Parallels between college football and basketball

Griz & Big Sky Conference Basketball
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GrizBall
Posts: 242
Joined: Fri Apr 24, 2020 2:07 pm

College football fans may remember the "Game of the Century" in 2011 between #1 LSU and #2 Alabama. LSU won that game in OT 9-6. The scoring consisted of 5 field goals. They played later that season for the (then) BCS championship with Alabama winning 21-0. In the background lurking was Chip Kelly and other offensive innovators. The spread and no huddle offenses (preventing the defense from substituting) scared Saban to death. He was on record saying the no huddle shouldn't be allowed and that player safety was a big issue, but most people believed that the defensive-minded Saban was worried that his defensive strategies/run the ball 40 times a game wouldn't be able to stand up to the new fangled offenses.

Fast forward to the CFP era. Saban hires Lane Kiffin to completely modernize his offense. The scores of the CFP championship games have been 42-20, 45-40, 35-31, 26-23, 44-16, 42-25 and 52-24. Saban also recently reluctantly admitted that good defenses no longer beat good offenses. In the 9-6 game, Alabama threw the ball 29 times for 199 yards, their leader in receiving yards was a RB which likely means most of these passes were glorified, low-risk running plays. Last year's CFP championship against OSU, Alabama threw the ball 45 times for 464 yards.

Where am I going with this? Are there parallels to the increased usage of the three point shot and faster paced offenses? I think the argument can be made that you aren't winning a football championship without an explosive offensive no matter how good your defense is. If true, does the same apply to college basketball? I did a quick eye scan of KenPom and I would say that most of the college basketball regular season champs last year were also 1-2 in offense (some were also 1-3 in defense). The top 3 in offense in the BSC last year were EWU, WSU and SUU (the leagues top 3 teams). Out of those 3 only WSU was top 3 in defense at 3rd. EWU was 5th and SUU was 6th.

So, I guess the question is, does defense still win championships in college basketball and/or can you win a championship without a top 1-2 offense in your conference?
GrizBaba
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon May 17, 2021 9:46 pm

Defense played a huge part with Coach Tinkle and their run in their Pac-12 tournament, as well as a deep run in the NCAA tournament. Of course, their offense was pretty darn good too.

Looking at the champions, Baylor, they looked like weightlifters compared to Gonzaga.
Hoops watcher
Posts: 671
Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2019 11:15 pm

It's a valid point for sure. D strategy reacts so the O is a step ahead with a new scheme. If you have offensive talent like Baylor or Gonzaga and are efficient it seems like a no brainer to be aggressive. But Baylor was the better team because they were better defensively in the end.

Seems to me as a coach you would weigh your relative strength against each opponent's. An efficient O would be advantaged by maximum possessions if the opposition was weaker there and vice versa. Given talent disparity I don't think you can make a blanket case one way or another. Good coaches are better at these calculations.

All that stated I'd like to see a more aggressive approach offensively and less hesitation when guys have a good, open shot. Hopefully with our guys having more experience they will have more freedom on the offensive end.
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary. -H L Mencken
LittleBear
Posts: 28
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2018 5:13 pm

I think one of the biggest markers of success in basketball is versatility. I hate to bring up Eastern, but they were so talented and tough to beat because of their position-less lineups both offensively and defensively. Defensively, they had players that were able to guard almost every position on the court in Aiken, Robertson, little Groves, and sometimes Davison. This versatility allowed them to switch ball screens...bigs were able to defend smaller, quicker guards by giving a little cushion and using length. Our bigs weren't threats from the perimeter and weren't especially dominant on the block, which allowed teams to switch their smaller guards and front the post or take away the pick & pop.

Offensively EWU usually had 5 guys who could shoot the 3, and a few guys capable of breaking you down off the dribble and getting to the paint. You'd be hard pressed to find a player you could sag off of, which put pressure on our 1v1 defense. Then you had guys like Aiken and Groves pick and popping off ball screens. Because our team lacked versatility (small guards, slow footed bigs) we often had to hedge the ball screens...which in turn forced us to help from the backside which = rotations...which = defensive mismatches.

