Page 1 of 8 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 141
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Washington, DC area

    Dr. Krzyzewski or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Stall

    It's topical, so I thought I'd dust this one off:

    From observation and conversation, K predictably slows the pace if we're up by more than twice as many points as minutes left in the game, and if we're tired or in foul trouble he may push it a bit. He's been doing it for decades. We've been stressing and obsessing over it for decades, too. (OK, when we have an absolutely dominant team - i.e., '99 - he hasn't slowed as often, he generally won't slow until the last 10 minutes, etc. This post is for the more common end-game situations.)

    The math, as best I can figure it:

    Before the other team begins immediate fouling, we can burn about 30 seconds in each stalled possession. In the other direction, we try to force the other team to use at least 15 seconds per possession with a soft, low-risk full-court press and solid half-court D. That gives us a 45-second exchange of possessions, on average.

    If we limit them to netting (pun intended) less than 1.5 points per 45-second exchange, we'll win.

    If we average just over half a point per possession and hold them to average just under 2 points per possession, the math works. We should be able to average half a point per possession, even if we occasionally (or even three times in a row) get no shot off. On the other hand, it takes an extraordinary performance for a team to average 2 points per possession over multiple possessions. If we hold them to under 1.5 points per possession and 45 second exchanges then we don't even have to score to hold on. We need to value the ball, make occasional shots, and play smart defense. No turnovers. No fouls. (I'm looking at both of you, Butler and Pitt!)

    If the other team does start immediate fouling so that we go to exchanges every 15 seconds instead of 45, we need to hit 75% free-throws (shooting 2; 1-and-1 won't last long) to get 1.5 points per possession while still holding them just under 2 points per possession. We must inbound and pass to the best free throw shooters, and make sure everyone can shoot adequately (sorry, Mason).

    Is it perfect? Of course not. Effective? Usually. Induce ulcers? Always.

    Some people deem slowing the game to be giving up the initiative. I don't. Whether you like stall ball or not, when we use it we dictate the pace of the game. The opponent must react to us. They can play straight up defense or start fouling - and when they start fouling, they admit to desperation.

    I won't dispute stalling does change the nature of the game considerably. However, an opponent capable of averaging 2 points or more per possession over a long stretch could also beat us without K slowing the game down.

    I'll trust K. And the math.

    -jk

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Undisclosed
    If only a game played out that way.

    Other scenario:

    -- we lose the initiative on offense, and end up with a bad shot.
    -- other team pushes, gets a lay-up or a three point play. Crowd reacts.
    -- they press, we turn the ball over. Crowd gets louder.
    -- other team scores again. Crowd erupts.
    -- we walk it up, come away empty on a long outside shot.
    -- they come down and score on the run-out. K calls time out because momentum has clearly shifted.

    Suddenly, the 12 point lead with 5 minutes to go is now a 5 point lead with 3 to go. Back to a two-possession game.

    And, all that took was two empty trips and a turn-over.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Chesapeake, VA.
    The math is all fine and good. I used a simpler method to come to the same conclusion: I watched the games and tracked what happened when we went to "stall ball." I did this for an entire season.

    At the end of this experiment, I was satisfied that "stall ball" was effective, if sometimes nerve-wracking.
    Failure is always an option.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by rsvman View Post
    The math is all fine and good. I used a simpler method to come to the same conclusion: I watched the games and tracked what happened when we went to "stall ball." I did this for an entire season.

    At the end of this experiment, I was satisfied that "stall ball" was effective, if sometimes nerve-wracking.
    I have learned to accept stall ball as effective. I just think, in the future, against the 1-3-1, we needed to stall by passing the ball around to get the zone out of position for a drive and kick and not by dribbling.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Arlington, VA
    Thanks for the explanation, very solid post. Is there any chance you could put that in a graph for us visual learners?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Washington DC
    Quote Originally Posted by OldPhiKap View Post
    If only a game played out that way.

