UConn needs to try to attach the basket early in the clock before the D is set. | The Boneyard

UConn needs to try to attach the basket early in the clock before the D is set.

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Each year, I can never tell if it is by design, (i.e. coaches directive) or just bad decision making by the players, where when up by about 10 or more with around 10 minutes to go or less they begin to bring the ball up slowly, run a lot of clock and get off a bunch of really bad shots. In some cases they don't even get a shot off.

I'm all for using some clock, but I'd prefer that they bring the ball up quickly and attack the D early, getting a good shot off before the D is set, especially with teams that are falling back into a 2-3 or 3-2 zone. I understand at times you want the team to settle down and not risk losing the ball via steals from behind or poorly executed passes or quick ill advised shots. But there were some times where I thought UConn should have tried to attacked the basket early to get a good shot off, or pull it back out if the play wasn't there. (I think at one point Bazz either did it on his own or got this type of message from JC where he spotted AD sliding into the paint wide open before FSU set up their D but threw it behind him. Good idea IMO, just horrible execution. I think one of the FSU defenders quickly got his hand up, closing off the passing lane a tad, which caused the pass to go behind AD. Also AD expected more of an ally-oop pass, compared to an outside catch that would have required him to make a move toward the basket after catching and gathering the pass. Again, good idea, but bad execution.)

During one of the games earlier in the season JC was upset because of how slow they were bringing the ball up the court, though that was coming out of the half. IMO, he needs to get them into the habit of attacking the basket early and only slowing it up when he needs them to settle things down. I'm not saying they should take the first available shot, but to at least generate a half-dozen or more better shots than they're doing right now. Their half-court execution has not been good so far. The addition of Boatright will help, but more so due to his individual efforts compared to them running quick and solid sets, which has really been lacking this season.

IMO, converting some easy baskets early in the clock, which sometimes draw fouls as well, even though you might also give the ball back after missing a shot without using as much clock as you like, is better than using a full 35 and coming up empty for a bunch of consecutive trips, which seems to plague this team. The benefit of trying to attack early even if they have to pull it back out, prevents them from getting out of sync which happens to teams that back off the throttle. It does take some discipline and the coaches trust that the handlers will know when to try to make the play (drive, pass or kick-out) and when to kick it back and set-up the offense.

It's dumb basketball to take a string of quick bad shots that can lead to more scoring opportunities for the opposition and/or easy transition baskets if you over-commit. I'm not advocating that. You have to be smart and discipline in how you attack and not crash the paint with too many players that could lead to odd numbers going the other way if you don't convert. Note that I'm not talking about our 5 beating their 5 down the floor. It's attacking the paint or finding the open man before the D is set. There's a difference. What I'm advocating can create more good shots w/out taking too high a risk. In most instances if you don't convert you still have enough numbers to prevent easy transition baskets.

I think it is evident to most that UConn makes themselves easily guard-able when they pass the ball around at the top and then try to make a play as the shot clock goes under 10. In fact, I've complained before that they should begin to get into their attack at about the 12 to 15 second mark. I don't think there is much harm taking a good shot with 7 to 8 seconds on the clock giving you the option to make the extra pass or a quick reset if the play isn't there. The alternative is you have one chance at creating a good shot or having to take a shot that has little chance of going down. The addition to Boatright will certainly help since he is very good at breaking down his man. If the D tries to close out on him, he has Bazz and Lamb to pass to who can take advantage of the open space created by the double team. Note the roles can be reversed with Bazz & Boat, but Boat is much quicker than Bazz. Ryan has a better chance of getting by his man than Bazz. With a little head of steam or catching it with a bit of a seam, Bazz is very good at slithering his way into the paint. He's got some of the best ball fakes I've seen in some time. He's even tried the throw through dribble, split the double and continue play that Kemba executed beautifully last season. With that said, Boatright seems to be best suited to go one-on-one and create havoc, may it finish with him taking a midrange or layup, or a dish to an open teammate. I still would prefer they stay in attack mode unless they are up by 3 possessions or more and the clock is under the 2 minute or so.

