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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia

    What's really wrong with our defense

    We keep talking about how this year's team has the worst defensive efficiency in the Pomeroy era, so I thought it might be worthwhile to break it down and analyze the pieces.

    According to Pomeroy, there are four factors that go into defensive efficiency: defensive rebounding percentage (what percentage of available defensive rebounds do you get); free throw rate (how often do you send your opponent to the free throw line); turnover percentage (what percentage of your opponents possessions end up in a turnover; and effective field goal percentage (shooting percentage counting made three-point shots as 1.5 and made two-point shots as 1.0).

    Here's how this year's team stands up to the past dozen Duke teams:

    Code:
    Year	DReb%	ft rate	to%	eFG%
    2012	65.7	30.1	20.0	48.0
    2011	64.9	29.6	21.0	44.5
    2010	59.4	34.0	21.4	43.6
    2009	62.6	31.0	23.5	47.8
    2008	66.0	31.9	24.7	47.5
    2007	63.5	29.5	22.1	46.0
    2006	69.1	27.6	22.5	46.1
    2005	62.7	32.0	21.8	42.2
    2004	60.7	31.9	24.4	44.7
    2003	63.0	37.6	24.4	47.5
    2002	65.5	32.1	25.6	46.0
    2001	62.9	28.3	24.9	45.7
    Our free throw rate is actually the 5th best of the 12 years, and our defensive rebound pct is the 3rd best. But the other two factors are the worst figures we've managed in the past dozen years. Having said that, our turnover pct is not all that different from several of the years, including last season and the 2010 national champs. But I think our defensive eFG% is historically bad (48%). Only three years I charted were even close to as bad (2009, 2008, and 2003), and in all of those years we had much better turnover rates.

    So I broke it down further, looking at our D against threes, twos, and total overall. The last column in the table below is what percentage of our opponents' shots were three-pointers.

    Code:
    Year	3 made	3 att	3 pct	2 made  2 att	2 pct	totmade tot att	tot pct % threes
    2012	88	269	0.327	405	849	0.477	493	1118	0.441	0.317
    2011	176	543	0.324	720	1667	0.432	896	2210	0.405	0.326
    2010	158	559	0.283	725	1643	0.441	883	2202	0.401	0.340
    2009	183	542	0.338	722	1544	0.468	905	2086	0.434	0.351
    2008	167	507	0.329	713	1518	0.470	880	2025	0.435	0.334
    2007	139	441	0.315	626	1371	0.457	765	1812	0.422	0.322
    2006	143	471	0.304	809	1744	0.464	952	2215	0.430	0.270
    2005	128	420	0.305	655	1586	0.413	783	2006	0.390	0.265
    2004	176	543	0.324	702	1614	0.435	878	2157	0.407	0.336
    2003	164	474	0.346	675	1415	0.477	839	1889	0.444	0.335
    2002	168	555	0.303	724	1559	0.464	892	2114	0.422	0.356
    2001	207	602	0.344	821	1869	0.439	1028	2471	0.416	0.322
    2000	197	551	0.358	737	1688	0.437	934	2239	0.417	0.326
    1999	191	635	0.301	781	1849	0.422	972	2484	0.391	0.343
    1998	156	512	0.305	685	1532	0.447	841	2044	0.411	0.334
    1997	149	438	0.340	640	1433	0.447	789	1871	0.422	0.306
    Our three-point defense seems OK. Six of the past 16 Duke teams were worse and two others were practically identical, so we're middle of the pack for a Duke team in defending the three. So far, so good. Except opponents try fewer threes against us this year than all but three of the past 16 seasons (2006, 2005, and 1997), which suggests the key lies in two-point shots. Where this year's team is tied for worst among the past 16 years in stopping the two-pointer.

    I assume this means we're giving up a lot more dunks and layups than usual. Which I suppose I should have been able to guess without all the charts. Combine that with the low turnover rate, and it spells bad D, like we saw in the 2nd half against Florida State today.

    How can we fix it? I don't know. Perhaps we should pack it in more, clog up the middle and force people to take more threes with people running at them, sort of like we saw from UVa. Maybe we need to take more chances and force more turnovers. Or possibly we just need to get better at rotating and/or stopping the penetration of opposing PGs.

    Frankly, I was hoping for more illumination from the numbers, but you can't force the data. Since I did the work, I'm posting the charts, and maybe someone else will have a better idea.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Durham, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by Kedsy View Post
    We keep talking about how this year's team has the worst defensive efficiency in the Pomeroy era, so I thought it might be worthwhile to break it down and analyze the pieces.

    According to Pomeroy, there are four factors that go into defensive efficiency: defensive rebounding percentage (what percentage of available defensive rebounds do you get); free throw rate (how often do you send your opponent to the free throw line); turnover percentage (what percentage of your opponents possessions end up in a turnover; and effective field goal percentage (shooting percentage counting made three-point shots as 1.5 and made two-point shots as 1.0).

    Here's how this year's team stands up to the past dozen Duke teams:

    Code:
    Year	DReb%	ft rate	to%	eFG%
    2012	65.7	30.1	20.0	48.0
    2011	64.9	29.6	21.0	44.5
    2010	59.4	34.0	21.4	43.6
    2009	62.6	31.0	23.5	47.8
    2008	66.0	31.9	24.7	47.5
    2007	63.5	29.5	22.1	46.0
    2006	69.1	27.6	22.5	46.1
    2005	62.7	32.0	21.8	42.2
    2004	60.7	31.9	24.4	44.7
    2003	63.0	37.6	24.4	47.5
    2002	65.5	32.1	25.6	46.0
    2001	62.9	28.3	24.9	45.7
    Our free throw rate is actually the 5th best of the 12 years, and our defensive rebound pct is the 3rd best. But the other two factors are the worst figures we've managed in the past dozen years. Having said that, our turnover pct is not all that different from several of the years, including last season and the 2010 national champs. But I think our defensive eFG% is historically bad (48%). Only three years I charted were even close to as bad (2009, 2008, and 2003), and in all of those years we had much better turnover rates.

    So I broke it down further, looking at our D against threes, twos, and total overall. The last column in the table below is what percentage of our opponents' shots were three-pointers.

