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Thread: Defense Wins Championships

  1. #1

    Default Defense Wins Championships

    2017ís defense was simply outstanding. However, after watching this group each game, specifically paying attention to their on ball defense as well as rim protection, I truly think this years team will go down as the best defensive team in school history. Here is why:

    Chet Holmgren alone not only impacts and alters opponents shots inside, he prevents them! By his blocks but also by his intimidation to the point guards (and even big men) wonít even dare to shoot against him. He is also capable of guarding a slashing wing and shutting him down, as he did last night.

    When Chet is putting up his do not enter sign inside, that forces a team to work around the perimeter . Out there we have Rasir Bolton who if you watch him, is dialed in tremendously on defense. Guy is quick as can be and very rarely lets someone get by him. Nembhard is an average to above average defender as well.

    Our ace defensive stopper is Hunter Sallis. Man! I sure love watching him play defense and was thinking of making a post just to recognize that. You can tell he is committed to being a stopper this year and he is fully capable of that role. Not only does he use his length, athleticism and quickness to keep guards in front of him, but he also gets steals! His quick hands have deflected and poked away so many balls forcing turnovers this year that I lost count. And this is in limited time. He is already becoming one of our best guard defenders ever.

    Then you have Watson and perry who both are able to come off the bench and provide defensive prowess. Anton has showed his defense is still above his offense and he can guard most all five positions. Perry if need be, can also be brought in and protect the rim.

    Strawther is improving on defense, but with him it seems as if itís just a willingness to do so. He has the strength and athleticism to be an elite defender. I think that will come around and peak come March as well.

    I am so excited about this teams potential, not so much for their offense that is really good, but even moreso for their defense. We may not be the offensive juggernaut that last years squad was, but we will still be a 75-80 ppg scoring team. And I donít see many teams scoring that against us.

    Last night was a clinic. Canít wait for next week when Iíll be in Vegas to see how we stack up against two teams I think are final four caliber.

  2. #2
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    Well stated. And if I recall correctly, Harris was very solid on Def. My hope is that Harris makes a speedy recovery. Last year many complimented Zags offense and questioned Zags Def. But if they keep this level of Def up, we likely won't hear such questions. And it seems Few is on them to really defend during these early games.

    For the upcoming games next week, I'm looking forward to seeing how well they are able to defend UCLA & Duke. I'm excited to see Banchero vs Chet. Should be fun to watch because I truly feel Chet's Defense will shine, as will the rest of the team's Def.

    Go Zags

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    I love this thread. Thanks Zagfanforlife. I have also been really impressed with the defense, and actually pretty surprised. We all know that Few's offense is complicated, but so is his defense, and I believed that it would take more time for the younger players to get it down. These kids seem to love defense. And they must be in pretty good shape. Bellermine played their passing game really well. They really moved the ball on offene, and the Zags kept up with them the whole game. The Bellermine squad, I felt, really tested the Zags defensive skills, and we passed with high flying colors. One person I believe that you failed to mention is Nembhard, and to me he has been the biggest surprise on D. He looks like glue on paper. And I agree with what was said about Bolton and Sallis. Our guards are excellent defenders. When a D-1 team can keep another D-1 team to 50 points is just outstanding. Especially when you take into consideration that our bench played the last ten minutes. Those bench players played just as good defense as the starters did. As I was watching them I couldn't help but think how intense the practices must be. This group loves to play D. And DEFENSE DOES WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS.

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

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reborn View Post
    I love this thread. Thanks Zagfanforlife. I have also been really impressed with the defense, and actually pretty surprised. We all know that Few's offense is complicated, but so is his defense, and I believed that it would take more time for the younger players to get it down. These kids seem to love defense. And they must be in pretty good shape. Bellermine played their passing game really well. They really moved the ball on offene, and the Zags kept up with them the whole game. The Bellermine squad, I felt, really tested the Zags defensive skills, and we passed with high flying colors. One person I believe that you failed to mention is Nembhard, and to me he has been the biggest surprise on D. He looks like glue on paper. And I agree with what was said about Bolton and Sallis. Our guards are excellent defenders. When a D-1 team can keep another D-1 team to 50 points is just outstanding. Especially when you take into consideration that our bench played the last ten minutes. Those bench players played just as good defense as the starters did. As I was watching them I couldn't help but think how intense the practices must be. This group loves to play D. And DEFENSE DOES WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS.

