Thoughts and Areas of Improvement - Villanova

nelsonmuntz

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I thought the team played well yesterday. Villanova is an excellent team that is just better than UConn. BUT, and this is a big BUT, UConn caught them on an off day and UConn let them off the hook. I thought the players did fine. Villanova knew exactly what UConn wanted to do and took steps to stop it, and the players still kept it close. They worked their butts off on defense despite Villanova wearing UConn out with quick passing and ball reversals. I bet if you had fitbits on both teams, the UConn players took 20% more steps. I didn't expect UConn to win, but my feeling at the end of that game was that the 8 point loss was UConn playing as well as it could and getting some breaks. That could have just as easily been a 20 point loss, and Hurley is a big part of the reason why.

Let's work through some of things Hurley could have or should have done:

Dictate the Pace and Style: Villanova wanted to play a smaller lineup against UConn. Hurley was very accommodating, trying to out 3-and-D Villanova. That strategy worked out about as well as one would expect. UConn had NO CHANCE of beating Villanova at its own game, so why did Hurley try to beat Villanova at its own game? Nova has the passing and movement to make their style work. UConn does not, so the 30 second shot clock felt like 15-20 seconds a lot of time, resulting in a lot of heave shots to try and save the shot clock, while Villanova's possesions felt like they were just picking UConn apart.

Go Fast: If Hurley was going to go small, he must push the pace. First, because going small and slow is a bad idea against any opponent, and second because Villanova only plays 7 players, so pushing the pace could wear them out. Pushing the pace also means taking some risks like releasing guards on the shot, but Hurley is too old school for that so UConn was playing a small lineup with a slow down style. Basically exactly what Wright wanted UConn to do.

or...

Go Big: One way to force Villanova to adjust to UConn would be to pound the ball inside. Whaley was 1-5 from the field, but was actually 1-2 inside the paint. Sanogo was 4-6 from the field, but was actually 4-5 from the paint. If I was coaching a team and we were shooting 5 for 7 from a specific part of the floor, I might try to take more shots from that part of the floor. Instead, Whaley keeps drifting away from the hoop, and the two forwards only play 41 minutes combined. So UConn chose to out-small ball Nova with a lineup that isn't great off the dribble and has issues finishing at the basket. Villanova knows this, so now they can blanket UConn's outside shooters.

The next idiot that says "We need to play small for defense" should receive a lifetime ban. The DRtg's are available for anyone to see. Of the 11 players that get meaningful minutes, here are their DRtg's in order:

Whaley - 93.7
Carlton - 94.4
Sanogo - 95.8
Martin - 98.3
Bouknight - 99.0
Jackson - 101.2
Cole - 102.3
Gaffney - 102.6
Adams - 103.7
Akok - 105.7
Polley - 105.9

Our forwards are better defensively, and they shoot with a higher percentage from the field (Sanogo and Carlton are both over 50%), than our guards outside of Bouknight. Hurley has had 16 games to figure this out. And this happens despite the forwards almost never getting the ball inside of 10 feet of the basket.

Carlton: I want to circle back to Carlton, because typically when Carlton is playing more minutes it means Hurley is playing bigger lineups. Some fun facts on Carlton: of the 14 games vs. P6 opponents, UConn is 7-2 when he plays 10 or more minutes, and 4-1 when he plays 15+ minutes. UConn is 1-4 when he plays less than 10 minutes or doesn't play at all. And the two losses with Carlton playing significant minutes were both against Creighton, one of which went to OT.

We all know Carlton's limitations. He is slow, not athletic enough to be really successful at this level, and can't shoot from outside. But he is 6'11 and has long arms, and he does things like rebounding and interior defense that need to be done so that Bouk, Martin and Cole and the rest can make baskets. Hurley is actually making it harder for Bouk and Martin to score when he goes with small lineups, as we saw yesterday.

5-out Analytics Style: Basketball has existed for over 100 years, and with the advent of the college shot clock it has been the same sport for about 35 years. Following a "hot trend" in coaching like playing 5 out small ball is just stupid, especially when 3 of his best players are forwards. The worst part of this is that this was evident from the first two games this season. Hurley is either hopelessly stubborn or just an idiot.


