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View Full Version : Will the switching work against UNC?



pfrduke
02-01-2008, 12:32 PM
Duke has always employed switching on screens to keep man-to-man pressure on ball-handlers, but this season it's been used more extensively than I can recall in prior years. On almost every on-the-ball screen (and some off-the-ball screens), regardless of who the players involved are, Duke's defense switches. It's been a very successful strategy so far, and is partly responsible for the high number of takeaways for the Devils. But it has resulted in several situations where Singler/Thomas/McClure is guarding the point well above the top of the arc, and Paulus/Scheyer/Smith are left one-on-one with the opponent's big. The hard foul by Paulus on Costner in the first half came after a switch, and he had been iso'd against Costner a couple times before that as well.

My question is whether this tactic can be effective against UNC. The thought of Hansbrough posting up on Paulus is somewhat frightening, and could lead to either lots of layups/free throws for Hansbrough or open looks for other Tar Heels as the defense rotates to help. Similarly, letting Lawson loose to go one on one against Singler or King isn't a happy thought either.

Those who are more tactically inclined than I - what are your thoughts on the likely use and success of this strategy against Carolina? Given UNC's heavy preference to shooting 2s rather than 3s, do you think Duke will send the perimeter players under screens to stay with their man, rather than switch? On the whole, what's the best defensive strategy against a talented post and a point guard that doesn't turn the ball over (20:1 A/to ratio in the last 2 games)? Front the post and try to turn the back of the ball-handler? Spring traps out of screens? Double down on every entry pass? Matchup zone? Hard forearm to Hansbrough's nose? (kidding)

Ignatius07
02-01-2008, 12:43 PM
A point guard that doesn't turn the ball over? I don't know if you've seen any UNC game other than the last two, but Lawson turns over his fair share of balls. And I can pretty much guarantee you he will have north of 0.5 turnovers against us.

That said, you bring up a legitimate concern. This team is exceptionally well suited to switch on every screen - I am actually not concerned at all when Lance is switched to the opposing team's point guard. For someone who is 6'8", he plays some very, very good perimeter defense. Same with McClure, and Singler is no slouch against dribble penetration either. Obviously we all get scared when King is switched to a point guard, which is why I don't think we'll see too much of TK against UNC.

Where we really run into trouble is the scenario you mentioned when someone like Paulus gets switched to a big guy. UNC will definitely try to exploit this, though we will try to counter by doing what we did fairly effectively (especially in the second half) against NC State - doubling down and forcing a pass out. This can turn into easy buckets under the rim, but is much preferable to a straight Hansbrough-Paulus showdown.

pfrduke
02-01-2008, 12:56 PM
A point guard that doesn't turn the ball over? I don't know if you've seen any UNC game other than the last two, but Lawson turns over his fair share of balls. And I can pretty much guarantee you he will have north of 0.5 turnovers against us.

His A/TO on the season is 2.4 (119:49), and in ACC play only it's 3.2 (42:13). Those are excellent numbers, both in terms of number of turnovers (a little over 2/game for a team that has lots of possessions) and in A/TO ratio. You're right, he's unlikely to have a 10:0 or 10:1 performance against Duke. But he doesn't really turn the ball over that much, particularly for as much as he handles it and as fast as he plays.

Ignatius07
02-01-2008, 01:04 PM
You're right, and he is a very good point guard. But one of Duke's strengths is its perimeter defense, and I expect DeMarcus to be matched up against Lawson. I don't think Lawson has had to deal with a defender of DeMarcus's size/strength/quickness package this year, and his passing lanes will not be as open as against BC and Miami (I think this was the game before BC).

Chard
02-01-2008, 01:15 PM
Passing lanes don't have stats. Just keep Lawson in front of you as much as possible. I think the perimeter pressure and the tempo of the game will favor Duke.

Ignatius07
02-01-2008, 01:21 PM
I think the perimeter pressure and the tempo of the game will favor Duke.

UNC wants to run just as much - if not more so - than Duke. We really rely on turnovers to push the tempo, though, while UNC can do it effectively off rebounds.

gw67
02-01-2008, 01:32 PM
Maryland (Vasquez) has played Lawson as tough as any team the past two years (I believe he got 11 points and 7 points in two games). Their philosophy is to limit their turnovers on offense so the Heels don't run as much, try as a team to cut him off or slow him down on his long dashes down court on a change of possession, and play off him during halfcourt sets to encourage three point shots rather than drives to the hoop.

