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  1. #1
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    Feb 2007
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    Bucket-by-Bucket Breakdown of the Defense vs. OSU: Where (and who) went wrong

    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:


    1st Half:

    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.


    Second Half:

    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.

    Individuals:

    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.

    Miles:
    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.

    Rivers:
    perimeter defense/screen issues - 2
    perimeter one-on-one - 1
    failed blockout - 1
    help/rotation - 1
    total:5

    Curry:
    perimeter defense/screen issues - 3
    transition - 1
    total: 4

    Kelly:
    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.

    Dawkins:
    slow help - 1
    Perimeter defense/screen issues - 1
    failed blockout - 1
    total: 3

    Hairston:
    perimeter defense/screen - 1

    Thornton:
    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.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Nanjing, China
    AWESOME analysis. Very eye opening. Thanks for taking the time to do this.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    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.

  4. #4
    How do you improve your defense when you are alarmingly unathletic?

  5. #5
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    Boston
    Quote Originally Posted by House G View Post
    How do you improve your defense when you are alarmingly unathletic?
    Next time Dickie V comes to Cameron the students shouldn't let him into the stands to jump around because hes not "athletic enough" for that. I know that K is shaking his head somewhere that another ESPN "analyst" put forth this point.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by HCheek37 View Post
    Next time Dickie V comes to Cameron the students shouldn't let him into the stands to jump around because hes not "athletic enough" for that. I know that K is shaking his head somewhere that another ESPN "analyst" put forth this point.
    It worked well for us last time, IIRC . . . .

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    North Raleigh
    Quote Originally Posted by House G View Post
    How do you improve your defense when you are alarmingly unathletic?
    If I were a player... I'd foul harder. Not a brawl, but I'd get my moneys worth on every one.
    No touch stuff. If I were going to do the "Handcheck" that gets called so often, I'd make it more of a push to make it look like a possible walk.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    North Raleigh

    Seriously ... good look

    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.

  9. #9
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    Sep 2008
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    Philadelphia
    Quote Originally Posted by tommy View Post
    Kelly:
    total: 4. A lot considering his minutes. I think this is why he was pulled, not his getting skunked on offense.
    Great analysis. Although it's interesting you think Ryan was pulled for poor defense when his "blown D per minute" (4/15 = .267) was actually better than Mason's (9/31, taking last 4 mins out of the denominator = .290).

    Quote Originally Posted by wilko View Post
    Mason and Austin were the GUYS that came to play THAT night, so I cant say anything bad about them.
    It's interesting how our views can get skewed by scoring. Mason and Austin are the guys who came to score that night, certainly. But if tommy's stats are accurate, Mason led the team in blown defensive plays (by a large margin) as well as committing four turnovers (also leading the team).

    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):

    Code:
    Miles   .353
    Mason   .290
    Ryan    .267
    Andre   .158
    Seth    .154
    Austin  .151
    Tyler   .125
    Josh    .111
    Mike    .000
    Quinn   .000
    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.

  10. #10
    Not sure you can entirely blame Mason for getting scored on my Sullinger. No one can stop him.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwlaw99 View Post
    Not sure you can entirely blame Mason for getting scored on my Sullinger. No one can stop him.
    Yeah, but look at the breakdown. Only two of Mason's nine "blown D" instances were Sullinger scoring on Mason.

  12. #12
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    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.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kedsy View Post
    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.
    Could be that Quinn into the starting five is just for the Colorado State game. Colorado State is not very big. Their leading rebounder(7.0rbg) is Pierce Hornung a 6'5" F. He's not a big scorer but is hitting 61.5% of his shots. Their leading scorer(17.3pg is Wes Eikmeier a 6'3" g. He's shooting 42.5% of his shots. The leading assist man(2.9apg) is Dorian Green a 6'2" G. He's shooting 41.2% of his shots. They have a senior guard, Kaipo Sabas that plays sparingly but is hitting 70.6% of his his shots with 61.5% of his 3s(just 9-14). They have a 7 footer that plays very little. We should be able to pound the ball into Mason, Miles and Ryan. I believe any shakeup in our rotation will be to get the kids attention. Like you I'm skeptical of the Quinn/Seth/Austin defensive arrangement. GoDuke!

