When I was a freshman at Louisiana Tech (way back in the year of 2012), I had never really gotten into college basketball. It was just the thing you watched once a year for March Madness. But that changed the first time I walked into the TAC to watch the Dunkin’ Dogs play. The leader of the team was the charismatic #4, Speedy Smith.
To me, #4 will always be Speedy. Nowadays, however, the Dogs are led by a different Point Guard donning the #4 jersey, DaQuan Bracey.
The undersized guard was a huge recruiting get for the Dogs, and he definitely made himself known. He played in all 33 games last year, and started 27 of them. He was C-USA Freshman of the year. He scored a lot, but his claim to fame was a 3.51 Assist-to-Turnover Ratio (A/TO). It was the highest in Bulldog history, and was the best among 2016 Freshman across the NCAA.
But how would he adjust in his second year at the college level? And how would Tech’s opponents adapt to him?
His minute average is roughly the same, but his PPG, Fouls, FG%, 3PT%, and even FT% are all up from his insane Freshman year. The troubling thing, however, is that his Assist to Turnover Ratio (A/TO) has fallen to a mediocre 1.88. This ranks him 195th in the NCAA, well down from last year’s ranking of 5th. It’s still early in the year, but it’s likely teams are adapting to Bracey’s play-style and crowding his passing lanes.
Tech’s Three Loses
Because of Tech’s heavy utilization of Bracey, it stands to reason that when he has an off game, the team struggles to play well. So let’s look at Bracey’s stats in those three games:
Even with Bracey’s much lower A/TO numbers this season, those three games were below the season’s average. And that shouldn’t be a surprise considering what we saw on Tuesday night:
It’s interesting thing to look at is his PPG in these contests. For Alabama and SFA, Bracey scored more than his average amount this season and even against ULL, Bracey was near his average. So in these “off-games” for Bracey, he was still able to be effective. The only difference was his tendency to turnover the ball.
Bracey is not alone in the bad pass department. Tech is averaging 12 turnovers a game so far this year (and also averaged 12 last year). Against Alabama, Tech had 14. Against SFA, it was 17. Tuesday night, Tech again turned the ball over 14 times. It turns out turning the ball over doesn’t help you win games. But that’s not all on Bracey. We saw several mistakes from other players, like this one from Harris:
Bracey is a phenomenal basketball player. He is able to score in situations that most other players can’t. He makes mistakes, but that should be expected of a sophomore
(*cough* *cough* J’Mar *cough* *cough*). For every turnover he commits, there’s a pass that makes up for it:
My only concern in all of this is Tech’s reliance on him. This team has plenty of tools at its disposal, but Coach Konkol seems determined to run the offense exclusively through Bracey regardless of his performance that day. It remains to be seen if that decision will pay off.