I really wish that CMA would reconsider his defensive philosophy in regards to trapping and double-teaming in the half court. I realize that has been part of his defensive identity for a long time, but the fact is that basketball has changed in regards to the 3-point shot. When Nolan did that back in the day (with CMA on his staff), the 3-point shot was not as big a part of the game as it is today. Most teams now have multiple players that can shoot the 3-ball. But even more importantly is that many teams now use the 3-pointer as a primary option with their offense.
When Arkansas traps in the post, or anywhere in the half court for that matter, it invariably leaves someone open for the 3-pointer. This is incredibly frustrating to watch game after game.
Also as it relates to this year’s team specifically, why would you double the post when you have a shot blocker like Gafford manning the paint? I don’t believe that there will be many guys this year that can consistently score on Gafford in the post.
Finally, i would love to see what would happen if Arkansas played straight up man to man the whole game with no trapping. Great coaches adapt to their personnel and to the changing nature of the game (see Nick Saban’s offense as Exhibit A). I wish CMA would do the same.
PS - I wish one of the media members would ask CMA about this at one of the press conferences.
I am always amused about the talk of the open three point shots the opposing teams get. It is as if all the three pointers we shoot are with a hand in the face.
Every system will eventually end up giving up an open three pointer, including the old school man to man defense. Good coaches can create a seam in every defense to create an open shot. It is about the execution. If we are giving up too many open shots, it means our players are not executing correctly. In our system, every player is responsible to defend man and a half. It is beautiful when it works.
Even though I wanted Self to be hired instead of Anderson, one thing I am very pleased about is that with Anderson we got our identity back, where teams have to practice in a different way to get ready for us. The other thing our system does is speed up the other team up and take them out of their comfort zone. You can see what happened to Indiana. That is how we have won so many games with less talent then the other team.
Mike also recruits for bigs who can cover guards and guards who can cover forwards. Switching is core of Mike’s defensive philosophy and that is what leads to a defender covering man and a half.
I would suggest you watch this team a little more objectively. So far, the defense has been very good and nothing like what you describe above. They play well together and have each other’s backs. MA’s philosophy is to wear opponents out chasing out motion offense and also having so take on our various pressure defenses.
There is some crazy stat that we’ve won the last 42 games or something at BWA when leading at half. The philosophy may not be your favorite, but it still works with the right personnel and this team is much more equipped to play that way. It works quite often.
I like the trapping defense. Used to be teams did it mostly in desparate or unique situations - opponents had big height advantage, playing from behind, end of halves. Same with full court press.
But Nolan came along with pressing & trapping from start to finish at both ends of the court. I thought man these guys (starters) will run out of gas, hence more quality horses required on the bench.
Mike just now getting enough quality horses.
The length of the hogs this year enables them to execute the defense better. The only thing that hasn’t changed is the rebounding numbers. The last game it was the offensive end where we got beat to the ball.
When it comes to players this is by far the deepest bunch of hogs we have had in years. (24 years ). After each game they grow and get more comfortable playing with each other. There are several options on the offensive end and they all play defense.
Man and match up zone has been the primary defense played. The trapping happens most of the time when we press. Of course the press takes different looks throughout the game. We haven’t given up too many wide open layups with this years team other than against Texas they had a few.
I’m a CMA supporter and a hog fan I like the scrambling defense and the changes he makes.