Monday, May 15, 2017

Didn't We See This Movie Before? (2017 NCAA Men's Final)

A little over a week ago, for the second straight year, Ohio State swept BYU for the NCAA men's championship. Whereas last year's result was somewhat of a surprise, this year's was less so, as the Buckeyes were the host team for the Final Four.

As the following chart shows, similarity between the last two years' title matches went beyond the identities of the teams involved and the score. In particular, Ohio State's hitting percentage, as a team, was extremely similar in the 2016 and 2017 finals. BYU's spike attempts totaled 71 last year and 70 this year; each of these substantially trailed OSU's respective number of attempts, suggesting Cougar problems with serve-receipt, passing, and staying in-system.

Statistic
2017 (Box Score)
2016 (Box Score)
Score
OSU (25-19, 25-20, 25-22)
OSU (32-30, 25-23, 25-17)
OSU Hitting Pct.
.358 (42-13-81)
.374 (51-17-91)
Nicolas Szerszen .(OSU) H%
.480 (16-4-25)
.208 (10-5-24)
BYU Hitting Pct.
.243 (33-16-70)
.296 (34-13-71)
Ben Patch (BYU) H%
.333 (6 K-2 E-12 TA)
.091 (10-8-22)

The Buckeyes' Nicolas Szersen took virtually the same number of attack attempts in the two finals (24 last year, 25 this year), but hit much more efficiently this year. Maxime Hervoir, who has played for the French national team and attended two years of college in that country, added to the OSU attack this year, hitting .471 (10-2-17) in the final match. (He did not play in last year's final.)

BYU star Ben Patch, who battled injury most of the season, improved his hitting percentage from a year ago, but only had 12 attack attempts.

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