VCU vs. Butler: The First Four Minutes

   In the process of covering a game or watching on TV, I try to chart the first four minutes of each half. Coaches say this time interval is crucial to get a good start, establish your game plan and make necessary adjustments to your opposition. For a tempo-free advocate, the 'first four' is a natural.

      Let's look at each possession for the first four minutes of the Saturday semifinal won 70-62 by Butler. A possession is ended on a turnover, made basket, miss rebounded by the opponent , a made free throw or one missed and rebounded , again by the opposition.

VCU                                                                  Butler

1. Missed FGA                                                   3 PT FG

2. Missed FGA                                                   Missed FGA

3. Missed FGA                                                   2 PT FG

4. Missed FGA                                                   TO

5. 3 PT FG                                                           Missed FGA

6. 3 PT FG                                                           TO 

7. 3 PT FG

Score: 9-5 VCU

Offensive Efficiency:    VCU 129   Butler  83

Interesting how VCU finding the range affected their defense and provided two turnovers and a stop.

The Second half, first four minutes. Butler led 34-28 at the break.


VCU                                                                    Butler

1. 2 PT FG                                                          Off. Foul

2. Missed FGA                                                   TO

3. one of two FTs and 2 PT FG                      TO

4. Missed FGA                                                   Missed FGA

5. 2 PT FG                                                          Missed FGA

6. Missed FGA                                                  2 PT FG

7. Missed FGA

Butler led 36-35 at the 16 minute mark. VCU outscored the Bulldogs 7-2 with an efficiency edge of 100-33. VCU's third possession was extended on an offensive rebound off a missed second free throw. The fact that Butler could weather two halves of VCU getting out to good starts is testimony to their overall game plan, poise and outstanding chemistry. Coach Brad Stevens is always in control. It filters down as his players are on the floor as well. You like to 'win' the first four of each half. If you don't Stevens knows there are 32  other minutes of opportunity.

     The overall numbers :

Possessions : 66

Offensive Efficiency:

Butler 107

VCU      94

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