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View Full Version : ESPN: Zags defense is "offensive"



FuManShoes
03-25-2009, 09:17 PM
Fran and Doug taking ### shots!
http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/ncaatourney09/news/story?id=4014839



Gonzaga

What I Like: A lot of scoring weapons
Coach Mark Few has six different players who are capable of getting 20 points or more on a given night, and there are usually four and often five on the floor at one time. So when an opponent puts together a scouting report, there's not one player to key on. In the blowout win over Saint Mary's in the WCC championship on March 9, six Zags players scored in double figures.
And because Gonzaga shoots with equal effectiveness from both inside and out, it has a good answer for both man-to-man and zone defenses. All six top scorers shoot at least 36 percent from the 3-point line and three -- Austin Daye, Josh Heytvelt and Matt Bouldin -- shoot better than 40 percent.

What I Don't Like: Will the Zags guard anyone?
While the Zags are one of the top-10 teams in most every defensive statistical category, Gonzaga is not nearly as good defensively as the full season stats would lead you to believe. The Zags give up just 61 ppg normally, but the number spikes to 74 ppg against top-25 competition. Anyone remember Memphis jumping out to that 50-29 lead in Spokane? With UNC in the balance and Gonzaga wanting to play fast against the best-running team in college basketball, the thought that this Zag team likes to defend is, well, offensive.

MotoZag
03-25-2009, 10:33 PM
Stats don't lie. Friday will make or break us.

CDC84
03-25-2009, 10:37 PM
Actually, stats can lie, and here's why.....

Points per game is a poor way of measuring defensive effectiveness, and these analysts should know better. The amount of points you allow is very dependent on the pace of the game, and also how long a game lasts. Both UConn and Syracuse gave up a ton of points in their 6 OT game during the BE tourney. It wasn't because their defense stunk. Gonzaga held UConn to 42.6% shooting. Considering the opponent, that's not bad. The fact that they gave up 88 points was partly related to the OT period, and how much transition basketball took place. I mean, UConn, who everyone loves on defense, gave up 83 points in that game.

BTW.....North Carolina averages 90 PPG. Those guys should know that any team that just gives up 74 points to that outfit has succeeded....especially at limiting their transition game.

Gonzaga has been a successful defensive team throughout most of this season. The defensive efficiency stats these guys are referring to incorporate strength of schedule. What is correct is that Gonzaga's defense in its first two games of the tourney wasn't that great. GU needs to get back to where they were in Las Vegas.

MedZag
03-25-2009, 10:48 PM
Actually, stats can lie, and here's why.....

Points per game is a poor way of measuring defensive effectiveness, and these analysts should know better. The amount of points you allow is very dependent on the pace of the game, and also how long a game lasts. Both UConn and Syracuse gave up a ton of points in their 6 OT game during the BE tourney. It wasn't because their defense stunk. Gonzaga held UConn to 42.6% shooting. Considering the opponent, that's not bad. The fact that they gave up 88 points was partly related to the OT period, and how much transition basketball took place.

If Gonzaga gives up 74 points to North Carolina, they will have probably played a highly effective game on defense. The Heels are averaging 90 points a game!

Truth. That's why some numbers are important, and why some are obsolete in context.

Personally, as much as I love that the Zags are #2 in Def FG %, I much would prefer that they were #2 in a consolidated integrative statistic like Eff. Def. %. But I think anyone that has watched this Zag team enough this year has come to realize we do not run a "suffocating" defense. The Zags take away the key and they take away the fast break and they force you to beat them otherwise... that's why they give up so many offensive rebounds and 3 pt shots. But it plays right into the hands of a penetrating team.

I though WKU was a gut check. I didn't expect to beat them as hot as they were... they were the IDEAL team to beat us.

CDC84
03-25-2009, 10:58 PM
Gonzaga is clearly not Memphis. They are not an overwhelming defensive team, and they never will be. And frankly, they don't need to be. They are such a brilliant offensive team that they have more wiggle room than other teams. But just because they have more wiggle room doesn't mean that they can relax on the defensive end. They need to take it seriously.

MotoZag
03-25-2009, 11:08 PM
Actually, stats can lie, and here's why.....

Points per game is a poor way of measuring defensive effectiveness, and these analysts should know better. The amount of points you allow is very dependent on the pace of the game, and also how long a game lasts. Both UConn and Syracuse gave up a ton of points in their 6 OT game during the BE tourney. It wasn't because their defense stunk. Gonzaga held UConn to 42.6% shooting. Considering the opponent, that's not bad. The fact that they gave up 88 points was partly related to the OT period, and how much transition basketball took place. I mean, UConn, who everyone loves on defense, gave up 83 points in that game.

BTW.....North Carolina averages 90 PPG. Those guys should know that any team that just gives up 74 points to that outfit has succeeded....especially at limiting their transition game.

