5 observations from Houston (w/vid)

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— Manny’s impact, especially late when he had 4 points, 3 boards and 2 assists during the 14-3 run that iced the game. Also had some really solid defense, as usual. On Macon’s 4-point play, Manny came up with the strip to start the break and had great court awareness to find Daryl on the wing. 6 points, 7 boards, 4 assists, 1 steal, 0 turnovers. Solid.

— Daryl didn’t look like someone who’d been injured Saturday and missed Sunday’s practice. He just plays with a confidence that’s contagious. Scored 17 and hit 3-4 3s. Leads the team with a 60.7 true shooting percentage.

— I thought the halfcourt defense was largely pretty solid. Houston is a good offensive team, so it was going to score some points. The biggest issue defensively was when they didn’t get set. Got caught napping a few times and Sampson had a nice pressure breaker that caused some problems.

In the halfcourt, the Cougars hit some tough shots. There were times the Hogs broke down, but overall I thought the man defense was pretty good. Mostly switched across the board, which kept them from having to play 4 on 3 off blitzes/traps very often. Rotations were generally good. The switch to the 2-3 zone was interesting. Yielded some looks and crevices. Allowed 107.5 per 100, which isn’t great but better than the 123.4 they came in averaging. LSU did hold them to 94.2, for reference. Cougars got cold/tired late and missed some makable shots, but overall I thought it was a step in the right direction against a good opponent.

— Dusty played well off the bench again, scoring 17 in 17. He’s averaged 15 points per game in 19 minutes the last two while hitting 5-10 from 3. Allows the defense to get off to a better start and allows him to work as the unquestioned main option in a second unit that is destroying opponents. The four-man grouping of him, Anton, Arlando (who I thought had some really nice defensive work) and Trey (solid game, too) has outscored teams 48-13 in 18:14 the last two games, with C.J. and Adrio working in there as the fifth guy. Hogs’ bench outscored Austin Peay and Houston a combined 89-26.

— The depth showed. Mike’s rotation has been 11 deep the last 3 games. Macon, Hannahs, Kingsley and Dustin were all in double-figures while Anton had 9 and allowed Mike to sit Jaylen, who had a rough game. He’s got options. Trey had some big moments. C.J. can score. They have four guys averaging 10+, six averaging 8+ and eight averaging 6+.

— Stray thoughts

Kelvin Sampson seemed to take this loss especially hard. To me, he should have been more upset about losing to Johnny Jones and LSU by 19 points.

Without Devin Davis, Houston did not have enough depth.

[quote]Arkansas mixed up its defenses, something Anderson has done liberally throughout the first eight games, alternating between man and zone, a fullcourt look and a more conservative halfcourt scheme. The defense had its good stretches and Houston had its scoring spurts, which is no surprise. The Cougars are a good offensive team. Good offensive teams create open looks.
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Jimmy, I’m looking for a stat that will compare our defensive prowess when we start a possession in full court press v picking up half court. Any suggestions? I certainly understand that getting stops/turnovers while in a full court press is the goal, speeding up the tempo is another byproduct of the press and something CMA wants to happen.

However I just wonder if this team is better suited for a high pressure man to man half court defense (i.e. Duke)? Do the stats bear this out?

Jimmy, I’m looking for a stat that will compare our defensive prowess when we start a possession in full court press v picking up half court. Any suggestions? I certainly understand that getting stops/turnovers while in a full court press is the goal, speeding up the tempo is another byproduct of the press and something CMA wants to happen.

However I just wonder if this team is better suited for a high pressure man to man half court defense (i.e. Duke)? Do the stats bear this out?
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You don’t need stats to draw a conclusion. A simple eye test will do. There is no question they are giving up more on the press at this time. By the way they never have pressed 40 minutes. They always mix that in.

For long term, even though stats tell a story right now, they should never never give up on the press. That is our signature style and ultimately that is what that will separate us from the other teams for an eventual deep run. Again, keep in mind it is about turning the press on and catching the other team flatfooted and in panic. And not a 40 minute press. So, they need to press some each game and keep getting better at it.

The game was relatively slow paced. Houston has good guards and perimeter shooting at multiple positions. Those are the types of games that have given us trouble lately. That we controlled the game for the most part was encouraging. The caveat was that Houston is mediocre on defense. The SEC looks heavy on D and light on O this season. If our O holds up against good defensive teams, we could win a lot of games in the SEC.

They still will get some mismatches with switches in their man-to-man. I thought Trey Thompson had trouble with some of the switches. He’s strong, but he’s not as quick as Kingsley. I know there are times that Mike doesn’t want a switch and I could see that a few times last night. It was a fun game to watch. Houston has some real talent and there were a lot of shooters on the floor for the Cougars.

Thanks for another great break down. I wish I could stop, rewind, and slow-mo some of the clips.

I think those two bad travel calls had a lot to do with Jaylen’s rough game. They both came in the first half. It knocked Jaylen off his game. Those kind of calls will make you hesitate and doubt yourself on the court. Once that happens, you are done for the day. We have seen it before. A couple of quick early foul calls can ruin the whole game for a player.

Regardless of the validity of those calls, they went down as turnovers in Mike’s book and he shunted Jaylen to the bench and limited his PT in the second half and that took away the opportunity from Jaylen to redeem himself. Also, Mike kept the same five on the court the last seven minutes, since that unit created a huge separation and was playing so well. That further limited his PT. Heck, even Dusty, who was scoring so well, did not get back in.

Yeah, Trey got scored on at least once when he had to pick up a guard in a scramble off an offensive board. He’s maybe the only big that is probably too slow to hang with a guard consistently.

I thought the decision to switch instead of show was a good move by Mike and something he may go to a lot when they play good shooting teams. If they’d repeatedly shown/blitzed the PNR, they’d have been susceptible to giving up a lot more open 3s. The switches allowed them to guard the action with two people rather than relying on a helper to bump the roll man.

The other option is employing a drop-back system where the man defending the screener stays back and the man guarding the ballhandler fights over the screen and stays attached to the ballhandler’s hip. If it’s played right, you don’t need any additional help and you can force the offense into a long 2. Ton of NBA teams do this, but it doesn’t really fit Mike. It’s a conservative scheme.