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Thread: Have we forgotten

  1. #1
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    Default Have we forgotten

    Have we forgotten how good Gonzaga has been? Have we forgotten how good our defense has been? I believe I had forgotten, so I went back to watch games with Arizona, UW and Oregon. These are 3 very good teams, and we played the UW and Arizona in their home arenas before jam packed crowds. While watching these videos I couldn't help but feeling how good Gonzaga is. These games were close, but overall our Zags were in control as they maintained leads throughout the game. I can't imagine that any game the rest of the way way will be more difficult than the UW and ARIZONA game, and even the Oregon game. Watching these games again has helped strengthen my positive attitude, which does get challenged here on this forum because there are some posters who are not as positive about Gonzaga.

    Gonzaga's defense has been under attack. Yet when I watched those games again their defense looked good. We know that Pepperdine is a very good team, and only lost to Arizona by two points, and I believe they scored like 91 points against them. They do have some very good offensive players. And with Bone now on their staff we can expect their defense to get better and better, as it was against Gonzaga. The other thing that is a fact is that Gonzaga is the #1 team in the country and EVERY team will play their very best games of the year against Gonzaga. We need to expect that. And we need to remember that the teams in the WCC this year are better overall than ever before. We will NOT be able to breeze through the conference as some would like to hope.

    There will be real challenges for sure, but watching those games again has renewed my belief that the Zags will be able to meet and overcome any of those challenges.

    Go Zags!!!
    Go Zags!!! The Best Is Yet To Come!!!

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    I haven't forgotten,they have shown that they will answer the call when needed.....every time when pressed they have circled the wagons and won the game ……….as long as they stay the course everything will be just fine

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reborn View Post
    And we need to remember that the teams in the WCC this year are better overall than ever before. We will NOT be able to breeze through the conference as some would like to hope.
    That is one thing that does seem to be forgotten. The league is getting better. Money has been spent on facilities and coaches and it makes a difference. As much as we've liked to complain about the WCC on this forum, it seems to be a league on the rise. We are much stronger than the Mountain West. Gonzaga, SMC, and BYU are all probable tournament teams, compared to one mostly untested Mountain West team (SDSU). The WCC is also not as weak at the bottom.
    "My golf is woeful, but I will never surrender."--Bing Crosby

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reborn View Post
    Have we forgotten how good Gonzaga has been? Have we forgotten how good our defense has been? I believe I had forgotten, so I went back to watch games with Arizona, UW and Oregon. These are 3 very good teams, and we played the UW and Arizona in their home arenas before jam packed crowds. While watching these videos I couldn't help but feeling how good Gonzaga is. These games were close, but overall our Zags were in control as they maintained leads throughout the game. I can't imagine that any game the rest of the way way will be more difficult than the UW and ARIZONA game, and even the Oregon game. Watching these games again has helped strengthen my positive attitude, which does get challenged here on this forum because there are some posters who are not as positive about Gonzaga.

    Gonzaga's defense has been under attack. Yet when I watched those games again their defense looked good. We know that Pepperdine is a very good team, and only lost to Arizona by two points, and I believe they scored like 91 points against them. They do have some very good offensive players. And with Bone now on their staff we can expect their defense to get better and better, as it was against Gonzaga. The other thing that is a fact is that Gonzaga is the #1 team in the country and EVERY team will play their very best games of the year against Gonzaga. We need to expect that. And we need to remember that the teams in the WCC this year are better overall than ever before. We will NOT be able to breeze through the conference as some would like to hope.

    There will be real challenges for sure, but watching those games again has renewed my belief that the Zags will be able to meet and overcome any of those challenges.

    Go Zags!!!
    Metrics - especially FT% and 3pt Def - seem to imply this team is heading for a couple of blow-ups. Those two keys are recipes for disaster against a mediocre team that gets a short, hot spurt from 3 and from which the Zags can't shoot FTs down the stretch when they count the most to withstand the barrage.

