Against All Odds

26 April 2012

EUROCHALLENGE FINAL FOUR

11. Obie Trotter (Szolnoki Olaj)
Obie Trotter and Szolnoki Olaj made the Final Four, proving that statistics are not everything that counts

Basketball is a sport where numbers are immensely important.

Coaches and scouts try to understand the games by looking at its key figures.

There are far more of those key figures than in some other sports and they can be seen by everybody on the stats sheet.

Sometimes however, it becomes difficult to explain certain situation merely by the numbers.

EuroChallenge Final Four hosts Szolnoki Olaj are one of those cases.

At first glance it looks like they are nowhere near the top in any statistical category.

They rank fifth in points scored and they attempt the most three pointers of the top 16 teams in the EuroChallenge.

They hardly rank inside the top four in any other statistical category; quite the opposite is the case.

They are 14th in points allowed at 82.2, rank 15th in opponent's FG percentage and 14th again in FG allowed.

They do not pull down an overwhelming number of rebounds at 31.9 which makes them 13th in this statistic and the Hungarian side are only 10th best in going to the foul line.

All this does not exactly look like a formula for success but still Szolnoki advanced to the Final Four, beating fellow Final Four participants Elan Chalon at home and edging BK Ventspils in a tough three game series without home-court advantage.

So what needs to happen for Szolnoki to have another shot, statistically speaking?

First, there is one thing the Hungarian Cup champions are really good at: taking care of the basketball.

Starting point guard Obie Trotter and his teammates produce only 11.6 turnovers per game, second best in the competition.

This enables them to put up more shots per game and, together with the 6th best three point percentage in the EuroChallenge makes them a high-scoring team.

In fact, they will have to make sure they score a lot.

That is because they won eight of 10 games when they scored 80 points or more and only two of seven when not cracking the 80 points mark.

Szolnoki's opponents, Besiktas Milangaz, give up only 71.9 points per contest.

So all Hungarian fans will be hoping for Akos Horvath, the best three point shooter in the EuroChallenge, and Szolnoki's other sharpshooters to warm-up quickly and delight the home crowd with an upset win on Friday night.


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