    Code:
    Year	3 made	3 att	3 pct	2 made  2 att	2 pct	totmade tot att	tot pct % threes
    2012	88	269	0.327	405	849	0.477	493	1118	0.441	0.317
    2011	176	543	0.324	720	1667	0.432	896	2210	0.405	0.326
    2010	158	559	0.283	725	1643	0.441	883	2202	0.401	0.340
    2009	183	542	0.338	722	1544	0.468	905	2086	0.434	0.351
    2008	167	507	0.329	713	1518	0.470	880	2025	0.435	0.334
    2007	139	441	0.315	626	1371	0.457	765	1812	0.422	0.322
    2006	143	471	0.304	809	1744	0.464	952	2215	0.430	0.270
    2005	128	420	0.305	655	1586	0.413	783	2006	0.390	0.265
    2004	176	543	0.324	702	1614	0.435	878	2157	0.407	0.336
    2003	164	474	0.346	675	1415	0.477	839	1889	0.444	0.335
    2002	168	555	0.303	724	1559	0.464	892	2114	0.422	0.356
    2001	207	602	0.344	821	1869	0.439	1028	2471	0.416	0.322
    2000	197	551	0.358	737	1688	0.437	934	2239	0.417	0.326
    1999	191	635	0.301	781	1849	0.422	972	2484	0.391	0.343
    1998	156	512	0.305	685	1532	0.447	841	2044	0.411	0.334
    1997	149	438	0.340	640	1433	0.447	789	1871	0.422	0.306
    Our three-point defense seems OK. Six of the past 16 Duke teams were worse and two others were practically identical, so we're middle of the pack for a Duke team in defending the three. So far, so good. Except opponents try fewer threes against us this year than all but three of the past 16 seasons (2006, 2005, and 1997), which suggests the key lies in two-point shots. Where this year's team is tied for worst among the past 16 years in stopping the two-pointer.

    I assume this means we're giving up a lot more dunks and layups than usual. Which I suppose I should have been able to guess without all the charts. Combine that with the low turnover rate, and it spells bad D, like we saw in the 2nd half against Florida State today.

    How can we fix it? I don't know. Perhaps we should pack it in more, clog up the middle and force people to take more threes with people running at them, sort of like we saw from UVa. Maybe we need to take more chances and force more turnovers. Or possibly we just need to get better at rotating and/or stopping the penetration of opposing PGs.

    Frankly, I was hoping for more illumination from the numbers, but you can't force the data. Since I did the work, I'm posting the charts, and maybe someone else will have a better idea.
    Great work. The one thing I would say that really angers me is when I see Mason for instance just give up a lay up without trying to foul the guy. He does some lazy late shot block where he has absolutely no chance at preventing the layup. I think there should be a policy on the team that the #1 priority is that the other team does not get layups. If you have to foul them to put them on the line, do it. Frankly I'd like to see our bigs give a few hard fouls to the other team to let them know that you will get punished if you go to the rim. Duke has 4 bigs that can play. There is no reason why our bigs should be worrying about foul trouble.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Good stuff Kedsy. Thanks.

    Good to see the eyeballs validated that it's our 2 point D as opposed to 3 point D, rebounding, etc. that is the problem. But then the question becomes: what aspect of our 2 point D is the real problem, because most shots taken are 2 pointers. Is it failure to stop dribble penetration, is it failure to recover/close onto shooters by our perimeter guys, poor play against screen/roll, is it failure by our bigs to stop post moves? My eyeballs tell me that it really has been a combination of things, different problems on different nights, different guys having better and worse nights, without a whole lot of rhyme or reason to it. I bet that is a source of frustration for the staff if they perceive what I do.

    To me, our inability to stay in front on the perimeter has probably been a more glaring problem than some of the others, but I can't say that it has been the direct result of more baskets surrendered than any other particular problem. The numbers I have compiled in the charting threads shed some light, but they, like the Pomeroy numbers (though much less sophisticated than KenPom obviously) don't tell the whole story.

    The best way to tell the real story is to go play-by-play and attribute each hoop to a particular problem and to a particular player(s) who caused the problem. I did that for our game earlier this year vs. Washington, and there is a thread on that, but it would need to be done over a series of games, or even better, the whole year, and it's just too time-consuming for anyone unless it would be their paying job to break it down like that. I guess that's why teams hire video coordinators -- that's what it takes to really drill down into this stuff. If I have time I may do it for this game, since everyone is so upset about the D we played, and I'm curious myself.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by loldevilz View Post
    Great work. The one thing I would say that really angers me is when I see Mason for instance just give up a lay up without trying to foul the guy. He does some lazy late shot block where he has absolutely no chance at preventing the layup. I think there should be a policy on the team that the #1 priority is that the other team does not get layups. If you have to foul them to put them on the line, do it. Frankly I'd like to see our bigs give a few hard fouls to the other team to let them know that you will get punished if you go to the rim. Duke has 4 bigs that can play. There is no reason why our bigs should be worrying about foul trouble.
    I disagree completely with this comment. I saw Mason contest several easy dunks and came close to getting clean blocks on a couple. If the policy is to not let the other team get layups, which i agree with, then the onus is on the guards, cuz they are the ones letting the opposition get past them at will, into the lane for a layup or forcing our bigs to rotate away from their man, thus allowing for an easy dish for a layup from someone else. If our bigs actually followed your policy, we would end the game with all 4 on the bench, which doesn't help very much.
    Yeah, lots of the layups are coming vs our bigs, but not b/c the bigs are failing to prevent easy layups, but b/c our guards are failing to prevent penetration.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia
    Quote Originally Posted by Kedsy View Post
    How can we fix it? I don't know. Perhaps we should pack it in more, clog up the middle and force people to take more threes with people running at them, sort of like we saw from UVa. Maybe we need to take more chances and force more turnovers. Or possibly we just need to get better at rotating and/or stopping the penetration of opposing PGs.
    It's interesting to look at 2010. We had the worst defensive rebounding rate of the dozen years I charted, the 2nd worst free throw rate, and the 2nd worst turnover percentage. Yet we had the 4th best adjusted defensive efficiency in the land. Why? Because our defensive eFG% was our 2nd best over the past twelve seasons. Our defense against two-pointers was decent but not great (7th best in the past 16 years), but the reason our defensive eFG% was so good was we stopped the three-pointer at an astonishing rate, compared to the other Duke teams I looked at.

    It's really cool. We were OK at stopping twos, but not that great, and we more or less sucked at every other component of defensive efficiency -- except we were amazing at just one thing. And that one thing made our defense good enough to win the national championship.

    So maybe there's hope for this year's team. Let's get amazing at one thing, and perhaps the rest will follow...

  6. #6
    And to add another point to what Kedsy said about the 2010 team being really good at one aspect and weak elsewhere and how that can be effective. It wasn't the only championship team to play like that. As a disclaimer, the era is obviously quite different and teams played quite differently, but the following is a nice illustration.

    The team with by far the worst eFG% allowed for a Duke team since the advent of the 3-point line is actually the 1991-92 team. And they weren't great at defensive rebounding or forcing turnovers either but had an extremely low free throw rate. I can only guess by browsing through the stats of the other top teams for context, but this probably wasn't a top 10 defensive squad like the 2010 team, but it obviously did enough.

    (Although that comparison only goes so far, since the '92 squad is probably one of the greatest offenses in NCAA history. They had by far the best offensive eFG% for any Duke team and it might the best of any NCAA team in the last 25 years.)

  7. #7
    Good summary, not sure if this fits the stats and def. eff., but I view it as a team defense question with the problem often being the second rotation, if not the first. And I think this has a lot to do with playing three guards and two bigs. A defender like Singler can cover and provide a great deal of help side d.
    Last edited by tele; 01-22-2012 at 07:33 AM.

