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WSU Vs. Gonzaga: Unhappy Charts And Sad Graphs

It's tradition for CougCenter to bring you these color-coded graphs after every Cougar basketball game. Unfortunately, I was having trouble embedding the charts last night, so I could not put them in my game recap. The first is a bar graph (pictured above) that represents how well each team performed in each of the "four factors."

As you can see, despite Gonzaga's early three-point onslaught, Washington State was able to post the higher effective field goal percentage overall. The big reason for this was GU's inability to hit shots inside the arc.  It would appear the packed-in zone that WSU played much of worked for its intended purpose, to limit Gonzaga's inside scorers. Of course, it had the unfortunate consequence of giving the Zags a lot of good looks outside the arc, where they made 13 of 29 attempts (thanks in large part to Kevin Pangos going 9-13).

With shooting and turnovers pretty much equal, the game came down to rebounding and free throws. While it felt during the game that Gonzaga was garnering every single offensive rebound, they actually ended up posting just an average offensive rebounding percentage of 37.8. I'd be willing to guess they don't have many games lower than that the rest of the season. GU's real advantage came in limiting WSU's second chances. The Cougs only gathered 27% of their own misses.  With Washington State shooting as well as they were, a few more second-chances could have went a long way.

The free throw disparity can be explained by WSU not really being able to handle the size of Robert Sacre in the second half. The Cougs switched to a trapping defense, and that led to more one-on-one match-ups in the post. Sacre took advantage and made all the free throws he attempted. Gonzaga played much of the second half in the double bonus. WSU's inability to get in the paint and draw fouls of their own proved costly. Sacre played the last four minutes with four fouls, and the game outcome may have been different if WSU was able to draw that fifth.

One more graph you may find interesting is the game flow chart. The zig-zagging blue line represents Gonzaga's lead safeness throughout the game. The Zags' lead was just over 40% safe on multiple occasions (including around the ten minute mark when some folks may have fallen asleep) in the second half before WSU's run brought it down to under 20% with under a minute left. The chart is after the jump.

We'll keep bringing these charts for you after every basketball game this season. Grady likes to hand out awards such as for the best player, the unsung hero, etc. I don't want to steal his thunder, so I will leave that up to you guys. Who do you think was the most important player for WSU last night? How about the unsung hero? What was your favorite play of the game?