Thus far, our men's bball team is 8-3, but rather unimpressive for anyone who watches the game. Many complained about the turnovers on offense, the forced shots, the poor FT%, and the refusal to feed the post. I'd like to have a discussion on defense though. For as many holes as our offense has, we are still eighth in the B1G (according to Kenpom's adjO). That is not good, but we are barely better than IU in that regards, so I'll leave that for another day.
The defense, however, is next to last in the B1G, only ahead of PSU. OSU is #1 in the entire nation (according to Kenpom's adjD), and we are #108. Looking back, in Kramer's 4 seasons we were #15, #13, #5, and #4 adjD in the country. In JJ's senior season we were #20. That's our identity b/c defense lives here, but now we are second last in the B1G. IU - yes, IU - is #16, and yet still only fourth in the B1G! The world is turning upside-down.
On paper, we should have a pretty damn good defense. We have one of the best blockers protecting the rim; we have wings that have long arms to deflect the ball; and most importantly, we have an aggressive on-ball defender in Scott who has the potential to be the second-coming of Kramer. So what went wrong? Why is our defense so crappy?
Many have blamed the new rule, but it cannot ALL be the new rule, right? Other teams have to deal with the new rule too, and IU actually IMPROVED from #28 last year (with Oladipo) to #16 right now. So, why? What is wrong with our defense?
The two things that stand out to me are:
1) Box out. I say that almost every game. We are #288 when it comes to defensive rebounding, and a lot of times we are just not boxing out. Compared to the many teams that we have played, we have a deciding edge in terms of size, but somehow the other teams are just quicker to get to the ball b/c we are not boxing out.
2) Hammons needs to avoid foul trouble. Having the best shot blocker is useful only if he is on the floor, not on the bench.
In addition, I'd like to see Painter putting our bench (a strength) to good use. We turn the pressure waaaaay up against Butler in the last 2 minutes and have great success. Why not do that every so often (if not entire 40 minutes), and not just at the end of the game when the game is out of reach? After a timeout, suddenly throw out some kind of full court press? Hammons will be protecting the rim, but we can have Scott, Basil, Carter, and RayD pressing. Yeah, players will get tired much quicker, but that is precisely the point. We can substitute in players and have no noticeable drop off in production. We have a fast-pace team this year already (2nd in the conference behind only IU), so we should crank it up and force the other team to adjust.
Pressing serves two purposes. First, it raises the energy level, which is needed for our guys. Second, it can be a cure to our offense. Whereas our guards can't do entry passes or that we are clueless against a zone, transition baskets play to the strength of our guards.
So what do you think is our problem in defense? What can Painter do to fix it?