I would have Henderson man up on his high school buddy Ellington. I don't think that there is a player on the Duke roster who can handle Hansbrough by himself. You just try to limit his shots (very difficult to do because Williams has his team work hard getting the ball inside).

gw67

Uncle Drew
02-01-2008, 02:05 PM
Duke has always employed switching on screens to keep man-to-man pressure on ball-handlers, but this season it's been used more extensively than I can recall in prior years. On almost every on-the-ball screen (and some off-the-ball screens), regardless of who the players involved are, Duke's defense switches. It's been a very successful strategy so far, and is partly responsible for the high number of takeaways for the Devils. But it has resulted in several situations where Singler/Thomas/McClure is guarding the point well above the top of the arc, and Paulus/Scheyer/Smith are left one-on-one with the opponent's big. The hard foul by Paulus on Costner in the first half came after a switch, and he had been iso'd against Costner a couple times before that as well.

My question is whether this tactic can be effective against UNC. The thought of Hansbrough posting up on Paulus is somewhat frightening, and could lead to either lots of layups/free throws for Hansbrough or open looks for other Tar Heels as the defense rotates to help. Similarly, letting Lawson loose to go one on one against Singler or King isn't a happy thought either.

Those who are more tactically inclined than I - what are your thoughts on the likely use and success of this strategy against Carolina? Given UNC's heavy preference to shooting 2s rather than 3s, do you think Duke will send the perimeter players under screens to stay with their man, rather than switch? On the whole, what's the best defensive strategy against a talented post and a point guard that doesn't turn the ball over (20:1 A/to ratio in the last 2 games)? Front the post and try to turn the back of the ball-handler? Spring traps out of screens? Double down on every entry pass? Matchup zone? Hard forearm to Hansbrough's nose? (kidding)

For what it's worth here is what I think the strategy should / will be for both teams. Which ever executes their plan best will win. Anyone who thinks UNC's defense is on par with Duke's defense in in need of a drug test. Not shot blocking big men defense, but on the ball pressure, clog the passing lanes defense. That being said Duke still has an obvious hole inside and UNC would be crazy not to try and exploit that.

1. Look for the Duke guards to do everything under God's green earth to keep the ball out of Lawsons hands if possible and hedge / help if he does get the ball into his hands. Staying in front of Lawson is probably a bigger key than putting a body on Psycho. He's not that tall so make him shoot over hands in his face and give the ball up if possible. (Just not for dunks!)

2. If Psycho doesn't touch the ball once each time down the court in the half court set, Roy Williams shoud be institionalized. That's not to say Psycho will score or take a shot every time he touches the ball. But we all know there will have to be some double down pressure and perhaps double team trapping. Psycho will get his points and he will draw fouls. Duke just can't let him run all over them; make him work for his points and try to spread the fouls out so nobody gets in deep foul trouble. (Yeah I know if it were that easy!)

3. UNC normally likes to take it to the other team, kind of like Duke does. But if UNC tries to run with Duke IMO they don't match up well with a good shooting, FAST Duke team. Their best option is to push it when the opportunity is there (Duke MUST get back on D!) and grind it out when there are ten guys on one side of the court.


A. Duke can shoot. This team has more shooters than an NRA rally. In the first half against NCSU they weren't hitting, but it seems when one get's hot (Greg for example) the rest get warmer. It's imperitive Duke hits a decent amount of 3's to offset the obvious points they will give up to Psycho. I'm not saying 75% or anything. But it would be great to see King, Nelson, Paulus or anyone else get on a hot streak. Because that leads to part B.

B. While it's imperitive to keep a player in front of Lawson on D, it's VERY important that Nelson, Smith and Henderson do their best to drive to the hole. If our guys can drive at least into the paint it's either going to be contact and a foul or a dish for an open chance at a 3. Duke has to be careful not to leave their feet to early. A couple of charges can really, really take them out of the game plan. Don't be surprised to see Duke switch into a zone every so often just to make UNC have to get used to it and them switch back to man. Like a chess match, keep the player reacting to you, not the other way around.

C. Psycho will get a fair amount of rebounds too, it's going to happen but you can't let him go crazy(er) out there. The Duke vs. UNC game will have to be a team rebounding, board crashing attempt or it could get ugly. FYI: If any of the Duke players are reading. If Psycho gets a rebound, takes it up for the basket, makes it and gets fouled. Run directly over behind him, because he's going to turn without thinking and swing his fist in celebration. Sure it's going to hurt a little, but take one for the team! ( Get him thrown out of that game and the next game. Better yet, try and postion a ref right behind him and let the ACC determine how long his suspension is!)