Hurley needs to get smarter on gameday or he is going to fail at UConn. The Big East competition is just too good. The recruiting will hold up for a while as long as UConn is still a "team on the rise" and putting players in the League. Bouk will help on the second issue, but is UConn still a "team on the rise" if UConn doesn't make the NCAA Tournament in Hurley's third year? The difference between being the 20th and 70th best team in the country is not that big, and a coach can have a big impact on where a team ends up in that range. Wanting to win is not enough, Hurley has got to do better.
 

ClifSpliffy

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i've been a yuge fan of jarlton from day one, but have zero issues with coach other than the tyler nonsense, who by the way, shows up on this list as the absolutely worst defender on our team. the awards just keep coming for him. beyond that, i believe our only real issue, due to lack of time together on the court, is a sense of rhythm, and i blame no one for this. well, check that, i do blame polleymania a bit - #1 in BE turnover percentage, so hopefully coach will fix that. some think that we need 'more offensive players.' i don't. i do know that we need one less 'very offensive player'-addition by subtraction.
josh knows that he'll be getting paid soon enuf.
i do luv me some jc standing in the paint tho.
 
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I thought the team played well yesterday. Villanova is an excellent team that is just better than UConn. BUT, and this is a big BUT, UConn caught them on an off day and UConn let them off the hook. I thought the players did fine. Villanova knew exactly what UConn wanted to do and took steps to stop it, and the players still kept it close. They worked their butts off on defense despite Villanova wearing UConn out with quick passing and ball reversals. I bet if you had fitbits on both teams, the UConn players took 20% more steps. I didn't expect UConn to win, but my feeling at the end of that game was that the 8 point loss was UConn playing as well as it could and getting some breaks. That could have just as easily been a 20 point loss, and Hurley is a big part of the reason why.

Let's work through some of things Hurley could have or should have done:

Dictate the Pace and Style: Villanova wanted to play a smaller lineup against UConn. Hurley was very accommodating, trying to out 3-and-D Villanova. That strategy worked out about as well as one would expect. UConn had NO CHANCE of beating Villanova at its own game, so why did Hurley try to beat Villanova at its own game? Nova has the passing and movement to make their style work. UConn does not, so the 30 second shot clock felt like 15-20 seconds a lot of time, resulting in a lot of heave shots to try and save the shot clock, while Villanova's possesions felt like they were just picking UConn apart.

Go Fast: If Hurley was going to go small, he must push the pace. First, because going small and slow is a bad idea against any opponent, and second because Villanova only plays 7 players, so pushing the pace could wear them out. Pushing the pace also means taking some risks like releasing guards on the shot, but Hurley is too old school for that so UConn was playing a small lineup with a slow down style. Basically exactly what Wright wanted UConn to do.

or...

Go Big: One way to force Villanova to adjust to UConn would be to pound the ball inside. Whaley was 1-5 from the field, but was actually 1-2 inside the paint. Sanogo was 4-6 from the field, but was actually 4-5 from the paint. If I was coaching a team and we were shooting 5 for 7 from a specific part of the floor, I might try to take more shots from that part of the floor. Instead, Whaley keeps drifting away from the hoop, and the two forwards only play 41 minutes combined. So UConn chose to out-small ball Nova with a lineup that isn't great off the dribble and has issues finishing at the basket. Villanova knows this, so now they can blanket UConn's outside shooters.

The next idiot that says "We need to play small for defense" should receive a lifetime ban. The DRtg's are available for anyone to see. Of the 11 players that get meaningful minutes, here are their DRtg's in order:

Whaley - 93.7
Carlton - 94.4
Sanogo - 95.8
Martin - 98.3
Bouknight - 99.0
Jackson - 101.2
Cole - 102.3
Gaffney - 102.6
Adams - 103.7
Akok - 105.7
Polley - 105.9

Our forwards are better defensively, and they shoot with a higher percentage from the field (Sanogo and Carlton are both over 50%), than our guards outside of Bouknight. Hurley has had 16 games to figure this out. And this happens despite the forwards almost never getting the ball inside of 10 feet of the basket.

