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1/08/2024 11:57 pm  #1

GW beats Davidson !!

Fresh off a thrilling game winner from JBIV on the road at VCU, GW at 12-3 rolls on to take on Davidson

Davidson at 10-4 with the #128 KenPom will be another tough test for the young GW team.

Can Matt McKillop continue his father's legacy? so far, he's off to a pretty good start Davidson looks improved from last year including a win over Maryland

Does GW win again to improve to 13-3?  Expected line??

Last edited by The Dude (1/13/2024 4:26 pm)


1/12/2024 12:30 am  #2

Re: GW beats Davidson !!

Davidson Wildcats

Date: Saturday January 13th, 2024
Time: 2:00 PM ET
Venue: Charles E. Smith Center
TV: Monumental Sports Network and ESPN+
Analytic Ranks: 140th (KenPom), 150th (EvanMiya), 166th (Haslametrics)
NET Ranking: 138th
2022-23 Record: 16-16, 8-10 (T-8th in A10)
2023-24 Projected Record: 17-14, 7-11 (T-11th in A10)

Head-to-Head: 14-15. GW has had a bit more success against the Wildcats lately, winning two of the past three games after perviously only winning four of the previous 18 in the series (GW started 8-0 all-time against Davidson from 1939-1962). In last year's contest, the Buff and Blue came out on top 75-70 at Belk Arena on Davidson's Senior Night. GW overcame a six point halftime deficit and played more or less even with Davidson for the final 15 minutes of the game or so. JB took over down the stretch as he's been known to do, putting up 11 points in the final three minutes with a number of daggers. Much like the most recent game at VCU, GW's strong performance at the FT line made a big difference, as the team went 16/18 from the line to overcome an off night from 3 (just 5/18). GW also turned the ball over just 5 times all game - would be happy if that number can be kept under 10 on Saturday.

As we've come to expect from recent GW teams, the bench didn't contribute much as the starters accounted for 73 of GW's 75 points. All five starters finished in double figures, with JB leading the way with 26, BA adding 15, Hunter + Ricky putting up 11 each while combining for 20 rebounds, and Max chipping in 10 points.

In the last game in Foggy Bottom, Davidson won 78-73. JB also had 26 in that game, while JoeBam added 19. GW shot the ball extremely well in that game (13 made threes at 43%), especially in the first half when James made some ridiculously deep shots. The Wildcats made just enough plays in the final two minutes to steal the game. I still remember to this day the Brajkovic bucket - he successfully backed Hunter down along the sideline to the bucket and made a layup plus the foul. He was a real player for Davidson and I couldn't help but tip my cap when he made that shot.

Offensive Efficiency: 170th (KenPom), 163rd (EvanMiya), 167th (Haslametrics)
Defensive Efficiency: 135th (KenPom), 152nd (EvanMiya), 151st (Haslametrics)
Pace: 271st (KenPom), 303rd (EvanMiya), 271st (Haslametrics)
Roster Rank: 152nd (EvanMiya)
Offensive Shot Quality Rank: 126th
Defensive Shot Quality Rank: 114th
Rim & 3 Rate: 92% (6th) - they take great shots analytically!

Strengths (2023-24 Season):
Opponent Free Throws Made Per Game - 10.4 FTM (T-24th)
Opponent Free Throw Percentage - 66.7% (T-30th)
Personal Fouls Per Game - 14.7 PF/G (T-38th)
Opponent Offensive Rebounds Per Game - 8.7 ORPG (T-47th)
Opponent Free Throws Attempted Per Game - 15.6 FTA (T-52nd)
Opponent Steals Per Game - 5.6 SPG (53rd)
3-PT Field Goals Attempted Per Game - 25.5 3PA (T-58th)
Opponent Field Goals Attempted Per Game - 55.9 FGA (T-58th)
Opponent Points Per Game - 66.9 PPG (T-85th)
Opponent Blocks Per Game - 2.8 BPG (T-89th)
3-PT Field Goals Made Per Game - 8.5 3PM (T-94th)
Opponent Rebounds Per Game - 33.2 RPG (T-94th)
Opponent Field Goals Made Per Game - 24.2 FGM (105th)

Weaknesses (2023-24 Season):
Points Per Game - 72 PPG (257th)
Opponent Turnovers Per Game - 11.6 TO/G (T-272nd)
Opponent 3-PT Field Goals Attempted Per Game - 23.9 3PA (275th)
Offensive Rebounds Per Game - 9.4 ORPG (T-276th)
Rebounds Per Game - 34.1 RPG (277th)
Opponent 3-PT Field Goals Made Per Game - 8.1 3PM (T-285th)
Field Goals Made Per Game - 24.8 FGM (286th)
Blocks Per Game - 2.3 BPG (317th)
Field Goals Attempted Per Game - 55.7 FGA (326th)

Key Returning Players:
Grant Huffman (Senior; Aurora, OH) - 9.4 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.6 apg, 1.3 spg; 47% FG, 25% 3-PT, 65% FT per 31.3 mpg
     Last Season against GW: 13 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal; 5-10 FG, 1-5 3-PT, 2-2 FT in 34 minutes.

