Thoughts and Areas of Improvement - Villanova

nelsonmuntz

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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.

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?

Umm. Ok.
 

HuskyHawk

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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.

You take too many 3's when you don't have anybody inside who can score. Guards should not be the primary scorers in the paint. Martin, who everybody wants to play power forward, is a guard. Jackson is a guard. The five out offense is trying to clear the lane so small players can drive and score. Put one big in the paint on D and leave him there and the strategy is erased, and that team now can only shoot 3s.

I agree with much of what Nelson said. Carlton is a matchup nightmare for almost every team we play. Our team has two advantages. 1. Bouknight is great. 2. We can play far bigger than almost anybody we face. We normally throw that second advantage in the toilet every game. As far as I can tell, we do it because Hurley has a defensive system that requires his centers to defend the perimeter as if they are guards. Why any center would come here, I do not know. Other teams do this only because they have small guys like Robinson-Earl playing center. They wouldn't do it if they had real centers.
 

nelsonmuntz

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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.


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.


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.

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.

I have a lot of issues with 5 out offenses. They actually crowd a team's better 3 point shooters because it is easier to rotate to a perimeter player from another perimeter player. There is always at least one player that does not need to be defended on the perimeter, making defensive traps easier. 5 outs cut off penetration lanes because most teams play a gap man-to-man or just go to a stretch zone to defend against them. While I have not traditionally been a big fan of zone defenses, with just a couple of tweaks, a 2-3 zone can completely shut down a 5 out even when the team running the 5 out is far superior (see Miami Heat embarrassing Milwaukee Bucks in the playoffs last year).

5 outs effectively forego offensive rebounding. My biggest issue with 5 outs though is that the only way to get perimeter spacing is to put a player in each corner, which takes them out of the mix for an offensive rebound, and means the offensive team is screwed in transition because the two offensive players are as far as they can be from defending their basket and still be on the court (again, see Miami Heat embarrassing Milwaukee Bucks in the playoffs last year).

That said, Villanova makes their 5 out work with a lot of penetration, cuts, quick passing, and yes, posting up. Villanova is using the entire half court for offense, rather than passing the ball around the perimeter until someone jacks up a contested shot.

See the difference?
 

nelsonmuntz

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You take too many 3's when you don't have anybody inside who can score. Guards should not be the primary scorers in the paint. Martin, who everybody wants to play power forward, is a guard. Jackson is a guard. The five out offense is trying to clear the lane so small players can drive and score. Put one big in the paint on D and leave him there and the strategy is erased, and that team now can only shoot 3s.

I agree with much of what Nelson said. Carlton is a matchup nightmare for almost every team we play. Our team has two advantages. 1. Bouknight is great. 2. We can play far bigger than almost anybody we face. We normally throw that second advantage in the toilet every game. As far as I can tell, we do it because Hurley has a defensive system that requires his centers to defend the perimeter as if they are guards. Why any center would come here, I do not know. Other teams do this only because they have small guys like Robinson-Earl playing center. They wouldn't do it if they had real centers.

Good points. Hurley also doesn't really have the guards to play a pressure defense style anyway. With a 30 second shot clock, I would switch on screens or go under screens from the 3 point line and in. The hard hedge usually doesn't work in a large part because the guard never rotates in to cover the paint. The only time it does work is when we have two bigs on the court together, because they know how to rotate in.

I would add that a 5 out results in more contested 3's unless there is great ball movement, like Villanova has. UConn's style is more traditional dribble penetration oriented, so why do it out of a non-traditional 5-out set? Getting all the way to the hoop out from 23 feet away is hard for any player, but UConn's offense is dependent on players doing that. There is rarely someone to dump to when the guard gets to the paint. The offensive scheme should make it easier for the players to score, not harder.
 
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The true problem is that when we rely on Bouknight too much the other players around him start to get over reliant on him and in turn become unengaged. I just wish we had someone like Jalen Adams playing in the same era as Bouknight because we would have two consistent weapons at all times.
 
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Whaley and Polley contributed a total of 5 points and 5 rebounds in a combined 46 minutes and Carlton didn't play. That simply is not enough production from our seniors to beat a quality team like Villanova.
 
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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?
Perimeter defense was ok, no argument there but the interior defense was abysmal. Earl, Samuels, and a slow 6ft white dude named Gillespie ate our lunch in the paint. It’s the reason we lost.
 