Carlton: I want to circle back to Carlton, because typically when Carlton is playing more minutes it means Hurley is playing bigger lineups. Some fun facts on Carlton: of the 14 games vs. P6 opponents, UConn is 7-2 when he plays 10 or more minutes, and 4-1 when he plays 15+ minutes. UConn is 1-4 when he plays less than 10 minutes or doesn't play at all. And the two losses with Carlton playing significant minutes were both against Creighton, one of which went to OT.

We all know Carlton's limitations. He is slow, not athletic enough to be really successful at this level, and can't shoot from outside. But he is 6'11 and has long arms, and he does things like rebounding and interior defense that need to be done so that Bouk, Martin and Cole and the rest can make baskets. Hurley is actually making it harder for Bouk and Martin to score when he goes with small lineups, as we saw yesterday.

5-out Analytics Style: Basketball has existed for over 100 years, and with the advent of the college shot clock it has been the same sport for about 35 years. Following a "hot trend" in coaching like playing 5 out small ball is just stupid, especially when 3 of his best players are forwards. The worst part of this is that this was evident from the first two games this season. Hurley is either hopelessly stubborn or just an idiot.


Hurley needs to get smarter on gameday or he is going to fail at UConn. The Big East competition is just too good. The recruiting will hold up for a while as long as UConn is still a "team on the rise" and putting players in the League. Bouk will help on the second issue, but is UConn still a "team on the rise" if UConn doesn't make the NCAA Tournament in Hurley's third year? The difference between being the 20th and 70th best team in the country is not that big, and a coach can have a big impact on where a team ends up in that range. Wanting to win is not enough, Hurley has got to do better.
Try a zone now and then. Don’t need to be Syracuse, but the team is not made for man.
 
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Its late February and I still don't know (or see) who the team Captains are. Weird for a team with so much talent to be so void of leadership.
 
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I thought the team played well yesterday. Villanova is an excellent team that is just better than UConn. BUT, and this is a big BUT, UConn caught them on an off day and UConn let them off the hook. I thought the players did fine. Villanova knew exactly what UConn wanted to do and took steps to stop it, and the players still kept it close. They worked their butts off on defense despite Villanova wearing UConn out with quick passing and ball reversals. I bet if you had fitbits on both teams, the UConn players took 20% more steps. I didn't expect UConn to win, but my feeling at the end of that game was that the 8 point loss was UConn playing as well as it could and getting some breaks. That could have just as easily been a 20 point loss, and Hurley is a big part of the reason why.

Let's work through some of things Hurley could have or should have done:

Dictate the Pace and Style: Villanova wanted to play a smaller lineup against UConn. Hurley was very accommodating, trying to out 3-and-D Villanova. That strategy worked out about as well as one would expect. UConn had NO CHANCE of beating Villanova at its own game, so why did Hurley try to beat Villanova at its own game? Nova has the passing and movement to make their style work. UConn does not, so the 30 second shot clock felt like 15-20 seconds a lot of time, resulting in a lot of heave shots to try and save the shot clock, while Villanova's possesions felt like they were just picking UConn apart.

Go Fast: If Hurley was going to go small, he must push the pace. First, because going small and slow is a bad idea against any opponent, and second because Villanova only plays 7 players, so pushing the pace could wear them out. Pushing the pace also means taking some risks like releasing guards on the shot, but Hurley is too old school for that so UConn was playing a small lineup with a slow down style. Basically exactly what Wright wanted UConn to do.

or...

Go Big: One way to force Villanova to adjust to UConn would be to pound the ball inside. Whaley was 1-5 from the field, but was actually 1-2 inside the paint. Sanogo was 4-6 from the field, but was actually 4-5 from the paint. If I was coaching a team and we were shooting 5 for 7 from a specific part of the floor, I might try to take more shots from that part of the floor. Instead, Whaley keeps drifting away from the hoop, and the two forwards only play 41 minutes combined. So UConn chose to out-small ball Nova with a lineup that isn't great off the dribble and has issues finishing at the basket. Villanova knows this, so now they can blanket UConn's outside shooters.

