I am of the belief that people lie, but numbers, if viewed objectively, don't. With that in mind, I decided to take a look at what this Hoya team's numbers tell us now that we are 25 games into the season, 2/3's through the Big East regular, and in the midst of yet another grossly disappointing season.
Some of the numbers make sense to me, whereas others are at odds with what I believe that I've witnessed this year. I've saved most of my conclusions for the end, but in summary the numbers seem to indicate that despite the eye test indicating something different, it is NOT a negative discrepancy in turnovers/points off of turnovers, offensive rebounds/second chance points, nor opponent's 3-point shooting that have doomed us to another failed season - though clearly each has hurt us in specific games. Rather, the numbers indicate that THE two largest factors in our 4-8 conference record to date are: 1) Conference opponents have made 5.3 more free throws per game than have the Hoyas (a virtual reversing of the non-conference numbers this year), and 2) Our markedly inconsistent performance during the course of individual conference games has meant that our opponents have often been able to open large leads (in 8 of the 12 conference games our opponents have held leads of 8 or more points during the game), and has also meant that we are rarely able to sustain positive performance for long enough to establish a meaningful lead of our own (we have held leads of 8 or more points only three times, and one of those was vs. DePaul, where we scored the first 10 points of the game then immediately gave it all back).
So, in sum, it appears that, more than all other factors, the 2 reasons that we are very possibly headed towards another losing season (certainly in-conference anyway) are issues that we all know too well: We foul far too much, and not only in quantity, but at the wrong times as well (i.e., a lot of shooting fouls, as well as often putting the opponents into the bonus early on), and we experience both offensive and defensive lulls during the course of games - often, I would argue, because of the deficient lineups that JT3 inexplicably has on the floor at times - such that we have a very hard time building a meaningful lead, as well as a difficult time digging out of the substantial holes that these lulls cause.
Here, then, are some of the numbers:
Georgetown FG/FGA in the 12 Conference games: 310/681 = 45.5% = 25.8/56.8 per gm
Opponents FG/FGA in the 12 Conference games: 288/694 = 41.5% = 24.0/57.8 per gm
GU 2PT FG/FGA in Conference games: 230/440 = 52.3%
Opponents 2PT FG/FGA in Conference: 212/462 = 45.9%
GU 3PT FG/FGA in Conference games: 80/241 = 33.2%
Opponents 3PT FG/FGA in Conference: 76/232 = 32.8%
Just looking at these numbers you'd think that we would be 8-4 in conference, not 4-8. And you'd think that we are an outstanding defensive team - which clearly we are not. That's because these numbers obviously ignore the major discrepancy in fouls/foul shots - as shown next - which materially changes the context of these numbers above.
Georgetown FT/FTA in Conference games: 166/241 = 68.9% = 13.8/20.1 per gm
Opponents FT/FTA in Conference games: 229/308 = 74.4% = 19.1/25.7 per gm
So not only are we fouling more often than our opponents (22.2 fouls per game vs. 19.4 game), but we are committing more shooting fouls, and are often putting our opponents into the bonus early on. This, combined with our poor free-show shooting percentage in conference play, has resulted in a negative discrepancy of 5.3 made free throws per conference game. To put this into context, our negative FTM differential last season was 3.8 per game. So we are 1.5 made foul shots per game WORSE OFF this year than last - despite the coaching staff having made this THE primary issue to correct during the offseason. This clearly seems to be the predominant factor in our poor conference performance again this season.
Given that the Hoyas' negative PPG differential in conference games this year is 1.4 (72.0PPG vs 73.4 for our opponents) the 5.3 made free throws per game that we cede to the other team, on average, is a huge swing factor. To run through some other conference statistics quickly:
Offensive Rebounds: GU 9.3/gm, Opponents 10.2/gm
Defensive Rebounds: GU 26.4 vs 24.8
Total Rebounds: GU 35.7 vs. 34.9
While offensive rebounding - both securing and preventing - has obviously been an issue in some conference games, on balance this hasn't been the major culprit.
Assists: GU 16.3/gm vs opponents 13.4gm = +2.9/gm differential
TO: 13.5/gm vs. 11.2/gm
Assist/Turnover Ratio: GU = 1.2/1. Opponents = 1.2/1
Blocked Shots: GU = 4.1/gm; Opponents = 2.5/gm = +1.6/gm differential
Steals = GU = 4.6/gm; Opponents = 6.7/gm = -2.1/gm differential
Points in Paint: GU = 30.3/gm; opponents = 28.2/gm = +2.1/gm differential
2nd Chance Points: GU = 8.8/gm; Opponents = 9.7/gm = -0.9/gm differential
Fast Break Points: GU = 7.0/gm; Opponents = 7.8/gm = -0.8/gm differential
Bench Points: GU = 18.9/gm; Opponents = 14.9/gm = +4.0/gm differential
Points off Turnovers: GU = 12.1/gm; opponents = 12.7/gm = -0.6/gm differential
Average Largest Lead: GU = 8.0; Opponents = 10.4 = -2.4PPG Differential. EX the St. John's, DePaul and Creighton games, though, in the 9 other conference games our average largest lead at any point in the game has been less than 4.
As noted above, in 9 of the 12 conference games we have led by no more than 7 points at any time in the game, and in a 10th game, vs DePaul, we had a larger lead than 7 for only a couple of minutes. So, our inconsistent play during the course of games has meant that we have rarely held a meaningful lead at any point, and in many of these games we've faced meaningful deficits (of at least 11 points in 6 of the 12 games) - meaning that we are often trying to overcome significant deficits during games. The fact that we've been able to come part of the way back in some of the games, such as last night, skews our statistics positively, but doesn't help our W/L record at all.
A couple of final statistics:
Steals/PF Ratio: GU = 0.21; Opponents = 0.34
Steals/TO Ratio: GU = 0.34; Opponents = 0.60
These are both horrendous numbers for the Hoyas, and meaningful negatives vs our opponents. These numbers mean that we foul way too much relative to the benefit that we get from turning the opponent over (think West Virginia - they have a very high foul rate, but also turn the opponent over at a high rate - which more than offsets the fouling. That's how the trade off is supposed to work). We have all of the detriments associated with our high fouling rate, yet our steals numbers are horrendous. This is the classic high risk/low reward strategy in which JT3 seems to specialize.
There are more numbers to review and dissect, but let's start with these. The bottom line is that we do turn the ball over too much, don't turn the opponent over nearly enough, have a negative offensive rebounding differential (although not substantial), etc. Those all hurt on the margin for sure. But it is our extremely high-frequency and poorly-timed fouling, as well as our offensive and defensive droughts virtually every game - many very predictable because of the poorly-constructed lineups that JT3 has on the court for 10+ minutes per game, when he implements his reverse Money Ball strategy (i.e., running our offense through the players with the highest turnover rates by far - Agau and Hayes - a strategy that makes zero sense and goes against all rational coaching precepts) - which is usually the 10 minutes that's the difference in the game in the end - the 10 minutes that dooms the Hoyas.