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    We flat out got after it and battled in Seattle (pun intended), UW still shot indecent clip, yet our defense in Tuscon was subpar at best. I've literally never seen an opponent miss so many wide open -- I mean no one within 15 feet -- shots.

    We deserve credit as our offense was clicking and we recaptured momentum on the road.

    Good offense can take crowds out of it, and occasionally be your best defense.

    We have some guys who are really good defenders, and some just aren't good, or overly soft.

    Just is what it is.

    We can turn up the intensity yet a couple of our post guys just don't have it, and only hope is the shot attempt is missed on most possessions.

    As long as we turn most of their misses into points for us, we will be ok.

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    Have you forgotten how good the defense we was doing. Our FF team? Or even last years team? Pep talks don’t generate defense. We are marginal this year. Some play defense from game to game but we need sustained effort by all players. Not seen that yet and the data shows it. No offense to Reborn.

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    I'm guessing Gary Bell isn't on board with any reference to good defense from this group. There has yet to be a game played where an objective observer could say the defense was very good. There have been a couple of individual performances from Woolridge and Tillie, but overall team defense has been suspect.

    I would like to give a shout out to Kispert for effort and recognition of defensive strategy. He has always shown the effort and he is much better at seeing the defensive floor than his first two years.

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    I don't think Gary Bell thinks like you do. No! Not at all. I put together this thread because of people like you. The Zags have shown that they can be a very good defensive team. For me it's a process. I've seen enough really good defense out of this team, to know that by the end of the year they will be playing better defense from the beginning of the game until the end. Right now they have times that they do play great d, and other times they don't. It needs to be sustained over a longer period of time. There are a lot of new players this year, and it's going to take more time before they understand the defensive concepts and are able to sustain them for longer period of times.

    ALSO good offensive players make it more difficult for team to have better defensive stats. AND the Zags ARE playing teams who are better offensively this year (Pepperdine). And Portland always plays good against the Zags at home.

    Gonzaga is the #1 offensive team in America scoring an average of 88 points a game. Imagine what it would be if we were making more free throws?

    Go Zags!!!
    Go Zags!!! The Best Is Yet To Come!!!

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    I subjectively think that the defensive effort wasn’t there recently. Coach Few mentioned on the most recent show that when this team does their job the defense is pretty good. I don’t think it is an unfixable problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scrooner View Post
    Great clip from a great ballgame! Thanks for posting the link!
    "Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand."
    —Kurt Vonnegut

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    Zags have played good defense in limited stretches. I would not cite the AZ game as a good defensive effort. Nico Mannion could not hit water if he fell out of a boat that night. More about him than us, IMO.

    Teams improve or evolve as the season progresses and GU has not yet made an improvement in the last 6 games or so. That needs to happen because if we play D only as well in March as we did in Nov, we are vulnerable to more battle toughened opponents.

    Offense can come and go but defense is something you can bring every game and we are still learning that.

    ZZ

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    As it stands, based on the most reliable source for team analytics (KenPom), we are the #64 ranked defense in the country... Here's how Gonzaga has finished in that category in recent years:

    2019: #12
    2018: #18
    2017: #1
    2016: #27
    2015: #16
    2014: #18
    2013: #30
    2012: #33
    2011: #44
    2010: #63

    It's pretty clear that objectively (as of now) this is the worst defense we have had over the last decade, and to be fair it isn't even close. Not to say we can't improve by year-end but boy it looks rough thus far.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reborn View Post
    I don't think Gary Bell thinks like you do. No! Not at all. I put together this thread because of people like you.....Go Zags!!!
    What, exactly, does that mean?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZagSwag View Post
    As it stands, based on the most reliable source for team analytics (KenPom), we are the #64 ranked defense in the country... Here's how Gonzaga has finished in that category in recent years:

    2019: #12
    2018: #18
    2017: #1
    2016: #27
    2015: #16
    2014: #18
    2013: #30
    2012: #33
    2011: #44
    2010: #63

    It's pretty clear that objectively (as of now) this is the worst defense we have had over the last decade, and to be fair it isn't even close. Not to say we can't improve by year-end but boy it looks rough thus far.
    HOLY CRAP BATMAN!! It's worse than I thought!! Who designed our defense in the past few years needs to get to work!