The next idiot that says "We need to play small for defense" should receive a lifetime ban. The DRtg's are available for anyone to see. Of the 11 players that get meaningful minutes, here are their DRtg's in order:

Whaley - 93.7
Carlton - 94.4
Sanogo - 95.8
Martin - 98.3
Bouknight - 99.0
Jackson - 101.2
Cole - 102.3
Gaffney - 102.6
Adams - 103.7
Akok - 105.7
Polley - 105.9

Our forwards are better defensively, and they shoot with a higher percentage from the field (Sanogo and Carlton are both over 50%), than our guards outside of Bouknight. Hurley has had 16 games to figure this out. And this happens despite the forwards almost never getting the ball inside of 10 feet of the basket.

Carlton: I want to circle back to Carlton, because typically when Carlton is playing more minutes it means Hurley is playing bigger lineups. Some fun facts on Carlton: of the 14 games vs. P6 opponents, UConn is 7-2 when he plays 10 or more minutes, and 4-1 when he plays 15+ minutes. UConn is 1-4 when he plays less than 10 minutes or doesn't play at all. And the two losses with Carlton playing significant minutes were both against Creighton, one of which went to OT.

We all know Carlton's limitations. He is slow, not athletic enough to be really successful at this level, and can't shoot from outside. But he is 6'11 and has long arms, and he does things like rebounding and interior defense that need to be done so that Bouk, Martin and Cole and the rest can make baskets. Hurley is actually making it harder for Bouk and Martin to score when he goes with small lineups, as we saw yesterday.

5-out Analytics Style: Basketball has existed for over 100 years, and with the advent of the college shot clock it has been the same sport for about 35 years. Following a "hot trend" in coaching like playing 5 out small ball is just stupid, especially when 3 of his best players are forwards. The worst part of this is that this was evident from the first two games this season. Hurley is either hopelessly stubborn or just an idiot.


Hurley needs to get smarter on gameday or he is going to fail at UConn. The Big East competition is just too good. The recruiting will hold up for a while as long as UConn is still a "team on the rise" and putting players in the League. Bouk will help on the second issue, but is UConn still a "team on the rise" if UConn doesn't make the NCAA Tournament in Hurley's third year? The difference between being the 20th and 70th best team in the country is not that big, and a coach can have a big impact on where a team ends up in that range. Wanting to win is not enough, Hurley has got to do
Part of being a fan is we think we are smarter than the coach.
 

SubbaBub

Your stupidity is ruining my country.
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Whaley - 93.7
Carlton - 94.4
Sanogo - 95.8


These three guys play the same position. Playing more than one at a time is because of need due to shortcomings at other positions. None of them are an elite level 4 and they don't play particularly well when on the floor together.
 
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we lost because we missed TWENTY 3s
I hope your point is to ask why the hell we’re taking so many 3s. Our great teams from the past had good 3 point shooting but weren’t so reliant on them. I realize to my chagrin that that’s where the game has headed but there’s a difference between taking good threes and being stuck taking a desperation 3 due to poor offense for 30 seconds.
 
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I hope your point is to ask why the hell we’re taking so many 3s. Our great teams from the past had good 3 point shooting but weren’t so reliant on them. I realize to my chagrin that that’s where the game has headed but there’s a difference between taking good threes and being stuck taking a desperation 3 due to poor offense for 30 seconds.
nah cole and martin just have to shoot better. they went a combined 2/12 from 3 and the 10 misses werent all desperation chucks. if they went 5/12 instead maybe we win.

but not playing carlton was certainly not the difference maker. who was he going to guard with sanogo or whaley also on the floor?
 
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nah cole and martin just have to shoot better. they went a combined 2/12 from 3 and the 10 misses werent all desperation chucks. if they went 5/12 maybe we win.

but playing carlton was certainly not the difference. who was he going to guard with sanogo or whaley also on the floor?
I’d have to watch the game again but I disagree that they missed a bunch of good looks. I remember Cole in particular firing an off balance 3 from 25 feet out.
 
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I hope your point is to ask why the hell we’re taking so many 3s. Our great teams from the past had good 3 point shooting but weren’t so reliant on them. I realize to my chagrin that that’s where the game has headed but there’s a difference between taking good threes and being stuck taking a desperation 3 due to poor offense for 30 seconds.
If that's a trend that continues that's a valid complaint, we were at a 47.1 3P/FGA yesterday which was definitely high (would put us 19th in the country). But for the season we're at 34.6 which is 250th in the country so wouldn't say we're too reliant on 3's
 

nelsonmuntz

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These three guys play the same position. Playing more than one at a time is because of need due to shortcomings at other positions. None of them are an elite level 4 and they don't play particularly well when on the floor together.

