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Issues With Defensive Scheme

Discussion in 'Colorado Basketball Message Board' started by Goose, Dec 5, 2014.

  1. Goose

    Goose Hoops Moderator Club Member Junta Member

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    I realize this is going to come across similar to someone whining about how Kate Upton is a ****ty girlfriend because she doesn't load the dishwasher properly, but I'm honestly concerned about our defense and think that something odd is going on here. If you look at our numbers, it appears that everything is going ok so far this season (overall ranking in parenthesis).

    DRtgeFG%TO%OR%FTRateBlk%
    201593.2
    (41)
    44.1
    (64)
    17.0
    (306)
    24.9
    (18)
    22.3
    (5)
    15.6
    (26)
    201496.9
    (42)
    49.4
    (159)
    17.8
    (210)
    26.1
    (6)
    30.4
    (14)
    9.0
    (197)
    201390.9
    (19)
    45.9
    (69)
    19.4
    (207)
    30.4
    (108)
    25.3
    (6)
    8.6
    (195)
    201294.2
    (37)
    46.9
    (75)
    18.4
    (264)
    28.8
    (50)
    32.0
    (70)
    8.9
    (171)

    Overall - except for block rate, everything pretty much fits into where we would expect it to be. But this isn't matching up with what I'm seeing with my eyes. In the past, CU played a very straight up man to man defense. Very rarely did we switch on screens - and when we did it was usually a situation where you would see Dre & Spencer switch meaning that opponents went from one badass defender to another badass defender. It made sense. Tad had his guys get in the other guy's face, man up and say "you're not getting by me".

    This year, I'm seeing a lot of switching on picks. Not only that, but we're showing at the three point line a lot more. It's less one on one defense, and a lot more scheme. And I don't think it's working to our favor. You're seeing a lot of guys that look like they're confused on defense the entire time. There were a few times where Wes' guy would set a pick against San Francisco, and you could see him being uncertain on if he was supposed to switch or if stay with his guy. And there were numerous times where XT got burned on fastbreaks because he couldn't even find his guy. The scheme seems to be setting our guys back.

    Not only that, but I'm seeing a lot more freelancing on defense this year from our guys - specifically the guards. Dom, XT and JHop are really having a rough time staying in front of their guys. I'm seeing a lot of scrambling which leads to us being out of position and going for the steal after they have been burned (this is especially mindboggling for XT because he's a DAMN GOOD DEFENDER when he plays his guys straight up like he did his frosh year and part of last year. I genuinely don't understand his newfound desire to wander aimlessly). We've heard that Dom can play straight up D on a guy, and I know that XT can, so watching them scramble like this makes me think it's a schematic thing. And I don't get it.

    This scrambling by the guards is "helping" us numbers wise in one regard - our blocks percentage is through the roof. Some of that needs to directed as praise towards Wes & Josh (and, surprisingly, DT who has a 3.8% block rate which is good enough for 366th in the nation right now), but it's leading to other issues. I know there have been debates over blocked shots in the past (cliffnotes version - I'm in the camp that thinks playing straight up D is better, others like buffnik legitimately argue that the intimidation factor of worrying about swats is worth whatever it may offset in scrambling. I'm not sure there is a "right" answer on this one, but I'm still going to say 'Nik is wrong), but it is having a detrimental effect on this year's team. From Hoop-Math.com, here are our numbers for shots at the rim:

    % Of ShotsFG%% of Shots BlockedUnblocked FG%
    201540.751.519.763.6
    201436.956.69.862.7
    201329.357.410.363.9
    201234.453.212.460.7

    We are giving up, by far, the most amount of shots at the rim that we have in the last four years - and this is alarming considering the quality of opponents we've played so far this season. Not only that, but when they get to the rim and don't have their shots blocked, they're shooting at a better percentage that any other year except for the 2013 squad which allowed so few shots at the rim that the percentage was negligible. The good news is that right now, Josh, Wes & DT ARE limiting opponents numbers at the rim right now. The high shot percentage is because of all of the switching. When Josh ends up on a guard, that guard has an easier time getting to the hoop for a shot than if he has someone smaller & quicker on them. This is also leading to opportunities for an easy dish off to someone under the basket (and CU's opponents are assisting on 61.1% of shots this year - a high under Tad).

    Now while the numbers don't seem that alarming, let's just assume that a team gets 50 shots during a game (CU is currently averaging 49.67 this season). The following chart shows you how many shots per game our opponents are getting at the rim judging by those numbers, and using the unblocked FG%, the number of points they are scoring at the rim (not counting fouls).