    Other scenario:

    -- we lose the initiative on offense, and end up with a bad shot.
    -- other team pushes, gets a lay-up or a three point play. Crowd reacts.
    -- they press, we turn the ball over. Crowd gets louder.
    -- other team scores again. Crowd erupts.
    -- we walk it up, come away empty on a long outside shot.
    -- they come down and score on the run-out. K calls time out because momentum has clearly shifted.

    Suddenly, the 12 point lead with 5 minutes to go is now a 5 point lead with 3 to go. Back to a two-possession game.

    And, all that took was two empty trips and a turn-over.
    That's every bit the fault of the defensive effort for giving up easy baskets as it is the problem with slowing the pace while we have the ball on offense. In fact, I'd argue much more of what Duke does in a game is predicated upon our defensive efforts than offensive. The spread offense should never hurt our defensive efforts. If it appears to have done so, our guys were not focused enough, I'd argue.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Nashville
    Quote Originally Posted by -jk View Post
    It's topical, so I thought I'd dust this one off:

    From observation and conversation, K predictably slows the pace if we're up by more than twice as many points as minutes left in the game, and if we're tired or in foul trouble he may push it a bit. He's been doing it for decades. We've been stressing and obsessing over it for decades, too. (OK, when we have an absolutely dominant team - i.e., '99 - he hasn't slowed as often, he generally won't slow until the last 10 minutes, etc. This post is for the more common end-game situations.)

    The math, as best I can figure it:

    Before the other team begins immediate fouling, we can burn about 30 seconds in each stalled possession. In the other direction, we try to force the other team to use at least 15 seconds per possession with a soft, low-risk full-court press and solid half-court D. That gives us a 45-second exchange of possessions, on average.

    If we limit them to netting (pun intended) less than 1.5 points per 45-second exchange, we'll win.

    If we average just over half a point per possession and hold them to average just under 2 points per possession, the math works. We should be able to average half a point per possession, even if we occasionally (or even three times in a row) get no shot off. On the other hand, it takes an extraordinary performance for a team to average 2 points per possession over multiple possessions. If we hold them to under 1.5 points per possession and 45 second exchanges then we don't even have to score to hold on. We need to value the ball, make occasional shots, and play smart defense. No turnovers. No fouls. (I'm looking at both of you, Butler and Pitt!)

    If the other team does start immediate fouling so that we go to exchanges every 15 seconds instead of 45, we need to hit 75% free-throws (shooting 2; 1-and-1 won't last long) to get 1.5 points per possession while still holding them just under 2 points per possession. We must inbound and pass to the best free throw shooters, and make sure everyone can shoot adequately (sorry, Mason).

    Is it perfect? Of course not. Effective? Usually. Induce ulcers? Always.

    Some people deem slowing the game to be giving up the initiative. I don't. Whether you like stall ball or not, when we use it we dictate the pace of the game. The opponent must react to us. They can play straight up defense or start fouling - and when they start fouling, they admit to desperation.

    I won't dispute stalling does change the nature of the game considerably. However, an opponent capable of averaging 2 points or more per possession over a long stretch could also beat us without K slowing the game down.

    I'll trust K. And the math.

    -jk
    Excellent post, JK! I think people incorrectly blame the stall for Michigan's comeback. The defense allowed just about 2 points per possession over that final 5 minute span. In addition, we actually did attack the 1-3-1 a number of times before going into the stall . . . the results were just as bad as when we were intentionally draining the clock. We missed a number of jumpers while only taking about 15 seconds off the clock. I actually think those missed jumpers coming BEFORE the stall are what put Michigan into position to make things interesting.

