OK, I know I need to get a life. But I just finished going through the OSU game recording possession by possession and charted how OSU shredded our defense and the nature of each breakdown and each bucket in an attempt to determine, while I'm not caught up in the flow and excitement of a live game, who is and isn't getting it done on that end of the floor. If you're not interested in this level of detail, I don't blame you -- just move on! If you are, first I'm going to describe the possessions, at least as I saw them, then at the end try to group them so as to make some tentative conclusions about where the team needs work and who needs work in which areas.
Note these are only possessions which led to baskets or free throws by OSU, so in that sense it's an incomplete picture of the total defensive effort, and I stopped charting at the 4 minute timeout of the 2nd half, as the game had long been decided and it was deep, deep garbage time and therefore the whole exercise would've meant less and less. Some may differ with my judgments as to what happened on particular plays, what should have happened, etc.
But here goes with the first 36 minutes:
time: 1807 Seth goes under a Sullinger screen at the 3 point line. Easy 3 pointer for Craft. Category: perimeter defense/screen. Main culprit (I know, not a great word, but you know what I mean -- and I know on a lot of plays more than one defender contributed to the breakdown): Curry.
1747 live ball turnover leads to OSU runout and layup. Category: turnover: Culprit (defensively): none
1722 Seth screened up top, Craft gets into the lane, Mason blocked out from helping out. Layup. Category: help defense by bigs. Main culprit: Mason
1701 Austin missed layup, 4 guys, especially Seth, loaf getting back; easy transition layup. Category: transition. Main culprit: Curry
1613 2nd chance for OSU (loose ball off offensive board), ends up w/ Sullinger, muscled it in over Mason in the lane. Tough shot. Category: inside man-to-man. Culprit: Mason (though Sullinger's shot was tough)
1508 Dawkins caught on switch after excellent screen by Sullinger; Sullinger banks in easy 10 footer after easy entry pass. Category: lack of help. Culprit: none
1148 screen at 3 point line, Hairston switches too late, leaving Buford open for a 3 over Thornton. Category: perimeter defense/screen. Main culprit: Hairston
1039 Kelly overpowered in post by Sullinger after Kelly had to help when Mason beaten outside by Buford, who got into the lane and passed to Sullinger. Kelly couldn't get back into good defensive position and had no chance. Category: perimeter defense/off the dribble. Main culprit: Mason
932 Rivers beaten around screen, Buford receives pass, gets into the lane, fouled in the act. Category: perimeter defense/screen. Main culprit: Rivers
854 Sullinger backs Mason down in the post, challenges him, fouled in the act and hits both. Category: inside man-to-man. Culprit: Mason
828 Defense got scrambled, Sybert gets a tip in. Block out was missed - probably Ryan's. Category: failed block out. Culprit: Kelly
807 live ball turnover leads to Buford transition layup. Weak attempt by Curry to draw charge. Category: transition
740 Thomas drives from top of the circle, past Mason, into lane, hits tough runner. Category: perimeter defense/off the dribble. Main culprit: Mason
631 Sullinger drives from outside 3 point line into lane, shoots over Miles. Category: perimeter defense/off the dribble. Culprit: Miles
610 pick & roll leaves Kelly recovering onto Thomas at 3 point line, Thomas drives by, gets into lane easily, hits floater. Category: perimeter defense/screen. Culprit: Kelly. The game is getting away from us at this point.
540 High pick & roll for Craft; Curry caught by pick, Kelly doesn't step up, easy J. Category: perimeter defense/screen. Culprit: Kelly
429 Good perimeter defense by us but when Mason helped Ryan out on a drive, which caused an airball to be shot, it left Sullinger open for the easy tip in. Dawkins couldn't rotate over to box Sullinger out --not nearly big enough to handle that. Category: perimeter defense/off the dribble Culprit: Kelly
402 Dawkins loafs around a screen, easy J for Buford. Category: perimeter defense/screen. Culprit: Dawkins
256 Uncontested 3 in the halfcourt by Thomas. Nobody within 15' of him. Nobody ever saw him or picked him up the entire possession. Mason's man, I think. Category: perimeter one-on-one defense. Culprit: Mason
159 Duke in 1-2-2 zone, Thomas gets to FT line, finding seam behind Thornton, receives pass from Sullinger in the post, easy 6 footer in the lane over Miles, who was slow to get over. Category: zone principles and then slow help Culprit: Tyler and Miles
104 2nd chance. Miles beaten to hustle rebound, Thomas shoots over him. Category: failure to block out. Culprit: Miles
0000 Inbounds play, Rivers gets picked, no switch with Miles, uncontested 12' corner J for Thomas at the buzzer. Terrible. Category: perimeter defense/screen. Culprit: Rivers. He needed to fight through the screen rather than assume Miles would switch on this play, as if he had switched, Rivers would've been caught under the hoop with an OSU big - would've meant a layup right over him. Bad recognition by Austin.
