New 8 things

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Interesting stuff.

Thomas had TO problems early last year but ended the season with a satisfactory TO rate in SEC play. I don’t expect that to be a major issue going forward.

Jimmy, on our pick n’ roll do we utilize the roll enough? The defending big has sometimes aggressively hedged Macon. Maybe I just notice it when possessions go awry, but it seems to me that our guards could get the ball to Thompson or Gafford more on dives to the hoop than they do. Thompson is such a good interior passer that, if he gets the ball below the key with two defenders behind him, something good is going to happen. At times we end up with Macon or Barford dribbling too much with the ball never getting below the key. Of course, Macon and Barford have been spectacular, but some adjustments could make our O more robust.

People keep wanting Macon and Barford to dish it off more. But the way these two create their own shot, I don’t think you want them to stop doing what they do. If they look for the pass more, I suspect they will be off their natural game and become less aggressive on offense. Aggressive offense is their MO. Don’t think you want to mess with that,

I expect Thomas to take over as a starter eventually. I get that feeling reading the points Mike made at the presser today. He specifically mentions how Thomas’s jump shooting will unclog the paint and improve spacing. Thomas is a much better shooter than what you give him credit for. That turnaround jump shot against UConn was sweet. Once he settles in, I see more of a Seton Hall game from him on somewhat of a regular basis.

Wouldn’t be surprised if he starts at some point. Mike obviously likes to experiment.

That was a nice move, but it’s the first time I can honestly remember him doing anything remotely like that. My opinion of his shot is based on his efficiency on jumpers to this point in his college career: 28-99, according to Synergy.

Now, he is a better shooter than the other bigs. But I feel like that’s more of an indictment on their jumpers than a credit to his.

I do think they would benefit from doing that more. Last year, Dusty was the only one who hit the roll man with much regularity. Daryl had a nice sequence last week I think where the defense showed hard and he drew them back toward halfcourt and hit someone on the roll. If the big makes himself available on the short roll, you’re playing 4 on 3. That should yield a good shot every time, especially if it’s Trey or Dustin.

I don’t want to make major changes to what they do but tweaking might be in order to make life easier on them. Against UNC we had a lot of possessions where the ball never got below the top of the key until late in the shot clock. If the big is forcing Macon four and five feet beyond the arc, we should be able to use that to get a look towards the basket with the rim unguarded. If the big has to be more concerned about getting back inside, that’s more room for Macon and Barford to do their thing, and they don’t need much. The D doesn’t have to see many layups to cut out that aggressive hedge.

To add to the discussion on hitting the screener, a roll man has finished 7 possessions in the first 6 games, per Synergy, so not that often. Just backs up what we all can see. PnR ball handlers have finished 50 possessions.

Obviously you want Macon and Barford with the ball in their hands, but learning how to counteract the hard show by slipping it to the big can be a way to force a team to change up its coverage if you make them pay enough. Of course, their whole goal is getting the ball out of the guard’s hands, but you can make them pay, especially if 2 of the seniors are on the court and the right big is getting the ball. You can also reject the screen, which they do on a fairly regular basis.

I actually was thinking about writing this last week after the Fresno and UNC games, but they had some nice plays to beat it, too, so I decided to let it play out some more. I wouldn’t be surprised if more teams use the coverage moving forward.