I think recent recruiting has worked to address some of these challenges. We've brought in bigger guards (Lonnel/Braggs) who can both shoot and are strong enough to guard multiple positions. Jaxon Nap who is a prototypical EWU hybrid who has good size and can handle/shoot the ball. And even Rhett who is a good athlete and shows the potential to become a good shooter at the college level.
citay
Posts: 2313
Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2010 5:07 pm

Baylor's backcourt last year was exceptional. In what must give mid-majors hope, neither Davion Mitchell nor Jared Butler was highly recruited out of high school. Mitchell, now with the Kings, is already establishing a pre-season reputation around the NBA as an outstanding defender, while it appears Butler will make the roster of the Utah Jazz. They just manhandled Gonzaga in the Final, proving, as always, no matter the sport, ya gotta play defense.

And our Griz do. I've got no problem with the way we play defense. I sometimes shudder when one of our bigs comes out to defend the three-point line against smaller quicker guards, but that's the trend in today's defensive schemes. Mobile centers are must. When you watch a game from yesteryear, like back in the 60's, you're stunned at how poor the defense is compared to today.

My problem for us is with the three-point shot. It was seen early on as a gimmick, introduced by the old ABA. No way the old staid well-established NBA would ever adopt it! It wasn't REAL basketball! But even after they did, I feel many coaches continued to see it as a gimmick. Good three-point shooters were described as "specialists."

But Steph Curry changed all that. Now players up and down NBA rosters can shoot three's. Why it took coaches so long to recognize the mathematical value of the three-point shot--40% on three's is 20% better than 50% on two's--I will never know. Until Curry began shooting slightly better than 43% I guess.

But does Travis REALLY believe in the three-point shot? There is no statistical evidence to support that he does. Not that we don't have the shooters, we just pass up that shot for "a better shot" when in fact the three-point shot often IS the best.

I'll be anxious to see how the Lady Griz play it this year. For all the hype about Holsinger's recruiting ability, we have yet to see how his teams play. I'm hoping he puts way more emphasis on the three-ball than DeCuire does.
GrizBall
Posts: 242
Joined: Fri Apr 24, 2020 2:07 pm

LittleBear wrote: Fri Oct 15, 2021 2:34 pm I think one of the biggest markers of success in basketball is versatility. I hate to bring up Eastern, but they were so talented and tough to beat because of their position-less lineups both offensively and defensively. Defensively, they had players that were able to guard almost every position on the court in Aiken, Robertson, little Groves, and sometimes Davison. This versatility allowed them to switch ball screens...bigs were able to defend smaller, quicker guards by giving a little cushion and using length. Our bigs weren't threats from the perimeter and weren't especially dominant on the block, which allowed teams to switch their smaller guards and front the post or take away the pick & pop.

Offensively EWU usually had 5 guys who could shoot the 3, and a few guys capable of breaking you down off the dribble and getting to the paint. You'd be hard pressed to find a player you could sag off of, which put pressure on our 1v1 defense. Then you had guys like Aiken and Groves pick and popping off ball screens. Because our team lacked versatility (small guards, slow footed bigs) we often had to hedge the ball screens...which in turn forced us to help from the backside which = rotations...which = defensive mismatches.

I think recent recruiting has worked to address some of these challenges. We've brought in bigger guards (Lonnel/Braggs) who can both shoot and are strong enough to guard multiple positions. Jaxon Nap who is a prototypical EWU hybrid who has good size and can handle/shoot the ball. And even Rhett who is a good athlete and shows the potential to become a good shooter at the college level.
I agree that flexibility is important.

Despite how EWU may have looked defensively against the Griz, they were a relatively average BSC defensive team (based on conference defensive efficiency). They did have the highest conference offensive efficiency since their 2015-2016 team. This year they were an elite BSC offensive team.
GrizBall
Posts: 242
Joined: Fri Apr 24, 2020 2:07 pm

citay wrote: Fri Oct 15, 2021 3:07 pm Baylor's backcourt last year was exceptional. In what must give mid-majors hope, neither Davion Mitchell nor Jared Butler was highly recruited out of high school. Mitchell, now with the Kings, is already establishing a pre-season reputation around the NBA as an outstanding defender, while it appears Butler will make the roster of the Utah Jazz. They just manhandled Gonzaga in the Final, proving, as always, no matter the sport, ya gotta play defense.

