visit us now at!

A problem that must be solved: Turnovers

Posted by Jeff Nusser on December 10, 2007

You know, I found myself having a pretty difficult time getting fired up yesterday for the Cougs’ matchup with Portland State, what with the Seahawks game and the inevitable beatdown that awaited the Vikings in Beasley Coliseum.

I was so confident about the contest that I flat forgot to use my buddy’s laptop to throw the Game Thread — which had already been written — up on the site before I went into Qwest Field. Sorry about that.

However, it appears I wasn’t the only one, as the players looked like they, too, were suffering from a similar post-Gonzaga hangover after allowing Portland State to hang around for much of the game before putting away the pesky Vikings, 72-60. Thank goodness for Aron Baynes, who dominated the interior to the tune of 23 points on 9-for-9 shooting.

Give a lot of credit to PSU’s coach, Ken Bone, who had his team ready to play. You might remember Bone was an assistant to Lorenzo Romar for three seasons after running roughshod over Division II competition as the head man at Seattle Pacific University. The guy can coach, and he had a great gameplan for his severely overmatched team.

I won’t read too much into the close margin — after all, for as much as we like to think that college basketball players are practically pros and should bring it night in and night out, they are still 20, 21, 22-year-old kids who won’t always do that. They brought their A++++ game to Spokane; I’m not totally disturbed by the C- game they brought in Pullman yesterday.

I am disturbed, however, by a trend that has popped itself up over the past four games.


We all know the Bennett offense prides itself on taking care of the ball and getting a quality shot every time down the floor. You wouldn’t know it, though, by watching WSU recently.

With such a deliberate style, possessions are at a premium for the Cougars. In the past four games, however, the Cougs have turned the ball over on more than 20 percent of their possessions, including marks over 25 percent against Gonzaga and Portland State. Put another way, in the last two games, roughly one out of every four trips up the floor has resulted in WSU not even having an opportunity to put points on the board.

For a little perspective, the Cougs turned the ball over on just 16.5 percent of their possessions last year, sixth best in the country. Going from 16.5 percent to 25 percent is a huge difference. In a 60-possession game (WSU’s average), that’s a five-possession difference. Doesn’t seem like much, but consider this: The Cougs score roughly 1.14 points per possession, meaning those five lost possessions equate to roughly six points lost a game.

Think those six points will be needed against UCLA, Oregon and USC? Uh, yeah.

It would be one thing if the turnovers were a result of increased pace of play — for example, some teams such as North Carolina and Memphis actually like turnovers because it means they’re putting pressure on opponents with their 75 possessions a game — but it’s not. Over those four games, the Cougs averaged 61.5 possessions, pretty much the same as last year. They’ve just been flat out sloppy, highlighted by Taylor Rochestie’s nearly inconceivable eight TOs yesterday.

Again, we can forgive the team for its post-Gonzaga hangover, lest we also forget that finals are just on the horizon. But this is a problem that’s got to be fixed.

Frankly, for a team so loaded with experience at guard, this trend is inexcusable.


2 Responses to “A problem that must be solved: Turnovers”

  1. westsidecougar1 said

    I too am concerned about the sloppy play. Turnovers are inexcusable. Let’s hope that we can get these reduced significantly. Good article.

  2. DrPezz said

    Jeff, I tagged you on my website if you’d like to participate.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

%d bloggers like this: