DeChellis owns Northwestern, why?


Northwestern fans refer to him like a blundering mastermind, but Penn State head coach Ed DeChellis owns the Wildcats. The Nittany Lions are 6-1 in their last 7 games against Northwestern. 

At no time were Northwestern's difficulties against Penn State more evident then earlier this season when the Wildcats shot 2-21 from three-point range and lost 65-41 in a game that wasn't really even that close.

So, tonight is the sequel. Penn State comes to Welsh-Ryan Arena on Thursday with both teams desperately needing a big Ten conference win.
The curse of DeChellis is alive. What could be the cause?

A look at the four factors in those seven games reveals some trends that help explain what happens to the Wildcats when they take on Penn State. Here's the percent change of the four factors from games against Penn State versus average:

On Offense:
  • eFG% -2.80%
  • TO% +0.74%
  • OR% -32.7%
  • FTR -25.3%
On Defense:
  • eFG% +11.7%
  • TO% -17.2%
  • OR% -8.9%
  • FTR +2.13%
Wow. Those changes on offense really stand out. Northwestern really fails to hit the offensive glass against Penn State. That was especially true earlier this season when the Wildcats missed 34 shots and grabbed 4 offensive rebounds. Also, the Wildcats get the line at a much lower rate against the Nittany Lions. Case in point, Northwestern went 3-5 from the free throw line in the last meeting. So fix it. Be more aggressive!
On defense the problem is that Northwestern lets the Nittany Lions shoot even better than their average opponent, which is unbelievable. The Wildcats' eFG% defense is already around the worst in the county, so this change basically makes Penn State shoot at a rate that would make them the second best shooting team in the country. Add in the fact that there are fewer empty possessions from turnovers and you've got a recipe for disaster.
Basically Northwestern is going to have to guard someone tonight. If Penn State gets open shots this game could get away from the Bill Carmody's squad very quickly and fans could be saying, "DeChellis" with clenched teeth for another season.

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