Maybe I'm very wrong about this. I think they needed a lot more late game heroics last season due to way too many late in the game empty trips down the floor when trying to milk the clock. I'd like to see JC try something a little different. If he finds the decision making sound where the guards know when to try to make the early play and when to pull it out, then they might be better off. If he finds out they make far too many careless decisions and let teams come back on them or pull away due to giving them extra offensive opportunities or easy transition baskets the other way, then simply go back to the old way of doing things.

I know there are a lot of fans who don't want them to run the clock down at all. The perfect scenario is to use as much clock as possible in certain circumstances as long as you get some good shots off most of the time. It often doesn't hurt you if you have a trip or two where you use 35 and don't score, but it's not so good when that happens a whole bunch of times or you end up turning it over because the D is going after you like a dog after a pork chop knowing you have no intention of taking a shot till 25 or more seconds are off the clock. I've noticed that teams are willing to close in hard on the UConn player who receives the ball at the foul line early in the clock, knowing he has little intention to turning and attacking the basket or passing it down low. Same goes for running doubles above the top of the key, knowing our guards are unlikely going to take advantage of the odd numbers it might create early in the clock. I'm sure I'm sounding like a broken record, but they need to do something different in the 2nd half and mix things up to generate better scoring opportunities than they have been doing. In their first 7 games, including the win over FSU, they've squandered some moderate to big leads. Time to do something different!
 
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Another solution that would help your suggestion is to minimize the dribbling by our guards. They were taking 10-15 seconds just to bounce the ball. Rotate it and get it to the open scorer.
 
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Each year, I can never tell if it is by design, (i.e. coaches directive) or just bad decision making by the players, where when up by about 10 or more with around 10 minutes to go or less they begin to bring the ball up slowly, run a lot of clock and get off a bunch of really bad shots. In some cases they don't even get a shot off.

I'm all for using some clock, but I'd prefer that they bring the ball up quickly and attack the D early, getting a good shot off before the D is set, especially with teams that are falling back into a 2-3 or 3-2 zone. I understand at times you want the team to settle down and not risk losing the ball via steals from behind or poorly executed passes or quick ill advised shots. But there were some times where I thought UConn should have tried to attacked the basket early to get a good shot off, or pull it back out if the play wasn't there. (I think at one point Bazz either did it on his own or got this type of message from JC where he spotted AD sliding into the paint wide open before FSU set up their D but threw it behind him. Good idea IMO, just horrible execution. I think one of the FSU defenders quickly got his hand up, closing off the passing lane a tad, which caused the pass to go behind AD. Also AD expected more of an ally-oop pass, compared to an outside catch that would have required him to make a move toward the basket after catching and gathering the pass. Again, good idea, but bad execution.)

During one of the games earlier in the season JC was upset because of how slow they were bringing the ball up the court, though that was coming out of the half. IMO, he needs to get them into the habit of attacking the basket early and only slowing it up when he needs them to settle things down. I'm not saying they should take the first available shot, but to at least generate a half-dozen or more better shots than they're doing right now. Their half-court execution has not been good so far. The addition of Boatright will help, but more so due to his individual efforts compared to them running quick and solid sets, which has really been lacking this season.

IMO, converting some easy baskets early in the clock, which sometimes draw fouls as well, even though you might also give the ball back after missing a shot without using as much clock as you like, is better than using a full 35 and coming up empty for a bunch of consecutive trips, which seems to plague this team. The benefit of trying to attack early even if they have to pull it back out, prevents them from getting out of sync which happens to teams that back off the throttle. It does take some discipline and the coaches trust that the handlers will know when to try to make the play (drive, pass or kick-out) and when to kick it back and set-up the offense.

It's dumb basketball to take a string of quick bad shots that can lead to more scoring opportunities for the opposition and/or easy transition baskets if you over-commit. I'm not advocating that. You have to be smart and discipline in how you attack and not crash the paint with too many players that could lead to odd numbers going the other way if you don't convert. Note that I'm not talking about our 5 beating their 5 down the floor. It's attacking the paint or finding the open man before the D is set. There's a difference. What I'm advocating can create more good shots w/out taking too high a risk. In most instances if you don't convert you still have enough numbers to prevent easy transition baskets.