  8. #8
    Nice post breaking down what many have concluded without the hard data.

    I think several people here have thought that this team isn't quick/athletic enough to stay in front of the ball handler with extended man-to-man pressure defense. It seems to me that the only possible solution (or at least the most logical one) is to gravitate back to our 2010 style of defense (i.e. more of a packed in and contain).

    Also if we are going to do this it might make the most sense to start both Plumlees and bring Kelly off of the bench b/c they are better rebounders and can take up more space in the paint that Ryan can.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Tampa
    Quote Originally Posted by CLW View Post
    I think several people here have thought that this team isn't quick/athletic enough to stay in front of the ball handler with extended man-to-man pressure defense. It seems to me that the only possible solution (or at least the most logical one) is to gravitate back to our 2010 style of defense (i.e. more of a packed in and contain).
    Was thinking the same thing. Seems to me our on ball defense far outside of the 3 point arc is not generating much by way of turnovers. Our whole defense seems to break down if the on ball defender is beaten. Since the opposing guards seem to have figured out to just drive around the on ball defender and go 5 on 4, the on ball pressure also doesn't seem to be as disruptive to the opponent's offense as in past years.

    A this point I'd try sagging just below the arc by the guards, with the bigs packing it in. Shouldn't be as much of an adjustment since most of our guys did it in 2010.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia

    oops

    OK, I made a slight mistake. I put opposing Defensive rebound percentage in the table rather than our defensive rebounding percentage.

    Here's the correct table:

    Code:
    Year	DReb%	ft rate	to %	eFG%
    2012	68.5	30.1	20.0	48.0
    2011	66.8	29.6	21.0	44.5
    2010	67.5	34.0	21.4	43.6
    2009	66.8	31.0	23.5	47.8
    2008	66.2	40.6	17.1	47.5
    2007	69.6	31.9	24.7	46.0
    2006	62.2	27.6	22.5	46.1
    2005	63.2	32.0	21.8	42.2
    2004	62.9	31.9	24.4	44.7
    2003	65.1	37.6	24.4	47.5
    2002	65.9	32.1	25.6	46.0
    2001	63.8	28.3	24.9	45.7
    It actually doesn't change much. This year's team actually has the 2nd best defensive rebounding percentage of the twelve years (rather than 3rd as I reported above). Although the best Duke defensive rebounding team of the past dozen years was the 2007 team, which gave me a little shiver.

    The only substantive difference caused by my mistake is my analysis of the 2010 team. They were tied for 3rd best defensive rebounding pct, rather than the worst. Their free throw rate and turnover pct were both still 2nd worst, though, so for the most part my observation about that team still holds.

    Sorry about the mixup.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Steamboat Springs, CO

    Stats

    Quote Originally Posted by Kedsy View Post
    OK, I made a slight mistake. I put opposing Defensive rebound percentage in the table rather than our defensive rebounding percentage.

    Here's the correct table:

    Code:
    Year	DReb%	ft rate	to %	eFG%
    2012	68.5	30.1	20.0	48.0
    2011	66.8	29.6	21.0	44.5
    2010	67.5	34.0	21.4	43.6
    2009	66.8	31.0	23.5	47.8
    2008	66.2	40.6	17.1	47.5
    2007	69.6	31.9	24.7	46.0
    2006	62.2	27.6	22.5	46.1
    2005	63.2	32.0	21.8	42.2
    2004	62.9	31.9	24.4	44.7
    2003	65.1	37.6	24.4	47.5
    2002	65.9	32.1	25.6	46.0
    2001	63.8	28.3	24.9	45.7
    It actually doesn't change much. This year's team actually has the 2nd best defensive rebounding percentage of the twelve years (rather than 3rd as I reported above). Although the best Duke defensive rebounding team of the past dozen years was the 2007 team, which gave me a little shiver.

    The only substantive difference caused by my mistake is my analysis of the 2010 team. They were tied for 3rd best defensive rebounding pct, rather than the worst. Their free throw rate and turnover pct were both still 2nd worst, though, so for the most part my observation about that team still holds.

    Sorry about the mixup.
    Kedsy, I sliced and diced your data, and there was very little correlation between the team's total winning percentage and any of the stats. Then when the DReb% changed, there was a correlation -- but it was negative! For some reason, the last six years have had the highest defensive rebounding percentage of the last 12.


    So then I started looking for trend lines. Holy moly! Our defensive rebounding is increasing over time, with a correlation coefficient of +0.61 (the stat goes between +1.0 and -1.0). Our TO forced stat is declining over time with a -0.79 correlation coefficient. So, we are doing better in recent years with defensive rebounds, but our ballhawking is not as effective.

    I wouldn't make anything of the stats except that none of the other correlations seem to show anything.

    sage

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia
    Quote Originally Posted by sagegrouse View Post
    Kedsy, I sliced and diced your data, and there was very little correlation between the team's total winning percentage and any of the stats. Then when the DReb% changed, there was a correlation -- but it was negative! For some reason, the last six years have had the highest defensive rebounding percentage of the last 12.


    So then I started looking for trend lines. Holy moly! Our defensive rebounding is increasing over time, with a correlation coefficient of +0.61 (the stat goes between +1.0 and -1.0). Our TO forced stat is declining over time with a -0.79 correlation coefficient. So, we are doing better in recent years with defensive rebounds, but our ballhawking is not as effective.

    I wouldn't make anything of the stats except that none of the other correlations seem to show anything.

    sage
    OK, this is kind of embarrassing, but when I fixed the first error, I pasted the new data into the wrong table in my spreadsheet. My 2nd table had bad data for 2007 and 2008. But I just noticed I used the wrong table when I saw your post.

    So here is the correct data:

    Code:
    Year	DReb%	ft rate	to %	eFG%
    2012	68.5	30.1	20.0	48.0
    2011	66.8	29.6	21.0	44.5
    2010	67.5	34.0	21.4	43.6
    2009	66.8	31.0	23.5	47.8
    2008	66.2	31.9	24.7	47.5
    2007	69.6	29.5	22.1	46.0
    2006	62.2	27.6	22.5	46.1
    2005	63.2	32.0	21.8	42.2
    2004	62.9	31.9	24.4	44.7
    2003	65.1	37.6	24.4	47.5
    2002	65.9	32.1	25.6	46.0
    2001	63.8	28.3	24.9	45.7
    Maybe the correlation will be better now? Although obviously wins and losses are a combination of offense and defense -- according to Pomeroy, our defense in 2006-07 was 5th best in the country, but obviously the offense (and the wins) didn't correlate to that.

    Sorry about making another mistake.

    Regarding our defensive rebounding increasing over time, that makes sense. Rebounding was always considered our weakest defensive attribute back in the 80s and 90s, and obviously that continued into the mid 2000s.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Steamboat Springs, CO

    No Pron

    Quote Originally Posted by Kedsy View Post
    OK, this is kind of embarrassing, but when I fixed the first error, I pasted the new data into the wrong table in my spreadsheet. My 2nd table had bad data for 2007 and 2008. But I just noticed I used the wrong table when I saw your post.