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    The overall structure of this thread seems to be:

    Many: "This year's Zag team is playing much worse defense than any recent Zag team, and that has been borne out by defensive stats and the eye test"

    Reborn: "For some stretches of some big games the Zags have looked great defensively, therefore the Zags are great defensively and will be great defensively and I don't want to hear thoughts to the contrary."

    Quote Originally Posted by Reborn View Post
    These games were close, but overall our Zags were in control as they maintained leads throughout the game. I can't imagine that any game the rest of the way way will be more difficult than the UW and ARIZONA game, and even the Oregon game.

    I'm trying to understand your thinking, not be snarky.

    But won't the games we lose be "more difficult" than those 3 games we won?

    Or is this a veiled way of predicting we run the table in the WCC and win the national championship?


    Although elite team defense is more than the sum of its parts (see T-Tech last year) it's obvious our defensive ceiling isn't as high this year as last year.

    -We have way more new and unfamiliar players who don't yet know how to predict and respond to each other and the system
    -We have the least amount of rim protection of any team in the last 4 years and it's not close. Maybe it stretches back longer than that.
    -Kispert, Petrusev, Timme, and to some extent Tillie are average defenders at best (let's say average among ranked teams - not comparing to every D1 squad). They might hustle and give 100% effort, but some physical limits are innate.
    - Our most versatile and perhaps highest ceiling defender is playing with 1 arm and 1.5 ankles in only a few minutes a game.
    -“because we really don’t have great one-on-one defenders with the exception of maybe Ryan (Woolridge) and Admon (Gilder Jr.).” - Mark Few (and both those guys have been limping)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reborn View Post
    I don't think Gary Bell thinks like you do. No! Not at all. I put together this thread because of people like you. The Zags have shown that they can be a very good defensive team. For me it's a process. I've seen enough really good defense out of this team, to know that by the end of the year they will be playing better defense from the beginning of the game until the end. Right now they have times that they do play great d, and other times they don't. It needs to be sustained over a longer period of time. There are a lot of new players this year, and it's going to take more time before they understand the defensive concepts and are able to sustain them for longer period of times.

    ALSO good offensive players make it more difficult for team to have better defensive stats. AND the Zags ARE playing teams who are better offensively this year (Pepperdine). And Portland always plays good against the Zags at home.

    Gonzaga is the #1 offensive team in America scoring an average of 88 points a game. Imagine what it would be if we were making more free throws?

    Go Zags!!!
    We are more than halfway through the season. They have had approximately seventy-five practices, 17 games and a ton of film sessions. If they don't understand the defensive concepts by now, they likely never will. Missed assignments is not the biggest problem with this group. It's mostly the lack of physical traits that players need to be elite defenders. I'm not going to detail the individual players because that will just make you angry.

    There is no Clarke that anticipated when to help from the weakside and the physical ability to get there quickly.

    There is no shutdown wing available.

    They lack the ability to close out quickly enough on three point shooters after playing help defense in the lane.

    There is no big with the strength to stop large human beings.

    They are doing a fairly good job of compensating for these weaknesses by double teaming post players, guards digging down to disrupt the flow of the offense, throwing an occasional press in there, Etc.

    Not having Watson healthy is big.

    Frustrating for me is Ayayi. He has the physical makeup to be a monster on defense. Right now he's too tentative on that end. If he makes a defensive jump like he did with his offensive game, look out.

    Please define people like me. Hahaha

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    Quote Originally Posted by MDABE80 View Post
    HOLY CRAP BATMAN!! It's worse than I thought!! Who designed our defense in the past few years needs to get to work!
    We had the luxury of switching last handful of years, we still do it, yet no longer with the luxury.