    Also, as many others have noted in other threads, the stall has helped us win far more frequently than it has played a part in losses. In fact, last year the stall was employed to brilliant effect in almost every win. It is obviously a debatable point, but i think the execution of the players has more to do with whether or not stall ball is successful than the actual strategy. The final five minutes against Michigan represented such poor execution that it rivaled the final five minutes against VaTech for worst stretch in the season. Luckily we were up 13 when the poor play started. With better execution on both ends, no one would have even remembered that we started to take the air out of the ball with 5 minutes left.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Undisclosed
    I guess what I would like to see is a statistic on offensive efficiency when running our non-stall offense versus when we stall. Because my sense is that we are basically allowing the other side to cut the margin and betting that time runs out before the margin shrinks to zero. If so, all stall ball does is bring losing into the equation by giving us less margin.

    If what we've been running has jumped us out to a big lead, why go away from it (absent foul problems)?

    Especially when the other team is in a zone, so we cannot run our foul-line-extended spread?

  9. #9
    Coach K said in the postgame presser that we were NOT in a designed delay against Michigan. He seemed to suggest it was our guards' lack of experience against the 1-3-1. He also suggested that this was exacerbated by Kyrie having only 3 practices.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Beaufort, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by -jk View Post
    It's topical, so I thought I'd dust this one off:

    From observation and conversation, K predictably slows the pace if we're up by more than twice as many points as minutes left in the game, and if we're tired or in foul trouble he may push it a bit. He's been doing it for decades. We've been stressing and obsessing over it for decades, too. (OK, when we have an absolutely dominant team - i.e., '99 - he hasn't slowed as often, he generally won't slow until the last 10 minutes, etc. This post is for the more common end-game situations.)

    The math, as best I can figure it:

    Before the other team begins immediate fouling, we can burn about 30 seconds in each stalled possession. In the other direction, we try to force the other team to use at least 15 seconds per possession with a soft, low-risk full-court press and solid half-court D. That gives us a 45-second exchange of possessions, on average.

    If we limit them to netting (pun intended) less than 1.5 points per 45-second exchange, we'll win.

    If we average just over half a point per possession and hold them to average just under 2 points per possession, the math works. We should be able to average half a point per possession, even if we occasionally (or even three times in a row) get no shot off. On the other hand, it takes an extraordinary performance for a team to average 2 points per possession over multiple possessions. If we hold them to under 1.5 points per possession and 45 second exchanges then we don't even have to score to hold on. We need to value the ball, make occasional shots, and play smart defense. No turnovers. No fouls. (I'm looking at both of you, Butler and Pitt!)

    If the other team does start immediate fouling so that we go to exchanges every 15 seconds instead of 45, we need to hit 75% free-throws (shooting 2; 1-and-1 won't last long) to get 1.5 points per possession while still holding them just under 2 points per possession. We must inbound and pass to the best free throw shooters, and make sure everyone can shoot adequately (sorry, Mason).

    Is it perfect? Of course not. Effective? Usually. Induce ulcers? Always.

    Some people deem slowing the game to be giving up the initiative. I don't. Whether you like stall ball or not, when we use it we dictate the pace of the game. The opponent must react to us. They can play straight up defense or start fouling - and when they start fouling, they admit to desperation.

    I won't dispute stalling does change the nature of the game considerably. However, an opponent capable of averaging 2 points or more per possession over a long stretch could also beat us without K slowing the game down.

    I'll trust K. And the math.

    -jk
    Well written and a great summary of this topic that my brother, dad, me, and many Dukies have been debating for decades, as you wrote. I think the most common statement after this latest "slow down mode" was "I can't believe Coach K took the air out of the ball like that... but it WAS his 900th win!" It can be excruciating when he does it, but then again, he's the master at it. So at the end of the day, will I accept the frustration for the most wins all time? No question.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Chitowndevil View Post
    Coach K said in the postgame presser that we were NOT in a designed delay against Michigan. He seemed to suggest it was our guards' lack of experience against the 1-3-1. He also suggested that this was exacerbated by Kyrie having only 3 practices.
    Did you watch the game? Do you think this is really true? Do you think when Kyrie and Nolan were dribbling and passing back and forth 30 feet from the basket they were "confused" by the zone?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Lancaster, PA
    Quote Originally Posted by OldPhiKap View Post
    If only a game played out that way.