David Skogman (RS Senior; Waukesha, WI) - 7.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg; 46% FG, 37% 3-PT, 89% FT per 22.4 mpg
     Last Season against GW: 5 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist; 2-7 FG, 1-3 3-PT in 22 minutes.

Connor Kochera (Senior; Arlington Heights, IL) - 6.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 1 apg; 43% FG, 34% 3-PT, 68% FT per 23.5 mpg
     Last Season against GW: 2 points, 2 rebounds; 1-2 FG, 0-1 3-PT in 18 minutes.

Reed Bailey (Sophomore; Harvard, MA) - 5.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg; 50% FG, 35% 3-PT, 64% FT per 22.7 mpg
     Last Season against GW: 4 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist; 2-5 FG in 21 minutes.

Key Losses:
Foster Loyer (Graduated; Clarkston, MI) - 16.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 4.5 apg, 1.7 spg; 38% FG, 34% 3-PT, 92% FT per 35.2 mpg
Sam Mennenga (Went Pro; Auckland, New Zealand) - 15.2 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 1.3 apg; 51% FG, 37% 3-PT, 62% FT per 30.5 mpg
Desmond Watson (Transferred to Loyola Chicago; Columbus, OH) - 9.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.1 apg; 41% FG, 27% 3-PT, 75% FT per 29.1 mpg

Key Transfers:
Angelo Brizzi (RS Sophomore transfer from Villanova; Warrenton, VA) - 2 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 1.1 spg; 39% FG, 14% 3-PT, 78% FT per 10.7 mpg
Jarvis Moss (Junior transfer from Stanford; Concord, NC) - 1.8 ppg; 38% FG, 43% 3-PT per 3.6 mpg

One of the first questions seemingly any first time head coach is asked in interviews is what the biggest challenge is moving one seat over on the bench. We've heard CC be asked this question multiple times as a former assistant for over two decades. It's likely that any coach will mention being surprised just how many more responsibilities they have to take on, despite expecting a bigger role both on and off the court compared to their days as an assistant. CC has said himself that there just isn't much time to pursue other hobbies outside of coaching, and as we know the offseason is arguably just as busy if not more hectic than the season itself nowadays.

Matt Dennis, who currently coaches HS ball at Otsego HS in Michigan, wrote an interesting blog post on this topic. While Dennis to my knowledge has not coached at the D1 level (he has also been a head coach at Kalamazoo Valley CC), it's a good read regardless and provides some insight as to how much bigger of a job being a head coach is at any institution. Whether it's recruiting, when to make substitutions, how to deal with behavioral/academic issues, how to conduct practices, or delegating responsibilities there is no "suggesting" because ultimately the onus falls on the head coach. Being organized is critical. The reality is that not every great assistant coach can be a great head coach, especially at the D1 level where all the eyeballs on you and the program from seemingly everywhere.

The transition to head coach may be made easier when taking over the job from a family member, but that doesn't mean that there aren't bumps along the way. Sure the Bennetts at Washington State, the Drews at Valparaiso, and even the Meyers at DePaul going a bit further back kept the ball rolling at their respective schools but it's a different era now with the transfer portal. A school with long-running success under a single coach isn't guaranteed to maintain success under a new guy. Look no further than what Jay Wright did at Villanova and how the Wildcats look under Neptune. In fact, given how guys from Jay Wright's coaching tree have fared, I'm convinced that Wright is a unicorn.

The Davidson Wildcats were picked sixth in the 2022-23 poll when Matt McKillop took over for his dad. While preseason polls and predictions are pretty much meaningless every offseason (especially in the A10) it was an understandable placement given Bob had finished top six in the A10 in all but two seasons as coach. While last season was probably considered to be an underachievement by Davidson standards, not everything was Matt's fault despite the younger McKillop experiencing some obvious growing pains when taking over as the head guy.

Davidson basketball has always been about internal development, not one that's about getting transfers. Transfers are more likely to affect the culture that comes from molding HS guys to playing a certain kind of way. At Davidson, it's about being fundamentally sound defensively and on offense being able to shoot, pass, and limit miscues. They hit a home run with Foster Loyer in Bob's final year at the helm, but it's a tall task to expect every transfer coming in to pan out. David Skogman (Buffalo) and Connor Kochera (William & Mary) didn't turn in bad seasons by any means last year, but being asked to replace guys like Hyunjung Lee, Luka Brajkovic, and Michael Jones was a bit too big of an ask. You could pencil in Lee and Jones in particular for a couple threes per game, but outside of Loyer no one was really much of a high volume shooter last season (Loyer was also awesome from the FT line - 4th nationally at 92%).