If UConn had 10 elite level players, it would be undefeated and winning every game by 20+. Uconn is a 20-70 team that should be doing better with the talent it has.
 
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If that's a trend that continues that's a valid complaint, we were at a 47.1 3P/FGA yesterday which was definitely high (would put us 19th in the country). But for the season we're at 34.6 which is 250th in the country so wouldn't say we're too reliant on 3's
Fair enough. I didn’t mean in general we are too reliant, but I think historically we don’t do well in games like yesterday when we hoist up too many. Let’s look at the stats against good competition this year and what % 3s were to overall shots and the results of those games. I’ll look for that data to compare.
 

Hans Sprungfeld

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Part of being a fan is we think we are smarter than the coach.
Or, ironically, less stubborn.

Its late February and I still don't know (or see) who the team Captains are. Weird for a team with so much talent to be so void of leadership.
For this season, it's Danny. It's not a satisfying answer, and it'll have to change.

Last year, there was no smart player until Whaley transformed, and after that, Vital could lead emotionally, and Bouknight could grolw into his role.

It is very challenging how few games remain in the regular season.
 
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Fair enough. I didn’t mean in general we are too reliant, but I think historically we don’t do well in games like yesterday when we hoist up too many. Let’s look at the stats against good competition this year and what % 3s were to overall shots and the results of those games. I’ll look for that data to compare.
Took a look quick at this year's bigger games

USC (Win) - 19/55 34.5
Creighton (Loss) - 30/67 44.8
Creighton 2 (Loss) - 23/63 36.5
Seton Hall (Loss) - 19/48 39.6
Xavier (Win) - 26/63 41.3
Villanova (Loss) - 27/55 49.1
 
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Took a look quick at this year's bigger games

USC (Win) - 19/55 34.5
Creighton (Loss) - 30/67 44.8
Creighton 2 (Loss) - 23/63 36.5
Seton Hall (Loss) - 19/48 39.6
Xavier (Win) - 26/63 41.3
Villanova (Loss) - 27/55 49.1
Thanks, I’d say it’s inconclusive then based on that. Our best teams though were physical teams who thrived by getting to the line a lot and using some threes when necessary, especially with incredible shooters like Ray and Ben. When I see us shooting 3s every other possession the past 5 years, I can usually predict the bad outcome.
 

nelsonmuntz

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we lost because we missed TWENTY 3s

A post presence will lead to better 3 attempts. Also, too many players along the perimeter make it too easy for defenses to rotate to UConn's perimeter shooters, particularly when there are players out there that don't really need to be defended from the 3 line. .
 
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My favorite thing is how often you rail against 5-out (not just with our personnel, but the offense philosophy in general as being easy to guard) and how often simultaneously you praise Villanova for its 5-out offense.

Go Fast: If Hurley was going to go small, he must push the pace. First, because going small and slow is a bad idea against any opponent, and second because Villanova only plays 7 players, so pushing the pace could wear them out. Pushing the pace also means taking some risks like releasing guards on the shot, but Hurley is too old school for that so UConn was playing a small lineup with a slow down style. Basically exactly what Wright wanted UConn to do.
We tried to push. You could hear Hurley yelling constantly to run. Villanova was excellent with their transition defense. They forced the ball to the middle and then walled off the momentum with several guys like they were playing zone. We rarely had numbers because we only had 1 live ball steal (because Villanova doesn't let you get steals). A couple of times we kicked out to the wing for a transition 3 (and one time Polley took it up the wing himself and hoisted with no pass), which is how you beat that transition D style. We mostly missed the shots.

Bouk also did a good job in the 2nd half of drawing fouls in transition by going through the traffic and earning the contact when they tried to crowd him. Didn't feel like we were playing fast because of the fouls, but it happened.