1905 Pick & roll at the 3 point line, slow recovery by Seth on the switch. Thomas drains the 3. Category: perimeter defense/screen. Culprit: Curry
1729 (Kelly had already been pulled for the night by this point) Rivers' man beats him into the lane, Dawkins and Curry help, good ball movement by OSU, we can't recover quickly enough, ultimately Dawkins can't close out in time. Smith nails a 3. Category: perimeter one-on-one defense and then help/rotation. Culprit: Rivers and Dawkins
We are in full-fledged blowout mode at this point.
1624 Thomas offensive board/putback over Dawkins and Rivers. Just a bigger, stronger player. Category: failure to block out. Culprit: Rivers and Dawkins.
Dawkins is then pulled for the night.
1459 Pick & roll, Craft banks in the straight-on 3 after Curry backed way too far off him. No recovery from the screen. Category: perimeter defense/screen. Culprit: Curry
1250 Helter-skelter play, Craft gets into the lane, ball bounces off us right back to him, layup. Category: misc. Culprit: none
1152 Mason isolated on the wing vs Buford, who takes him 1 on 1 off the dribble. Weak help by Miles - didn't even put his hands up. Category: perimeter defense off the dribble and then help/rotation by bigs. Culprits: Mason and Miles
1052 Sullinger posts Miles, Miles is slow to get around him (and that tuchus of his), fouls him on the shot. Category: inside man-to-man. Culprit: Miles
1000 Miles loses Sullinger on a pick, Mason doesn't realize it. Layup. Category: Help defense by bigs. Culprit: Mason
812 Craft gets baseline screen, no switch by Mason, who doesn't see it coming and allows himself to be screened; late help in lane by Miles. Layup. Category: Help defense by bigs. Culprit: Mason and Miles
720 Good ball movement by OSU, we're scrambling to keep up, Rivers a bit lost, refs miss obvious foot out of bounds on baseline by OSU, good passing leads to Sullinger dunk. Category: help/rotation Culprit: none
636 More good ball movement by OSU as we scramble on the perimeter. Cause of the scramble was soft double down by Rivers. We scramble, they kick it out and reverse it, leads to 3 by Craft. Category: help/rotation. Culprit: Rivers
503 Again, double down leads to kick-out and scramble and Sullinger layup. Better double by Austin, but good kick-out pass by Sullinger. Good recovery by Hairston and by Rivers, but Craft just drove by what I assume to be an exhausted Rivers and made the easy pass to Sullinger. Category: help/rotation. Culprit: none
OK so by my count, the category breakdown looks like this:
Lack of help or slow help including "help by bigs" - 10 hoops
Perimeter defense/screens - 9 hoops
Perimeter defense off the dribble - 4
Failed block outs - 3
Perimeter one-on-one defense - 3
Inside man-to-man defense - 3
Transition - 2
Zone principles issues - 1
Turnover - 1
Miscellaneous - 1
These probably don't add up to the total # of actual OSU hoops due to some hoops being attributable to more than one issue, or the defensive issue led to free throws instead of a field goal, or I just messed up a little, but the number should be close.