Whichever team can get the other team on it's heels (God I hate that word!) the most is going to win. If Duke can play at a pace that has UNC scrambling to regroup and switch off Duke will win. If Duke allows the ball to get inside via Lawson penetration or Psycho post moves UNC will win. And as always with Duke vs UNC how the refs call the game will make a HUGE difference. One charge vs. block call can swing momentum the other way. And I've seen enough of the calls go against Duke to worry. Oh by the way, in case anyone didn't know.......DUKE HAS A GAME AGAINST MIAMI TO PLAY TOMOROW FIRST!!!!!!! NO LOOKING AHEAD! GTHCGTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

mus074
02-01-2008, 02:18 PM
His A/TO on the season is 2.4 (119:49), and in ACC play only it's 3.2 (42:13). Those are excellent numbers, both in terms of number of turnovers (a little over 2/game for a team that has lots of possessions) and in A/TO ratio. You're right, he's unlikely to have a 10:0 or 10:1 performance against Duke. But he doesn't really turn the ball over that much, particularly for as much as he handles it and as fast as he plays.

In all fairness, A:TO ratio doesn't tell us as much about proclivity to turn it over as it does about the relative ratio. Forget about assists for a moment, which don't show up on the scorecard, unlike turnovers.

Lawson turns it over on 21.4% of possessions. By comparison, Paulus has turned it over only 20.0% (both stats as of Sunday, and both numbers will come down with their last games).

As a team, UNC turns it over in just 17.5% of possessions, 14th in D-1. Duke ranks 27th at 18.3%. Duke will have a hard time generating offense off its defense. Thankfully, UNC's D is much worse at causing TO's at 22.1%, 131st. Duke's D is 17th at 28.5%.

The1Bluedevil
02-01-2008, 03:09 PM
As worried as some are with Duke's defensive match ups, lets think about UNC's.

I Imagine Pyscho will guard Lance frankly because he never plays D.
So Thompson will have to play on the perimeter against Singler. Thats a complete mismatch no doubt about it. Ellington can't guard anyone either and will have to guard Gerald who will abuse him. I have a gut feeling Danny Green will see significant time at the 4 posistion.

Classof06
02-01-2008, 03:16 PM
Personally, I'd actually like to see Demarcus matched up on Ellington. We do need to contain Lawson but if we can contain Ellington, I don't see Carolina winning this game. Last year, I'm pretty sure it was Demarcus who guarded Ellington and he averaged 3.5 points in 2 games against Duke. I'm not expecting that to happen again, but I'm confident we can keep Ellington from having a monster night, especially when Duke usually does a good job of limiting 3-point attempts from the other team.

As far as matchups go, I'll say it again. Duke might have problems matching up with Carolina but Carolina is going to have their own set of matchup problems on defense. Like Gary Williams said after the Maryland game:

"People always talk about matchups, but matchups are on both ends of the floor...We scored well inside last night, but you still have to stop them. We couldn't stop them in the second half. A lot of times we had a bad matchup with our inside players. I thought it affected our team defense."

Ignatius07
02-01-2008, 03:21 PM
Ellington can't guard anyone either and will have to guard Gerald who will abuse him.

Don't forget that Henderson - while capable - is no defensive whiz either. And he'll likely be guarding Ellington.

Ignatius07
02-01-2008, 03:24 PM
Personally, I'd actually like to see Demarcus matched up on Ellington. We do need to contain Lawson but if we can contain Ellington, I don't see Carolina winning this game.

I'd ideally like to have DeMarcus on Ellington, too, if we had the luxury of two superb perimeter defenders. But I think Lawson is more important, since SO much of the offense flows through him. And there is also the familiarity factor with Henderson and Ellington, which may negate both on offense a small bit.

The1Bluedevil
02-01-2008, 04:01 PM
Ellington vary rarely creates his own shot while Gerald does quite often. Most of Ellingtons scoring comes from the break or off dribble penetration. UNC has so many options that you can't just shadow Ellington all over the court.

I'm not worried about the matchups one bit. Rebounding will decide the game. If Duke only get outrebounded by 8-10 then they have a great shot to win. If the difference is like it was in the Clemson game then Duke loses.