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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 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?
Forget Sanogo and Whaley. Play Carlton in the paint, Jackson at SF in place of Whaley, Bouk, Gaffney, and Martin, and Jay Wright has his hands full, he can’t focus on Bouk with Carlton in the paint, without leaving more open looks for Martin, Jackson and Gaffney. Sanogo and Cole first off the bench followed by Whaley and then Polley for some three’s. UConn could of won this game. I hope Hurley learned something from this loss. With respect to Whaley vs Jackson, Jackson shoots better, passes better, handles the ball better, and jumps 2 feet higher.
 
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Forget Sanogo and Whaley. Play Carlton in the paint, Jackson at SF in place of Whaley, Bouk, Gaffney, and Martin, and Jay Wright has his hands full, he can’t focus on Bouk with Carlton in the paint, without leaving more open looks for Martin, Jackson and Gaffney. Sanogo and Cole first off the bench followed by Whaley and then Polley for some three’s. UConn could of won this game. I hope Hurley learned something from this loss. With respect to Whaley vs Jackson, Jackson shoots better, passes better, handles the ball better, and jumps 2 feet higher.
I am not saying I disagree, because I don't know one way or the other, but what makes you think that Jackson shoots better? I have only seen him take a few shots, and he missed almost all of them.
 
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I am not saying I disagree, because I don't know one way or the other, but what makes you think that Jackson shoots better? I have only seen him take a few shots, and he missed almost all of them.
He’s not afraid to shoot the 3, and I’ve seen him drain it after coming off the bench, and he’s just a freshman. He also has not missed yet from the FT line. His mechanics look sound to me either from the FT line or beyond the arc. If Whaley has natural talent at shooting his stats should have improved 2 seasons ago. I like Whaley, he plays his heart out, but his shooting is not his strong point. Although I will give Whaley credit for hitting a timely three Saturday.
 
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Whaley and Polley contributed a total of 5 points and 5 rebounds in a combined 46 minutes and Carlton didn't play. That simply is not enough production from our seniors to beat a quality team like Villanova.
And Villanova seniors Gillespie and Samuels had 31 points 8 rebounds.
 
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Forget Sanogo and Whaley. Play Carlton in the paint, Jackson at SF in place of Whaley, Bouk, Gaffney, and Martin, and Jay Wright has his hands full, he can’t focus on Bouk with Carlton in the paint, without leaving more open looks for Martin, Jackson and Gaffney.
carlton in the paint should only scare uconn fans
 
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Huskyforlife

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@auror said it, but even without looking at the stats, it's clear that the lineups with Whaley at center have been superior to any other lineup. He's terrific in the 'dunker' spot along the baseline, and keeping him inside the 3pt line allows him to fight for more offensive rebounds.

I'm not sure how you can watch Sanogo, Whaley, or Carlton(which we have 3 years worth of evidence) control the ball on the block, and actually feel compelled to run more offense through them. Sanogo is good for a few touches a game at this point, but the other 2 should only touch the ball wide open around the rim.
 

Rico444

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Whaley can't play the 4 offensively, and Carlton would've gotten abused on defense if he had played significant minutes. If he was a dominant scorer, I would've been OK with having him out there, but he's nothing special on the offensive end and throws up shots just as ugly as what we saw from Whaley.
 

nelsonmuntz

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@auror said it, but even without looking at the stats, it's clear that the lineups with Whaley at center have been superior to any other lineup. He's terrific in the 'dunker' spot along the baseline, and keeping him inside the 3pt line allows him to fight for more offensive rebounds.

I'm not sure how you can watch Sanogo, Whaley, or Carlton(which we have 3 years worth of evidence) control the ball on the block, and actually feel compelled to run more offense through them. Sanogo is good for a few touches a game at this point, but the other 2 should only touch the ball wide open around the rim.

UConn has tried it your way all season, and is 10-6 against a fairly easy schedule. The only really high caliber win UConn has is over USC, when UConn went big. But maybe not playing our bigs will start working for us next game. Sure.
 

nelsonmuntz

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Whaley can't play the 4 offensively, and Carlton would've gotten abused on defense if he had played significant minutes. If he was a dominant scorer, I would've been OK with having him out there, but he's nothing special on the offensive end and throws up shots just as ugly as what we saw from Whaley.