    So here is the correct data:


    Maybe the correlation will be better now? Although obviously wins and losses are a combination of offense and defense -- according to Pomeroy, our defense in 2006-07 was 5th best in the country, but obviously the offense (and the wins) didn't correlate to that.

    Sorry about making another mistake.

    Regarding our defensive rebounding increasing over time, that makes sense. Rebounding was always considered our weakest defensive attribute back in the 80s and 90s, and obviously that continued into the mid 2000s.
    Kedsy:

    I think I accidentally used the correct data. I just stripped in the DReb% and left the other stats unchanged, and did not pick up the other problems. So, the results are as I stated above.

    sage

  14. #14
    I'm not much of an analytical thinker when it comes to hoops so the stats don't tell me much. Call it flying by the seat of my pants but I'd rather just evaluate what I see than crunch the numbers. With that in mind I watched the FSU game again to try to get a handle on where the defense broke down and I have to say I'm baffled. It just wasn't really horrible defense. Our guys were definitely competing hard and, in many ways, I thought we defended much better than earlier in the season. We didn't give up a whole lot of uncontested layups or dunks. It seemed more like they were able to get the ball inside frequently either by penetrating or passing and our bigs were consistently a half step slow rotating to defend. Our guards definitely played a soft man to man D on the perimeter and either went under screens or fought through half heartedly. Definitely not trpical Duke D but it appeared to be by design perhaps to compensate for our lack or size and/or speed. So did the bigs rotate too slow or were the unfettered drives and passes the culprit? Beats me.

    I don't think it was a bad loss though. In fact if the last second shot didn't fall and Duke pulled it out instead we wouldn't be doing all this hand-wringing anyway. Duke played well enough to win but they just made one more play than us at the end. In regard to the two controversies count me in the Austin was fouled and it should have been called camp. The contact was obvious and it was before the shot and Austin got to the spot first and didn't force the contact. To me that's a foul on the first or last possession of a game. As far Dre's D on the last play I don't think it was bad. If he had move out to cover Saer sooner, Louks would have dribbled past Ryan for a possible layup. Instead Dre hedged, Louks made the pass and Saer drained the shot.

    I think Duke is improving gradually and I expect the Defense to continue to get better but unless we can get another year of eligibility for Grant Hill to shut down the perimeter or Sheldon to erase the mistakes I don't think we're going to be a great defensive team this year.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Nashville
    Quote Originally Posted by lotusland View Post
    I'm not much of an analytical thinker when it comes to hoops so the stats don't tell me much. Call it flying by the seat of my pants but I'd rather just evaluate what I see than crunch the numbers. With that in mind I watched the FSU game again to try to get a handle on where the defense broke down and I have to say I'm baffled. It just wasn't really horrible defense. Our guys were definitely competing hard and, in many ways, I thought we defended much better than earlier in the season. We didn't give up a whole lot of uncontested layups or dunks. It seemed more like they were able to get the ball inside frequently either by penetrating or passing and our bigs were consistently a half step slow rotating to defend. Our guards definitely played a soft man to man D on the perimeter and either went under screens or fought through half heartedly. Definitely not trpical Duke D but it appeared to be by design perhaps to compensate for our lack or size and/or speed. So did the bigs rotate too slow or were the unfettered drives and passes the culprit? Beats me.

    I don't think it was a bad loss though. In fact if the last second shot didn't fall and Duke pulled it out instead we wouldn't be doing all this hand-wringing anyway. Duke played well enough to win but they just made one more play than us at the end. In regard to the two controversies count me in the Austin was fouled and it should have been called camp. The contact was obvious and it was before the shot and Austin got to the spot first and didn't force the contact. To me that's a foul on the first or last possession of a game. As far Dre's D on the last play I don't think it was bad. If he had move out to cover Saer sooner, Louks would have dribbled past Ryan for a possible layup. Instead Dre hedged, Louks made the pass and Saer drained the shot.

    I think Duke is improving gradually and I expect the Defense to continue to get better but unless we can get another year of eligibility for Grant Hill to shut down the perimeter or Sheldon to erase the mistakes I don't think we're going to be a great defensive team this year.
    Lotus, I completely agree with this analysis WRT how hard we played. I found myself not particularly dismayed that we lost. I thought the team played really tough. FSU just hit more shots than we did. We missed a large number of wide open shots that would have put the game away earlier. I actually thought we handled their defense pretty well. I still would have liked to see Mason get more touches in the post, but FSU was doing a good job cutting off our entry passes. Defensively, we played well in the first half and struggled in the second half as fouls started to mount. However, I thought our effort was more consistent in this game than it has been in any other game against top competition this season. Our adjusted defensive efficiency numbers suffered terribly after this game in large part because of how poorly FSU was to start the season. Scoring 10 points in a half against Princeton NEVER looks good. That being said, it's clear FSU is capable of better, as they've shown against Duke and UNC.

    Now, all of that being said, I too am concerned about the overall defensive efficiency stats compared to other seasons. Our offense is really, really good. We have an insane number of scoring options and can score both inside and out. We also seem to be improving our offensive efficiency as the season goes on. However, the defense is trending in the opposite direction. I am a little perplexed as to how to improve it, just as others are. I understand why some think that someone like Mike G might help out because he brings size and athleticism to the 3 spot that we are currently lacking. However, he has been, to my eyes and to tommy's excellent defensive breakdowns, one of the worst defenders when he's been on the floor. The athletic ability might be there, but he still needs to develop his skills.

    One area where there might be concern for hope, however, is in the softer schedule in the ACC schedule when it comes to opposing offenses. While I know that KenPom adjusts for the strength of competition meaning that our defensive stats are not artificially made worse because of the strength of opposing offenses, I think something might be said for our defense improving as the quality of opposing offenses drops off a bit. As everyone knows, pretty much ever player on Duke this season was thrust into a new role. While the team has enjoyed a lot of success on offense, it has been thrown to the wolves on defense. It is possible that with everyone in new roles we were a step slow on defense from the get-go, forcing us to constantly scramble to make up for mistakes in rotations, switches on screens, and communication. Being over-matched at times on defense makes it harder to develop the on-court chemistry that some of our other teams have had. I know our defensive ratings continue to drop, but I feel like it's hard to deny that Duke hasn't played excellent defenses for long stretches of our ACC games, thus far, including our first half against FSU. Perhaps there isn't a magical solution and we can just hope that the team is able to lengthen those stretches of tough defense until they are playing consistently throughout the game. The size of opposing backcourts will be an issue all season, but if we can become consistent enough to prevent 2-3 more easy buckets per game, it will have a BIG impact on our overall efficiency. There were many good things to take away from the FSU game, despite the loss. Hopefully we can continue to build on those good things and start to put the defense together in the second half of this season.

