I don’t know why this play stuck with me and I was still thinking about it this morning, but out of the last media time out in the second half, we ran a play that I would love to know more about. Holmes cut from the left corner to the paint while Osun set a screen and the other guys were on the right side. Lofton hits Holmes on the cut, he takes a dribble or two ends up on the right side of the lane moving away from the basket at full speed. LaSalle's defense collapsed to the ball and Holmes threw a lob to Osun, that was short and lead to a miss. Welch got the rebound and Lofton eventually scored to tie it up.
To me that seems like a very difficult play for Holmes to either pass or get to the basket for his own shot because his momentum is taking him away from the hoop. Maybe he is supposed to curl after the pass but Osun's man took that option away when he helped. I’m guessing the options are Holmes gets a layup or floater, if Osun’s man helps pass back to him, if they help from the right wing/corner Holmes kicks to Welch/Adaway.
Maybe this play sticks with me because it was a golden opportunity at a big moment and we didn’t convert the layup. Maybe it was because we missed so many layups (think about it if we make either Welch breakaway or the Holmes stolen inbound layups we win in regulation).
Schmidt going zone surprised me some, and at first I assumed it was to save their legs coming off the long layoff. But it seemed to be a strategy choice by Schmidt because we stayed in it even the final few minutes and OT when I thought they might change back to man. We looked like a team that doesn’t play much zone at times and were slow on rotations. LaSalle looked like a team that knew how to overload the zone while keeping its spacing and this lead to a bunch of the open 3s.
IMO the only zone we should be playing is the 1-3-1 into 2-3 and we should be doing it with Adams on the floor. He can play the top or the middle of the 1-3-1 and live in passing lanes. He showed in the games Lofton was out that he is best at turning defense into offense. I would love to see him get a chance alongside Lofton for a few minutes. Friday’s game might not be the best place to give him that chance, I think he would be a turnover machine vs VCU’s defense but I wouldn’t mind seeing it vs Dayton.
Overall I think the defense freelances too much rather than staying home. It feels great when Osun helps on the driver and swats a shot into the 3rd row, but it leaves his man open for a pass or to get an uncontested rebound putback. To me it feels like we get beat on that rotation as often as we get a positive outcome. The same goes for on the outside, we double down on the post or help on a cutter and then are in a scramble drill that leads to one defender trying to guard 2 guys and close out on a shooter. I dont know if coaches have figured out how to force us into these spots and game plan for it or if we are just slower rotating this year than last year or if we are helping 1-2 steps further making it harder to recover. It is more noticeable when the bench is on the court because they are trying to read and react can the seniors are just reacting. It is a chaotic style of defense and takes a lot of max hustle to play and we have lacked the hustle in too many games.
I underestimated how good it would feel to write about actual basketball. The basketball itself wasnt pretty and their performance really frustrated me it was good to have a Bonnies game. I stand by my tweet that this was more fun when the expectations were lower and we were the plucky underdogs. But having games is so much better than not having games.