Your opinion matters less when it flies in the face of the facts. The DRtgs are not an opinion.
 
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Your opinion matters less when it flies in the face of the facts. The DRtgs are not an opinion.
Didn't @auror explain how your use of DRtg is misleading and doesn't imply what you are saying it implies?

Edit: On second look, I see that you are using it in this case to compare 2 players at the same position, so maybe it's not misleading in this context.
 

Huskyforlife

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UConn has tried it your way all season, and is 10-6 against a fairly easy schedule. The only really high caliber win UConn has is over USC, when UConn went big. But maybe not playing our bigs will start working for us next game. Sure.
We've been starting 2 bigs for awhile now. And we start every game in a hole. I don't consider what we've been doing to be my way at all.
 
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Didn't @auror explain how your use of DRtg is misleading and doesn't imply what you are saying it implies?

Edit: On second look, I see that you are using it in this case to compare 2 players at the same position, so maybe it's not misleading in this context.
And he conveniently responded to Auror but ignored the whole DRtg part, so I think your original point was correct
 

Marat

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The true problem is that when we rely on Bouknight too much the other players around him start to get over reliant on him and in turn become unengaged. I just wish we had someone like Jalen Adams playing in the same era as Bouknight because we would have two consistent weapons at all times.

It's interesting you brought up Jalen Adams. I remember that Jalen used to try to distribute and get others involved early. He would defer early on. And since the others weren't capable scorers, he would then try to pick up his scoring in the 2nd halves. The bulk of his points would come in the 2nd part of the game.,

As Bouk returns to game shape, maybe it would also help if he were to get others involved early., and get opposing defenses to focus on everyone. Then pick it up as the game dictates, forcing the opposing coach to re-adjust again to stopping Bouk but his teammates wouldn't be cold. Warm up the others and then have Bouk take it up a level .
 
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The true problem is that when we rely on Bouknight too much the other players around him start to get over reliant on him and in turn become unengaged. I just wish we had someone like Jalen Adams playing in the same era as Bouknight because we would have two consistent weapons at all times.
Perfect analysis. UConn does not have a balanced scoring option - Bouknight then the drop off is huge. Only 1 other player scored in double figures....10 points. Villanova shot a lower pct from beyond the arc than UConn.
UConn needs to have another 1 or 2 scoring options outside Bouknight and shoot higher than 66% from free throw line.
UConn is 161 nationally free throw pct
 
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After watching the first six and half minutes of the game with Whaley and Sonogo out there how can you possibly advocate to play them together MORE in this game, we were getting shredded defensively. Once we went to Whaley at the 5 and started switching Nova struggled to get clean looks, Whaley was tremendous on Saturday when switched onto Nova's guards. And as @auror mentioned earlier we did try to run and had success early on, Bouk drew a good amount of fouls and Nova did a good job getting back and forming a wall against him in transition and in the screen game in the half court. Having two bigs on the floor would have help Nova condense the driving lanes for Bouknight even more, and those easy paint touches and scores for Sonogo resulting from Nova switches aren't there if we have another big in the lineup much easier for Nova to help on that.
 
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nelsonmuntz

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And he conveniently responded to Auror but ignored the whole DRtg part, so I think your original point was correct

@auror and @navery12 's opinion > facts. Got it. I am hearing a lot of excuses for why it is the fault of the bigs, who are barely playing, when UConn keeps losing games exactly the same way, getting burned on the perimeter and having no help defense at the basket, and playing hot potato with the ball along the perimeter for 29 seconds and expecting someone to magically get open.

You two have gotten your wish the whole season. Hurley's game plan is your game plan, and it clearly is not working. The team I watched on Saturday couldn't play any harder, and Villanova missed a bunch of looks it usually hits, and UConn was still out of it with 8 minutes left.

But maybe doing exactly the same thing again will lead to a different result next time UConn plays someone good.
 
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@auror said it, but even without looking at the stats, it's clear that the lineups with Whaley at center have been superior to any other lineup. He's terrific in the 'dunker' spot along the baseline, and keeping him inside the 3pt line allows him to fight for more offensive rebounds.