  16. #16
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    Jan 2009
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    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    I think it is interesting that normally it is defend well, so that when the shots aren't falling, you still have a chance to win. With this team it seems to be score consistently, so that when the defense isn't playing well, you still have a chance to win. The offensive has been pretty consistent this year, though it could have been a bit better at times, but the team hasn't been consistent yet defensively. I am hoping the first half against FSU is a sign that the defense can get there. I agree that the effort and toughness was there all game vs. FSU, which is why I can't be overly disappointed in the loss. I expected there would be some inconsistency this year with Nolan and Kyle gone, but so far the team has been better offensively? than last year, but much more inconsistent defensively. I think this team has a great chance to keep improving. At 16-3 (4-1 ACC), this team is probably doing a bit better than I would have predicted at the beginning of the year and has a very good chance to add some more hardware before the season is over.
    “Those two kids, they’re champions,” Krzyzewski said of his senior leaders. “They’re trying to teach the other kids how to become that, and it’s a long road to become that.”

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Washington DC
    Quote Originally Posted by NSDukeFan View Post
    I think it is interesting that normally it is defend well, so that when the shots aren't falling, you still have a chance to win. With this team it seems to be score consistently, so that when the defense isn't playing well, you still have a chance to win. The offensive has been pretty consistent this year, though it could have been a bit better at times, but the team hasn't been consistent yet defensively. I am hoping the first half against FSU is a sign that the defense can get there. I agree that the effort and toughness was there all game vs. FSU, which is why I can't be overly disappointed in the loss. I expected there would be some inconsistency this year with Nolan and Kyle gone, but so far the team has been better offensively? than last year, but much more inconsistent defensively. I think this team has a great chance to keep improving. At 16-3 (4-1 ACC), this team is probably doing a bit better than I would have predicted at the beginning of the year and has a very good chance to add some more hardware before the season is over.
    Of course every Duke fan expects Duke to be great. And we've seen some great Duke defenses over the years, mainly because that is Coach K's calling card. So when we have some glaring weaknesses on D, we expect Coach K to correct them because we've seen him do it before. It's just not obvious to mewhat those corrections should be at this point. But from an Xs and Os standpoint it will be really interesting to see the adjustments, big and small, and follow how they play out.

    Duke probably has played better than most of us would have expected. But I think we all see room for growth and we know it can happen quickly. I'd even say we're excited about the possibility of a 2010-type repeat where Coach K finds just the right formula and maximizes this team's potential. It's unlikely, but that possibility is not far from reality. We've got the talent. Arm-chair quarterbacking is more fun than sweating the recruiting stuff, anyways!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Physically, this team has matchup problems. We're a little short in the backcourt, we can't defend
    quick 3s, and a little slow in the frontcourt. Teams with some size and quickness at the two and
    three spots know how to spread the floor against us, get our bigs away from the basket, and
    attack the middle.

    t think we need to mix in some 2-3 zone when the other team is penetrating well. Not a lot,
    but enough to throw off their rhythm some and make them think. K doesn't like to do it,
    but this team is designed for it.

  19. #19
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    Feb 2007
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    Los Angeles
    OK this has been an excellent discussion of our defense. Lots of different impressions of what’s going on. I thought it might be helpful to supplement everyone’s eyeball impressions and really break it down, play by play, and analyze it. Most agree that our first half D against FSU was fine, but not so much the second. So I broke down frame-by-frame every 2nd half possession by FSU that resulted in points for them, and analyzed each play.They are below, with the time of the possession or shot indicated first.

    I have not attempted to compile the results and categorize them, such as “on x number of occasions the basket was caused by poor communication by our bigs while on x number it was a loss of focus by so-and-so.” Sometimes, as you’ll see, it’s hard to assess that sort of “blame.”Other times, it’s not hard at all. But maybe if someone else wants to take this data and take a shot at summarizing it, go ahead. I just don’t have the time to do it right now.

    I will also be posting the charting data for this game, hopefully later today, and I’ll be breaking that down between the two halves too. In any event, here is the play-by-play of each FSU score in the second half. Look forward, as always, to your comments.


    So here goes:

    1942: Miles gets caught by back screen by Seth’s man in mid-lane, Seth is underneath and surely saw James using screen and cutting low to receive the pass, but instead headed to FT line with his own man after he was done setting the screen. Maybe not the best decision by Seth, but can’t really fault him either, especially since at time he made the decision the passer on the wing still had the ball and Seth’s man was cutting to the FT line and could’ve just as easily received a pass for an open shot had Seth stayed low with James, who he would’ve been very unlikely to stop anyway. Miles did make an OK recovery on James at the baseline once he received the pass, but he was a little late and out of position, and couldn’t stop James from beating him to the other side of the hoop for the semi-awkward, semi-reverse jam. Who’s “at fault” for this? Sort of a little of each of them, but it was just a well-designed and well-executed play by FSU, truth be told.

    1850: Post-offensive rebound by FSU, our defense is distorted, mismatches at several positions. Rivers made a probably unwise attempt at a steal on a semi-loose ball from a strange angle 30’ from the hoop, but his miss meant that Miles gets caught way outside on Miller (Austin’s man), who shot-fakes him, Miles goes for it, Miller goes around him and to the hoop. Mason puts his arms up and jumps on the help attempt, but Miller scores it. The “original sin” if you will, was Austin’s failed steal attempt, but if he succeeds, it’s a live-ball turnover and an easy hoop for us, so do we really want to fault him for that? Once Miles gets caught on Miller outside, he’s in trouble, and that’s not really his fault either. Mason made a decent block attempt with his help down low, but Miller made a tough shot over two bigs.

    1815: Miles lets James catch 8’ from hoop on right side. James backs him into the lane, shoots 6 foot hook over him. Mason did not provide help, but if he had, his man would’ve been wide open had James opted to dump it to him for a layup/dunk. This was just a 1-on-1 post move and James made a nice shot over Miles’ OK defense – failure to deny the pass, but then he at least challenged the shot.

    1754: Live-ball turnover by Andre/Mason in frontcourt leads to runout for FSU. Ends up a 2-on-1 with Dulkys getting the easy layup after the pass from Gibson. Fault: our turnover on offense. Not a defensive lapse here. Timeout Duke.

    1645: Mason, guarding Gibson on the outside, turns his head, watching the ball only. Gibson goes backdoor and straight down the lane. Loucks hits him with a perfect lob for the dunk. Rivers was weakside and looks like he saw the play developing but failed to step in and prevent Gibson from getting down the lane. If he had, Gibson wouldn’t have had the opportunity to jump to catch the alley oop and if he had it would’ve been a charge. This was both a poor individual play on the perimeter by Mason and a failure of the “team” defense by Austin.

    1532: Loucks gets a backscreen at the left elbow, cuts down and around to the right corner. Seth trails him to the corner. Loucks gets the pass, shot fakes, dribbles past Seth into the lane. Mason comes over and helps off of his man (Kreft), who Loucks drops it off to for a layup. Kelly was right there next to Kreft too and should’ve helped better on him and contested the shot better. “Fault” I suppose is to be shared by Seth, for getting faked out, and the bigs, for not helping better.

