Observations w/tons of vid (mainly focuses on Juwan Evans' value, OSU's great offense vs. Hogs' bad defense)

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— Juwan Evans is a stud. He’s the second-best PG the Hogs will face this year in the regular season. Will be interested to see if he goes pro in such a loaded PG draft class. He has it all: ability to finish, handle, passing/creation, jumper. A very jarring reminder of how much a true playmaking, dual-threat PG can lift a team.

— OSU’s offense was great. Loved the 4-out high post stuff they ran. It spread the floor and opened up the paint, which put Arkansas in some tough positions. Cowboys had a 155.3 first-half offensive rating. Went down to a lowly 121.2 in the second half, which is about their KenPom adjusted season average (123.2, third in the nation). Hogs didn’t help themselves by continuously miscommunicating and just plain getting beat. Fouls and offensive rebounds also hurt.

— Jaylen Barford was great. He’s been a different player in January, averaging 13.1 points and shooting 53 percent. He can create his own shot whenever, which is a highly valuable skill. But the guards rely on it too much. Eight of his nine makes were unassisted. The team had just 7 assists on 24 makes after having just 6 on 24 at Vandy. So this week they assisted on about 27 percent of their makes. The national average (52.7) and team average (52.5) is nearly twice that. They definitely have talented scorers, but there’s too much one-on-one and not enough working as a collective to move the defense and get good shots. Very seldom does Arkansas get easy shots out of its halfcourt offense.

— The fouls… at one point OSU had shot 17 free throws compared to Arkansas’ 1. Mike was upset. Jaylen echoed what Mike said. There were some ticky tack fouls and it shouldn’t have been a Big 12 crew. But the Hogs also committed a lot of silly fouls on the perimeter, hip checking and hand checking guys 25 feet from the basket. Avoidable fouls that you have to know you can’t get away with on the road most of the time. And six of OSU’s 19 first-half free throws came as a result of the Hogs fouling after OSU grabbed an offensive rebound…

— Big step back on the glass. OSU had 14 second-chance points in the first half. So 14 second-chance points, 13 fast-break points and 16 at the free-throw line = 43 of the 59 points the Cowboys scored. What has to make the rebounding discouraging for the staff is they’ve proven they can do it over the last 2 weeks. Just didn’t show up there Saturday.

— Stray thoughts, including how impressed I was with Underwood, the Jekyll-Hyde thing Thomas and Cook have going, Adrio Bailey, the OSU crowd and more.

[quote]— The team had just 7 assists on 24 makes after having just 6 on 24 at Vandy. So this week they assisted on about 27 percent of their makes. The national average (52.7) and team average (52.5) is nearly twice that.
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Needs correcting in a hurry.

Excellent.

I, too, was really impressed with Underwood’s offensive package. Loved the halfcourt offense and the varying, successful OOB plays. Also, that offense would be perfect for us because its designed for teams that don’t have a good post presence.

They’ve been terrible defensively, but the announcers said they recently switched their defensive approach. Not sure what that means because I haven’t watched them closely, but I liked what I saw defensively, too.

I’ll keep on saying it. Our quality of play continues to concern me, but you won’t see me complain a lot until the bottom line results are significantly impacted. We could afford to lose that game, but we need to do what we’re supposed to do from here on out. If we do, we’ll be fine. I’m just not very confident.

Yeah, the offense was so fun to watch. I gathered that they’ve backed off on the perimeter defensively. And I think he may have simplified the scheme a bit because of the youth of his team.

Hogs’ inability to create easy shots in the halfcourt worries me. They’re talented, but the amount of your turn, my turn lately is disheartening given that we’re getting into February and they should theoretically be gelling. And their defense against good offensive teams has been a train wreck.

I was struck by the number of halfcourt possessions where the Hogs would work to obtain their spacing, then nobody seemed to know where to go next. Like they were afraid to enter each other’s bubble. Oklahoma State found it easy to stop the ball when that happened. Passes did not create anything. Someone eventually would careen towards the hoop and miss a contested shot. Nobody would rebound it.

Yeah, they fall into lulls when they don’t cut with a purpose and just pass around the perimeter until someone puts his head down and attacks a set defense that hasn’t been moved much. I watch how they come off screens/set screens and those are issues at times, which makes them a lot easier to defend when they end up going one-on-one. The collective basketball IQ to work off each other and drive and kick in order to set up a passing sequences for open shots has been lacking, especially last week.

I agree they struggle using screens or movement to create imbalance or openings in the defense. It drives me crazy when they stand and watch. If I remember right Jimmy, you are a big fan of the pick and roll. Have you noticed seems like our most effective tactics for creating open shots has been the pick and roll (jaylen has started pulling the j off that ball screen a little) and the pick and pop (probably our most effective offensive movement when a big gets it on the perimeter and guards slash the lane without the ball). I never thought I would say go to a more predominately pick and roll offense. But if these are our only two tactics to get some intentional movement into our offense, than let’s see more of it.

(Last thought: I can’t remember the last time dusty came off a screen open to catch and shoot. Maybe we need a true shooter screening for him and also looking to catch and shoot. They definitely still have a lot to work on learning how to help each other look better rather than just taking turns with the ball)

I do love the pick-and-roll. Hardest action to guard in basketball, in my opinion.

Lately, Dusty has been curling off screens ready to put the ball on the floor and drive rather than popping out and trying to get a shot. Obviously some of that is predicated on the defense knowing personnel and working to deny the shot.