And our Griz do. I've got no problem with the way we play defense. I sometimes shudder when one of our bigs comes out to defend the three-point line against smaller quicker guards, but that's the trend in today's defensive schemes. Mobile centers are must. When you watch a game from yesteryear, like back in the 60's, you're stunned at how poor the defense is compared to today.

My problem for us is with the three-point shot. It was seen early on as a gimmick, introduced by the old ABA. No way the old staid well-established NBA would ever adopt it! It wasn't REAL basketball! But even after they did, I feel many coaches continued to see it as a gimmick. Good three-point shooters were described as "specialists."

But Steph Curry changed all that. Now players up and down NBA rosters can shoot three's. Why it took coaches so long to recognize the mathematical value of the three-point shot--40% on three's is 20% better than 50% on two's--I will never know. Until Curry began shooting slightly better than 43% I guess.

But does Travis REALLY believe in the three-point shot? There is no statistical evidence to support that he does. Not that we don't have the shooters, we just pass up that shot for "a better shot" when in fact the three-point shot often IS the best.

I'll be anxious to see how the Lady Griz play it this year. For all the hype about Holsinger's recruiting ability, we have yet to see how his teams play. I'm hoping he puts way more emphasis on the three-ball than DeCuire does.
DeCuire’s 3pt shot philosophy is very hard to pin down. If you look at his Montana teams they are all over the board in terms of how often they shoot 3 pointers measured by 3 point attempts as a percentage of total field goals attempted in D-1 games (3PA/FGA):

2015 41.4% of FGA were 3PA. This was a top 36 rate in the country that year (went to NIT)
2016 37.1% (Finished conference play in 2nd with 14-4 record)
2017 35.5% (11-7 tied for 5th)
2018 27.2 % (Conf. Champs)
2019 38.3% (Conf. Champs)
2020 27.6% (3rd place in Conf. – no tournament COVID)
2021 28.1% (6th in Conf.)

There is definitely a downward trend. I guess maybe you could argue Tinkle’s recruits were most suited toward the 3pt as his last two years were 36.2% and 40%, but other than that I am not sure what to make of it.

Although the D-1 games played aren’t apples-to-apples, last year our primary guards (Whitney, Beasley, Parker, and Vasquez) took a combined 220 3 pointers. Jordan Gregory alone took 218 in 2015.
LittleBear
Posts: 28
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2018 5:13 pm

GrizBall wrote: Fri Oct 15, 2021 4:11 pm
LittleBear wrote: Fri Oct 15, 2021 2:34 pm I think one of the biggest markers of success in basketball is versatility. I hate to bring up Eastern, but they were so talented and tough to beat because of their position-less lineups both offensively and defensively. Defensively, they had players that were able to guard almost every position on the court in Aiken, Robertson, little Groves, and sometimes Davison. This versatility allowed them to switch ball screens...bigs were able to defend smaller, quicker guards by giving a little cushion and using length. Our bigs weren't threats from the perimeter and weren't especially dominant on the block, which allowed teams to switch their smaller guards and front the post or take away the pick & pop.

Offensively EWU usually had 5 guys who could shoot the 3, and a few guys capable of breaking you down off the dribble and getting to the paint. You'd be hard pressed to find a player you could sag off of, which put pressure on our 1v1 defense. Then you had guys like Aiken and Groves pick and popping off ball screens. Because our team lacked versatility (small guards, slow footed bigs) we often had to hedge the ball screens...which in turn forced us to help from the backside which = rotations...which = defensive mismatches.

I think recent recruiting has worked to address some of these challenges. We've brought in bigger guards (Lonnel/Braggs) who can both shoot and are strong enough to guard multiple positions. Jaxon Nap who is a prototypical EWU hybrid who has good size and can handle/shoot the ball. And even Rhett who is a good athlete and shows the potential to become a good shooter at the college level.
I agree that flexibility is important.

