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former1dog
03-11-2008, 01:19 PM
Gonzaga's achilles heel in general for quite a few seasons and this season in particular have been slow it down, ugly it up, control the tempo type teams. This year see Texas Tech, WSU, Santa Clara and, of course, USD for the evidence of how we struggle against such teams.

So, how does Gonzaga play against these teams. It seems to me, we generally try to out talent them and beat them at their own game. Against Santa Clara and USD twice this year, we did just that. Texas Tech and WSU, not so much... And against USD yesterday, noooot.

What I want to know is why do we fall for this every time? Why don't we use an alternative strategy to influence the pace of the game and impose our will? Why not run a full court press and make things haywire in game like this? So they get a couple of breakaway layups and dunks! So what? We have an incredibly deep and athletic team, and it just baffles me that we play right into the hands of a team that honestly can't match us if we play our game.... Why?

Reborn
03-11-2008, 01:22 PM
It's easy to answer this one. It's the way Mark Few decides to play. Like some have indicated, maybe he did want to lose last night for some reason.

HillBillyZag
03-11-2008, 01:27 PM
USD just killed us on the glass, especially on the offensive boards. And I have to say it was not ONLY a case of our guys getting outhustled & out positioned. At times when our kids all rushed the glass, the rebounds went long and right into Pomares hands. Sometimes its just night your night and I think that also was part of it.

Thomas_Sutpen
03-11-2008, 01:35 PM
What I want to know is why do we fall for this every time? Why don't we use an alternative strategy to influence the pace of the game and impose our will? Why not run a full court press and make things haywire in game like this? So they get a couple of breakaway layups and dunks! So what? We have an incredibly deep and athletic team, and it just baffles me that we play right into the hands of a team that honestly can't match us if we play our game.... Why?

The answer, I think, is that while it's relatively easy to slow down the pace of a game against your opponent's will, it's hard to speed it up against your opponent's will.

Yes, we could press (and in fact should have more last night), but what if the slow-down team breaks the press, then waits for the D to get back and runs the shot clock down? If that team is effective in a half-court set, then it's difficult for us to run a break after made baskets.

This is why the classic Pete Carril Princeton teams were able to slow down tempo so effectively: they could break the press (if it happened), then play their game.

Another factor last night affecting the pace of the game (as others have mentioned repeatedly), was USD's offensive rebounds. It's hard to run a fast break without the ball.

surfmonkey89
03-11-2008, 01:43 PM
I think this is where Josh being hurt this year really killed us. Even in the last couple of weeks I've seen sequences where we go down low a couple of times and good things happen. Then either myself or someone in the room says "We can do that all. day. long.", but for whatever reason we don't.

I don't think we can realistically do this as much as we'd like because JH still isn't 100% and can't put in the minutes yet (though he's getting there). Then you have to add in the fact that he's occasionally outside the arc...for what reason I have no idea. AND - it seems like there are a half dozen times a game where he's in position, arm up for the entry pass, and the person with the ball hesitates getting it to him for whatever reason.

I don't know if the timing's off because of lack of practice together, if they don't have faith in giving it to him down low, or something else, but it's as frustrating to watch as the half dozen times a game where our guards are WIDE OPEN from outside and do that stupid pump-fake-show-the-ball move instead of just friggin' shooting the rock.

CDC84
03-11-2008, 02:32 PM
I actually think this Gonzaga team handles slow it down, grind it out games better than any Zag team in recent history....largely because they play better defense.

The big problem last night was giving up 12 offensive rebounds.

Zagpower
03-11-2008, 02:43 PM
I think we settle for these type of games when others (Memphis, Tenn, Duke, UNC) will press and and turn the game into a free-for-all where the most talented (and deepest team) will win. As deep and athletic as we are, I'd like to see us full-court press especially in a game where the other team lacks our talent and depth like last night.

Zag79
03-11-2008, 07:48 PM
The big problem last night was giving up 12 offensive rebounds

coaching. matt and gray play 68 minutes and grab 3 (THREE) rebounds. josh and daye play 34 minutes TOGETHER and grab 8 boards. SD did hustle but our small lineup was the main problem in my eyes, not hustle and desire.

mendiant
03-11-2008, 08:10 PM
WOW hon, you and I agree!!!

Kept wondering why SG stayed in, in place of a bigger line up with more rebounding opps...

Although I will disagree that hustle and desire were lacking on this teams' part...GU EXPECTED a win...