    Other scenario:

    -- we lose the initiative on offense, and end up with a bad shot.
    -- other team pushes, gets a lay-up or a three point play. Crowd reacts.
    -- they press, we turn the ball over. Crowd gets louder.
    -- other team scores again. Crowd erupts.
    -- we walk it up, come away empty on a long outside shot.
    -- they come down and score on the run-out. K calls time out because momentum has clearly shifted.

    Suddenly, the 12 point lead with 5 minutes to go is now a 5 point lead with 3 to go. Back to a two-possession game.

    And, all that took was two empty trips and a turn-over.
    Your scenario could happen, but seems that itís just as likely that the opposing team presses, takes a poor shot, and gives the ball back to Duke with less time on the clock and even more pressure on the losing team.

    Scheyer's composure and free throw prowess made him an assassin in last yearís tourney. Iíd take my chances that Irving or Nolan will be as effective.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Undisclosed
    Quote Originally Posted by InSpades View Post
    Did you watch the game? Do you think this is really true? Do you think when Kyrie and Nolan were dribbling and passing back and forth 30 feet from the basket they were "confused" by the zone?
    Agreed. I was at the game, and there was no movement from anyone. I know that's what he said, but if he wanted to attack I am sure he could have drawn something up.

    It was Four Corners, 2011-style.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Nashville
    Quote Originally Posted by OldPhiKap View Post

    Especially when the other team is in a zone, so we cannot run our foul-line-extended spread?
    I think this may be the key point. We looked really bad against the zone. Against man to man, I think the foul-line-extended spread has generally been one of our best offenses. In fact, spreading the floor and letting Nolan go to work was how we jumped out to our big lead against Michigan. If Michigan continued to play man and we just waited for Nolan to attack at the 10 second mark on the shot clock, I think we would have had similarly excellent results.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Washington, DC area
    Quote Originally Posted by OldPhiKap View Post
    I guess what I would like to see is a statistic on offensive efficiency when running our non-stall offense versus when we stall. Because my sense is that we are basically allowing the other side to cut the margin and betting that time runs out before the margin shrinks to zero. If so, all stall ball does is bring losing into the equation by giving us less margin.

    If what we've been running has jumped us out to a big lead, why go away from it (absent foul problems)?
    A lot of big leads are driven by runs, and runs tend to go both ways when two good teams are involved. I like to think of stall-ball as the basketball equivalent of siege warfare. Try to take some of the variability out of the equation, limit the number of possessions, limit the runs.

    -jk

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by OldPhiKap View Post
    Agreed. I was at the game, and there was no movement from anyone. I know that's what he said, but if he wanted to attack I am sure he could have drawn something up.

    It was Four Corners, 2011-style.
    If Duke was so "confused" by the zone, wouldn't K have called a timeout and given them something to run against it? Duke called a timout at 9:20 left in the game (to halt a Michigan 7-0 run that cut the lead from 15 to 8). The next timeout called was at 1:18 after Hardaway hit the 3 to cut the lead to 1.

    This was a prime example of the "stall" almost blowing the game. Duke had 3 plays in the last minute that if any of them had gone the other way they could have lost (the offensive rebound of Dre's missed 3, Kyrie's floater and Morris' missed shot in the lane).

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    On the couch
    Quote Originally Posted by superdave View Post
    That's every bit the fault of the defensive effort for giving up easy baskets as it is the problem with slowing the pace while we have the ball on offense. In fact, I'd argue much more of what Duke does in a game is predicated upon our defensive efforts than offensive. The spread offense should never hurt our defensive efforts. If it appears to have done so, our guys were not focused enough, I'd argue.
    I'd agree. I think the strategy is solid, but like any strategy you need to execute and we didn't very well at the end of the Michigan game.

