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tyra
09-27-2018, 02:40 AM
We know this team is made up of incredible athletes who can score. But how good a defensive team will they be? (And we all know they have to be good on defense to go deep.). If you’re optimistic in this regard, why? If you’re concerned, why?

Sarenyon
09-27-2018, 04:42 AM
I'm fairly optimistic. With the addition of Clark and the continued growth of our players, we should be a pretty darn good defensive team. I'm hoping top 20 KenPom adjusted D by the time WCC tourney starts. We'll see awfully quick with our non-league schedule how they will be.

MickMick
09-27-2018, 05:08 AM
If you have a rim protector, it allows for the wings to play tighter man defense. They have confidence that there is help if they get beat on the bounce It also compensates (somewhat) for late switching and “help” defense. This is where Collins really shined against South Carolina in the final four game.

Do the Zags have another great rim protector? Clarke’s block totals while in the MWC indicate that they just might.

GonzagasaurusFlex
09-27-2018, 05:28 AM
Zags primary bigs - Tillie, Clarke, Rui - are all athletic enough to effectively switch on D which should help make this a great defensive team. I’m not so sure our primary perimeter players (Perkins, Norvell, Kispert) will be able to stay in front of small, quick ball handlers...which can force bigs to help and get in foul trouble. If I’m an opposing coach, my game plan is attack Perkins and Norvell off the dribble and draw fouls. Early fouls on those two really changes the Zags. Crandall will help of course, but his late arrival means he most likely won’t really help this team until midseason.

MDABE80
09-27-2018, 09:08 AM
Tillie, Rui haven't played good defense so far. I suspect Clarke will and Crandall is a question mark. Defense is key. Either play defense of peter out especially toward the latter part of the season when teams have matured in offense over the season. Everybody on our side of the ball must understand this. To summarize, how good is the defense? Unknown.

sittingon50
09-27-2018, 09:32 AM
Perkins has been quoted as saying that Clarke jumps higher & faster than any dude he has seen.

Sorry, I do not recall where I read/saw that but enjoyed gaining that information.

DixieZag
09-27-2018, 10:09 AM
Perkins has been quoted as saying that Clarke jumps higher & faster than any dude he has seen.

Sorry, I do not recall where I read/saw that but enjoyed gaining that information.

I like guys like that.

Well, even if we play average defense, I believe it was Ammo whose idea of defense was scoring 10 more points than you, and we do have lots of guys who can score in big bunches, Rui, Norvelle, Tillie at a minimum.

We have been so much better defensively than the typical team of 10 years ago, seems like we'll be okay.

Zagceo
09-27-2018, 10:28 AM
Clarke blocks first highlight and 1:00 in


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=si8EJxM7Cfo

amaronizag
09-27-2018, 10:54 AM
Defense is the big question mark for this season and may determine how deep we go in March/April. I think Killie's defense has improved greatly and is now outstanding. Snacks has also improved greatly and Perkins can hold his own. Clark can jump and block shots, but I haven't seen enough tape to make a judgement on him or Geno. Apart from rim protection, Rui has not impressed me at all on on defense away from the basket. Rui, Kispert, and Larson all need to improve on defense. The rest are unknowns. I hope to be pleasantly surprised but at this point, the jury is very much still out.

Markburn1
09-27-2018, 11:05 AM
Defensive concepts have changed over the years and this year should see a further trend to defending the perimeter. Kids are becoming more adept at shooting threes and coaches are valuing three point shooting more each year.