    1403: After good moving-the-feet and staying in front by Rivers, then by Curry, the ball is swung to Miller, who catches 20’ away. Miller takes one dribble past Ty and banks in a 7 footer. Ryan really didn’t have much chance to help. Fault: Thornton’s inability to stop one-dribble penetration.

    1315: High screen by White (guarded by Kelly) for Miller, guarded by Rivers. Ryan hedges just fine, but Austin kinda hangs around near Miller too, but not doing much to bother him, but in the meantime leaving White to head to the hoop unguarded. The easy pass to White is made. Mason comes over to help, contests, and fouls him hard. White hits both throws. Fault: Rivers’ poor handling of the high screen/roll. Not sure if he’s unclear on the concept (doubtful at this point) or whether he was unfocused, but he was nowhere near where he was supposed to be on this.

    1201: Inbounds play, Seth gets screened. His man has the dribble, Miles helps and moves his feet nicely to cut off the dribbler, Peterson, at least for awhile. Peterson ultimately does make it into the lane but is deterred by Miles staying with him. Thornton, apparently thinking that the dribbler might keep going and turn the corner on Miles (which he never did), plays way off his man (Miller) and cheats almost into the lane, leaving Miller wide open at the 3 point line for the pass. Ty hustles back to get a hand up, but it’s nails. Fault: I think you’d have to say Thornton, for playing too far off his man at the 3 point line when, even had Peterson kept his drive alive, both Miles and Kelly were in the lane to contest him.

    1123: While FSU is setting a high screen for Snaer, with Ryan hedging, Dulkys is setting a backscreen at the low right block for James (I think it is). Dawkins, covering Dulkeys, and Miles, covering James communicate poorly. Dawkins stays low with James and Miles doesn’t jump out on Dulkys, who pops out after setting the downscreen. Instead, Miles follows James too. Both our guys are on James and neither is on Dulkys, who catches the pass and buries the nobody-in-his-area-code 3. Ryan tried to contest it with a hand up, but he was way too far away. Not his fault – Dulkys should’ve never been left that alone to begin with. Poor communication, poor team defense here.

    930: Ryan allows Gibson to catch about 9’ from hoop on the left. Gibson takes a dribble, spins baseline and Ryan fouls him on the shot. Nice move by Gibson. No real opportunity for Miles to help, which is why it was smart of Gibson to spin to the base, away from the help. Hits both free throws.

    854: Rivers gets shot faked at the 3 point line, his man dribbles past him towards the baseline. Kelly helps off of Gibson onto the driver, and Gibson floats out to the 3 point line. The pass is made back to Gibson. Thornton, covering Dulkys at the top of the key, comes over to the area, apparently intending to contest what appears will be a Gibson shot. So Gibson smartly fakes a pass to Dulkys, who is spotting up for a 3. Thornton goes for the fake, runs back towards Dulkys, leaving Gibson to take the 3 which Ryan belatedly and weakly comes out to contest. “Fault” has to be shared on all 3 guys on this one. Rivers got shot faked to begin the distortion of our defense. Thornton, I think, needed to stay on Gibson once the pass went to him, trusting someone else to rotate onto Dulkys. (the staff may have told him to stick with Dulkys no matter what given how hot he’s been lately though, and let Gibson shoot). Ryan needed to recover more quickly and contest Gibson’s shot regardless of what the much smaller Thornton was doing. Gibson buried the 3. Not good team defense here, unless, again, the staff told them to take their chances with a guy like Gibson from long range, which would have been quite a reasonable gamble.

    652: High screen results in Miles and Andre switching. Miles now has to guard Snaer on the outside. Snaer, predictably, takes him to the hoop. He turns the corner, gets into the lane, and goes all the way to the basket. Austin Rivers has his head turned as Snaer is barreling down the lane so has no concept of trying to take a charge or contesting Snaer’s shot in any way. Miles tried to swat at it from behind, but no way. Mason was on the other side of the lane and not close enough to help/contest. While yes, Miles was beaten off the dribble, I don’t think it’s fair to expect him really to stay with a guy like Snaer on the outside. Rivers has to be paying attention and be moving into position to take a charge in this situation, IMO. Failure of help D.

    541: Seth’s man sets a backscreen on Mason on the left side of the paint. He doesn’t realize it until it’s too late. But Seth, seeing that Mason was being screened, needed to pick up Mason’s man (James) but he didn’t. He just stayed with his own man. Mason had to fight through all that traffic in the lane to try to get to James, which he did, but by that time James had the ball and had the advantage and he was able to get it over Mason pretty easily. I think the primary cause of this hoop was Seth missing his assignment.

    523: Live-ball turnover by us (poor pass on the perimeter by Austin, intercepted by James) leads to breakaway dunk attempt that Mason has to foul him from behind to stop. Mason’s 4th foul. James hits 1 of 2. Fault was the turnover by us on the offensive end.

    450: On the second of two consecutive high screen/hedge plays, Ryan makes an aggressive hedge on Loucks, but is called for the block. Loucks nails both throws.

    402: Loucks drives on Curry from the outside, Seth called for a foul on the drive. Len Elmore opined “that’s a hold right there” despite it being Seth who ended up on his butt on the play. I didn’t see a reach or a hold, or a pushoff on Loucks either for that matter. After the under-4 timeout Loucks hits one and misses one. I don’t know what you attribute these points to.

    257: Out of bounds play for FSU. Miles and Mason have their two bigs underneath. As Loucks is dribbling around the free throw line, Miles kinda gets lost between their two bigs, loses sight of his own man, James. Loucks drills a pass to James, forcing Mason to step over to him (this is all in close quarters in there.) James drops a nice little pass to Gibson (Mason’s man) for the dunk. Not sure what Miles was thinking here or why, if he thought he and Mason were going to switch, why that was necessary at that point. Loss of focus/poor communication.

    240: Rivers goes 1-on-2, gets blocked, and FSU gets a runout. Seth does a nice job forcing a tough runner going away from the basket by Dulkys, but James grabs the errant shot as Miles mis-times his jump and Mason doesn’t jump for it at all. James lays it in.

    158: Miles got screened on the left (well, it was more of a bodyblock, actually), freeing James to get to the right block. Miles tried to recover, and actually did so fairly well, but James took a step into the lane and hit a tough little hook over him. Nice shot. But no help effort by Mason here.

    100: Snaer catches on the right wing, Dawkins on him. Snaer drives left, into the lane, lot of chest-to-chest contact with Andre, good no call, but Snaer, upon bouncing off Dawkins, puts up a quick little jumper in the lane and it’s good. Again, weak help effort by Mason, as he allowed Snaer to slip between himself and Andre instead of cutting the drive off completely.