I'm not sure how you can watch Sanogo, Whaley, or Carlton(which we have 3 years worth of evidence) control the ball on the block, and actually feel compelled to run more offense through them. Sanogo is good for a few touches a game at this point, but the other 2 should only touch the ball wide open around the rim.
Yeah, you’re right, Carlton is awful. Maybe Hurley should go after this kid.........


 
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I have a lot of issues with 5 out offenses. They actually crowd a team's better 3 point shooters because it is easier to rotate to a perimeter player from another perimeter player. There is always at least one player that does not need to be defended on the perimeter, making defensive traps easier. 5 outs cut off penetration lanes because most teams play a gap man-to-man or just go to a stretch zone to defend against them. While I have not traditionally been a big fan of zone defenses, with just a couple of tweaks, a 2-3 zone can completely shut down a 5 out even when the team running the 5 out is far superior (see Miami Heat embarrassing Milwaukee Bucks in the playoffs last year).

5 outs effectively forego offensive rebounding. My biggest issue with 5 outs though is that the only way to get perimeter spacing is to put a player in each corner, which takes them out of the mix for an offensive rebound, and means the offensive team is screwed in transition because the two offensive players are as far as they can be from defending their basket and still be on the court (again, see Miami Heat embarrassing Milwaukee Bucks in the playoffs last year).

That said, Villanova makes their 5 out work with a lot of penetration, cuts, quick passing, and yes, posting up. Villanova is using the entire half court for offense, rather than passing the ball around the perimeter until someone jacks up a contested shot.

See the difference?
Yes, 5-out maximizes spacing near the hoop, not on the perimeter. By not having a (or two!) permanent fixture(s) near the basket clogging the paint, you're free to drive, flash, cut, back cut, etc. with more success, There are more players near the perimeter, but the goal of 5-out is not necessarily to shoot 3's (you just need 5 3 point shooters to make the opponent respect their gravity). Once you beat the first level of defense, whether by dribble penetration, a cut, or a roll/slip on a PnR, then you have a more or less free run to the hoop. At rim attempts are more effective when you play 5-out, and they are the most valuable shots in basketball. Our game against St. John's showed this. The rim protection from the opponent is just not there if you're dragging everyone away from the hoop. Or if it is, then a player is left for a wide open 3 and puts the opponent into a deadly rotation. A wide open 3 is the next best shot in basketball. So the offense puts you into a position to get either of the two best shots in basketball.

At rim attempts are less valuable in 2 big lineups because there's so much more attention at the rim. Post ups in regular offenses are not all that great of a shot, except with transcendent offensive players. Bigs tend to travel or turn the ball over or lose the ball when doubled, etc. There's just a lot more defensive attention concentrated in a smaller area defended by large dudes and that leads to mistakes and contested shots. Our bigs are pretty good, but they're not transcendent by any means. But bigs on the block is certainly a viable strategy if you have an advantage AND your big can hang on the defensive end. The latter is usually the problem for us when we play against opponents with small lineups, and also having Whaley at the 4 not really doing anything on offense.

5-out doesn't forego offensive rebounding necessarily; Nova was outrebounding us on the offensive glass for most of the game until we got desperate at the end. The opposing team being spread out means there are creases that you can be first to the ball on long rebounds, etc. The corner transition D thing is overblown if you have good communication and buy-in. I mentioned in my last comment about how good Nova's transition D was this game.

Where we agree: Bad 5-out offense is still bad offense. Passing the ball around the perimeter with no movement or cutting is still bad offense even if you have the right 5-out personnel. Just like doing the same against a zone is bad.

You can defend 5-out a little easier if you have an incredibly mobile, yet still dominant defensive big man who can stay on his man on the perimeter but still recover to defend the paint. But there are like 4 of them in the world (AD, Bam, Giannis, and Draymond). The Heat having Bam certainly helped them against the Bucks in that regard. Whaley is pretty good, but he's not quite quick or long enough to fulfill that role.

Where we also agree: playing 5-out when you don't have the personnel is not ideal. You need 5 playmakers and 5 shooters to have the best version. I wish Jackson could shoot consistently and I wish Whaley could either playmake more or shoot more readily. But we don't have that, which is why we don't actually use 5 out that much. But Villanova does and they're really good. Which is why calling 5-out a bad offense regardless of personnel when you mean that some teams that run 5-out don't run it very well or shouldn't run it is disingenuous. And praising Villanova consistently shows that incongruity.
 
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