Coach Few has always emphasized help defense and rightly so. The key to success in this environment is to identify shooters and try to stick with them while letting others do the "helping". Inevitably someone on the perimeter will be beaten off the dribble and a teammate closer to the rim will have to help deter a straight path to the goal. When that happens, the absolute key to the Zags success on defense will be the secondary rotation that needs to occur at that point. The entire team will have to work as a unit to not only cover the man that belonged to the helper, but to also identify perimeter shooters and rotate accordingly. They may or may not be able to prevent a pass to one of these shooters from occurring, but they will need to close out aggressively to prevent uncontested shots. I believe the length of Tillie, Rui and Norvell will create deflections on the pass and cause difficulty for shooters on closeouts from these players. I also believe Perkins is an underrated man to man defender that will keep his man in front of him and cause deflections that contribute to steals. Having Clark (and Petrusev who I believe will have similar instincts as Collins) on the back line will help deter straight lines to the rim.


There are lots of nice pieces to make this year's team a formidable presence on defense.


This, of course, doesn't take into account the occasional necessity for a zone defense nor does it touch on a press defense that I hope Few and company would embrace with the depth that this team possesses.

zagamatic
09-27-2018, 11:23 AM
I think that much of this year's teams defensive prowess is going to hinge on staying out of foul trouble, not necessarily on being stellar individual defenders. I say this because I think that this year's team more than others will rely on help defense than "locking someone down 1 on 1". And in order to play good help defense, it takes a continuity from play to play of knowing what the guy you're helping is going to do and where he's going to steer the offensive player to.

bartruff1
09-27-2018, 12:41 PM
I suspect getting them to play hard nose defense for 40 minutes will be very difficult ….. in the end.... that will determine if they win or lose their last game...

They will simply outscore their WCC opponents...not good ….if they make the second weekend in the Crapshoot, they will have to defend excellent teams.

titopoet
09-27-2018, 01:16 PM
Perkins has been quoted as saying that Clarke jumps higher & faster than any dude he has seen.

Sorry, I do not recall where I read/saw that but enjoyed gaining that information.

Last years team was 18 for adjusted D in Kenpom. Norvell and Rui made great strides as the season progressed. (Rui was so much better this Sept with the Japanese team). Like it has already been pointed out, Rui, and Tillie can switch out and have the lateral quickness to guard the perimeter. Perkins is such an underrated defender and is a lot quicker than people give him credit. (after all, he was the guy that had one of the biggest defensive play in GU history, the block that led to Jordan's game-winning three. Joel is already an elite defender.


This team is deeper and with better rim protection, than last years team. I think they will be a top ten D team.

bartruff1
09-27-2018, 02:28 PM
Poet.....honest question....you reference a " adjusted D " ……. without confusing me with data....how does he adjust the fact that we are defending WCC Teams rather think Big East Teams......how does he compare apples to apples.....thanks in advance for your help....bart

Markburn1
09-27-2018, 03:17 PM
Poet.....honest question....you reference a " adjusted D " ……. without confusing me with data....how does he adjust the fact that we are defending WCC Teams rather think Big East Teams......how does he compare apples to apples.....thanks in advance for your help....bart

https://kenpom.com/blog/ratings-methodology-update/

I'll check back with you in about a year and see if you made any sense of this.

Bottom line is strength of schedule vs opponents strength of schedule vs opponent's opponents strength of schedule is all taken into account along with points per possession compared to national averages.

Of course, all that changes in a Tuesday night contest in February. Just kidding. Sorta.

Mr. Pomeroy spent literally tens of years perfecting his calculations. Dreary work if you ask me.

bartruff1
09-27-2018, 05:13 PM
Well thanks....I can see what his assumptions are and how he adjusts....but the proof is always in the pudding...

I do not know how his ratings matched up with the NCAA tournament seeding and outcomes....if there is a strong correlation between his ratings and say the field or the round of 32 or the sweet sixteen over the years ….he may be as accurate as he is precise....

No need to derail the thread anymore for my sake...thanks again...bart

amaronizag
09-27-2018, 08:57 PM
Hey Bart, you ought to consider paying $20 per year for full access to the KenPom site. Not only does he post stats for all teams, and predict outcomes for all games, but he provides all the formulas he uses and includes a lot of great statistical analysis to answer questions about all kinds of basketball issues.