    036: Desperation time after Seth’s missed 3. Andre fouls Loucks in the backcourt intentionally (not that kind of intentional). He hits 1 of 2.

    018: Another intentional foul, this time Seth on Gibson. Again, hits 1 of 2.

    000: Obviously the winning 3 pointer. I know there has been a lot of discussion on the boards of Andre’s positioning on this play, but I am looking at this again and again, frame by frame, and at the time Loucks makes the pass, he is on the move, about 8 or 10 feet above the arc, dead center of the floor. Kelly is standing at the top of the arc. Dawkins has not one, but both feet in the lane, and he’s a good 12 feet from Snaer. Also, directly to Loucks’s right as he makes the pass is Mason Plumlee. This seems important, because if Andre was concerned about Loucks driving, and that’s why he was in the lane and not closer to Snaer, he shouldn’t have been so concerned. If Loucks was inclined to drive instead of pass, it stands to reason that he would’ve driven left, not right, because Mason was on his right. He could’ve driven left and assuming he got by Ryan, the only guy left on that side would’ve been Austin Rivers, without a rangy 7-footer like Mason Plumlee being involved on his side or from behind. I strongly believe Andre misplayed this, either out of inattention to Snaer or the misguided belief that he needed to help Ryan (or, really, help both Ryan and Mason) on Loucks.

    OK that's all I got for now.
    Last edited by -jk; 01-23-2012 at 04:22 PM. Reason: odd wanker problem

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Winston Salem, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by tommy View Post
    OK this has been an excellent discussion of our defense. Lots of different impressions of what’s going on. I thought it might be helpful to supplement everyone’s eyeball impressions and really break it down, play by play, and analyze it. Most agree that our first half D against FSU was fine, but not so much the second. So I broke down frame-by-frame every 2nd half possession by FSU that resulted in points for them, and analyzed each play.They are below, with the time of the possession or shot indicated first.

    I have not attempted to compile the results and categorize them, such as “on x number of occasions the basket was caused by poor communication by our bigs while on x number it was a loss of focus by so-and-so.” Sometimes, as you’ll see, it’s hard to assess that sort of “blame.”Other times, it’s not hard at all. But maybe if someone else wants to take this data and take a shot at summarizing it, go ahead. I just don’t have the time to do it right now.

    I will also be posting the charting data for this game, hopefully later today, and I’ll be breaking that down between the two halves too. In any event, here is the play-by-play of each FSU score in the second half. Look forward, as always, to your comments.


    So here goes:

    1942: Miles gets caught by back screen by Seth’s man in mid-lane, Seth is underneath and surely saw James using screen and cutting low to receive the pass, but instead headed to FT line with his own man after he was done setting the screen. Maybe not the best decision by Seth, but can’t really fault him either, especially since at time he made the decision the passer on the wing still had the ball and Seth’s man was cutting to the FT line and could’ve just as easily received a pass for an open shot had Seth stayed low with James, who he would’ve been very unlikely to stop anyway. Miles did make an OK recovery on James at the baseline once he received the pass, but he was a little late and out of position, and couldn’t stop James from beating him to the other side of the hoop for the semi-awkward, semi-reverse jam. Who’s “at fault” for this? Sort of a little of each of them, but it was just a well-designed and well-executed play by FSU, truth be told.

    1850: Post-offensive rebound by FSU, our defense is distorted, mismatches at several positions. Rivers made a probably unwise attempt at a steal on a semi-loose ball from a strange angle 30’ from the hoop, but his miss meant that Miles gets caught way outside on Miller (Austin’s man), who shot-fakes him, Miles goes for it, Miller goes around him and to the hoop. Mason puts his arms up and jumps on the help attempt, but Miller scores it. The “original sin” if you will, was Austin’s failed steal attempt, but if he succeeds, it’s a live-ball turnover and an easy hoop for us, so do we really want to fault him for that? Once Miles gets caught on Miller outside, he’s in trouble, and that’s not really his fault either. Mason made a decent block attempt with his help down low, but Miller made a tough shot over two bigs.

    1815: Miles lets James catch 8’ from hoop on right side. James backs him into the lane, shoots 6 foot hook over him. Mason did not provide help, but if he had, his man would’ve been wide open had James opted to dump it to him for a layup/dunk. This was just a 1-on-1 post move and James made a nice shot over Miles’ OK defense – failure to deny the pass, but then he at least challenged the shot.

    1754: Live-ball turnover by Andre/Mason in frontcourt leads to runout for FSU. Ends up a 2-on-1 with Dulkys getting the easy layup after the pass from Gibson. Fault: our turnover on offense. Not a defensive lapse here. Timeout Duke.

    1645: Mason, guarding Gibson on the outside, turns his head, watching the ball only. Gibson goes backdoor and straight down the lane. Loucks hits him with a perfect lob for the dunk. Rivers was weakside and looks like he saw the play developing but failed to step in and prevent Gibson from getting down the lane. If he had, Gibson wouldn’t have had the opportunity to jump to catch the alley oop and if he had it would’ve been a charge. This was both a poor individual play on the perimeter by Mason and a failure of the “team” defense by Austin.

    1532: Loucks gets a backscreen at the left elbow, cuts down and around to the right corner. Seth trails him to the corner. Loucks gets the pass, shot fakes, dribbles past Seth into the lane. Mason comes over and helps off of his man (Kreft), who Loucks drops it off to for a layup. Kelly was right there next to Kreft too and should’ve helped better on him and contested the shot better. “Fault” I suppose is to be shared by Seth, for getting faked out, and the bigs, for not helping better.

    1403: After good moving-the-feet and staying in front by Rivers, then by Curry, the ball is swung to Miller, who catches 20’ away. Miller takes one dribble past Ty and banks in a 7 footer. Ryan really didn’t have much chance to help. Fault: Thornton’s inability to stop one-dribble penetration.

    1315: High screen by White (guarded by Kelly) for Miller, guarded by Rivers. Ryan hedges just fine, but Austin kinda hangs around near Miller too, but not doing much to bother him, but in the meantime leaving White to head to the hoop unguarded. The easy pass to White is made. Mason comes over to help, contests, and fouls him hard. White hits both throws. Fault: Rivers’ poor handling of the high screen/roll. Not sure if he’s unclear on the concept (doubtful at this point) or whether he was unfocused, but he was nowhere near where he was supposed to be on this.

    1201: Inbounds play, Seth gets screened. His man has the dribble, Miles helps and moves his feet nicely to cut off the dribbler, Peterson, at least for awhile. Peterson ultimately does make it into the lane but is deterred by Miles staying with him. Thornton, apparently thinking that the dribbler might keep going and turn the corner on Miles (which he never did), plays way off his man (Miller) and cheats almost into the lane, leaving Miller wide open at the 3 point line for the pass. Ty hustles back to get a hand up, but it’s nails. Fault: I think you’d have to say Thornton, for playing too far off his man at the 3 point line when, even had Peterson kept his drive alive, both Miles and Kelly were in the lane to contest him.