The next idiot that says "We need to play small for defense" should receive a lifetime ban. The DRtg's are available for anyone to see. Of the 11 players that get meaningful minutes, here are their DRtg's in order:

Whaley - 93.7
Carlton - 94.4
Sanogo - 95.8
Martin - 98.3
Bouknight - 99.0
Jackson - 101.2
Cole - 102.3
Gaffney - 102.6
Adams - 103.7
Akok - 105.7
Polley - 105.9

Our forwards are better defensively, and they shoot with a higher percentage from the field (Sanogo and Carlton are both over 50%), than our guards outside of Bouknight. Hurley has had 16 games to figure this out. And this happens despite the forwards almost never getting the ball inside of 10 feet of the basket.
Do you know how DRTG is calculated? "The core of the Defensive Rating calculation is...the instances of a player ending an opposing possession that are tracked in the boxscore (blocks, steals, and defensive rebounds).... Perhaps as a byproduct, big men tend to have the best Defensive Ratings " Calculating Individual Offensive and Defensive Ratings | Basketball-Reference.com.

It's a big man-weighted stat on a per team basis because bigs are generally the people getting defensive rebounds (steals and blocks cancel out in many cases). You're not going to believe this, but the descending order of Dreb% on our team is the 3 bigs, then Martin, Bouk, Jackson, Cole in that same exact order.

It's better to compare the stat across teams instead of among the same team. It's a pretty bad stat in general though, which is why KenPom lists individual ORTG but not DRTG on his page. In general, bigs ARE more important on defense, or at least having at least one good rim protector is important. But having more of them in lineups because their DRTGs are better than the guards on the team is laughably bad stat use.
5-out Analytics Style: Basketball has existed for over 100 years, and with the advent of the college shot clock it has been the same sport for about 35 years. Following a "hot trend" in coaching like playing 5 out small ball is just stupid, especially when 3 of his best players are forwards. The worst part of this is that this was evident from the first two games this season. Hurley is either hopelessly stubborn or just an idiot.
I don't remember us playing more than a handful of small ball minutes yesterday and Villanova has dominated the sport with 5-out, so what are you even trying to say here? That the solution is actually to get better 5-out talent? Because playing our best bigs together to start the game Villanova scored on us like our D was made of swiss cheese.

On the season, statistically our lineups with any combo of the 2 bigs perform basically the same as the average of all of our other lineups. Our lineups with Whaley as the sole big are better. The lineups with sole big Adama are worse. The lineups with solo Carlton have been bad. We've only played 5 offensive possessions all season with 0 big true small ball.
 
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I thought the team played well yesterday. Villanova is an excellent team that is just better than UConn. BUT, and this is a big BUT, UConn caught them on an off day and UConn let them off the hook. I thought the players did fine. Villanova knew exactly what UConn wanted to do and took steps to stop it, and the players still kept it close. They worked their butts off on defense despite Villanova wearing UConn out with quick passing and ball reversals. I bet if you had fitbits on both teams, the UConn players took 20% more steps. I didn't expect UConn to win, but my feeling at the end of that game was that the 8 point loss was UConn playing as well as it could and getting some breaks. That could have just as easily been a 20 point loss, and Hurley is a big part of the reason why.

Let's work through some of things Hurley could have or should have done:

Dictate the Pace and Style: Villanova wanted to play a smaller lineup against UConn. Hurley was very accommodating, trying to out 3-and-D Villanova. That strategy worked out about as well as one would expect. UConn had NO CHANCE of beating Villanova at its own game, so why did Hurley try to beat Villanova at its own game? Nova has the passing and movement to make their style work. UConn does not, so the 30 second shot clock felt like 15-20 seconds a lot of time, resulting in a lot of heave shots to try and save the shot clock, while Villanova's possesions felt like they were just picking UConn apart.

Go Fast: If Hurley was going to go small, he must push the pace. First, because going small and slow is a bad idea against any opponent, and second because Villanova only plays 7 players, so pushing the pace could wear them out. Pushing the pace also means taking some risks like releasing guards on the shot, but Hurley is too old school for that so UConn was playing a small lineup with a slow down style. Basically exactly what Wright wanted UConn to do.

or...