As a result, last year's Davidson squad made an astounding 75 fewer threes compared to the year before and shot under 33% from 3 (although credit McKillop for dialing back the three point attempts a bit knowing the shooting wasn't there as much on last year's roster). It wasn't just the threes either - Davidson uncharacteristically fell outside of the top 200 in effective field goal percentage last year. In ten of the previous 11 seasons under the elder McKillop, they were top 100. That's a problem when the team isn't exactly littered with athletes up and down the roster - as evidenced by their dismal block percentage of 3.6% last year which was dead last in the country. The departure of Desmond Watson (to conference foe Loyola no less) won't help in that regard and definitely signals a different era of CBB at Davidson. While the school does not have a graduate program, I can't remember many players leaving before they got their undergrad degree. Sign of the times.

While the slips in offense will garner most of the attention, Davidson took steps back defensively in a couple of areas. They weren't as effective in defending the post, and they gave up way more second chance opportunities than they have historically. That's actually a category that the Wildcats have quietly been very proficient at the past several years. In fact, they were top 100 in defensive rebound percentage in six straight seasons prior to the 2022-23 campaign.

The Wildcats will look to avoid finishing outside of the KenPom top 100 in consecutive seasons, something that has not happened since 2011. With Sam Mennenga making the somewhat surprising decision to go pro early, Skogman - who shot 37% from deep last year (up to 44% this year) and chipped in five rebounds a game, and Kochera - who knocked down 34% of his triples (up to 37% this year) - will likely be asked to lead the way alongside key returners Grant Huffman and Reed Bailey who entered the program the more traditional way.

Huffman will look to bounce back from long range this year, as his percentage from deep fell off a cliff last season. The Ohio native shot 41 and 37% from 3 in his two previous years with the program before that number hit 25% last year. While he's only 9/30 this year, he has continued to improve incrementally from the free throw line over the years, and he contributes with his rebounding and passing in a big way - that was clear in his triple nickel performance against us last year.

Bailey, a sophomore, is a 6'11" forward who can also shoot it from outside (although he has regressed a bit this year) but suffered from something I can only call the "Sloan Seymour effect" last year - that is, having the height to be a more impactful rebounder, but somehow not being a factor there at all. To Bailey's credit, he has improved in his rebounding this year.

Fellow sophomores Achile Spadone (a former walk-on), Sean Logan, and Riccardo Ghedini (redshirt) will fight for larger roles this season. Despite not putting up big numbers, Spadone earned a scholarship with his ability to knock down shots from distance - something that many on the Cats roster could not do last season. Logan has made his mark defensively, providing a bit of rebounding and rim protection this season in a rotation role. Ghedini, an Italian who redshirted during the 2021-22 after enrolling in the spring semester, will likely continue to play more of a deeper option from off the bench.

McKillop did pull two more players from the transfer portal this offseason, as Angelo Brizzi (Villanova) and Jarvis Moss (Stanford) transfer down from the P6 ranks. Brizzi, a former GW target, actually enrolled midway through last season. He is Davidson's most active defender, averaging 1.7 spg (6th best in A10). Outside of that, this duo has been pretty disappointing? Brizzi hasn't shot the ball particularly well, which is surprising given what he showed in HS at Highland. Moss isn't even in Davidson's rotation right now. By all accounts, he seemed to shoot the ball well in limited time at Stanford last year (6/14 from deep) but is just 4/16 overall from the field this year.

Davidson also welcomes a four-man freshman class this year:

Bobby Durkin has easily been the standout, as the Illinois native is averaging double figures while shooting 38% from deep (on a side note, this Wildcat roster weirdly has as many players from the midwest as they do international). Durkin notably made the winning shot in their OOC win against Maryland. I have to think he makes the all-freshman team this year, as he's finished in double figures in eight of their past nine games (he weirdly put up zero in the one game he didn't against Miami OH).

Hunter Adam is a redshirt freshman who has the frame and skills that many Davidson guards possess. He's a bigger guard at 6'7" who can score the ball and cause matchup problems with his ability to handle the ball. While he has been a bit inefficient in his first go-around in CBB, his 86% shooting from the line suggests better days ahead.

Mike Loughnane is likely a year away before becoming more of a contributor for the Wildcats. He has shot the ball well when he's had the chance, although like 2/3 of his points came in Davidson's game against D3 Lynchburg.

Finally, Rikus Schulte is a guy who GW showed interest in before he ended up choosing the Wildcats (I guess we pursued Zam more). Schulte is a guy who comes ready with solid fundamentals from his experience playing overseas - he is a patient player in the post with decent motor, can shoot the ball from deep, and can also help out on the boards.