Mason had 3 instances that I attributed to bad help D that led to hoops
he had 3 of perimeter off-the-dribble issues that led to hoops
2 inside man-to man
and 1 other perimeter 1-on-1
That's a total of 9 hoops that his defense appeared to me to be a significant factor in the Buckeyes getting that bucket. I know he played a lot of minutes, and OSU has the best big man in college basketball, but 9 still seems like a lot.
slow help - 3
perimeter off the dribble - 1
failed blockout - 1
inside man-to-man - 1
total: 6. That's also a lot considering his minutes.
perimeter defense/screen issues - 2
perimeter one-on-one - 1
failed blockout - 1
help/rotation - 1
perimeter defense/screen issues - 3
transition - 1
perimeter defense/screen issues - 2
perimeter off the dribble - 1
failed blockout - 1
total: 4. A lot considering his minutes. I think this is why he was pulled, not his getting skunked on offense.
slow help - 1
Perimeter defense/screen issues - 1
failed blockout - 1
perimeter defense/screen - 1
zone principles - 1
Mike and Quinn: 0
So I don't know how much all of that is worth. Maybe not much. And I know my methods are open to criticism, and there were judgment calls made by me throughout. But nevertheless if my analysis is even close, it lays out the areas that we were weak defensively in in this game and who may need to work on what.
As a team, we had an awful time handling screens -- both the screened man fighting through, which was almost nonexistent, as well as anybody else stepping up to help the screened man, and our rotations were often poor when the ball began to swing as a result of the floor being opened up by a screen. Recovering from solid screens being set is difficult. Perhaps that's why we do so much screening of our own on offense, right? (see Knight, Bob) But we've simply got to improve in this area on the defensive end.
Seth has got to get better at handling perimeter screens, fighting through when appropriate, being ready to switch when necessary, and doing so quickly. Too many easy opportunities for the Buckeyes on screen plays involving Curry.
Mason, as great a rebounder and shot alterer as he can be, did not play well defensively in this game, in a number of areas, if these numbers are credited. Our perimeter guys have taken a lot of criticism on these boards for their defensive performance, and perhaps rightfully so, but the big guys weren't any better. Surprisingly, it wasn't Sullinger just overpowering him inside in this game. Mason got beaten repeatedly in one-on-one, off the dribble situations by guys as well, and that just killed us too.
Miles has to get quicker and more aggressive in jumping out to help his teammates defensively.
Austin has to make a more consistent defensive effort in all areas, though to be fair he played a ton of minutes and was most of the offense in this game, and he had to be dog tired.
Anyway, that's it for now. Hope some of you find this interesting and/or helpful in some way. Comments are of course welcome.
AWESOME analysis. Very eye opening. Thanks for taking the time to do this.
Don't reach, youngblood . . .
Very good analysis.
Several observations of your analysis. The most common lapses in defense that you mentioned were:
"Lack of help or slow help including "help by bigs" - 10 hoops
Perimeter defense/screens - 9 hoops"
These are not problems that existed in other games this year and can be handled by coaching. They are also lapses which are indicators of tired legs since everyone may be s atep slow (this is not an excuse just an observation).
It is a bit unfair to attribute these lapses to individual players since Duke does play team defense. If someone gets beat on a screen one player may not have helped enough but the other player may not have fought through the screen enough. Slow help by a big also means there was a player who was perhaps too easily beaten not giving a big enough time to help.
Finally, often times defensive lapses are just a team executing their offense very well. A shut-out by the Duke BBall team would be fun to watch, but some plays you just can't stop.
How do you improve your defense when you are alarmingly unathletic?
Very interesting reading.
Not entirely sure what to make of it. Kelly has the makings (right now) of a DYNAMITE Euro player. He can dazzle against shorter/less skilled players... but he has yet to be truly Elite against the Elite.
I noticed some of the same stuff against our other opponents, only they would miss the shot. The opponent blowing shots makes the D look A LOT better. It would be interesting to see you similarly break down the KU or Michigan game looking at shot attempts vs made missed baskets to see if the Defensive trends were there all along, but hidden by poor shooting. Really esoteric.
Dawkins has always had occasional lapses in D. He will have to learn to play thru bumps and drive to the hoop more using the <knight> shot-fake </knight>
Seth was uncharacteristically jammed the entire game - I think OSU learned something from the end of the KU game. Take away his space to operate and he is much less effective (at least in that 1 game). Seth will need to get better at handling that. I'm not surprised Cook got some burn Particularly after TT had about a 3 min stretch where he thought he was JJ.
