Some quick thoughts to complement the great stuff Trips has already delivered.
Rick Barnes implemented a set offense 21 games into the regular season against the number 1 team in the country. He told his guys to set it up and run it. The problem is you are supposed to do this in the preseason so that by game 21 against the number 1 team in the country you don’t have to think about it. Clearly, the Horns who can’t make a layup, hit a free throw or take a good shot in the flow of the offense were lost.
Halftime came and Rick crapped his pants, gave up on the set offense and went back to what got us here. Holly Rowe reported that Rick ran up to her "Holly, we are just going to go back to what we do, getting the ball to our big guys Damion and Dexter." And so, the Horns did go back to what they do; turning the ball over, taking bad shots, missing 3 footers, and having no flow in their offense.
How To Stop the Fall
We took the first step last night in letting J'Covan Brown grow up and play point. Balbay, as great an on ball defender as he is, has to find a way to develop a jump shot.
Call in a shot doctor please.
There are guys out there who can get these guys shooting correctly. It may not pay dividends this year but it will for next year.
Continue playing a hard matchup zone, not a soft stand around zone. That does not work on any level. Explain that just because we are in zone does not mean you don’t have a man responsibility. You are always responsible for someone in a zone. No one passes through the zone without a body being put on them. And for crying out loud, talk on defense. Mix in some pressing as it contextually relates to our opponents and situations. These guys like to run so let them create some fast breaks with some pressure but only against opponents who don’t have great ball handlers.
Offensively, we need to continue running sets but the sets have to be designed to get our best players the ball in the right spots. Last night it appeared we were just going through the motions. When a big sets a cross screen in man to man bring him back to the free throw line. This should be James setting a cross screen for Pittman and coming back for the jumper or dump down pass or a one-on-one move.
You can’t be a threat offensively if you don’t reverse the ball. This puts pressure on the defense to guard. Pittman was doubled on several occasions because we did not force them to rotate. Start him opposite the ball with a baseline screen, reverse the ball, seal his man and dump it down for a quick bucket.