I think it is evident to most that UConn makes themselves easily guard-able when they pass the ball around at the top and then try to make a play as the shot clock goes under 10. In fact, I've complained before that they should begin to get into their attack at about the 12 to 15 second mark. I don't think there is much harm taking a good shot with 7 to 8 seconds on the clock giving you the option to make the extra pass or a quick reset if the play isn't there. The alternative is you have one chance at creating a good shot or having to take a shot that has little chance of going down. The addition to Boatright will certainly help since he is very good at breaking down his man. If the D tries to close out on him, he has Bazz and Lamb to pass to who can take advantage of the open space created by the double team. Note the roles can be reversed with Bazz & Boat, but Boat is much quicker than Bazz. Ryan has a better chance of getting by his man than Bazz. With a little head of steam or catching it with a bit of a seam, Bazz is very good at slithering his way into the paint. He's got some of the best ball fakes I've seen in some time. He's even tried the throw through dribble, split the double and continue play that Kemba executed beautifully last season. With that said, Boatright seems to be best suited to go one-on-one and create havoc, may it finish with him taking a midrange or layup, or a dish to an open teammate. I still would prefer they stay in attack mode unless they are up by 3 possessions or more and the clock is under the 2 minute or so.

Maybe I'm very wrong about this. I think they needed a lot more late game heroics last season due to way too many late in the game empty trips down the floor when trying to milk the clock. I'd like to see JC try something a little different. If he finds the decision making sound where the guards know when to try to make the early play and when to pull it out, then they might be better off. If he finds out they make far too many careless decisions and let teams come back on them or pull away due to giving them extra offensive opportunities or easy transition baskets the other way, then simply go back to the old way of doing things.

I know there are a lot of fans who don't want them to run the clock down at all. The perfect scenario is to use as much clock as possible in certain circumstances as long as you get some good shots off most of the time. It often doesn't hurt you if you have a trip or two where you use 35 and don't score, but it's not so good when that happens a whole bunch of times or you end up turning it over because the D is going after you like a dog after a pork chop knowing you have no intention of taking a shot till 25 or more seconds are off the clock. I've noticed that teams are willing to close in hard on the UConn player who receives the ball at the foul line early in the clock, knowing he has little intention to turning and attacking the basket or passing it down low. Same goes for running doubles above the top of the key, knowing our guards are unlikely going to take advantage of the odd numbers it might create early in the clock. I'm sure I'm sounding like a broken record, but they need to do something different in the 2nd half and mix things up to generate better scoring opportunities than they have been doing. In their first 7 games, including the win over FSU, they've squandered some moderate to big leads. Time to do something different!
Agree with everything you said but IMO with Boatright it doesn't matter as much if we attack the zone early or late in the clock. The kid has the ability to bust a zone open with his under control penetration. If he's a bowling ball it's like a bunch of bowling pins just falling down and he scores the goal or shovels it to AO or AD.
 
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WE HAVE STUNK AGAINST A ZONE FOR YEARS. WE HAVE THE PLAYERS WHO CAN LIMIT THE EFFECTIVENESS OF A ZONE, BUT WE DO DRIBBLE WAY TOO MUCH. WE DRIBBLE AND THUS PLAYER MOVEMENT IS LESS EFFECTIVE. I SAY MAKE IT A TRANSITION GAME USING THE SPEED AND PASSING ABILITIES OF BOAT AND BAZZ TO SET UP TO AO AND AD, NOT NECESSARILY TO TAKE THE 3. WE HAVE BIGS WHO CAN TRANSITION SO USE THEM.
 

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WE HAVE STUNK AGAINST A ZONE FOR YEARS. WE HAVE THE PLAYERS WHO CAN LIMIT THE EFFECTIVENESS OF A ZONE, BUT WE DO DRIBBLE WAY TOO MUCH. WE DRIBBLE AND THUS PLAYER MOVEMENT IS LESS EFFECTIVE. I SAY MAKE IT A TRANSITION GAME USING THE SPEED AND PASSING ABILITIES OF BOAT AND BAZZ TO SET UP TO AO AND AD, NOT NECESSARILY TO TAKE THE 3. WE HAVE BIGS WHO CAN TRANSITION SO USE THEM.
Can you please take off the caps lock?

THANKS.
 