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Kedsy View Post
    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.
    I don't know if this is legit either, and I'm not necessarily going to advocate for it. Having said that, at some point you have to ask yourself if being able to stay in front of your man is more important than a size advantage. I know when I'm playing I can deal with a guy that might have a couple of inches on me if I can get by him. But conversely, if a guy has quicks and can stay in front of me it matters very little if I have a couple of inches on him (I'm speaking as a perimeter player, not a low post player).
    Reading and posting at DBR for over 19 years and loving every... well, almost every minute of it!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary View Post
    Having said that, at some point you have to ask yourself if being able to stay in front of your man is more important than a size advantage.
    I agree with this, but so far I haven't seen any evidence that Quinn (or Seth or Austin, or Tyler for that matter) can stay in front of his man any more than Andre can. Combine that with the size disadvantage and it would appear as if a Quinn/Seth/Austin would be at a defensive disadvantage.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Kedsy View Post
    I agree with this, but so far I haven't seen any evidence that Quinn (or Seth or Austin, or Tyler for that matter) can stay in front of his man any more than Andre can. Combine that with the size disadvantage and it would appear as if a Quinn/Seth/Austin would be at a defensive disadvantage.
    Honestly, it can't be much worse. What we may lose in height on D we will more than make up for by

    1) Forcing a small forward to guard Austin. Good luck with that.
    2) Allowing Seth to play off the ball. It's his more natural position and he's shooting the hell out of the ball.
    3) Putting Quinn in the Point Guard spot will put a distributor in that lead guard role. He's better than anyone on our team this.

    I'm not saying this will happen, but if it does the pros outweigh the cons.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by airowe View Post
    Forcing a small forward to guard Austin. Good luck with that.
    Why would they be forced to do that? They could put the small forward on Seth. Make it a lot tougher for him to shoot and he won't blow by too many people. Possibly make him disappear the way people think Andre disappear. (And possibly not, if Seth moves more without the ball than Andre does.)

    And I disagree that the defense can't get much worse. Also, while I agree Quinn is the best distributor among our guards, if we assume Austin's usage rate stays where it is (meaning the ball is in his hands a LOT), I'm not convinced Quinn/Austin/Seth is any better than Seth/Austin/Andre on offense, either. If Austin learns to kick out to the shooters, then Andre would be better to have out there than Quinn. If Austin doesn't learn, then I don't think it matters either way. If Austin defers to Quinn and starts playing more off the ball, then it could be a better offensive configuration, but I think that's the least likely alternative.

    To me, the possible offensive pros of the Quinn/Seth/Austin backcourt would be outweighed by the defensive cons. But obviously that's just my opinion.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Kedsy View Post
    Why would they be forced to do that? They could put the small forward on Seth. Make it a lot tougher for him to shoot and he won't blow by too many people. Possibly make him disappear the way people think Andre disappear. (And possibly not, if Seth moves more without the ball than Andre does.)

    And I disagree that the defense can't get much worse. Also, while I agree Quinn is the best distributor among our guards, if we assume Austin's usage rate stays where it is (meaning the ball is in his hands a LOT), I'm not convinced Quinn/Austin/Seth is any better than Seth/Austin/Andre on offense, either. If Austin learns to kick out to the shooters, then Andre would be better to have out there than Quinn. If Austin doesn't learn, then I don't think it matters either way. If Austin defers to Quinn and starts playing more off the ball, then it could be a better offensive configuration, but I think that's the least likely alternative.

    To me, the possible offensive pros of the Quinn/Seth/Austin backcourt would be outweighed by the defensive cons. But obviously that's just my opinion.
    You put most small forwards on Seth and he will shot fake them right out of their Jordans. http://hoopspeak.com/coaches/2011/12...t-fake-attack/

    Seth, Andre nor Austin have done a good job of staying in front of their men. I don't see the detriment in replacing Seth with Quinn, Austin with Seth, and Andre with Austin and adjusting the defensive rotations to allow for more help on the perimeter (see packline defense: http://coachingbetterbball.blogspot....-packline.html).

  19. #19
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    Aug 2007
    Just maybe we're forgetting just how good a team Thad has assembled. Don't lose sight of how much easier he has it when it comes to potential recruits being able to qualify as so called "student "athletes".

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by airowe View Post
    You put most small forwards on Seth and he will shot fake them right out of their Jordans. http://hoopspeak.com/coaches/2011/12...t-fake-attack/
    Quote Originally Posted by airowe View Post
    Seth, Andre nor Austin have done a good job of staying in front of their men. I don't see the detriment in replacing Seth with Quinn, Austin with Seth, and Andre with Austin and adjusting the defensive rotations to allow for more help on the perimeter (see packline defense: http://coachingbetterbball.blogspot....-packline.html).
    That's as good as a blow by IMO....

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