No points for Curry, no sense for Patsos

I just had to briefly comment on last night’s Loyola (MD) – Davidson basketball game, as Loyola coach Jimmy Patsos took the early lead in the “strangest coaching strategy of the season” competition.  As you probably have heard by now, Davidson All-American Stephen Curry did not score in this game, because Patsos had two of his players shadow Curry for the entire game, regardless of whether or not he had the ball.  This was called a “triangle and two” defense, but in your typical triangle-and-two the defenders not in the triangle are guarding different players, not the same guy.  I propose the formation used by Loyola last night should henceforth be called the “Pitiful Patsos” defense. 

Curry spent a good portion of the game standing in a corner of the court, allowing his teammates to go 4-on-3, much like a power play in hockey.  Patsos continued to employ the double-shadow defense after it became apparent his strategy wasn’t going to work, or even come close to working, as Davidson went on an 18-0 run during the first half en route to a 39-17 lead.   Davidson eventually won the game, 78-48.

Some people have noted that Davidson had been averaging 87.5 points per game against Division I competition before this game, and so have argued that Loyola’s bizarre doubling on Curry was, from a defensive point of view, successful (since Davidson only scored 78 points in this game).  That is wrong, however.

In its four previous games against Division I teams, Davidson had averaged 87. 5 points while averaging 75.725 possessions per game, or 1.1555 points per possession, which is outstanding (that number would have led the country last season).  Against Loyola, the Wildcats may have scored “only” 78 points, but those points came on an estimated 67 possessions, for a points-per-possession average of 1.1641, which is actually better than what Davidson had been averaging before the game.  Davidson’s output of 78 points simply reflects the pace of the game, not a decline in its offensive production.

Meanwhile, Loyola’s own leading scorer, Brett Harvey, got shut out in this game (Harvey only played 13 minutes), and the Greyhounds were so discombulated on offense that they committed 21 turnovers while only having 16 made field goals.  Davidson made almost as many three-point shots (14).  Loyola hadn’t been a particularly good offensive team prior to last night, but the performance against Davidson was truly putrid.  Of course, the Wildcats were also the best team Loyola had played so far this season, so maybe that was to be expected.

My biggest problem with Patsos is that he continued to “roll the dice” (as he called it) even after it became obvious his strategy was failing, and that in the end, he seemed more determined to keep Curry from scoring than actually win (or stay competitive in) the game.  That isn’t what college basketball is about.  He made the game a farce, and for what benefit?  He’ll get some publicity (almost entirely negative), but his team will get nothing out of the game.  Instead of getting the chance to measure themselves against a quality non-conference opponent, and take that experience into Metro Atlantic conference play, it’s a waste of a game and a waste of time for the players.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: