Tuesday, February 14, 2012
The fact is, friends, when the Tribe wins, it's because Brandon Britt played well.
Last year as a freshman, Britt brought a dynamism and speed to the Tribe's backcourt that Williamsburg hadn't seen in, well, maybe ever. He averaged 10.9 points per game and tallied more assists than turnovers - a non-trivial plus for a freshman point guard.
Thornton's arrival in Williamsburg heralded great things, and the athletic frosh has certainly had his moments. Unfortunately, he thrives most with the ball in his hands, which had created problems for Britt, who, not coincidentally thrives most...with the ball in his hands. As you may know, the game is played with a single ball on the court at any given time. Therein lies the rub.
The Tribe's season has been a study in frustration, the team's perimeter-based offense sputtering as it tried to figure out how to accommodate two young, gifted athletes with similar skillsets while not forgetting that their best player is a wing who needs the ball, too. More often than not, the results have been disappointing.
But in the Tribe's five wins, a pattern emerges. Britt, who averages 8.9 ppg on the season, drops in 16.8 per game in W&M victories. His shooting percentage rises from 36.5% to 51% in victories, with his free throw accuracy increasing from 72.4% to 82.4%. He's averaging 2.0 turnovers a game on the season, but has only given it up three times total in the Wrens' wins. Geeking out a bit, he's 57.8% more efficient on offense in wins, going from 85.4 points/100 possessions to 134.7. If you don't believe me on this stuff, check out Michael Litos in his weekly CAA Court Report. Note the outstanding facial topiary (and next time you see him, ask him where he gets his W&M nuggets):
It may be too late to salvage the 2011-12 season, but with Britt just a sophomore and Thornton but a pup, the future of the program depends upon Tony Shaver figuring out how to get the two to co-exist on the floor.
Tough row to hoe this evening in Philly as the Tribe takes on red-hot Drexel at 7:00. The game's televised on CSN-MA for those of you not stuck in a Hallmark-based holiday tradition. Or, as I like to say when my wife can hear me, "Happy Valentine's Day, sweetie! Hugs and kisses!"
In big league news, the CAA announced a television partnership with the fledgling NBCSports Channel yesterday. Smarter folks (read: Litos) can give you all the details, but for my money, the league gets a partner with a vested interest in its success (the CAA is the first conference to enter into an agreement with NBCSports) and no real entrenched conflicts of interest. Yes, turning its back on ESPN is a risk, but I think the upside is significant for the league, and not just for basketball and football (CAA gridders get five games televised as part of the package).
Finally, and speaking of hugs and kisses, a giant Happy Birthday to Gheorghe Dimitru Muresan. Many happy returns, big fella.