    Go Zags!!!
    No rebuttal here on nembhard. He has definitely been very solid on D as well! Agreed practices must be INTENSE. Commitment to defense from college kids isnít always a given. Blessed to have this group.

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    - after last night's game against bellermine, gonzaga moved down from 17 to 15 on kenpom's defensive efficiency. (#1 on offense by a mile)

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    Quote Originally Posted by GonzaGAW View Post
    - after last night's game against bellermine, gonzaga moved down from 17 to 15 on kenpom's defensive efficiency. (#1 on offense by a mile)
    KenPom will have preseason bias built into it for a while. Not sure how long before we know how the D is rated on this season's performance alone.

    Evanmiya has us at #1 O, #1 D.

    Barttorvik has us at #1 O, #9 D.

    My bold prediction for the season said that we'd be ranked higher on D than on O, but the problem with that prediction is that our O appears to be a lot better than I expected.

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    Either by luck or improving skill, I've noticed that the blocks by Holmgren have been ending up in our hands more than theirs lately. Hopefully this trend continues, especially this coming week.
    I would love to see nobody we play during feast week score more than 65 against us. If the Zags can accomplish this, then we should win by at least 10 points in each game.

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    This year's team does remind me more of the 2017 squad in a few aspects.

    Big Shem was an outstanding space-eater, but really offered nothing in the way of rim protection. That was Zach Collins' role. Now we have one guy who can do both.
    A couple of experienced guards who don't turn the ball over and a deep bench, should Mark ever care to use it outside of blowouts who, I believe, will shoot the 3pt% at a high rate despite concern.
    To me, the x-factor is how well our young guards gel and what that potential upside looks like.

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  9. #9

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    will be curious to see if holmgren can handle jaime jacquez...completely different animal than shutting down a non-shooter like bellarmine's penn.

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    could be special, looks that way to me too.

    to add one other piece to the discussion, the depth at guard let's Few dig over the top on ball screens, distributing the wear and tear across the board, and so far all have stepped up to do it. It's not just GBj or Silas excelling at it to shut down the opposing team's top perimeter threat, it's all of them. very helpful for Drew keeping him out of weird matchups on the perimeter and also protects the guards from having to fight in the block all game against bigger dudes, again reducing the wear and tear, etc. And Few can still go to switching D, or jumping the screen, or hedge recover, whatever, still doing all of that. But the ability of the guards to stick on ball screens adds a lot to the defensive look and versatility, both in its own application but also as another weapon others must prepare and account for

    Chet backing everything up is its own big deal too of course, wow

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    Quote Originally Posted by billyberu View Post
    This year's team does remind me more of the 2017 squad in a few aspects.

    Big Shem was an outstanding space-eater, but really offered nothing in the way of rim protection. That was Zach Collins' role. Now we have one guy who can do both.
    A couple of experienced guards who don't turn the ball over and a deep bench, should Mark ever care to use it outside of blowouts who, I believe, will shoot the 3pt% at a high rate despite concern.
    To me, the x-factor is how well our young guards gel and what that potential upside looks like.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
    agree with all except for Shem. Awesome rim protector once he learned to go straight up and once the refs respected that he did with all that aircraft carrier. After that, great rim protector who made all perimeter players better, like Chet. Also provided Zach the luxury of coming in full bore and all out all the time with his fouls, and Zach was awesome at it. They both got it done, big reason for that team's amazing team D imo

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    Quote Originally Posted by bballbeachbum View Post
    could be special, looks that way to me too.

    to add one other piece to the discussion, the depth at guard let's Few dig over the top on ball screens, distributing the wear and tear across the board, and so far all have stepped up to do it. It's not just GBj or Silas excelling at it to shut down the opposing team's top perimeter threat, it's all of them. very helpful for Drew keeping him out of weird matchups on the perimeter and also protects the guards from having to fight in the block all game against bigger dudes, again reducing the wear and tear, etc. And Few can still go to switching D, or jumping the screen, or hedge recover, whatever, still doing all of that. But the ability of the guards to stick on ball screens adds a lot to the defensive look and versatility, both in its own application but also as another weapon others must prepare and account for

    Chet backing everything up is its own big deal too of course, wow
    Good analysis, 4B. It will be interesting going forward. We have relatively tall/big guards and have played against teams that have little to no height. This has really allowed GU to switch just about everything, all over the court and not give up much of an advantage.