This is going to be a bumpy season. Mason and Austin were the GUYS that came to play THAT night, so I cant say anything bad about them. Miles and Kelly WTF? off nights, bad match-up? Too soon to know for sure.
One thing I DO know...
Duke will get better from this. Sometimes you have to feel the heat to know that the stove is hot. I think we will learn a lot about this team in the next couple of games. I was AT the RBC when State beat Duke. It just wasn't Dukes night. Nothing worked. After that loss we marched to the '10 title. So I am hopeful meaningful lessons will be learned after this loss as well and we can at least improve.
Having said that, I don't think Mason or Austin played significantly worse on D than anybody else. FWIW, using tommy's numbers, here are the "blown D per minute" stats (not counting last 4 minutes) for everyone on the team against Ohio State (worst to best):
Which is interesting, because this makes it appears the defensive breakdown was mostly due to our bigs' mistakes, when my eyes told me during the game that the bigs played pretty well on D and the breakdowns were mostly due to poor perimeter D. Not sure if my eyes were wrong, or if tommy's analysis puts more emphasis on bigs' mistakes, but either way it provides food for thought.Code:Miles .353 Mason .290 Ryan .267 Andre .158 Seth .154 Austin .151 Tyler .125 Josh .111 Mike .000 Quinn .000
Not sure you can entirely blame Mason for getting scored on my Sullinger. No one can stop him.
According to CBSSports (which I saw through airowe's twitter feed), Quinn may start for Andre next game, in part because our perimeter D struggled against Ohio State. It will be interesting to see if this is accurate, because I'd be very surprised if Quinn/Seth/Austin is a better defensive arrangement than Seth/Austin/Andre. We'd be potentially giving up size at all three positions.
Reading and posting at DBR for over 19 years and loving every... well, almost every minute of it!
Anyway, I wonder how many of the poor rotations came after our guards doing a poor job with screens. The 2010 team was great at rotations, etc., but part of how good Zoubs and Lance were at avoiding screens was how tough Nolan and Jon were on the perimeter. Nolan's long arms and wiry strength made him hard to screen and hard to get around. Jon was almost at Battier levels when it came to positioning on defense and Kyle was criminally underrated as a defender on the perimeter, despite his supposed lack of elite lateral speed. Even when one of those guys was beaten by a screen or dribble penetration, the offensive player usually had to take a slightly more roundabout way into the lane, giving our bigs more time to see what is coming. I feel like against Ohio St., Kansas, and others, our perimeter has been shredded so easily that the offensive player needs only to drive straight into the lane with little to no resistance, giving the bigs less time.
Note that this is not an attempt to defend our post rotations. Mason and Miles are clearly still learning in this regard and they indeed may be a step slow. However, it does seem that the sheer number of opportunities they had to blow a rotation is evidence that our perimeter was letting way too many Buckeyes into the paint.
I'd like to note that it's easy to blame a big for a lot of plays near the hoop. But it's not a zone defense, and a defensive rotation in a man-to-man defense isn't supposed to be a 100% successful defensive strategy. Did OSU do a good job of getting our big men into places where it's hard to make a defensive rotation? Were they purposely scheming to break down our interior D?
In other words, I'd have to watch the game again and go through your breakdown to believe you; when I watched the game I didn't think the bigs were playing worse D than everyone else. Instead, I thought we did a terrible job rebounding.
“There are five fundamental qualities that make every team great: communication, trust, collective responsibility, caring and pride. I like to think of each as a separate finger on the fist. Any one individually is important. But all of them together are unbeatable.”
Awesome work tommy. One comment that I'm sure you thought about when going through the game: just because OSU scored or got to the free throw line doesn't mean there was a culprit or breakdown of the defense. You can play great defense and the other team scores anyway. Also, sometimes defensive decisions often are made with the intention of decreasing the likelihood that the other team will score. For example, on the first score of the game, I suspect Curry did exactly as he was instructed to do by going under the Sully screen even if it meant that Craft would have an opportunity to take a 3. Over time, allowing Craft to get a look may have been the smart play even if he hit the shot that time. In sum, you can't take away everything, so you live with certain defensive "lapses" that give the other team a relatively low likelihood of success.
"I don't like them when they are eating my azaleas or rhododendrons or pansies." - Coach K