Despite how EWU may have looked defensively against the Griz, they were a relatively average BSC defensive team (based on conference defensive efficiency). They did have the highest conference offensive efficiency since their 2015-2016 team. This year they were an elite BSC offensive team.
For sure. I guess my point is that Eastern’s ability to have 5 guys on the court at one time who could guard multiple positions defensively while maintaining incredible offensive output was what made them such a tough team to beat. In our case, I think there were times, depending on the game, when we sacrificed defensive stability to score more points, and then other times when we had to sacrifice offensive firepower to shore up our defense. We had too many players that were one dimensional both offensively and defensively.
hunt-ducks
Posts: 609
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2021 12:43 pm

citay wrote: Fri Oct 15, 2021 3:07 pm Baylor's backcourt last year was exceptional. In what must give mid-majors hope, neither Davion Mitchell nor Jared Butler was highly recruited out of high school. Mitchell, now with the Kings, is already establishing a pre-season reputation around the NBA as an outstanding defender, while it appears Butler will make the roster of the Utah Jazz. They just manhandled Gonzaga in the Final, proving, as always, no matter the sport, ya gotta play defense.

And our Griz do. I've got no problem with the way we play defense. I sometimes shudder when one of our bigs comes out to defend the three-point line against smaller quicker guards, but that's the trend in today's defensive schemes. Mobile centers are must. When you watch a game from yesteryear, like back in the 60's, you're stunned at how poor the defense is compared to today.

My problem for us is with the three-point shot. It was seen early on as a gimmick, introduced by the old ABA. No way the old staid well-established NBA would ever adopt it! It wasn't REAL basketball! But even after they did, I feel many coaches continued to see it as a gimmick. Good three-point shooters were described as "specialists."

But Steph Curry changed all that. Now players up and down NBA rosters can shoot three's. Why it took coaches so long to recognize the mathematical value of the three-point shot--40% on three's is 20% better than 50% on two's--I will never know. Until Curry began shooting slightly better than 43% I guess.

But does Travis REALLY believe in the three-point shot? There is no statistical evidence to support that he does. Not that we don't have the shooters, we just pass up that shot for "a better shot" when in fact the three-point shot often IS the best.

I'll be anxious to see how the Lady Griz play it this year. For all the hype about Holsinger's recruiting ability, we have yet to see how his teams play. I'm hoping he puts way more emphasis on the three-ball than DeCuire does.
Seriously? You've got no problem with how we play defense? I guess finishing in the bottom 10% of all college BB teams in the number of fouls committed/game means nothing, huh? I got so tired of having our opponents seemingly shoot 10-15 more free throws every game last season due to stupid reach-in fouls, and fouls committed by poor footwork. We need to clean up the foul situation before anyone can say we have a great defense
UncleRico
Posts: 359
Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2019 3:11 pm

GrizBall wrote: Fri Oct 15, 2021 5:13 pm
citay wrote: Fri Oct 15, 2021 3:07 pm Baylor's backcourt last year was exceptional. In what must give mid-majors hope, neither Davion Mitchell nor Jared Butler was highly recruited out of high school. Mitchell, now with the Kings, is already establishing a pre-season reputation around the NBA as an outstanding defender, while it appears Butler will make the roster of the Utah Jazz. They just manhandled Gonzaga in the Final, proving, as always, no matter the sport, ya gotta play defense.

And our Griz do. I've got no problem with the way we play defense. I sometimes shudder when one of our bigs comes out to defend the three-point line against smaller quicker guards, but that's the trend in today's defensive schemes. Mobile centers are must. When you watch a game from yesteryear, like back in the 60's, you're stunned at how poor the defense is compared to today.

My problem for us is with the three-point shot. It was seen early on as a gimmick, introduced by the old ABA. No way the old staid well-established NBA would ever adopt it! It wasn't REAL basketball! But even after they did, I feel many coaches continued to see it as a gimmick. Good three-point shooters were described as "specialists."

But Steph Curry changed all that. Now players up and down NBA rosters can shoot three's. Why it took coaches so long to recognize the mathematical value of the three-point shot--40% on three's is 20% better than 50% on two's--I will never know. Until Curry began shooting slightly better than 43% I guess.

But does Travis REALLY believe in the three-point shot? There is no statistical evidence to support that he does. Not that we don't have the shooters, we just pass up that shot for "a better shot" when in fact the three-point shot often IS the best.