SD DESIRED a win...
\

roxdoc
03-11-2008, 08:12 PM
The reason we don't do well against slow down teams is that we have no half court offense to speak of - particularly an inside game. If we keep recruiting mostly guards things are not going to change for a few years.

ebayzagfan
03-11-2008, 08:27 PM
Gonzaga's achilles heel in general for quite a few seasons and this season in particular have been slow it down, ugly it up, control the tempo type teams. This year see Texas Tech, WSU, Santa Clara and, of course, USD for the evidence of how we struggle against such teams.
...What I want to know is why do we fall for this every time? Why don't we use an alternative strategy to influence the pace of the game and impose our will? Why not run a full court press and make things haywire in game like this?

I totally buy into your premise that the Zags struggle against teams that like a low possession game. So how does an athletic team who likes to get up and down the floor set the tempo? A double-teaming press might help, if the opponent has young or inexperienced guards. Of greater importance though is not falling behind early. Once you are down to a grinder-type team, they will continue to grind on you. It is imperative that you come out hard from the opening tip against such a team. You give them no room to operate their half-court offense, you run at every opportunity, and here's the clincher ... you start your best five players from the opening tap. You fight like hell to build that 5 point or 7 point lead early in the opening half. You aren't satisfied to play to a draw in the first 20 minutes. You get a grinder team down early, they will start to come out of their slow pace and rush things a bit.

The fast opening pace will require strategic and frequent substituions. And I am talking about bringing in Gurganious and Ira in the first half. Create some chaos and excitement! Some military genius once said, "If you are going to attack the king, you must kill the king." I'd like to see a bull-rusher type mentality from the get-go. Let's get that early lead, then we set the damn tempo, not the grinders.

zag67
03-11-2008, 08:42 PM
I do not believe that we recruit mostly guards. I think that if you have an injury with Josh, Theo has family problems, and Sacre/Foster do not step up as fast as we need, then you have a problem with the inside game. THIS IS NOT a recruiting problem and is not a coaching problem.

Now next year we will more and likely have Josh and a stronger inside game with Sacre/Foster. Also I think that you will see Ira as a major force on the boards. Poling will hopefully get his year to gain strength and mature. We will also have Austin, Micah, Pargo, and Matt who normally do their share on the boards.

Also if we get Taylor, then he also will have the one year to mature as a backup to Micah/Austin/Ira. Then we will have a very good set of big men for the next couple of years (that is hoping that someone does not decide to play football).

In some cases Few has a bigger problem than teams that do not have the amount of talent that GU has. Trying to get the right players on the court on a given night is not an easy task. One night it might be Micah, the next Steven, the next Austin and so on. Also he has to make sure that he does not change the chemistry of the rest of team.

ebayzagfan
03-11-2008, 09:09 PM
In some cases Few has a bigger problem than teams that do not have the amount of talent that GU has. Trying to get the right players on the court on a given night is not an easy task. One night it might be Micah, the next Steven, the next Austin and so on. Also he has to make sure that he does not change the chemistry of the rest of team.

I agree having a lot of puzzle pieces to move around is not an easy task for a coach. But Selection Sunday is upon us and I still don't get the feeling that Few is on top of his game, just as obviously as the Zags aren't on top of theirs. When the coaches decide to recruit an Austin Daye, a Steven Gray, a Micah, and a Matt, etc., you've got to know that you are going to have a lot of depth, but still only one ball and 200 minutes to divvy up. You've recruited that tremendous stockpile of talent and the skillsets. But the scenario now requires the coaching staff to become part puppetmaster and part Houdini. Could it be that the recruiting side of the program has gotten ahead of the "x's and o's" side of things? Yes, look at all the great talent. The bigger problem becomes molding them into a cohesive unit that functions as one. And the Zags obviously are not at that point as we speak. I love watching the individual talent these players possess. But the teams that do damage in the Dance are just that ... TEAMS. It's a fine balancing act. Not all super-talented players are willing to subordinate their egos for the team.

zagco
03-11-2008, 11:19 PM
In his book, Jerry Tarkanian said that the key to winning basketball games is to force the other team to play at an uncomfortable pace. Zagco thought about that for a long time, and he sees the simplistic beauty in it. San Diego did a great job of doing that to us, and we failed to counter it. It certainly makes sense to press with our depth. It would have been a way to counter it.

cjm720
03-12-2008, 07:54 AM
It's easy to answer this one. It's the way Mark Few decides to play. Like some have indicated, maybe he did want to lose last night for some reason.

I know you don't believe that, Reborn! You're one of the most positive people on this board...come one, Few wouldn't "fix" a game or lose on purpose to motivate his team...that's hogwash.