    So far, it has appeared that all opposing teams are very aware of where that #34 guy is when they get anywhere near the key, let alone the rim. Teams know he is coming as a secondary defender and were getting easy lay ins from cutters when Chet left his guy to help. It appears to me that GU (and Chet) are getting better at cutting off the passing lanes when Chet brings help. If he can continue to keep his feet on the ground until the shooter commits, he is going to take another leap forward. The kid is definitely special in so many ways, not only from a talent standpoint, but to keep ever increasing his already high BB IQ. He appears to be a great teammate as well.

    I just wanted to add my 2 cents regarding Anton. The defense and especially the press are best when he is on the floor. He doesn't need to score on this team and that is a bonus all unto itself. In big games, he rarely hurts the team. I don't know if the coaches are pushing him to do more offensively, But he seems to be "thinking" on offense where as the game is easy for him on D.

    PS - Shem was fantastic on D. An immovable force in the key and a good rim protector. So many little things went wrong in the '17 championship game, but if Shem doesn't get poked in the eye in the semifinal, GU would have a banner hanging from the rafters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bballbeachbum View Post
    agree with all except for Shem. Awesome rim protector once he learned to go straight up and once the refs respected that he did with all that aircraft carrier. After that, great rim protector who made all perimeter players better, like Chet. Also provided Zach the luxury of coming in full bore and all out all the time with his fouls, and Zach was awesome at it. They both got it done, big reason for that team's amazing team D imo
    If rim protection is code for blocked shots in this context, Shem wasn’t fantastic. But his 3.9% block rate wasn’t nothing either. Timme was at 2.5% last year for comparison. Tillie was always around that same Shem level of blocking. So not Collins or BC but a fairly decent shot blocker and big time space eater. He also talked and directed the defense from under the rim and it’s no surprise GU’s best defensive teams had a heavy dose of Shem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by spike_jr View Post
    Good analysis, 4B. It will be interesting going forward. We have relatively tall/big guards and have played against teams that have little to no height. This has really allowed GU to switch just about everything, all over the court and not give up much of an advantage.

    So far, it has appeared that all opposing teams are very aware of where that #34 guy is when they get anywhere near the key, let alone the rim. Teams know he is coming as a secondary defender and were getting easy lay ins from cutters when Chet left his guy to help. It appears to me that GU (and Chet) are getting better at cutting off the passing lanes when Chet brings help. If he can continue to keep his feet on the ground until the shooter commits, he is going to take another leap forward. The kid is definitely special in so many ways, not only from a talent standpoint, but to keep ever increasing his already high BB IQ. He appears to be a great teammate as well.

    I just wanted to add my 2 cents regarding Anton. The defense and especially the press are best when he is on the floor. He doesn't need to score on this team and that is a bonus all unto itself. In big games, he rarely hurts the team. I don't know if the coaches are pushing him to do more offensively, But he seems to be "thinking" on offense where as the game is easy for him on D.

    PS - Shem was fantastic on D. An immovable force in the key and a good rim protector. So many little things went wrong in the '17 championship game, but if Shem doesn't get poked in the eye in the semifinal, GU would have a banner hanging from the rafters.
    good stuff yourself spike. looks like teams definitely want a piece of #34, physically going after him. on Anton, would like to see a 3 go in for him and Few has called his # many times on the low right block so far, hope he stays with it and AW delivers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mgadfly View Post
    If rim protection is code for blocked shots in this context, Shem wasnít fantastic. But his 3.9% block rate wasnít nothing either. Timme was at 2.5% last year for comparison. Tillie was always around that same Shem level of blocking. So not Collins or BC but a fairly decent shot blocker and big time space eater. He also talked and directed the defense from under the rim and itís no surprise GUís best defensive teams had a heavy dose of Shem.
    Thanks for the numbers, very cool. On the term 'rim protection', I would argue that rim protection is not code for shot blocking but that shot blocking is one part of rim protection. Rim protection is also shot altering, forcing passes instead of giving up layups, forcing contested shots and off balance looks inside, getting in the other team's head around the rim, and anything that makes the paint a difficult place to operate. Shem became great at it, never leaving his feet early (only could jump 2-3 inches anyway) and hands straight up to the sky. No doubt BC was amazing at it, Zach too

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    With today's UCLA game, this matchup will give us a good understanding on how solid the Zag defense really is. Who will step up, how they defend, their defensive looks (do they mix in zone?), who Few wants to match up (Bolton/Sallis on Juzang?), good rotations, number of key stops down the stretch, number of blocks (I predict 5), etc.