    Our post defense is bad as is, and to make matters worse, those very same Post players are guarding the ball screen, pick n roll action as good as an apparition.


    To be frank, most middle school teams guard the pick n roll shot better than we do. Literally non existent.

    Our guards do a nice, serviceable job on this same coverage, and an excellent job at point of attack aka on ball.

    Petrusev is a disaster out there leading to multiple open looks and/or breakdowns. For the life of me, cannot figure out who the heck Petrusev is trying to cover when he dips away. Its infuriating I cant watch him anymore on defense. Timme is actually much better than his older counterpart, yet limited, and Tillie seems to engage and disengage depending on situation.

    Kispert a much better awareness defender than he used to be yet gets burned on penetration and occasionally over helps.

    Ayayi refuses to close out properly, usually too interested in post help, likely no choice, and incapable of raising his hands past his neck on defense. His steps in passing lanes and is opportuniist, yet sometimes to a fault.

    Woolridge a bright spot. Fights through screens most of the time and pretty lock down on ball defender, save Pepperdine game when his mind was in the clouds.

    Gilder shows great anticipation yet seems hampered.

    Watson, far and away our best ball screen defender/switcher, even our best post defender, just gets manhandled from time to time. Clearly the most effective and disruptive even with one shoulder/arm.

    We really good use an anchor in the middle. A Ballo/Karno/Collins type who can be trusted one on one, protect the rim, and not get so easily pushed around or screened. We wouldn't switch with this player yet this years team lacks that presence.

    But since we still want to switch, teams are going to continue to pick on Petrusev, and sometimes Timme with their guards and forwards, even one on one in post.

    Petrusev also backpedals on positional interior post D which is the biggest "no no" of them all

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    Quote Originally Posted by ProVeeZag View Post
    Great clip from a great ballgame! Thanks for posting the link!
    great defense in the final 30 seconds of the game with West Virginia to go to the Elite 8 in the NCAA Tournament. The defense comes after a 3 point dagger by Mathews to win the game. I'd say the team was quite INSPIRED. This team will be equally inspired when it reaches the Sweet 16 too. I believe that.

    Go Zags!!!
    Go Zags!!! The Best Is Yet To Come!!!

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    I haven't forgotten that I have seen this movie before....and the team and the coaches worked on defense during the Conference ….

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    it's a different equation this year, the variables have changed. Zags are switching still as before, mostly, as Goshzagit points out. But Few has been changing it up 2nd half and during crunch time, and fueling spurts of D that the team, as of yet, has not really been able to do from start to finish

    I think it's fun having to solve the puzzle each night! no, it's not the dominant look of years past imo, and the stats seem to support that

    Few and co. maybe setting up D for certain matchups, like SMC? Bennett's boys have run other sets more often than the screen/roll force feed of the past, but Few and co. have rolled out specific game plans for key matchups over the years that we don't see in other games...Sacre on Delly by design on the switch, or doubling the post from the post feeder, or leaving the corner jumper open weakside to help on the roll (I forget the guy's name Zags left open but he couldn't hit it)--all of those twists rolled out for SMC over the years, for example

    hey Reborn, love the Jordan dagger, and it was in transition off of clutch D block by Josh on what would have been a dagger for WVU! and that's what the Zags d so far has been good at imo...feeding transitin and easy baskets to fuel the spurts. And Few has changed his D from the simple switching look discussed earlier, to help fuel those spurts

    fun conversations from all, thanks

  22. #22
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    [QUOTE=LTownZag;1495156]The overall structure of this thread seems to be:

    Many: "This year's Zag team is playing much worse defense than any recent Zag team, and that has been borne out by defensive stats and the eye test"

    Reborn: "For some stretches of some big games the Zags have looked great defensively, therefore the Zags are great defensively and will be great defensively and I don't want to hear thoughts to the contrary." I'm trying to understand your thinking, not be snarky.