    Shots At RimPoints At Rim (Calculated)
    201520.521.2
    201418.521.0
    201314.716.8
    201217.218.4

    Against the little sisters of the poor (and Wyoming), we're showing roughly the same number of points at the rim despite giving up an extra 2 shots a game there. I honestly question whether the numbers can withstand that against teams like Utah and Arizona. Opponents shooting % at rim:

    RankTeam
    1Wyoming
    104Air Force
    238Drexel
    248Lipscomb
    267San Francisco
    284Auburn

    Compare that to some Pac-12 teams (full disclaimer, UCLA, Furd and WSU are all in the 200s)

    RankTeam
    17Arizona
    20Utah
    62Cal
    67Colorado
    92Oregon

    I'm not sure the numbers are sustainable. Another area where the scrambling is hurting us is on 3 point shots. We're seeing teams shoot a lot more three pointers against us. Right now, they're shooting at a lower percentage, but I honestly wonder if that's more to the quality of opponents than our D. Here are our shots from the three point line numbers:


    Shots From 3Points At 3 (Calculated)
    201522.420.1
    201417.818.9
    201318.317.7
    201217.517.1


    The latest school of thought in basketball is shots at the rim and corner 3's are the best things you can take and mid-range shots are the worst. Unfortunately, that leaves us with only 14.5% of our shots being taken in the "best" spot to have an opponent shoot the ball. Want proof? Here is what CU is giving up on D this year.

    Shot TypeFG%
    At Rim51.1%
    2pt Jumper22.4%
    3pt Shots29.8%

    And here are our historical numbers on 2 point jumpers:

    % Of ShotsFG%% of Shots BlockedUnblocked FG%
    201514.522.44.123.4
    201427.635.07.337.8
    201334.134.45.736.5
    201230.635.03.736.4

    Obviously, there's a small sample size warning to all of this, and I will fully admit that Tad and Co are much smarter than I am. MUCH smarter. And for that we should all be thankful. But I honestly don't understand the change in scheme this year. It doesn't seem to be helping us more, and it seems to be causing more confusion for our guys than for our opponents.
     
    Scotch, Tractor, sockdolager and 6 others like this.
  2. Darth Snow

    Darth Snow Hawaiian Buffalo Club Member Junta Member

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    good lord. Goose, I'm gonna tell you this. The world is ending. The only way for you to save us is to figure out a way to cure cancer. GO.


    Seriously, incredible stuff. And yes, I agree, something is up.
     
  3. jgisland

    jgisland Club Member Club Member

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    Excellent post - the inability of the guards to stop players from driving to the hoop is going to be the downfall. These defensive efficiency numbers are vaporware. Lower level opponents are getting way to many shots at the rim and unless it's corrected soon is really going to be problematic in conference play.
     
  4. Goose

    Goose Hoops Moderator Club Member Junta Member

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    The thing is, our guys can play D. We've seen them. So it has to be scheme, doesn't it? But if so, the team isn't implementing it properly or they're not fully grasping it. There are just way too many breakdowns.

    It feels like we're trying to out think ourselves on this one. I really think we need to go back to just saying "**** you, it's our ball".
     
  5. Goose

    Goose Hoops Moderator Club Member Junta Member

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    BTW, fun fact - Tad's teams DON'T FOUL. Opponent's free throw rates for the last 4 years:

    Year​FTRate
    201522.3
    (5)
    201430.4
    (14)
    201325.3
    (6)
    201232.0
    (70)
     
  6. Bufffan68

    Bufffan68 Club Member Club Member

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    It can be scheme, but it can also be motivation. A lot of players don't like D and Tad talks about having to keep pushing them on that end of the court.
     
  7. Goose

    Goose Hoops Moderator Club Member Junta Member

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    True. And that could be a good part of it. I think the thing that bothers me the most is the switching - I personally have never been a fan of it, and it seems like we never really did much of it in the past. So why so much now? Is it because guys weren't trying hard enough to fight through screens so Tad had to make a change? If so, what happened between last year and this year?
     
  8. Buffnik

    Buffnik Real name isn't Nik Club Member Junta Member

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    It's weird. This year, they're not as good as the metrics say they are (as yet). In previous years, Tad's teams have played better than the metrics.

    Thank you, goose, for this.

    My opinion, despite the numbers, is that our defense and rebounding have been ****. A big part of that is that our perimeter defense by the guards has been ****. Leaving open shooters and also being beaten off the dribble. The penetration is raising the shot block numbers, but it is also allowing some easy baskets while also causing rotations that lead to giving up offensive rebounds & putbacks.

    And the switching... jesuschristonamother****ingpopsicklestick! Against San Fran, they had confusion all night on who was guarding what guy -- before sets, during sets, in transition and finger pointing after sets. It was a Chinese fire drill out there.

    The positive: despite this, the numbers are excellent, the talent is there, and everything is correctable. The defense and the rebounding have an elite upside.

    (P.S. Goose better be swimming in gleeb after posting that. Rep that dude.)
     
  9. Darth Snow

    Darth Snow Hawaiian Buffalo Club Member Junta Member

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    George Karl has infected Tad.
     
    buffaholic likes this.
  10. Goose

    Goose Hoops Moderator Club Member Junta Member

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    I didn't want to come to that conclusion, but I also couldn't shake that feeling.
     
  11. jgisland

    jgisland Club Member Club Member

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    It's a good point - the gambling/going for steals/denying passing lanes is new and seems completely out of character for Tad's defense. I don't see this being scheme unless he's trying to ratchet up the pressure on ball handlers in an attempt to get into transition.