Gonzaga has been a successful defensive team throughout most of this season. The defensive efficiency stats these guys are referring to incorporate strength of schedule. What is correct is that Gonzaga's defense in its first two games of the tourney wasn't that great. GU needs to get back to where they were in Las Vegas.

I was referring to the stats we had against top 25 teams as the article pointed out. I as well as any other good GU fan know the intangibles.

As far as being where we were in Vegas, that's not going to happen. The intensity in the conference tourney was severely less when it comes to season ending single elimination. SMC played us like it didn't matter if they won or lost. Boy were they wrong.

CDC84
03-26-2009, 12:38 AM
As far as being where we were in Vegas, that's not going to happen. The intensity in the conference tourney was severely less when it comes to season ending single elimination. SMC played us like it didn't matter if they won or lost. Boy were they wrong.

St. Mary's got beat badly in the WCC title game not because of their attitude, but because Gonzaga has significantly more talent than the Gaels do across their whole roster, and because Gonzaga defended with great focus.

If Gonzaga defends with the level of intensity it did in Vegas, they will not only have a good chance to beat North Carolina, but a good chance of beating any team in this tournament, period. Even if those teams play hard and with focus. GU was terrific in Vegas, and their defense would've been effective (not necessarily great) against any team in the country, no matter how much the opponent wanted to win the game.

How seriously SMC took the WCC title game is completely irrelevant to me. I'm more concerned with Gonzaga's effort when it comes to defense, and that comes from within themselves. It's not an external thing. There are not any major defensive liabilities on this team. They don't have to cover for anyone. I could care less who the opponent is, what they ate the night before, how they slept, how many future NBA guys they have, and how hard they play. What I saw in Vegas was a Gonzaga team that cared passionately about its defense. St. Mary's had extremely few open shots in the WCC title game. I don't think that changes if every St. Mary's player came out in that game with the intensity of Tyler Hansborough. All of this has to do with Gonzaga's mindset. The St. Mary's defensive effort was a very different defensive effort than what we saw in Portland. If GU defends with the purpose they did in Vegas, UNC will certainly score more than SMC did due to their better offensive talent, but they will not find baskets as easy to come by as they usually do. That's all that Gonzaga needs.

The question is whether Gonzaga will do this. I have no idea. What I saw in Portland didn't inspire me, but it was good enough to get out of that bracket. That effort won't work against UNC. But this is not a poor defensive team if the effort is there. The season wide stats against league and non-league opponents back it up. You can't fake the overwhelming defensive stats that GU has.

montanazag88
03-26-2009, 05:33 AM
Reality check. Pargo has been a serious defensive liability. Absolutely love the guy, but his man to man defense against the point is like watching a matador. He CAN turn it on, but it is something he's still working on. My concern is the efficiency in the Zags method of switching. If you look at their progression over the last few years, defensively, this has been a very slowly developing change (if you are someone who pays attention to the nation's top defending teams). Running at shooters to defend the 3 has also been an issue as a result of the switching flaws. It can be argued, the Zags average length on the floor does not lend itself to good man-to-man defense, but our zone has the same "help and recover" problems. This will be exploited heavily by UNC.

Let's hope the trap defense is deployed against UNC more often than applied to other teams in the past...Zags are extremely effective at this and with the right mix on the floor, they can count on turnovers or shot clock pressure at least 1 in 3 trips. Finally, at times Austin can be a defensive question mark. His blocked shots are a true intimitading weapon on defense, but he has trouble guarding the baseline...as does Josh. (Josh has been a breath of fresh air defensively, lately.)The redeeming factor for the Zags defensively has been their shot blocking ability. Their weakness...rebound positioning. IMO, to win, defense, rebounding, foul troubles and tempo will decide the game. With so many tv timeouts, there will be plenty of full court pressure and offensive aggressiveness. Whoever tires first may fall defensively and rebounding wise.

I am so looking forward to this....I agree with CDC...they have the ability.

sdzag
03-26-2009, 07:01 AM
Fran and Doug taking ### shots!
http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/ncaatourney09/news/story?id=4014839

Did anyone else just hear Doug G's voice playing in their heads when they read our Bio? I feel like they split up the breakdowns and the main who kept his "Gonzaga card" is the same one trashing our D.

Go Zags!

HODGY
03-26-2009, 08:18 AM
We all know that the game is going to have a lot of possessions on eith side of the ball. This is where the Zags will have to lock down. UNC is averaging around 85 possessions a game and has yet to be held under 1.0 points per possession in a game this year. This is coming even against dook which is considered to have a good, swarming defense. The lowest poss/per/game this year for the Heels was against FSU in the ACCT with 64. So once again the question arises to limit UNC's poss/per/game or run with them and try to knock down their offensive efficiency. Unless some Zag shooters go off to keep pts racking up.