    1123: While FSU is setting a high screen for Snaer, with Ryan hedging, Dulkys is setting a backscreen at the low right block for James (I think it is). Dawkins, covering Dulkeys, and Miles, covering James communicate poorly. Dawkins stays low with James and Miles doesn’t jump out on Dulkys, who pops out after setting the downscreen. Instead, Miles follows James too. Both our guys are on James and neither is on Dulkys, who catches the pass and buries the nobody-in-his-area-code 3. Ryan tried to contest it with a hand up, but he was way too far away. Not his fault – Dulkys should’ve never been left that alone to begin with. Poor communication, poor team defense here.

    930: Ryan allows Gibson to catch about 9’ from hoop on the left. Gibson takes a dribble, spins baseline and Ryan fouls him on the shot. Nice move by Gibson. No real opportunity for Miles to help, which is why it was smart of Gibson to spin to the base, away from the help. Hits both free throws.

    854: Rivers gets shot faked at the 3 point line, his man dribbles past him towards the baseline. Kelly helps off of Gibson onto the driver, and Gibson floats out to the 3 point line. The pass is made back to Gibson. Thornton, covering Dulkys at the top of the key, comes over to the area, apparently intending to contest what appears will be a Gibson shot. So Gibson smartly fakes a pass to Dulkys, who is spotting up for a 3. Thornton goes for the fake, runs back towards Dulkys, leaving Gibson to take the 3 which Ryan belatedly and weakly comes out to contest. “Fault” has to be shared on all 3 guys on this one. Rivers got shot faked to begin the distortion of our defense. Thornton, I think, needed to stay on Gibson once the pass went to him, trusting someone else to rotate onto Dulkys. (the staff may have told him to stick with Dulkys no matter what given how hot he’s been lately though, and let Gibson shoot). Ryan needed to recover more quickly and contest Gibson’s shot regardless of what the much smaller Thornton was doing. Gibson buried the 3. Not good team defense here, unless, again, the staff told them to take their chances with a guy like Gibson from long range, which would have been quite a reasonable gamble.

    652: High screen results in Miles and Andre switching. Miles now has to guard Snaer on the outside. Snaer, predictably, takes him to the hoop. He turns the corner, gets into the lane, and goes all the way to the basket. Austin Rivers has his head turned as Snaer is barreling down the lane so has no concept of trying to take a charge or contesting Snaer’s shot in any way. Miles tried to swat at it from behind, but no way. Mason was on the other side of the lane and not close enough to help/contest. While yes, Miles was beaten off the dribble, I don’t think it’s fair to expect him really to stay with a guy like Snaer on the outside. Rivers has to be paying attention and be moving into position to take a charge in this situation, IMO. Failure of help D.

    541: Seth’s man sets a backscreen on Mason on the left side of the paint. He doesn’t realize it until it’s too late. But Seth, seeing that Mason was being screened, needed to pick up Mason’s man (James) but he didn’t. He just stayed with his own man. Mason had to fight through all that traffic in the lane to try to get to James, which he did, but by that time James had the ball and had the advantage and he was able to get it over Mason pretty easily. I think the primary cause of this hoop was Seth missing his assignment.

    523: Live-ball turnover by us (poor pass on the perimeter by Austin, intercepted by James) leads to breakaway dunk attempt that Mason has to foul him from behind to stop. Mason’s 4th foul. James hits 1 of 2. Fault was the turnover by us on the offensive end.

    450: On the second of two consecutive high screen/hedge plays, Ryan makes an aggressive hedge on Loucks, but is called for the block. Loucks nails both throws.

    402: Loucks drives on Curry from the outside, Seth called for a foul on the drive. Len Elmore opined “that’s a hold right there” despite it being Seth who ended up on his butt on the play. I didn’t see a reach or a hold, or a pushoff on Loucks either for that matter. After the under-4 timeout Loucks hits one and misses one. I don’t know what you attribute these points to.

    257: Out of bounds play for FSU. Miles and Mason have their two bigs underneath. As Loucks is dribbling around the free throw line, Miles kinda gets lost between their two bigs, loses sight of his own man, James. Loucks drills a pass to James, forcing Mason to step over to him (this is all in close quarters in there.) James drops a nice little pass to Gibson (Mason’s man) for the dunk. Not sure what Miles was thinking here or why, if he thought he and Mason were going to switch, why that was necessary at that point. Loss of focus/poor communication.

    240: Rivers goes 1-on-2, gets blocked, and FSU gets a runout. Seth does a nice job forcing a tough runner going away from the basket by Dulkys, but James grabs the errant shot as Miles mis-times his jump and Mason doesn’t jump for it at all. James lays it in.

    158: Miles got screened on the left (well, it was more of a bodyblock, actually), freeing James to get to the right block. Miles tried to recover, and actually did so fairly well, but James took a step into the lane and hit a tough little hook over him. Nice shot. But no help effort by Mason here.

    100: Snaer catches on the right wing, Dawkins on him. Snaer drives left, into the lane, lot of chest-to-chest contact with Andre, good no call, but Snaer, upon bouncing off Dawkins, puts up a quick little jumper in the lane and it’s good. Again, weak help effort by Mason, as he allowed Snaer to slip between himself and Andre instead of cutting the drive off completely.

    036: Desperation time after Seth’s missed 3. Andre fouls Loucks in the backcourt intentionally (not that kind of intentional). He hits 1 of 2.

    018: Another intentional foul, this time Seth on Gibson. Again, hits 1 of 2.

    000: Obviously the winning 3 pointer. I know there has been a lot of discussion on the boards of Andre’s positioning on this play, but I am looking at this again and again, frame by frame, and at the time Loucks makes the pass, he is on the move, about 8 or 10 feet above the arc, dead center of the floor. Kelly is standing at the top of the arc. Dawkins has not one, but both feet in the lane, and he’s a good 12 feet from Snaer. Also, directly to Loucks’s right as he makes the pass is Mason Plumlee. This seems important, because if Andre was concerned about Loucks driving, and that’s why he was in the lane and not closer to Snaer, he shouldn’t have been so concerned. If Loucks was inclined to drive instead of pass, it stands to reason that he would’ve driven left, not right, because Mason was on his right. He could’ve driven left and assuming he got by Ryan, the only guy left on that side would’ve been Austin Rivers, without a rangy 7-footer like Mason Plumlee being involved on his side or from behind. I strongly believe Andre misplayed this, either out of inattention to Snaer or the misguided belief that he needed to help Ryan (or, really, help both Ryan and Mason) on Loucks.

    OK that's all I got for now.
    It seems like there are many mistakes that we as fans cannot assign blame to. We don't know how our guys are coached on certain assignments. But it's also certain that there were breakdowns on "D". Some probably came from lack of communication, some from getting caught looking at the play and not reacting to what was going on. With Austin it could be his lack of experience. I'm sure Coach K is working on our lack of defense in practice. Let's hope it gets better. Thanks for observations tommy. GoDuke

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