    But won't the games we lose be "more difficult" than those 3 games we won?]




    I have never been one who has tried to tell people how to think. AND to the best of my ability I try to listen to what you say, and actually like it when others disagree with me. I've never said or even thought, "and I don't want to hear thoughts to the contrary." That's not me at all. Do I like to challenge people about how they think? Heck yes. That's the kind of family that I grew up in. My father was always challenging the way we thought, and he helped us learn to think critically. I am glad that I had him for my dad. My older brothers were the same, and we argued endlessly and had great debates around the dinner table. That's me.

    It's my opinion that a team doesn't beat Arizona in their home arena unless you play dang good defense. I believe Arizona had a win streak at home of 76 games against Out Of Conference teams. They are extremely difficult to beat there. The same for the UW. Washington was on a winning streak when we played them there. My positive attitude is based on these two games especially, and I do include the game with Oregon because they are a very good team and ranked in the top ten.

    I do believe the Zags will go undefeated in Conference Play. I don't think I've tried to veil my opinion, and think I've been pretty transparent about how I feel.

    I love Gary Bell, and he is one of my all-time favorite Zags. He certainly was tough. However, I would not use him as an example to say that he thinks this Zag team is not good defensively. I see him as a positive person, and imagine that he does see the positive things that this team is doing defensively, and I feel that he focuses on that and tries to reinforce the good that they are doing. That's just my opinion of Gary. He's probably more like Mark Few, and might say that the Zags play pretty good defensive when they are doing what they are supposed to do. I see a lot of toughness in this team, maybe contrary to what others see. In fact I think every player is tough. WE would not be this good if this were not a fact. Do I think Gonzaga is pretty good? Yeah! They are number one.

    I also am one who believes that playing great defense is a TEAM thing, and it's as complicated these days as offense is. And I believe that Gonzaga plays one of the most complex defenses around. Playing great defense has a lot more to do with it than JUST being tough, or JUST going out and giving it 100% all the time. It's way more than that. Offensive players in today's collegiate game are so good, that in order to be an elite team the team needs coaches who know how hard it is to stop some of these players and are able to develop schemes to help stop them the best that one can do. I doubt that any of us know what Few and his coaches are trying to teach these guys defensively. But I feel that I know, it's not simple.

    Thanks for all of your ideas. I do appreciate them and enjoy reading them. Oh. AND I believe that I am not the only one who feels the way I do about this. Maybe on this forum I am. I'll go that far, but honestly I doubt that I am.

    Go Zags!!!
    Go Zags!!! The Best Is Yet To Come!!!

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    Reborn,

    I love the discussion and appreciate everyone's insights.

    This board would be BORING if everyone just agreed with each other!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZagSwag View Post
    Reborn,

    I love the discussion and appreciate everyone's insights.

    This board would be BORING if everyone just agreed with each other!
    I totally agree. I think the threads are a little more interesting when we have some good good debates going on, or if ou prefer, some good arguments. Maybe that's why I'm still here.

    I also see where I'm doing a LITTLE better. I'm up from a one star last time to a three star thread this time. Yippie!!! haha

    Go Zags!!!
    Go Zags!!! The Best Is Yet To Come!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZagSwag View Post
    As it stands, based on the most reliable source for team analytics (KenPom), we are the #64 ranked defense in the country... Here's how Gonzaga has finished in that category in recent years:

    2019: #12
    2018: #18
    2017: #1
    2016: #27
    2015: #16
    2014: #18
    2013: #30
    2012: #33
    2011: #44
    2010: #63

    It's pretty clear that objectively (as of now) this is the worst defense we have had over the last decade, and to be fair it isn't even close. Not to say we can't improve by year-end but boy it looks rough thus far.
    Good defense usually comes with more games played together...this team has so many new pieces that it will take some time for them to come together as a strong defensive unit....I believe they will get better as the season goes on.....more worried about the FT shooting, which will cost important games in March!
    It's What You learn AFTER You Know It All That Counts

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