg: 01-21-14
12-28-17 10:12 PM - Post#241494    
    In response to mrjames

Hope so! Come so close for so long at that position.

 
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