    But here is the thing about the Michigan game, we were up against a unique style of play both on the defensive side of the ball and on offense. It was almost like the perfect storm scenario where we were befuddled when we had the ball by the 1-3-1 zone and were unsure of where the attack points were, and they put 4 three point shooters on the court with a guy that could get in the lane… I don’t care who you are, that is hard to defend when the shots are dropping.

    I don't like the stall ball, but I have learned to accept it. You can't argue with 900 wins.

    The flip side to stall ball is to continue to run your normal offense. But that can backfire as well. When UNC is struggling in a game, I have often commented to my wife that they should burn some clock. They most often do not, and at times it has let teams get back in a game so I bet you could go over to IC and they would be complaining about not stalling!

    So, on the whole I guess stall ball is the right way to go, again you have a hard time arguing against the math and the number of games we have won doing it.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    New York, NY
    Quote Originally Posted by InSpades View Post
    Did you watch the game? Do you think this is really true? Do you think when Kyrie and Nolan were dribbling and passing back and forth 30 feet from the basket they were "confused" by the zone?
    Well, I watched the game, and I think it was both. We may have been running the slow down game, but unlike the usual situation when we do so, when it came time to run an offense in the last 10-15 seconds of the shot clock, we (and especially Nolan and Kyrie) looked like we had absolutely no idea how to get a decent shot against the 1-3-1. I think there was a lot of uncertainty about how to attack that defense.
    Just be you. You is enough. - K, 4/5/10, 0:13.8 to play, 60-59 Duke.

    You're all jealous hypocrites. - Titus on Laettner

    You see those guys? Animals. They're animals. - SIU Coach Chris Lowery, on Duke

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by pfrduke View Post
    Well, I watched the game, and I think it was both. We may have been running the slow down game, but unlike the usual situation when we do so, when it came time to run an offense in the last 10-15 seconds of the shot clock, we (and especially Nolan and Kyrie) looked like we had absolutely no idea how to get a decent shot against the 1-3-1. I think there was a lot of uncertainty about how to attack that defense.
    Oh no doubt we struggled against the 1-3-1 when we were stalling. This shouldn't come as a huge surprise. You have to work the ball around to get a good shot against the zone and having only 10-15 seconds to do it is not enough time. We did it just fine in the 1st half (Kyrie hitting Kyle for his wide open 3). We managed to do it okay on the last play when Nolan found Kyrie for a nice drive. The zone is traps and double teams. You have to work the ball around, get them out of position and then you can exploit it. Dribbling the ball for 15 seconds plays right into the hands of the zone.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    On the couch
    Quote Originally Posted by InSpades View Post
    If Duke was so "confused" by the zone, wouldn't K have called a timeout and given them something to run against it? Duke called a timout at 9:20 left in the game (to halt a Michigan 7-0 run that cut the lead from 15 to 8). The next timeout called was at 1:18 after Hardaway hit the 3 to cut the lead to 1.

    This was a prime example of the "stall" almost blowing the game. Duke had 3 plays in the last minute that if any of them had gone the other way they could have lost (the offensive rebound of Dre's missed 3, Kyrie's floater and Morris' missed shot in the lane).
    Yea, BUT the problem with what if's is you can play that game on both sides. What if AD's three goes in? What if Kyle had gotten the 4 points he left on the foul line earlier, what if they miss one or just two of the three's they made...

    I think the discussion is better if we don't apply it to any one game, but look at it over time and measure the results. Any one game can be pointed to and argued either for or against the stall ball strategy, but then once again you get into the what if's. Look at the record, 900 wins and counting. Speaking for myself, I just do not feel that I am in a position to question the tactics deployed by the soon to be winningest coach in the history of the NCAA...

Similar Threads

  1. How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Stall
    By -jk in forum Elizabeth King Forum
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 03-14-2010, 09:10 PM
  2. Replies: 109
    Last Post: 03-04-2010, 02:57 PM
  3. What have we learned after 6 games?
    By Saratoga2 in forum Elizabeth King Forum
    Replies: 29
    Last Post: 11-30-2009, 04:43 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •