In breaking down these two box scores, I will look at each game individually and point out the trends and differences between the two games that occurred on a player-by-player basis, or across the whole team.
Before I go into these statistics more, I should define some of the statistics that I am using, and will be using in future editions of the Box Score Breakdown.
eFG% – Effective Field Goal Percentage. According to Basketball-Reference.com the effective field goal percentage adjusts for the "fact that a 3-point field goal is worth one more point than a 2-point field goal. For example, suppose Player A goes 4 for 10 with 2 threes, while Player B goes 5 for 10 with 0 threes. Each player would have 10 points from field goals, and thus would have the same effective field goal percentage (50%)."
TS% – True Shooting Percentage. The true shooting percentage takes into account the points a player generates from field goal attempts (two and three-point shots) as well as the free throws they generate in their offense. The addition of the offense generated through free throws improves the true shooting percentages for players that generate more trips to the free throw line that players who sit on the outside and are pure spot up shooters, while it also decreases for poor free throw shooters.
FTR – Free Throw Rate. The free throw rate is a simple rate that shows how many times a player shoots a free throw for every field goal attempted. For the Jackrabbits game against Kentucky it is a pretty useless statistic considering they only attempted two free throws all game.
%3PS – Percent of Three Point Shots. This is a simple ratio that shows what percentage of a players shots from the floor are three point shots. It is a nice way to illustrate where a player's offense occurs, and it also helps illustrate how often guards will take the ball to the basket.
RbR – Rebound Rate. The rebound rate was defined in a previous Box Score Breakdown.
UsgR – Usage Rate. This statistic is an estimate of the number of offensive possessions a player uses per 100 possessions. This number takes into account shots, free throw attempts, turnovers, and assists.
PSA – Points per Shot Attempt. The points per shot attempt is not simply what it states, it is more than just the points per shot attempt for a player, this also takes into account the number of free throws a player takes.
SOUTH DAKOTA STATE VS. KENTUCKY
When the Jackrabbits traveled to Rupp Arena to take on the Wildcats, they became the twenty-seventh victim in thirty home openers for the Wildcats in Rupp Arena. The offense of the Jackrabbits left much to be desired, they only shot 36.92% from the floor and turned the ball over 22 times. To be honest, it shows how good their defense was that they were able to only lose by 17 with that terrible of an offensive performance.
As a team, South Dakota State was not a very efficient offensive unit against Kentucky. They scored less than one point for every shot they took (0.82) and they their true shooting percentage was just 40.98%.
The South Dakota State offense really revolved around two players: Ben Beran and Steve Holdren, though when Jose Frias got into the game, he was definitely in on many of the offensive possessions (either assisting the play, turning the ball over, or shooting).
The rebounding rate of the Jackrabbits is not that good across the board. Only Mohamed Berte and Jose Frias had rebounding rates above fifteen. The most surprising thing from the rebounding rates in this game was the inability of Ben Beran to get to the defensive glass, as he only pulled down 3 rebounds in 36 minutes, something the Scott Nagy does not expect to see too often from his best interior player.
Based on last season's numbers of 12.5 points and six rebounds a night from Steve Holdren had a very poor game against Kentucky. He shot poorly (ok terribly) from the floor (eFG% of 18.18%), and did not get to the free throw line like he did last season (only two attempts and a TS% of 21.04%) which gave him a terrible points per shot attempt of 0.42.
Offensive Efficiency: 72.12
Defensive Efficiency: 94.82
Defensive Rebounding Percentage: 62.79%
Offensive Rebounding Percentage: 30.95%
True Shooting Percentage: 40.98%
While the Jackrabbits did play some good defense against the Wildcats (allowing less than one point per Kentucky possession), their offense was downright horrid. Looking at the shooting percentages for the game, and the number of turnovers, it is not surprising that the offensive efficiency of South Dakota State was barely above seventy.
SOUTH DAKOTA STATE VS. NORTHERN COLORADO
On Monday night when the Jackrabbits defeated Northern Colorado, they played a much better defensive game, but their offense was still putrid. South Dakota State did get a better contribution from Steve Holdren, but that correlated with a poor game from Ben Beran. In their second game of the season, the Jackrabbits did not improve on their shooting percentage (33.33% from the floor), nor did they improve on the number of turnovers (24) from their first game against Kentucky.
Steve Holdren exploded on Monday evening compared to his horrific performance in the previous game. He got to the free throw line six times (though he did only make one), and he shot six of ten from the floor, including three-for-five from behind the three point arc for a true shooting percentage of 75.16%.
The rebounding improved for the Jackrabbits across the board. 6'6" sophomore forward Michael Loney cleaned off the glass, especially offensively, pulling down 9 rebounds (4 offensive) in just 20 minutes of play, to give him a Rebounding Rate for 32.14. Ben Beran dramatically improved his rebounding rate from 3.92 to 14.29 between the first and second game.
Once again, the Jackrabbit offense was, simply put, not good. As a team, the Jackrabbits had a PSA of 0.97, and only four out of nine players had individual PSAs over 1.00 (and one of the players, Kleinjan, only took one shot, and made a three pointer).
For the second straight game, one of the Jackrabbits stars played a very poor offensive game. Forward Ben Beran had a PSA of 0.59 and turned the ball over eight times. What made the PSA even more amazingly bad is that Beran had five offensive rebounds, which I would have to assume led to what would be assumed easy put backs in the basket on at minimum three of the rebounds. Also, with a Usage Rate of 29.19 Beran's bad game effected almost 30% of the Jackrabbit offense.
After looking at both of these box scores, a player to watch coming off the bench for South Dakota State is going to be Jose Frias. On Monday evening despite only five minutes of playing time Frias was a rebounding machine (for a guard) pulling down two rebounds, as he had a rebound rate of 28.57. Once again, he also had a high usage rate, showing that he had his hands all over the Jackrabbit offense while he was in the game: taking shots, passing the ball to open scorers, or turning the ball over.
Offensive Efficiency: 81.38
Defensive Efficiency: 78.71
Defensive Rebounding Percentage: 58.70%
Offensive Rebounding Percentage: 34.29%
For the second straight game, the Jackrabbits played solid defense, and they were even stingier against Northern Colorado than they were against Kentucky. Offensively, South Dakota State improved (it would have been hard not to) from the first game to the second game, but they were still a very inefficient team offensively thanks to poor shooting and an obscenely high number of turnovers.
EXPECTATIONS AGAINST ILLINOIS
Looking back on last season and then this season, one would still expect the Jackrabbit offense to focus around Ben Beran and Steve Holdren, despite the fact that so far this season both players have not even had an average game at the same time.
Against Kentucky, Beran had a great offensive game, but then he followed it up with a poor performance against Northern Colorado. Against Northern Colorado, he had a PSA of 0.59, and a true shooting percentage of 29.62%, which is especially troubling when he had five offensive rebounds.
Against Kentucky, Holdren did not provide much for SDSU despite his very high usage rate. He shot terribly, and without seeing the game, I assume he was a defensive focus for one of the very talented Kentucky guards like Joe Crawford or Rajon Rondo. Against Northern Colorado, he was able to break out offensively scoring 19 points with a PSA of 1.50, while keeping his usage rate rather constant. The good news for Illini fans is that the defenders that will be on Holdren are more likely to be on par with the Kentucky players in terms of ability and athleticism than the Northern Colorado defenders. Hopefully the Illini are able to frustrate Holdren into another poor game like he had Sunday evening against Kentucky.
The Jackrabbits will come off the bench with Mohamed Berte who has shown a penchant to rebound the basketball in the first two games of the season. The Illini front court will need to work to keep the athletic Berte off the glass, where he does most of his damage. Since Berte is a shot blocker, the Illini big men should be able to get Berte in the air (and potential foul trouble) by ball faking shots on the inside. Doing this will also get him out of defensive position for rebounding, which will be key for the Fighting Illini. Offensively, Berte is not much of a threat.
As a team, South Dakota State keeps the pace high. Scott Nagy has a team that likes to get the ball up and down the court, and will take shots early in the shot clock, which bodes well for the Illini because of their relative defensive inexperience. Normally, defensive breakdowns occur near the end of the shot clock, but if SDSU will be taking shots early in the clock, the Illini defense will have less time to get lost while the Jackrabbits are running their offense.
Coinciding with their high pace, the Jackrabbits also play stingy defense. They did not allow either Kentucky or Northern Colorado to score more than one point per possession, in fact their defense is what never allowed Kentucky to pull away from them on Sunday night after their offense opened up the evening missing sixteen of their first seventeen shots.