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Husky Men's Basketball Blog

Seattle Times staff reporter Bob Condotta provides a running commentary on the Huskies.

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March 3, 2008 10:24 PM

Tuning out turnovers

Posted by Bob Condotta

Lost in some of the individual performances that have keyed UW's surge of late (Joe Wolfinger, Venoy Overton, Justin Dentmon) is a team stat steadily getting better --- turnover margin.

Last year, that was something harped on a lot in this space as a key reason for UW's disappointing season as the Huskies finished ninth in the conference in turnover margin at minus-1.72 (meaning UW lost 1.72 more turnovers per game than its opponent). The problem was even more pronounced in Pac-10 play as UW had a minus-2.06 turnover margin in conference games. Each of those ranked ninth in the conference ahead of only Stanford.

But those numbers have all gotten better this season. After losing just six turnovers Saturday at Cal, the Huskies are now third in the conference for the season in turnover margin at plus-1.23, behind WSU (3.03) and UCLA (2.10), and fourth in Pac-10 games only at plus-.82 (WSU, UCLA and Arizona ranking 1-2-3).

For the season, UW is losing 13.8 turnovers per game while gaining 15.12 compared to losing 15.6 and gaining 13.9 last season

That's a net gain of almost three possessions a game.

The numbers are also good in Pac-10 play as UW is losing 12.8 turnovers per game while forcing 13.6.

And when coach Lorenzo Romar says the Huskies have been "playing right'' the last seven games, turnover margin is one of the numbers to which he is referring.

In the last seven games, UW has a turnover margin of plus-2.7 per game, losing 11.8 while forcing 14.5, losing the turnover battle only once (against Stanford).

Twice in that span UW has had single-digit turnovers (six against Cal, eight against Arizona) something it managed to do only once all of last year.

Obviously, that all just means the Huskies are being more careful with the ball. One of the biggest reasons is the emergence of Overton, allowing Dentmon to play more off the ball. Dentmon led the Huskies with 96 turnovers last season, exactly three a game. This year, he has just 48, or 1.6 a game. Jon Brockman leads UW with 69 turnovers but is still down just a bit from last season (2.6 per game to 2.3). Overton is next with 59, an average of 2.03 per game

Unfortunately, none of that helps the Huskies make any more free throws.

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Posted by Appleby is a Legend!

12:28 AM, Mar 04, 2008

This blog is amazing, keep up the good work

Posted by Royal

5:36 AM, Mar 04, 2008

Nice work Bob. Thank you.

Posted by MT Husky

9:28 AM, Mar 04, 2008

Huskies are a different team than the one that lost to WSU by 4 in January.

IF Wolfinger can continue his solid play and IF Huskies can have a better TO ratio (14 compared to 7 for WSU last time) they just might be able to go into Pullman and pull off the big upset.

I don't know Cougfan...I think I just might be a little nervous if I were you.

Posted by Glenn

3:19 PM, Mar 04, 2008

As a Coug supporter, I'm not nervous. The Huskies have been playing better, but they still are a bad road team. IF WSU gets out to an early lead and IF the emotion from senior night takes over early, the Cougs will blow UW's doors off, like they did last year in Pullman.
The key to these games have been simple: WSU's guards have owned UW's guards. Look for that trend to continue.

Posted by MT Husky

3:44 PM, Mar 04, 2008

I was waiting/hoping for a Coug to respond. Nice thought-out response Glenn, I like it.

However...I still think you may need to be nervous.

You are absolutely right about your guards owning ours...however...dramatic improved play by Dentmon AND Overton recently will prove a different story on Saturday.

Both have come a long way since January.

(and, I might add, in the last game our guards combined for 11 turnovers...I don't think that will happen Saturday)

Oh yes...the more I think about it the better I feel about Huskies upset chances on Saturday.

Posted by grant

4:07 PM, Mar 04, 2008

Glenn,
Sorry, but you are totally wrong. Your three primary guards and ours scored the exact same number of points (28). Yours had one more assist, but we had more as a team. Yours out-rebounded ours, but we won that battle as a team as well(because Brockman hogs all the rebounds). Your guards killed us by taking care of the ball, ours had more turnovers than yours did. But as Bob just pointed out, this has been addressed over the course of the season, and we rank in the top 3 in turnover ratio now (9th last year). We were a few free throws away from beating you last time, so don't pretend your guards put on some show against us. But since you're a Coug supporter, I don't expect you to actually look any information up.

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