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Did your Caps Lock key lock up?

I'd like to see them run more, but to win in March you have to execute relatively well in the half-court. Good teams know how to take away what you do best. That doesn't mean you don't try to develop what you do best and impose your will on your opponent, but you need to develop a balanced attack and versatility to win an NC. Last year's NC team amazed me at how they were able to win playing a variety of ways, fast, slow, slug fest, shootout, etc.

However it happens, they do need to learn to play better against the zone. Teams would be nuts not to deploy it against UConn.
 
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I agree somewhat with the OP's position. It is similar to footballs 'prevent" defense. All a prevent defense does is prevent you from winning. Why in the world do coaches pull in the reins on something that is working, changing the whole flow of a game, to burn minutes off the clock thinking that is the best way to preserve the victory? If you are up 17 points with 8 min to go and you got there by running the break then WHY SLOW IT DOWN! Run Baby Run!
 
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I agree somewhat with the OP's position. It is similar to footballs 'prevent" defense. All a prevent defense does is prevent you from winning. Why in the world do coaches pull in the reins on something that is working, changing the whole flow of a game, to burn minutes off the clock thinking that is the best way to preserve the victory? If you are up 17 points with 8 min to go and you got there by running the break then WHY SLOW IT DOWN! Run Baby Run!
Funny you mention that. I had that in my post, but deleted it out. I hate when teams take the air out of the ball with a lot of game to be played. Not only is it often counter productive, it takes what started out as an exciting game, a mind-numbing and nail-biting letdown. I'm all for kicking the dog while he's down. Don't let up till your last possession. I even wish teams would let their subs play the last possession out. I don't see how letting some walk-on try to get his name in the record books as rubbing it in. It must really be a letdown for some walk-in to come in knowing he's either not going to touch the ball or simply asked to dribble the ball at half-court...but I digress. :)
 
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Funny you mention that. I had that in my post, but deleted it out. I hate when teams take the air out of the ball with a lot of game to be played. Not only is it often counter productive, it takes what started out as an exciting game, a mind-numbing and nail-biting letdown. I'm all for kicking the dog while he's down. Don't let up till your last possession. I even wish teams would let their subs play the last possession out. I don't see how letting some walk-on try to get his name in the record books as rubbing it in. It must really be a letdown for some walk-in to come in knowing he's either not going to touch the ball or simply asked to dribble the ball at half-court...but I digress. :)

There has been a mentality change in football to this effect in the past 5-10 years. Now it is not unusual to see 60-70 points on a scoreboard.

BTW @dogmania hell of a post, agree with mostly all of it. I really think that at this point we were slowed down for 2 reasons

1. Lack of Guards - Until Boat was eligible, we were running with 2 ball-handlers(no disrespect to the walk-on). Lamb and Napier could not afford to run for 40 minutes

2. practice - I really think they wanted to get drummond and the freshman into some halfcourt sets.

With that being said, we need to push the ball because half-court o has been surprisingly lackluster to this point.
 
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I definitely think its a coaching thing because it seems like no matter what teams we've had through the years whenever thet team gets a lead they ease off the pedal and start working methodically through their halfcourt offense. As soon as they went up 17 that is when their offense went to muck and I started screaming here comes the patented prevent offense.
 
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There's a fine line. You don't want to stop being aggressive, but you also want to shorten the game and limit possessions. When you're ahead by 12 with eight minutes to go, keep playing. When you are up 12 with 4-5 minutes to go, going full throttle is not necessarily the best choice. Shooting an open three in the first 10 seconds of the shot clock is a big risk. If it goes in, they call it a dagger/going for the jugular, etc. If it doesn't - you can get long rebound, fast break, other team gets an easy bucket without much time going off the clock. Repeat the cycle a couple times and the 12-point lead is down to four or five very quickly and now you have a number of pressure possessions to hold on for the win. On the flip side, if you milk the shot clock and then play good defense for 15 seconds, you can basically give the other team one possession per minute to try to make up that deficit. Or if you happen to get an offensive rebound and kick it out, you can kill over a minute without them ever touching it and really shorten the game. The best scenario is to be able to be versatile enough to play full throttle, and then have excellent end-of-shot-clock offense that you can trust. The real killer daggers are when you use the whole shot clock AND score. But it takes time and game experience to get good in those situations.
 