Go Big: One way to force Villanova to adjust to UConn would be to pound the ball inside. Whaley was 1-5 from the field, but was actually 1-2 inside the paint. Sanogo was 4-6 from the field, but was actually 4-5 from the paint. If I was coaching a team and we were shooting 5 for 7 from a specific part of the floor, I might try to take more shots from that part of the floor. Instead, Whaley keeps drifting away from the hoop, and the two forwards only play 41 minutes combined. So UConn chose to out-small ball Nova with a lineup that isn't great off the dribble and has issues finishing at the basket. Villanova knows this, so now they can blanket UConn's outside shooters.

The next idiot that says "We need to play small for defense" should receive a lifetime ban. The DRtg's are available for anyone to see. Of the 11 players that get meaningful minutes, here are their DRtg's in order:

Whaley - 93.7
Carlton - 94.4
Sanogo - 95.8
Martin - 98.3
Bouknight - 99.0
Jackson - 101.2
Cole - 102.3
Gaffney - 102.6
Adams - 103.7
Akok - 105.7
Polley - 105.9

Our forwards are better defensively, and they shoot with a higher percentage from the field (Sanogo and Carlton are both over 50%), than our guards outside of Bouknight. Hurley has had 16 games to figure this out. And this happens despite the forwards almost never getting the ball inside of 10 feet of the basket.

Carlton: I want to circle back to Carlton, because typically when Carlton is playing more minutes it means Hurley is playing bigger lineups. Some fun facts on Carlton: of the 14 games vs. P6 opponents, UConn is 7-2 when he plays 10 or more minutes, and 4-1 when he plays 15+ minutes. UConn is 1-4 when he plays less than 10 minutes or doesn't play at all. And the two losses with Carlton playing significant minutes were both against Creighton, one of which went to OT.

We all know Carlton's limitations. He is slow, not athletic enough to be really successful at this level, and can't shoot from outside. But he is 6'11 and has long arms, and he does things like rebounding and interior defense that need to be done so that Bouk, Martin and Cole and the rest can make baskets. Hurley is actually making it harder for Bouk and Martin to score when he goes with small lineups, as we saw yesterday.

5-out Analytics Style: Basketball has existed for over 100 years, and with the advent of the college shot clock it has been the same sport for about 35 years. Following a "hot trend" in coaching like playing 5 out small ball is just stupid, especially when 3 of his best players are forwards. The worst part of this is that this was evident from the first two games this season. Hurley is either hopelessly stubborn or just an idiot.


Hurley needs to get smarter on gameday or he is going to fail at UConn. The Big East competition is just too good. The recruiting will hold up for a while as long as UConn is still a "team on the rise" and putting players in the League. Bouk will help on the second issue, but is UConn still a "team on the rise" if UConn doesn't make the NCAA Tournament in Hurley's third year? The difference between being the 20th and 70th best team in the country is not that big, and a coach can have a big impact on where a team ends up in that range. Wanting to win is not enough, Hurley has got to do better.
It was pretty obvious why they lost to Nova & had nothing to do with any of what you wrote above. UConn’s defense was excellent verse a top 5 offense in the nation- held Nova to 41% from the field & 5-22 from the three point line. The issue was lack of ball movement on the offense end & poor shooting- from the tip UConn fell in love in giving the ball to the Dark Knight & watched him go one on one. The rest of the team started to do the same thing in going one on one as well- only 8 assists for UConn- 5 less than there normal average.

Also- your calling people idiots above- what’s up with that?
 
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I thought the team played well yesterday. Villanova is an excellent team that is just better than UConn. BUT, and this is a big BUT, UConn caught them on an off day and UConn let them off the hook. I thought the players did fine. Villanova knew exactly what UConn wanted to do and took steps to stop it, and the players still kept it close. They worked their butts off on defense despite Villanova wearing UConn out with quick passing and ball reversals. I bet if you had fitbits on both teams, the UConn players took 20% more steps. I didn't expect UConn to win, but my feeling at the end of that game was that the 8 point loss was UConn playing as well as it could and getting some breaks. That could have just as easily been a 20 point loss, and Hurley is a big part of the reason why.