SeattleIrish
02-01-2008, 04:55 PM
As I see it, our key will be to pressure the ball; we have no hope of stopping Hans if he gets the ball down low, so pressuring the ball-handlers to get Hans the ball out of position (high on the key or out on the wings) and forcing him to put the ball on the ground is key.

Of course, pressuring Lawson means you have to play tight on him, which leaves us open to penetration - playing smart D, TAKING CHARGES, and staying with your man rather than trying to block Lawson's shot, will also be secondary keys, IMO.

If Lawson is able to get Hans the ball, with position, or is able to drive without having to worry about charges, we had better be on fire from 3 to stay in the game.

Fortunately, UNC doesn't match up with us especially well, can be had with the drive-and-dish, and plays notoriously poor defense on the perimeter - if we're able to shoot about 40% from 3, which we can do, and limit the above, I can see us winning this game.

One interesting sub-plot in this game, which will depend on all of the above, will be the foul-count. If Hans gets deep, or we can't pressure the ball without fouling, we'll be racking up fouls and in a deep hole. If we can pick up some charges to slow down their penetration and then draw some contact with our drives, we'll have a great shot at this one. I think the winner of the foul sub-plot will end up winning the game.

Let the Heels commence with their "terping" about the refs right now.

s.i.

Billy Dat
02-01-2008, 05:15 PM
I think Nolan can really help us this game as he and Lawson played together at Oak Hill and Nolan has that familiarity. Remember what Ricky Moore did to Avery in '99? (wow, I got depressed just bringing that up) Maybe Nolan can do that to Lawson (as long as he doesn't have the 'Ty is my hero' issue that Avery had with Moore).

It's gonna take a village to defend Lawson. Paulus, Nolan and Markie will all get their chances. Maybe Markie's freakish wingspan can give him some real problems.

Seems like Psycho is a black hole which means we've got to really quickly double down and hope he has trouble passing out of that trap.

I think the game will be won down the stretch...can our relentless pressure tire Lawson out? Can we keep Psycho T at bay. Why do I think we're gonna pay at the hands of Green or Ginyard?

This is making my head spin, I am going back to thinking about Miami, at least it's warm there (ice storm in NY right now)

cbfx3
02-01-2008, 05:46 PM
This is making my head spin, I am going back to thinking about Miami, at least it's warm there (ice storm in NY right now)

+1..

I hope the Team isnt overlooking Miami like most fans are.

But in response to the OP Our guards have faired well when switching to bigs by forcing T.O.s .. this wont be as easy against UNC as it has been with others though.

devildeac
02-01-2008, 07:06 PM
Maryland (Vasquez) has played Lawson as tough as any team the past two years (I believe he got 11 points and 7 points in two games). Their philosophy is to limit their turnovers on offense so the Heels don't run as much, try as a team to cut him off or slow him down on his long dashes down court on a change of possession, and play off him during halfcourt sets to encourage three point shots rather than drives to the hoop.

I would have Henderson man up on his high school buddy Ellington. I don't think that there is a player on the Duke roster who can handle Hansbrough by himself. You just try to limit his shots (very difficult to do because Williams has his team work hard getting the ball inside).

gw67

plus, he has the Tyler shuffle...

Uncle Drew
02-01-2008, 11:05 PM
As I see it, our key will be to pressure the ball; we have no hope of stopping Hans if he gets the ball down low, so pressuring the ball-handlers to get Hans the ball out of position (high on the key or out on the wings) and forcing him to put the ball on the ground is key.

Of course, pressuring Lawson means you have to play tight on him, which leaves us open to penetration - playing smart D, TAKING CHARGES, and staying with your man rather than trying to block Lawson's shot, will also be secondary keys, IMO.

If Lawson is able to get Hans the ball, with position, or is able to drive without having to worry about charges, we had better be on fire from 3 to stay in the game.

Fortunately, UNC doesn't match up with us especially well, can be had with the drive-and-dish, and plays notoriously poor defense on the perimeter - if we're able to shoot about 40% from 3, which we can do, and limit the above, I can see us winning this game.

One interesting sub-plot in this game, which will depend on all of the above, will be the foul-count. If Hans gets deep, or we can't pressure the ball without fouling, we'll be racking up fouls and in a deep hole. If we can pick up some charges to slow down their penetration and then draw some contact with our drives, we'll have a great shot at this one. I think the winner of the foul sub-plot will end up winning the game.

Let the Heels commence with their "terping" about the refs right now.

s.i.

SI, is on the money and sees things exactly as I do. This of course means he's correct, but it may mean he needs psycological help too. Prozac anyone?