Monday, January 2, 2012

Bits and Bytes: Of redshirt comparisons, Hofstra scorers atop the CAA, non-conference facts & Mr. Belvedere

Is the Wesley on the left the one William & Mary beat last month? And if so, did #Beasthoven yell STREAKS ON THE CHINA NEVER MATTERED BEFORE! WHO CARED! afterward?

Ringing in the new year by spending the last strands of time off by doing a little research I won’t have time to do by this time tomorrow and channeling “Just The Facts” week –i.e. CAA Tournament week—with a no-frills approach to the presentation. If you want witty prose you will just have to wait! Without further ado:

—I’ve been pondering this one for a while—ever since Nathaniel Lester scored a career-high 33 points in the season opener for the Dutchmen—and finally got to crunch the numbers: How does Lester’s season thus far measure up to the senior season way back in 2003-04 for Danny Walker, who is the only other upperclassmen to redshirt during the Defiantly Dutch Era and who, like Lester, set a career-high in points in the first game back after missing what should have been his senior season?

Answer: Pretty well. Through 13 games, Lester (13.2 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 38.5 shooting, 10 games with 10 or more points, one game with 10 or more rebounds, one double-double) is exceeding Walker’s 13-game numbers (9.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 36 percent shooting,, five games with 10 or more points, no games with 10 or more rebounds, no double-doubles) in just about every category.

Walker was a better 3-point shooter (14-of-39) than Lester (6-of-27) and had 16 blocked shots at this point in his senior season compared to just three for Lester, but Lester has 21 steals as opposed to just eight for Walker. Both endured extended slumps: Lester was just 13-of-58 shooting in a five-game span from Nov. 22-Dec. 3 while Walker shot 4-of-23 in a four-game span from Dec. 23, 2003-Jan. 5, 2004.

In addition, Lester has started all 13 games. Walker started the first eight for the Dutchmen but came off the bench in the next three before returning to the starting lineup for game no. 12.

I have to admit, I thought the numbers would be closer than this. I remembered Walker didn’t start his entire senior season, but I thought his reserve duty happened later in the year. I will try and revisit the comparisons later in the season.

—This is interesting: With Mike Moore leading the CAA in scoring (21.4 points per game) for the second straight week, Hofstra has had the leading scorer in the CAA in 32 of the last 42 scoring periods dating back to the start of the 2009-10 season. And that percentage improves to 32 of the last 39 when the first three weeks of the 2009-10 season—during which Jenkins ranked second or third in the CAA—are discounted.

In addition, Hofstra has had someone in the top two in the CAA in scoring in 38 of the last 42 weeks. The only exceptions: The three weeks from Nov. 21-Dec. 12, when Moore ranked fourth but had played more games than anyone in the top three, and the second week of the 2009-19 season, when Jenkins was third.

Jenkins led the CAA in scoring in 29 of the final 31 periods of his career. The only exceptions: The second week of last season (when Drexel’s Chris Fouch was averaging 24.5 points in two games compared to Jenkins’ 23.0 points in four games) and the final scoring report of 2009-10, when he was edge at the wire (20.8 ppg to 20.6 ppg) by Denzel Bowles, who Denver Broncosed his way into the scoring title by qualifying for the title in the last week of the season (qualifiers must play in 75 percent of their team’s games and Bowles sat the first semester after transferring from Texas A&M).

And win a bar bet with this bit of trivia: Jenkins and Moore are not the only Hofstra players to lead the CAA in scoring at the end of a week. Lester led the league in scoring in the first weekly report of this season thanks to his 33-point effort against Long Island.

—I had some fun on Twitter last week declaring that Rhode Island, which has victimized Hofstra and James Madison for its only wins this season, had clinched a CAA Tournament bye, along with Florida Atlantic, following the Rams’ win over the Dukes Thursday night.

And since I am insane, and since I had a few spare minutes for the last time until next Christmas, I decided to figure out just who fared the best against the CAA during the non-conference season The answer: Florida Atlantic shares the no. 1 seed in the not-really-the-CAA-Tournament along with Virginia at 3-0 apiece. LaSalle went 3-1 while Oregon State, Massachusetts and Missouri all went 2-0. Six other schools, including Dutchmen opponents Boston University and Manhattan, went 2-1 against the CAA.

Other weird and wacky non-conference facts: LaSalle, Rhode Island and Liberty were the only schools to play four CAA schools. Only one non-Division I squad faced a CAA school, and William & Mary easily handled Wesley (presumably named after the bratty kid from Mr. Belvedere) 70-47. Two CAA schools played a non-conference opponent twice: VCU swept Western Kentucky in back-to-back games Nov. 20-23 while William & Mary lost to Liberty Nov. 14 and beat the Flames six days later. And eight of Hofstra’s 12 non-conference opponents played someone else in the CAA the last two months—everyone except St. Francis, Cleveland State, Wagner and Colgate.

—And lastly, one more nugget that has made its way into the last two game recaps but warrants further attention here. The Flying Dutchmen hadn’t recorded as many as 13 steals in a game in almost six years before doing it the last two games against Colgate (13 steals) and Iona (14 steals). Those were the Dutchmen’s most steals since they recorded 17 thefts against Georgia State Jan. 5, 2006. It doesn’t mean this team will get railroaded by Tom O’Connor, or even that it is the best defensive team since the ’05-06 bunch, but it’s worth keeping an eye on heading into conference play.

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