Let's work through some of things Hurley could have or should have done:

Dictate the Pace and Style: Villanova wanted to play a smaller lineup against UConn. Hurley was very accommodating, trying to out 3-and-D Villanova. That strategy worked out about as well as one would expect. UConn had NO CHANCE of beating Villanova at its own game, so why did Hurley try to beat Villanova at its own game? Nova has the passing and movement to make their style work. UConn does not, so the 30 second shot clock felt like 15-20 seconds a lot of time, resulting in a lot of heave shots to try and save the shot clock, while Villanova's possesions felt like they were just picking UConn apart.

Go Fast: If Hurley was going to go small, he must push the pace. First, because going small and slow is a bad idea against any opponent, and second because Villanova only plays 7 players, so pushing the pace could wear them out. Pushing the pace also means taking some risks like releasing guards on the shot, but Hurley is too old school for that so UConn was playing a small lineup with a slow down style. Basically exactly what Wright wanted UConn to do.

or...

Go Big: One way to force Villanova to adjust to UConn would be to pound the ball inside. Whaley was 1-5 from the field, but was actually 1-2 inside the paint. Sanogo was 4-6 from the field, but was actually 4-5 from the paint. If I was coaching a team and we were shooting 5 for 7 from a specific part of the floor, I might try to take more shots from that part of the floor. Instead, Whaley keeps drifting away from the hoop, and the two forwards only play 41 minutes combined. So UConn chose to out-small ball Nova with a lineup that isn't great off the dribble and has issues finishing at the basket. Villanova knows this, so now they can blanket UConn's outside shooters.

The next idiot that says "We need to play small for defense" should receive a lifetime ban. The DRtg's are available for anyone to see. Of the 11 players that get meaningful minutes, here are their DRtg's in order:

Whaley - 93.7
Carlton - 94.4
Sanogo - 95.8
Martin - 98.3
Bouknight - 99.0
Jackson - 101.2
Cole - 102.3
Gaffney - 102.6
Adams - 103.7
Akok - 105.7
Polley - 105.9

Our forwards are better defensively, and they shoot with a higher percentage from the field (Sanogo and Carlton are both over 50%), than our guards outside of Bouknight. Hurley has had 16 games to figure this out. And this happens despite the forwards almost never getting the ball inside of 10 feet of the basket.

Carlton: I want to circle back to Carlton, because typically when Carlton is playing more minutes it means Hurley is playing bigger lineups. Some fun facts on Carlton: of the 14 games vs. P6 opponents, UConn is 7-2 when he plays 10 or more minutes, and 4-1 when he plays 15+ minutes. UConn is 1-4 when he plays less than 10 minutes or doesn't play at all. And the two losses with Carlton playing significant minutes were both against Creighton, one of which went to OT.

We all know Carlton's limitations. He is slow, not athletic enough to be really successful at this level, and can't shoot from outside. But he is 6'11 and has long arms, and he does things like rebounding and interior defense that need to be done so that Bouk, Martin and Cole and the rest can make baskets. Hurley is actually making it harder for Bouk and Martin to score when he goes with small lineups, as we saw yesterday.

5-out Analytics Style: Basketball has existed for over 100 years, and with the advent of the college shot clock it has been the same sport for about 35 years. Following a "hot trend" in coaching like playing 5 out small ball is just stupid, especially when 3 of his best players are forwards. The worst part of this is that this was evident from the first two games this season. Hurley is either hopelessly stubborn or just an idiot.


Hurley needs to get smarter on gameday or he is going to fail at UConn. The Big East competition is just too good. The recruiting will hold up for a while as long as UConn is still a "team on the rise" and putting players in the League. Bouk will help on the second issue, but is UConn still a "team on the rise" if UConn doesn't make the NCAA Tournament in Hurley's third year? The difference between being the 20th and 70th best team in the country is not that big, and a coach can have a big impact on where a team ends up in that range. Wanting to win is not enough, Hurley has got to do better.
I said it in a prior post, if Carlton had played meaning minutes (he didn’t play at all) against Villanova, we might have won this game. I put this loss squarely on the UConn coaches shoulders. During the game I was screaming at the tv “put Carlton in you a wholes”. Carlton may be slow but he doesn’t miss chippies around the basket at the rate Whaley and Sanogo do, and he won’t miss a 2 ft jump shot by a foot and a half (unless he’s fouled) like I saw Whaley do.
 
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