Belated TxState Post
I have rewritten this twice.
The first draft consisted of a lot of ranting about how the loss on saturday to somewhat hated rival Texas State was abysmal.
The second draft consisted of more reasoned thinking about how this was to be somewhat expected (I mean, I did call it on the podcast a couple weeks ago).
Now it has come to this. That defensive performance was pretty typical of February. When I called the zone defense gimmicky at first, it was just to provoke discussion. Now it isn’t even a gimmick. It doesn’t work.
The opposition has figured out how to exploit the lack of athleticism by just plain running good zone offense. The version relies heavily on the guards– Mike Hale, Sei Paye, Melvin Johnson — to disrupt the probing passes that can exploit a passive zone. The problem hasn’t necessarily been them. Our quickness has forced turnovers when things are clicking. When they aren’t? Well it has been the lack of size that allows open threes. The frontline? When it can’t rotate to guys standing in the corner then they are useless.
The frustrating thing is that TxState didn’t attack with some clever plan. No they just moved the ball well and had good spacing.
Brooks says lack of effort is the reason the team defends poorly.
So why no effort? These guys can’t muster up the will to play defense without Devin Gibson to lead them? Nah. That is something I can’t believe. Instead, how about we look at the reason Brooks went to the zone in the first place? They. Can’t. Defend. Man. To. Man.
They need to play zone perfectly in order to get stops. When they lose a tiny bit of focus they get gutted. A more athletically gifted team can overcome those lapses. Brooks can only verbally whip these horses so much — he can’t get too much more out of them and there is a lot of basketball to be played.
So, with such a porous defense why were we making it harder on ourselves offensively? Though I like the idea of the early offense — it worked for three possessions — it was the wrong plan. In San Marcos, UTSA had 32 points in the paint. Saturday they had only 18. Jeromie had 24 and 11 in the land of the Outlet. He had 14 and 7 here in SA. There the team capitalized on the soft defense TxState played and had at least three or four dunks.
I can only remember the one dunk off the Mike Hale Lob. It isn’t his fault, though. The offense at various points had only one man in the paint, either Iggy or Stephen, and often had all five standing at the three-point line.
That game and that situation (early second half) were not the time to debut a drive and kick offense. It worked for a bit. When we needed scores –easy scores — we were lining up for contested jump shots.
That left a team struggling for a comeback with one-and-done offensive possessions and a sieve as defense.
This loss wasn’t just on the players — it was on the staff, too.
Editor extraordinaire, UTSA grad student. Twitter