Monday, January 11, 2010

We're # ... 3?

Against Cornell only Sherron played well; against Tennessee yesterday basically no one played well. Self berated the players after the game, but (granting that he's forgotten more about hoops than I'll ever know) I'd like to point the finger at him for a second.

Self complains that the players aren't sharing the ball, but how about some play-calling? Sure, Xavier needs to be more aggressive, but is it fair to just expect the kid to improvise? Why not run some screens to get him open? I can't believe how much of a non-factor he was in this game, and I don't think it's all his fault.

Also, Self may be the best teacher of defense in college basketball, but sometimes under game pressure he seems to overreact and make bad defensive switches. We almost lost the '08 title game after Self decided to go box-and-one against Chris Douglas-Roberts; this move allowed Derrick Rose to finally get going after he'd been struggling the whole game. Against Tennessee, after a few bad defensive possessions late, Self freaks out and decides to go into a zone for most of the rest of the game -- which, as it always does, yielded opened jumpers for the opponent and got our big men out of rebounding position.

When you have more size, depth and talent than your opponent -- and more importantly, the best man-to-man defense in all of college basketball -- there is never a reason to go zone, other than maybe a possession or two to confuse the opponent or protect a player in foul trouble.

Anyway, that's my rant. I don't think the sky is falling; our boys will pull it together. Here's to a great Big 12 season.


  1. Well, I thought the zone was fine. It was raining threes while we played man to man.

    I thought Sherron had a good game. But, the big problem is the bigs.

    The inside game was non-existent.

    So, offensively, I'm looking at Cole and the twins.

    It was also a pretty poor defensive effort for a Self team. All Self teams struggle a bit in the half court. We need some steals to break the doldrums. There was very little transition game last night.

    I think X could have made more drives, Taylor could have held on the ball better, Reed could have hit some shots.

    But, to my eyes, the problem was not play calling, but defense and collapse of the bigs.

  2. I'm with Chris on this one--I actually liked the zone. It's not like we were ahead before we went to it.

    I think that Self's comment about being a team was spot-on. The players just don't seem to have a feel for each other. I can't count how many times Sherron had to reach an arm way out to catch a pass. That just shouldn't be happening.

    Maybe our depth is actually hurting us here? Or do we need some adversity? Hopefully we've had enough of the latter for a little while...

  3. Our pressure man-to-man defense usually wears teams down over the course of a game -- especially should have done so against the depleted Vols -- Self just wasn't patient with it. When we went zone, they dunked on us, they got offensive rebounds, and were STILL raining 3s.

    The big men were bad offensively, but we still outrebounded them and got a lot of blocked shots. I realize Cole didn't look great with the ball, but did he really get enough touches? Why did Sherron get four times as many attempts as the big guy?

    Not to exonerate Cole and the twins, but I'm still more concerned about guard play: poor shooting aside, 8 turnovers between Sherron and Tyshawn is just unnacceptable. We've got great perimeter talent, but not enough rock-solid Russell Robinson types who can protect the ball and put it in the right places. Tyshawn had been trending in that direction until this week; hopefully he can get it back.

  4. Didn't we switch to the zone at or near the end of the game? I'm not sure Self's patience was the problem.

    The guards didn't do a terrific job of getting it to the bigs, but Cole got so many rebounds (thank god!)many of them offensive. So, there should have been shots there regardless of the guards.

    Cole also got plenty of blocks. So, in a crude sense, I think the guards need to step up the D and the bigs need to step up the O.

    And everybody needs to stop turning the ball over.

  5. I concur with that formula. And Cole should have had more putbacks.

    (Didn't mean to suggest that the zone lost us the game, only that it was a panic move that made no sense.)

  6. I guess it's good I don't have my TV hooked up yet. Saturday. (*grumble*)