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There has been a mentality change in football to this effect in the past 5-10 years. Now it is not unusual to see 60-70 points on a scoreboard.

BTW @dogmania hell of a post, agree with mostly all of it. I really think that at this point we were slowed down for 2 reasons

1. Lack of Guards - Until Boat was eligible, we were running with 2 ball-handlers(no disrespect to the walk-on). Lamb and Napier could not afford to run for 40 minutes

2. practice - I really think they wanted to get drummond and the freshman into some halfcourt sets.

With that being said, we need to push the ball because half-court o has been surprisingly lackluster to this point.
Good point about the lack of guard depth. I forgot to take that into account as far as this season goes. But taking into account what we saw last season and so far this season, I'm just not sure if JC wants them to attack early in the clock during stretches where he wants the to use up some clock. Maybe he does, but the players simply haven't been able to grasp it. But I can certainly understand that before Boatright came on board, Bazz and Lamb were likely running on fumes late in some of these games and tried to conserve energy, tried to be careful not to push it too much and pick up some silly fouls, etc.

With Boatright they should be able to push the pace. Again, I'm not saying fast break all the time, but to mix it up and at least push it after rebounds and made baskets to see if they can get some good looks before the D is set.
 
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There's a fine line. You don't want to stop being aggressive, but you also want to shorten the game and limit possessions. When you're ahead by 12 with eight minutes to go, keep playing. When you are up 12 with 4-5 minutes to go, going full throttle is not necessarily the best choice. Shooting an open three in the first 10 seconds of the shot clock is a big risk. If it goes in, they call it a dagger/going for the jugular, etc. If it doesn't - you can get long rebound, fast break, other team gets an easy bucket without much time going off the clock. Repeat the cycle a couple times and the 12-point lead is down to four or five very quickly and now you have a number of pressure possessions to hold on for the win. On the flip side, if you milk the shot clock and then play good defense for 15 seconds, you can basically give the other team one possession per minute to try to make up that deficit. Or if you happen to get an offensive rebound and kick it out, you can kill over a minute without them ever touching it and really shorten the game. The best scenario is to be able to be versatile enough to play full throttle, and then have excellent end-of-shot-clock offense that you can trust. The real killer daggers are when you use the whole shot clock AND score. But it takes time and game experience to get good in those situations.
Excellent analysis, Gurleyman. If UConn was a little more efficient in their half-court in these situations, I'd be all for doing this texbook, but they end up turning it over well before the full 35 elapses quite often w/out even getting a shot off and other times they simply run it down and get a shot that has no chance of going in. I'm not saying they should take the first open 3, for exactly the reason you stated. I'd like to see them attack the basket early, taking high percentage shots inside the paint, particularly dunks :). I'm okay with an occasional wide open early 3 if the right player catches the ball square to the basket and is ready to shoot during those run-some-clock situations.

I've just seen UConn allow teams to come back on them during these horrible scoring draughts that are often the result of what I described earlier. I just think they need to stay in an attack mode, while using some smarts and some caution. Take what they can get early if the risk is low, and then use some clock, but IMO by approaching that end of the floor in attack mode, it will keep them offensively (mentally) locked in even if they're intending to run some clock. The O'l windshield wiper offense always seems to get them out of sync. Heck, even early in many of these games, their windshield wiper offense gets them into trouble, so getting out of that habit isn't a bad thing. I've seen teams use a combination of some mock-dribble penetration (w/ no intent of taking it all the way into traffic) and some quick passing with player movement where they move the ball around to use up some clock. Having 2 to 3 players stand around while 2 to 3 dribble and pass it around the perimeter just seems to muck up the offensive gears, resulting in bad shots, TOs, and often screwing up the offensive flow from that point on.
 

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tl;dr because I'm about to start doing homework but I'll respond to the title:

In the UCF and FSU games it seemed like Bazz was rushing shots, passes and penetration attempts and JL was rushing drives as well. Our eam can run like no other in the country, but in the halfcourt, if anything, we need to slow it down and allow AD/AO to get a firm position at the post.
 
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