Zagger
09-28-2018, 02:25 AM
One advantage a powerful offensive team has is rattling the opposition. Zag foes are going to have a hard time matching Zag speed and in trying to keep up with the Zags on firepower they are going to make mistakes. Zag defense is already good. I see the net result being a high number of steals in Zag stats and in turnovers by the opposing team. Also, due to Zag depth, friendly competition for court time is going to include having everyone step up their defensive efforts.

TexasZagFan
09-28-2018, 04:26 AM
Last years team was 18 for adjusted D in Kenpom. Norvell and Rui made great strides as the season progressed. (Rui was so much better this Sept with the Japanese team). Like it has already been pointed out, Rui, and Tillie can switch out and have the lateral quickness to guard the perimeter. Perkins is such an underrated defender and is a lot quicker than people give him credit. (after all, he was the guy that had one of the biggest defensive play in GU history, the block that led to Jordan's game-winning three. Joel is already an elite defender.


This team is deeper and with better rim protection, than last years team. I think they will be a top ten D team.

Top ten seems a bit high, but we'll be good enough. IMO, a key to our season will be how our team speed forces the opponent to play at our pace. The teams that could give us the most trouble are those that milk the shot clock, thus decreasing the tempo.

The athleticism of this team is off the charts, and the next 39 days are going to go too slow for my taste.

bballbeachbum
09-28-2018, 10:38 AM
sorry for the long post.

how good defensively? who knows. some guys will need to improve and step into roles, newer guys will need to prove they can. we'll see.

re. how the Zags play, the keys, it depends on the matchups obviously as the gameplan vs. St. Mary's exemplifies from last year's team. The Zags can effectively mix it up on D. A couple years ago the Zags rolled out various defensive gameplans game after game, those gameplans documented right here on this board as they evolved.

But behind them all is the main new theme in the game: do not allow open 3s, especially the catch and shoot 3s. Yes, there are still teams out there that struggle from deep and individual players on teams who you dare to shoot it (like what teams would do to J3 last year, just dare him to shoot it from out there). Right on, you can adjust your gameplan accordingly.

But those open 3s and catch and shoot 3s are killers in today's game, and as has been noted a lot here, the 3 point line is easy, so you must account for it. Today, Ds force the dribble into the paint instead of protecting the paint from the dribble at all costs like it used to be.

And the ask is greater: perimeter defenders still must be able to deny penetration while taking away the 3. It's a tough and evolving ask of any player.

The help D? it depends again. But, as the below clip will show in the very first 2 Zag D possessions, oftentimes it's not coming. Instead, the on ball defender has got to force a tough two while everyone else either denies the kick or battles for D board positioning. This was down the stretch in the first round last year vs. UNCG


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XjvRrYlOTI

no, it's not the only way the Zags play, they do rotate (again, see St. Mary's) but they do this stuff in the clip a TON, and the switching D allows it as long as the Zag bigs can hang with the perimeter matchups the switching brings. And even with other D gameplan adjustments, the idea is still to deny kickout catch and shoot 3s while forcing a tough 2 and then rebounding it strong.

my opinion is that the Zags have improved dramatically in this in a few years, starting with Karno who gave Few ad Co. the luxury to explore this style of defense and get away from all the helping and helpside D which the Zags used before...all the rotations and over helping. Now, the rotations are more a change up seems to me, rolled out in specific matchups. I remember the year before last Zags D gameplan for St. Mary's was weakside rotation by J3 to help on the roll leaving Pineau open in the corner for 3, which he missed repeatedly :)

Anyway, fun to think about this and read all of the thoughtful posts above.

bballbeachbum
09-28-2018, 10:40 AM
after all that, more?

on Tillie and D, also in that clip, KT gets exposed on back to back plays, not to be a jerk but it's right there on the video. Once off the bounce defending the perimeter after switching, once in the paint allowing the Oboard after J3 forced the tough 2 miss with no help. If KT can address those kinds of things defensively, down the stretch when it matters most, he can be great, imo