    The switching on defense and hedging on the 3 is definitely new. That's scheme, but the two things don't really go hand in hand. I get if they want to switch everything b/c we have 843 6-7 wings and we think we can just switch on everything but the flip side is why hedge on the screen? You've got those 843 6-7 wings shouldn't they be able to go over/under the screen? The only person I can ever remember hedging on the 3 was Simba (for good reason).

    So I'm kind of in the camp that the guard gambling isn't likely scheme, it's just guys trying to figure it out while the switching/hedging is probably scheme.
     
  12. Goose

    Goose Hoops Moderator Club Member Junta Member

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    The hedging is a great point. It's something I actually asked Rugged about at the last game and he was confused too. I honestly don't get why we have Josh chasing guys at the 3 point line.
     
  13. Buffnik

    Buffnik Real name isn't Nik Club Member Junta Member

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    There was that one where he hedged, his guy took it as a switch, and Josh ended up in no man's land trying to man up on a guard 35 feet away from the basket while looking back like "wtf?". Needless to say, Buffs gave up a basket that possession.
     
  14. Goose

    Goose Hoops Moderator Club Member Junta Member

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    BTW, we're going to get a good test of this on Sunday. Georgia is currently 43rd in the nation (67.4%) with shooting percentage at the rim. On top of that, they shoot 54.5% from 2 (29th in the nation) and get to the line a LOT.
     
  15. Goose

    Goose Hoops Moderator Club Member Junta Member

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    On the switching note, there are times where it does make sense (i.e. Dre & Mayor). Look at this quote from Steve Kerr:

    [tweet]540943321825165312[/tweet]

    Like JG said, I get it with the tons of 6'7" forwards we have. But it's just not working. I really hope this is a short term experiment.
     
  16. CVilleBuff

    CVilleBuff Club Member Club Member

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    On the flip side, I just have to add I loved when Ski was being defended by a 6'10 guy for a bit
     
  17. wyobuff

    wyobuff Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for this. I'd rep you, but the computer says I need to rep other people before I can rep you again. Though I've only been to 2 games, I could tell something was off with this defense, but wasnt sure what - and like many others, the numbers looked good so I just figured it was me. Glad to know that it's not.
     
  18. Darth Snow

    Darth Snow Hawaiian Buffalo Club Member Junta Member

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    It's really not. Especially against San Fran. That team looked like they hadn't practiced together once before at times. And I've been complaining about soft interior D over beer for a while now.
     
  19. Buffnik

    Buffnik Real name isn't Nik Club Member Junta Member

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    In fairness, when we complain about CU's defense and rebounding it's a really good example of "First World Problems" in the college basketball universe. :smile2:
     
  20. Darth Snow

    Darth Snow Hawaiian Buffalo Club Member Junta Member

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    Hey! I'm enjoying having standards, dammit. Over on the football board, I'm celebrating the fact that we have at least one "good" player on offense!
     
  21. Goose

    Goose Hoops Moderator Club Member Junta Member

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    Well, we switched less, but we're still showing big time on pick & rolls at the three point line which is leaving big men wide open. If Djurisic can get that many wide open looks, what do you think Brandon Ashley and Jordan Loveridge are going to do to us? I honestly don't understand the scheme, and I don't understand what's going on. This is worse than we looked right after we lost Spencer. Something is going on...

    We're officially at the point where the defense is a concern. And if we don't pick it up, we're going to make [MENTION=854]jgisland[/MENTION] look REALLY smart for his pre-season prediction of us struggling to make the dance.
     
  22. buffaholic

    buffaholic Club Member Club Member

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    Is XJ really a good defender? He looks like he's trying but he moves like an arthritic old man!
     
  23. Quattro

    Quattro Banned BANNED Club Member

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    Seriously?
     
  24. Goose

    Goose Hoops Moderator Club Member Junta Member

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    He's been our best defender this season. And it's not even really close. So if he's not a good defender, we have even more issues than I thought.
     
  25. Buffnik

    Buffnik Real name isn't Nik Club Member Junta Member

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    He's inconsistent as a help defender, especially in the paint. Otherwise, he's really good on defense. Our main issues on D come from the back court.
     
  26. Goose

    Goose Hoops Moderator Club Member Junta Member

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    Which once again goes back to scheme...
     
  27. tante

    tante Club Member Club Member

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    There were a few minutes in the second half where XJ was very aggressive and looked so dominant. I wish he played like that all the time.
     
  28. jgisland

    jgisland Club Member Club Member

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    I just watched the game, wtf is going on. Why Is Wes showing on the screen at the 3 point line? The guards can't figure out if it's a show or a switch, this is all scheme and nobody has a clue. WTF.......l
     
  29. tante

    tante Club Member Club Member

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    I'm getting the feeling that jg screams at his tv a lot when watching the buffs.
     
  30. GoonieBuff

    GoonieBuff Not really Club Member

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    He was nursing a hammy. That said, it was frustrating when I could tell that he decided not to "go for it" a couple of times on d. Hopefully he was just being smart and he'll be back 100% soon.
     

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