Sunday, March 18, 2012

March Madness Observations 2

I agree with Charles Barkley, the zone defense should be easy to beat, and I agree that if it was that difficult to beat more college coaches would use it. You certainly can’t beat it the way Kansas State tried to, though, moving the ball rhythmically from side to side outside the zone and then trying to pass it inside to the two guys who are following the ball movement rather than anticipating it. Every time Kansas State tried to penetrate the zone on the dribble they succeeded, and had they been doing that more often and making shots instead of missing lay-ups they would have won easily.

Sure, Kansas State got a lot of offensive rebounds, which means they were missing shots, but they missed their second shots too. It wasn’t the zone defense of Syracuse that was successful. As soon as they go up against a physical team that can reliably make shots, Syracuse is toast.

And CBS kept telling us that K State had, for instance, 18 offensive rebounds against 4 for Syracuse, which provides information as to how one offense is playing as opposed to the other offense, but it doesn’t tell us how the two teams are matching up under the same basket. I would like to hear, along with the number of one team’s offensive rebounds, the number of the other team’s defensive rebounds. If I hear that, say, that the offensive team got the rebound off a missed shot 22 times while the team on defense got it only 5 times, that tells me the offense is being really aggressive.

The number of missed shots would be pretty close to the same, discounting airballs or balls over the backboard, but they don’t really give us that directly. They give us shooting percentage, but they don’t do so very often and, between 2-pointers and 3-pointers, it’s hard to figure out how many shots that represents. During breaks they do show number of shots attempted and made, but…

Nobody ever accused me of chronically underanalyzing things.

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