    To date, the Zags seem to really defend well beyond the 3 point line - being disruptive and not allowing anyone get in a groove. Hopefully, they continue against a streaky 3 point shooting Bruin team.

    This will be fun. Go Zags..!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by GUDAD2020 View Post
    With today's UCLA game, this matchup will give us a good understanding on how solid the Zag defense really is. Who will step up, how they defend, their defensive looks (do they mix in zone?), who Few wants to match up (Bolton/Sallis on Juzang?), good rotations, number of key stops down the stretch, number of blocks (I predict 5), etc.

    To date, the Zags seem to really defend well beyond the 3 point line - being disruptive and not allowing anyone get in a groove. Hopefully, they continue against a streaky 3 point shooting Bruin team.

    This will be fun. Go Zags..!!
    Not bad tonight GUDAD2020!

    Cronin looked like he wanted to go 1v1 in the block vs. Drew and Chet 1st half, establish and put fouls on them, didn't work. Cronin didn't do too much screen/roll either but instead screening action off the ball with the Zags switching it when they couldn't get through. Juzang had to really fight for touches, and the perimeter defenders were mostly there on the catch and forced the bounce into trouble. long and fast with intensity and toughness, and smarts. the 1v1 defending off the bounce was awesome, forced tough two after tough two, and Chet on that weakside glass early closed it down and boxed out and Straw cleaned up, 9 boards. Chet got caught on some pump fakes and left his feet a few times, probably doesn't have to because quick and long enough, but wow, he makes it all click and allows the perimeter guys to get after it with his rim support

    so far, teams looking to go straight at Drew and Chet early have not got it done yet, that is, Texas and now UCLA, and instead it's backfired

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    Zag's D goes from #15 to #6 per Kenpom.
    But we don't play nobody.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sittingon50 View Post
    Zag's D goes from #15 to #6 per Kenpom.
    Finally! Either our numbers were insanely good tonight or last year's bias is finally starting to disappear from the ratings.

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    Yes, not bad at all...just stifling defense... impressive. It really helps my stress level too.

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    This will be GU's best defensive team in team history. The 2017 currently is currently our best ever but I really do see this team surpassing it. We've never had someone like Chet. How many times have we seen an opposing guard drive the lane and completely bail on putting up a shot so far this year. Chet doesn't get a block in the stat sheet for that but it's a real impact. I loved Clarke but his lack of length forced him to leave his feet if he wanted a block. Chet can simply stand his ground the entire time.

    And Chet isn't the only great defensive player on the team. We have great defensive guard play and Watson can bring it when he decides not to take the day off. I also think Timme is legitatemly not that bad at defense either.

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    another Defense Wins observation I thought worth noting was that when Kaden entered 2nd half he drew Jaime 1v1 who was getting loose already since the break (he's good, nothing but respect for his game tho I can't stand the uniform). KP helped put the clamps on him, banging through screens and bouncing around in there, making touches more difficult, a physical presence to change the tone on Jaime that worked imo

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    What a difference is made when we end up facing some guys who have high level talent. This team is really underperforming defensively and it’s a bit surprising to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zagsfanforlife View Post
    What a difference is made when we end up facing some guys who have high level talent. This team is really underperforming defensively and it’s a bit surprising to me.
    +1
    Defense is lacking. Missing the Suggs steals and Ayayi defensive rebounding. To allow one player to make that many 3's in the first half (6 or 7 made 3's?) points to lack of focus on defense. Zags mojo starts with defense. But maybe my expectations are too high this early in the season. Lots to learn and Few has work to do here. Alabama was hot making incredible shots creating positive momentum & elevating their confidence. Solid D shuts that down, and just not seeing this yet. I did see some good things from both Hickman and Sallis defensively, so it's nice to see their continued development. I wonder if we miss Harris' quickness defensively guarding the 3.......

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    The only thing with Watson is that he makes a great play one time and then makes a mental mistake on the next play. It’s an up and down experience watching him play. It’s like he looks superior than the bad play happens and you realize consistency is his biggest problem. My high was when he hit that three pointer. The low was when he through the ball away to the other team when we were in our half court set when we were down by 4.

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