Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Defensive Score Sheet: Texas@Kansas

Better late than never, right? Being a Kansas fan, this wasn’t a fun one to score. Here’s the chart, notes are after the break.


Announcer comments take on a whole new meaning when you know the eventual outcome. I have to give Clark Kellogg props for something he said during Kansas’s early run that foreshadowed Texas’s eventual comeback:

“The Longhorns have gotten 3 good shots, they just haven’t hit them. Kansas has gotten 3 good shots, and they haven’t missed.”

The implication was that Texas wasn’t really playing that bad, and they’d be fine if they started hitting shots. Well, they started hitting shots, and Kansas started missing.

I kept track of whether each 3-pt shot was a “good look” or a “bad look” based on how close the defender was, and whether the player was able to set himself. That’s very subjective, but I think my judgments at least remained pretty consistent throughout the game, and for both teams, so this chart should be valid. [NOTE: I show one extra 3PFGA for Texas. That was the Balbay play at the buzzer, where he brought the ball up, and Morningstar knocked it out of his hand. It’s not listed in the ESPN play-by-play, but I counted it as a shot defended.]


The number of good 3-point looks allowed by each team didn’t change from half to half. Yet Kansas outscored Texas by 9 on threes in the first half, and were outscored by 6 in the second. Sometimes you eat the bar, etc.

The story is similar for shots taken inside the arc. Here, I tracked whether there the player was being closely guarded when he made the shot. Using a nice post move to spin around your defender and lay it in counts as closely guarded. Catching a backdoor pass and laying it in doesn’t. [Again, my numbers are off my an attempt or two, but it shouldn’t change the overall picture.]


The difference from half to half isn’t as sharp, but again, Kansas shot worse on their open shots, and Texas shot better on their open and guarded shots in half two. One additional difference is that, surprisingly, Texas got fewer open shots. From these two shots, it actually looks like Kansas created harder shots for Texas in the second half, yet Texas made more of them. This leads me to another quote from Mr. Kellogg, uttered with about 4 minutes left on the clock, which I think concisely sums up why Texas won the game, and why they’re a better team:

“Both teams have defended. Texas has playmakers.”

OK, on to a few random notes…

  • I included the technical foul free throws, and the “we have to foul whoever has the ball” end-of-game free throws, in the “Team” lines, as opposed to the actual players who caused the free throws.
  • Gary Johnson may not have the best defensive rating for Texas, but he was an absolute beast inside. When you take into account his shared credit on some plays, he was involved in forcing a miss on 13 Kansas shots. They only missed 41 all game, which means every time KU missed a shot, there was about a 1 in 3 chance that Johnson helped cause it. (And he didn’t even play 40 minutes).
  • Here are the percentage of each team’s Forced Turnovers (FTO) which were solo efforts, entirely credited to one player: 6 out of 15 (40%) for Kansas, 4 of 12 (33%) for Texas. My hypothesis at the beginning was that the better defensive team would force more turnovers through teamwork (i.e. have a lower % due to solo efforts), and that seems to be holding true so far.
  • It was a bad day for Markieff Morris to get in foul trouble, as Thomas Robinson, understandably, wasn’t himself. Markieff defended well while he was in the game.
  • For that matter, so did Jeff Withey. I’m not sure why didn’t get at least a few more minutes. Mario Little was the 2nd biggest player on the floor for Kansas for a couple stretches in the first half, and as you can see from his defensive stats, he couldn’t handle the task. Withey seemed to do at least a passable job.
  • Tyrel Reed looked comically mismatches when guarding Jordan Hamilton on a few possessions, but he still had a decent game, defensively. Morningstar, who covered Hamilton for longer stretches, did not, mainly due to a few fouls.
  • The game was won by Texas in the second half, so I split out the stats by half. I’m not going to show the whole charts, but I will say that the best defenders, statistically, for Kansas in the second half were Tyrel Reed and Marcus Morris, while the worst – by a mile – were Brady Morningstar, Josh Selby, and Mario Little. All three of them had a Stop% under 10%, which is abysmal. Part of that is probably due to matchups, of course.

Finally, I want to pass on a link to a fellow defensive charter. Jonathon Leverenz over at A Sea Of Blue also read Basketball On Paper, and was thinking of charting games, but hadn’t gotten motivated enough to do it. I think he saw that a Kansas fan was charting, and couldn’t let me “win,” so to speak, so he’s now producing defensive score sheets for Wildcats games. Here’s his chart for Kentucky at South Carolina.

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