Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Small ball is working for San Jose State

Here's a little something to consider:

To date, it's been four games for San Jose State basketball without C.J. Webster, who is sidelined with a serious eye injury incurred in the January 11 game against Fresno State.

Matters didn't look good for SJSU after losing the longtime starter in the frontcourt as depth and experience were not in abundance behind Webster.

But guess what?

The team has gone 3-1 -- did anyone see this coming? -- with the lone loss to Hawaii was certainly winnable.

Why and how?

Somebody could probably do a dissertation on all the factors and variables but what can be small 'e' explained is this:

- Visiting Boise was topped 76-74, SJSU shot 48.1% from the floor to BSU's 40%, SJSU committed seven turnovers

- Host Hawaii won 68-67, SJSU shot 45.6% overall to UH's 41.4%, SJSU committed nine turnovers

- Visiting Louisiana Tech was beaten 87-76, SJSU shot 54.9% to LT's 44.6%, SJSU committed 13 turnovers

- Visiting New Mexico State fell 93-84, SJSU shot 56.4% to the Aggies 39.4%, SJSU committed 15 turnovers

This adds up to the undersized Spartans cumulatively shooting 51.2% versus 41.3% for a quartet of opponents. Plus, averaging just 11 turnovers a game.

Regarding rebounding and points scored in the paint -- generally indicators of possessing adequate, competitive size, here's the numbers breakdown:

- Visiting Boise out-boarded the Spartans 49-29 while points in the paint were 34 and 32 respectively

- Host Hawaii won the battle of the boards 36-33 but SJSU outscored UH in the paint by a 40-18 differential

- Visiting Louisiana Tech lost the rebounding contest by three, 31-28, but triumphed with points in the paint 36-32
- Visiting New Mexico State nabbed 36 rebounds to SJSU's 37 and the Aggies also lost paint points by a 34-16 margin

Oh yes, the four guard Spartan starting lineup. The decision was made by Coach Nessman to go with a four guard starting lineup since Webster's sidelining. What cannot be measured but what seems visually apparent is better ballhandling and spacing offensively and stronger defending -- a somehow holding of opponents to a 41.2% ishooting percentage, one that even only a few Big Dance members achieve. In contrast, Texas is holding Big 12 opponents to 43%, Connecticut in the Big East owns a 38%, Kentucky in league play is at 39%, Kansas 41% and Villanova 39%.

So if the success continues as is, what happens if/when Webster becomes available? A hard decision will have to be made. Do you break up a winning combination? Maybe rotate Chris Oakes with Webster?

There certainly are much more tougher problems to have. If it indeed transpires, maybe this is a good problem.

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