Bench Plus Zone Equals Win

My pick for the last 4 games was two wins at home and two losses on the road. The bench did not show up in KY game and our press defense put us out of position to rebound, resulting in the loss. Then on the road, the bench shows up, and we play zone resulting in defending the board, no easy baskets, and rebounding. A great win for SEC tourney and NCAA. It Can even be better if we win the other two.

This was a great job of adapting by Mike with the Zone. It really made the difference and wished he would have used it against UK. Barford is beyond exhausted. CJ had a great game. Bailey gave us some great buckets and rebounds. Dustin Thomas was the stud of the game.

Generally speaking zone isn’t good for rebounding. See Syracuse rebounding numbers. We did rebound better, though. However, UK is #7 in the nation in offensive rebounding, Bama #168. It’s not like keeping UK’s length off the boards is easy, no matter what you do. That had something to do with the rebounding difference. It was still Mike Anderson basketball. We forced 18 TOs, which was as important as rebounding. Doing that and rebounding well simultaneously is difficult to do. Kudos to the game plan by the staff and execution by the players.

My view is the Zone is better for rebounding compared to our trapping man with bad switches to pull our bigs 20 ft away from the basket. Mike did a good job of using Zone which was the difference.

You can believe what you want to believe, but the best zone team in the nation is year-in and year-out in the bottom 50 in defensive rebounding, often worse than us. Syracuse usually has a more athletic, longer team than we do, too.

You can focus on rebounding against UK, but we didn’t do anything well on D in that game. We didn’t force TOs, and we surrendered high FG percentages. I agree that we should have pulled back in that game but for a different reason, namely because a bad shooting team kept getting easy looks. They were going to get boards, regardless, because that is what normally keeps their O above water. They destroyed Bama on the boards to the same degree that they destroyed us, and Bama generally plays D more passively than we do.

UK is one of the worst ballhandling teams in the SEC. The big upset was only forcing 11 TOs when we were actively trying to do so. Going after their ballhandling was logical strategy, given their inherent length advantage. I just thought CMA should have abandoned it more quickly.

Switched well all night. Had some productive traps. They shot our lights out from the 3. Great win though. We play so hard, but make it hard on ourself way to much.

It is refreshing not to hear about not guarding the 3 on a night we gave up 11.

The main thing was AR was cool and calm the whole game. They were in control even when they fell behind briefly. Some of the turnovers were because AL was scratching and clawing at the basket in tight situations. They were doing whatever they could get away with. I don’t have the figures on rebounds and fouls. I just like the way we played on the road with such poise.

Hogs did play some zone against UK, but their bigs played volleyball on the glass we got out of it. It is my belief that Mike thinks that we cannot beat this UK team playing half court game, given what we have. He believes you have to speed the game up to rattle the freshmen guards and take the ball out of their hands. I agree with Mike. Kentucky shot the ball better than normal. Yes the have been bricking wide open threes too.

Obviously he believes we can beat Bama playing a half court game.

KY should be a highly uptempo team, when they play slow THEY keep teams in it. But I do believe we have to play fast with them.

I saw something a few times tonight we did with Sexton. When he was flying in from back court into front court, we two man walled him out top and usually stopped him, he did get through some but it was kinda funny to see a wall jump out on him in those high speed attempts. Nice adjustment.

They also dropped 11 3’s on our zone.

Our zone will get better like it did last year as the guys play it enough. Mike did a great job last year of switching to zone to go on a 6-1 record to finish the season I think. Mike surprised me and he deserves credit. I think long and quick guys like CJ, Hall, Bailey, and Macon are good defenders in the zone. I think ZONE helps Trey Thompson by keeping him from switching on to small quick guys away from the basket. Trey can stay in the lane area to patrol and rebound while not getting exhausted with trapping man & switches. I thought he was too stubborn if he wouldn’t use it for UK so I didn’t expect him to use it after he didn’t use zone against UK. I don’t understand why Mike sticks with this style yet doesn’t even adapt by using more zone earlier in the year.

I could soooo get back on the bandwagon if he didn’t take so long every season to recognize his team’s fatigue and defensive deficiencies from his style. It takes him most of the SEC conf season to get away from the stress and fatigue of pressing, man with traps, switches, etc. I would not be so upset this year if he didn’t repeat these same problems multiple years. Multiple seasons have dipped until he decided to use zone which saved the players bodies and improved play (the perimeter defense is better, rebounders are around the basket, etc.). I loved this style in the 90’s but the rules have changed and we don’t have the roster to play it the last few years. If we had the bench to support his style then it would be a different story.

I personally have nothing against “press & trapping” if it works. And at times it works very well on some teams. To do it successfully you must have quick players and depth. I believe we should try; if it works go with it, and when it fails, get out of it.

I agree with at. However, I repeat they do not press and trap all the time. They bring it on as a surprise. No matter whether you abandon it for the whole game or not, you must keep the opponent guessing on when the trap might come.

Most of all, I do not want us to take that out of our system and go to the zone that some are advocating as our primary defense. With the hiring of Anderson, we got our identity back that we had lost under Heath and Pelphrey. I do not want us to lose that. That is what the opponents fear coming into BWA, the system and the fans.

I have advocated using Zone with trapping man as a surprise. I don’t remember saying to ONLY use Zone but it may have come across that way. I know we used Zone a lot last year to go 6-1 to finish the season, but we are not using it that much this year. We used trapping man at times yesterday.

I would be ok with the trapping man if we have the roster to support it. I will still have concerns about the way it and the switches pull our bigs away from the basket and creates open 3 shots.

I just remember how well the press worked on SC game this year. SC is good on defense and has a pretty good offense. But they could not get their offense going against our disruptive defense and we beat them handily. That is the same team that beat Kentucky. You just have to pick your victim when it works well and get out of it when it doesn’t. I also like the fact that they still have to respect us for our so-called “Forty minutes of hell”.

That makes more sense and clarifies what you have been saying.

Also I believe we use trapping defense more at home than away. In road games, they usually trap less or none like the last game.

I have said numerous times that I want Mike to adapt so he can take us to the next level. He is a good coach and an even better man that we would be much better off to keep. The problem for many fans is the games we lose because he is too stubborn to veer away from 100% trapping man. Mike has not had the talented depth at guard to play this style 100% of the time, yet he rides it to the point of wearing down his guards and absorbs bad losses before he gives in. I have witnessed multiple years of improvement by using more match up zone (Portis’s last year?, then last year to go on a 6-1 finish, and then this year).

Let’s be honest that the trapping man and switches are hard to accept when the opponent is getting WIDE open 3s because of traps, CJ is covering a big and Trey or Gafford are covering a guard 20 feet away from the basket, we are fouling shooters when we lunge at them when we are out of position from traps, and we don’t have our bigs in rebounding position.

Do you agree that they don’t trap as much on the road? They back off on the road. In fact, some have complained that when we go on the road, we forget 40 minutes of hell. Ask Gashog about that.

So, trapping ( never 100%, but quite a bit) is what they do mostly at home and not on the road. And then when you look at the results, they rarely lose at home but lose more on the road. Maybe that is why Mike does what he does.

One thing I agree on is that this group is not good at pressing and trapping. They can do it at times but not consistently.

The only traps against Bama were on the baseline/corner when the offensive player did something stupid and worked himself into a trap. Sexton did that a couple of times after he drifted into the corner and got a pass. If the offensive player puts himself in that bind you double up and overplay the limited passing angles.

Amen! WPS