WVU Basketball: Limiting turnovers is key to improvement

WVU Basketball Logan Routt poised for a rebound

WVU Basketball Head Coach Bob Huggins revealed bits and pieces about his team during his most recent media interactions, following the Gold – Blue game. Turnovers emerged as a key issue for improvement this season.

WVU Basketball fans are eagerly anticipating the beginning of the 2019-20 season. However, I believe that as eager as Mountaineer fans are for their hardwood warriors to engage in contested battle, Head Coach Bob Huggins is approaching the season opener with a quiet, fervent relish. Perhaps the coach is eager to extinguish the lingering stink of last year’s 4-14 Big 12 Conference record and the deafening 0-10 effort executed away from the Coliseum’s friendly confines. A new season provides an opportunity for a new beginning. However, a new season can devolve into a facsimile of the previous one, if problems are not solved.

WVU Turnovers

Turnovers can cause a multitude of problems for a basketball team. First of all, you lose possession of the basketball, which provides your opponent the opportunity to score in transition. WVU Basketball committed  557 turnovers averaging 15.5 turnovers per game. WVU opponents committed 13.4 turnovers per game. The turnover advantage goes to WVU’s opponent.

Many times, those transition plays result in a personal foul because you and your teammates are hustling to keep your opponent from scoring. This compounds the problem by allowing your opponent to stop the clock and score at the free throw line. WVU Basketball allowed 17.3 ppg.,  from turnovers. WVU Basketball scored 13.5 points per game, from their opponents turnovers. The advantage goes to the opponent.

The Assist / Turnover ratio is often used to see how well a player controls the ball and enables his teammates to score. A ratio of 1.1 is considered positive. As a team, WVU had a 0.9 Assist /turnover ratio. I bring this statistic up because guard play will be the key to a winning formula, for the Mountaineers.

Coach Huggins has been adamant that his team needs to stop turning the ball over. Here is a quote from the results of the Gold-Blue game, regarding turnovers.

You work like crazy to get it and then you give it right back to them. That doesn’t make much sense. We’re playing three guards on both teams. You play three guards you shouldn’t turn it over that much. A lot of it was we tried to force things that weren’t there. We didn’t hit open guys. If you don’t want to turn it over, throw it to the guy that’s open. 

Limiting your turnovers can improve your win-loss ratio. It can reduce your opponent’s scoring opportunities by limiting their possessions per game. It can help limit your player’s foul trouble. Limiting turnovers increases your chances of success. Let’s take the 2019 NCAA Champion Virginia Cavaliers, as an example. I compared WVU Basketball’s stats to the reigning National Champs.

  • Virginia’s Turnovers per game is 9.0 compared to 15.5 for WVU.
    • West Virginia turned the ball over 1.7 times more often.
  • Virginia’s Assist / Turnover ratio is 1.6 compared to 0.9 for WVU.
    • West Virginia completed fewer assists by a factor of 1.7.

WVU Basketball: last thoughts on turnovers

From the Virginia Cavalier comparison, you can see how effective limiting your turnovers can be and conversely,  how devastating it is to a program, if not dealt with. Here’s to better guard play, for the Mountaineers, in the very near future. Thanks for reading this article. Please leave a comment and share this on the social media outlet of your choice. If you have a differing opinion and you want to express it, then come write for us! Click the highlighted link and apply.

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