Monday, March 23, 2009
One trend I noticed over the first weekend of NCAA play is that sometimes in the big spot the opposing defense let's you get easy buckets. Sometimes Defense Is Hard breaks down some of those occasions.
The Scenario: Tennessee goes up 1 and now has to stop OK St. on the Cowboys final possession.
At this point time it's pretty obvious that this pick and roll isn't going to lead anywhere. He's headed towards the sideline and baseline and would have to take a long route to the hoop. It almost makes no sense that they would set a screen in that direction.
Instead of letting him take the screen to nowhere land, or at the very least having one defender hedge the screen, both Tennessee players hedge. This basically forces Eaton to crossover and head towards the paint. Exactly where he wanted to go the whole time.
The on ball defender is now completely toast and it's up to help defense. The defender of the screener is now closest to Eaton but he's obviously a step behind thanks to hedging the screen. The remainder of the defenders are spread out on their players who are all chilling at the 3-point line. But you've got a guy with a step heading to the lane, it's time to collapse and force someone to make a jump shot.
Nobody gets off their guy. All of the Tennessee players outside of Tyler Smith are stuck watching Eaton drive the lane, leaving it all on Smith's shoulder to get a defensive stop. A defensive stop he needs to get while completely out of position.
Out of position and a step behind your options are three-fold. 1) Foul the shit out of him and hope he misses the free throw. 2) Just let him score the layup and avoid the foul. 3) Attempt to defend the shot but because you are out of position you are 90% likely to foul but not foul hard enough to completely deter the shot attempt. Smith chose option #3.