I'll be anxious to see how the Lady Griz play it this year. For all the hype about Holsinger's recruiting ability, we have yet to see how his teams play. I'm hoping he puts way more emphasis on the three-ball than DeCuire does.
DeCuire’s 3pt shot philosophy is very hard to pin down. If you look at his Montana teams they are all over the board in terms of how often they shoot 3 pointers measured by 3 point attempts as a percentage of total field goals attempted in D-1 games (3PA/FGA):

2015 41.4% of FGA were 3PA. This was a top 36 rate in the country that year (went to NIT)
2016 37.1% (Finished conference play in 2nd with 14-4 record)
2017 35.5% (11-7 tied for 5th)
2018 27.2 % (Conf. Champs)
2019 38.3% (Conf. Champs)
2020 27.6% (3rd place in Conf. – no tournament COVID)
2021 28.1% (6th in Conf.)
In my opinion it helps to have a solid inside game to open up the 3pt line. If you don't have to help defensively in the post you can more aggressively defend the 3. And even better is if you have a great passing post player that can find players open for the 3. Steadman never passed and they didn't have to double Mack. Once again an area that having Blakney in the post will help.
There is definitely a downward trend. I guess maybe you could argue Tinkle’s recruits were most suited toward the 3pt as his last two years were 36.2% and 40%, but other than that I am not sure what to make of it.

Although the D-1 games played aren’t apples-to-apples, last year our primary guards (Whitney, Beasley, Parker, and Vasquez) took a combined 220 3 pointers. Jordan Gregory alone took 218 in 2015.
GrizBall
Posts: 242
Joined: Fri Apr 24, 2020 2:07 pm

UncleRico wrote: Tue Oct 19, 2021 3:24 pm
GrizBall wrote: Fri Oct 15, 2021 5:13 pm

DeCuire’s 3pt shot philosophy is very hard to pin down. If you look at his Montana teams they are all over the board in terms of how often they shoot 3 pointers measured by 3 point attempts as a percentage of total field goals attempted in D-1 games (3PA/FGA):

2015 41.4% of FGA were 3PA. This was a top 36 rate in the country that year (went to NIT)
2016 37.1% (Finished conference play in 2nd with 14-4 record)
2017 35.5% (11-7 tied for 5th)
2018 27.2 % (Conf. Champs)
2019 38.3% (Conf. Champs)
2020 27.6% (3rd place in Conf. – no tournament COVID)
2021 28.1% (6th in Conf.)
[b]In my opinion it helps to have a solid inside game to open up the 3pt line. If you don't have to help defensively in the post you can more aggressively defend the 3. And even better is if you have a great passing post player that can find players open for the 3. Steadman never passed and they didn't have to double Mack. Once again an area that having Blakney in the post will help.[/b]
There is definitely a downward trend. I guess maybe you could argue Tinkle’s recruits were most suited toward the 3pt as his last two years were 36.2% and 40%, but other than that I am not sure what to make of it.

Although the D-1 games played aren’t apples-to-apples, last year our primary guards (Whitney, Beasley, Parker, and Vasquez) took a combined 220 3 pointers. Jordan Gregory alone took 218 in 2015.
Uncle Rico - I tried to Bold and underline your points above. On my screen it was hard to decipher what you had added as it seemed mixed in with my post.

Your points are very valid and a post presence will definitely help, but it also seemed like we were passing up open 3's. It would seem like the formula is there to take more 3's this year.
Hoops watcher
Posts: 671
Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2019 11:15 pm

GrizBall wrote: Tue Oct 19, 2021 4:26 pm
UncleRico wrote: Tue Oct 19, 2021 3:24 pm
Uncle Rico - I tried to Bold and underline your points above. On my screen it was hard to decipher what you had added as it seemed mixed in with my post.

Your points are very valid and a post presence will definitely help, but it also seemed like we were passing up open 3's. It would seem like the formula is there to take more 3's this year.
Vasquez is money when he is wide open, not so much when moving or guarded. Owens has the range on the corner 3 as well. Hopefully our better shooters have the freedom to take advantage of quality looks
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary. -H L Mencken
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