Looking at Davidson's strengths and weaknesses above, it appears they've kept their opponents off the offensive glass and haven't coughed up the ball too much. Neither of those will probably affect GW given we hardly offensive rebound or turn teams over anyways. The two things that make me a bit nervous is their preference for taking threes and keeping teams off the line. GW gets roughly 21% of their points from the FT line (84th nationally) and somehow it's felt like the refs have been giving road teams the favorable calls in conference this year. While Davidson is not a highly efficient team from 3, we've been pretty bad guarding the perimeter this year and all it takes is a few shots to go in before we may find ourselves having a hard time slowing them down. This also doesn't feel like a game for Stretch given their 5s are willing to shoot.

On the plus side, Davidson isn't a great offensive rebounding team and doesn't turn teams over at a high rate. The biggest key for Saturday's game in my book is GW's assist to turnover ratio. GW struggled to move the ball well consistently against both Fordham and VCU, but that's partly a product of the way those teams defend. Davidson on the other hand is below average when it comes to opponent assists so GW shouldn't have as much trouble racking up assists Saturday if they move the ball. An assist to turnover ratio under 1 on Saturday would be pretty disappointing if I'm being honest.

Projected Score: GW 75, Davidson 74. 53% chance to win (KenPom). ESPN gives GW a 66.1% chance to move to 2-1 in conference (a bit surprising given ESPN is usually low on GW in most tossup games).


1/12/2024 9:08 am  #3

Re: GW beats Davidson !!

Thanks, DMV.   An outstanding preview as always!


1/12/2024 10:29 am  #4

Re: GW beats Davidson !!

Really surprised at how poorly Brizzi shoots after being a long-range 3pt guy in HS and even taking a redshirt year at Nova.


1/12/2024 11:07 am  #5

Re: GW beats Davidson !!

I think the most shocking stat is that we are 19th in the nation in 3 pt shooting and Davidson is 228th. 

How many years did we expect the opposite?


1/13/2024 2:12 pm  #6

Re: GW beats Davidson !!

Nothing like a Saturday game vs Davidson (or VCU) to boost the attendance numbers…


1/13/2024 3:05 pm  #7

Re: GW beats Davidson !!

Man, it sure is quiet on here today… Looking forward to a good second half from the good guys!


1/13/2024 3:19 pm  #8

Re: GW beats Davidson !!

Overturned goal tending call is huge


1/13/2024 3:20 pm  #9

Re: GW beats Davidson !!

Bishop, electric

That's the worst officiated half I've seen, and every call went against the home team.   A Davidson player spiked the ball 20 feet into the air and it not given a T.  Call after call all went against one team. Clean steals, clean blocks, GW drives to the rim hack, no calls


     Thread Starter

1/13/2024 3:30 pm  #10

Re: GW beats Davidson !!

Dude, calm down on refs. They are not the problem. We can’t always blame refs.


1/13/2024 3:38 pm  #11

Re: GW beats Davidson !!

We sure have trouble rebounding… other than Max with 9. Wish Stretch could rebound


1/13/2024 4:04 pm  #12

Re: GW beats Davidson !!

Masterful coaching in those last three seconds. Too bad it didn’t go in…


1/13/2024 4:05 pm  #13

Re: GW beats Davidson !!

Agreed, two  great play calls by Caputo, he is a master indeed.  OT!  

     Thread Starter

1/13/2024 4:15 pm  #14

Re: GW beats Davidson !!

The whole “give Bishop the ball md let him dribble in place for 20 seconds amd then make , one on one drive to the lane is a loser imho. Maybe last year or the year prior, but we have many more weapons this time. No need to tell the other team here it is, nothing more from us.

Last edited by Alum1 (1/13/2024 4:19 pm)


1/13/2024 4:22 pm  #15

Re: GW beats Davidson !!

Why inbound ball to your worst free throw shooter? What was cC thinking?


1/13/2024 4:24 pm  #16

Re: GW beats Davidson !!

GW73 wrote:

Why inbound ball to your worst free throw shooter? What was cC thinking?


And are they playing the "Hey, you Suck" song?


1/13/2024 4:25 pm  #17

Re: GW beats Davidson !!

Fun game. Good win.


1/13/2024 4:26 pm  #18

Re: GW beats Davidson !!

What a win! 

​13-3 with wins over VCU and Davidson to start the A10 slate, the turnaround is officially underway in Foggy Bottom

     Thread Starter

1/13/2024 4:27 pm  #19

Re: GW beats Davidson !!

Another down-to-the-wire win. Some rebounding and ft shooting would spare us all much anguish.


1/13/2024 4:30 pm  #20

Re: GW beats Davidson !!

Big Win!!  Not easy and the rebounding was an issue, but seemed to get better late.  Free Throws almost sunk us today.


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