Thursday, January 13, 2011

Project Defensive Score Sheet: Kansas@Iowa State

Here’s Game 2 of my stab at charting individual defensive stats.  Check Game 1 for an introduction and explanation, otherwise you’ll have no clue what the alphabet soup is trying to tell you.

Before I get to the numbers, I have to complain about the TV coverage last night.  There were multiple times where I missed a turnover or shot attempt because the producers decided to show close ups of bench players celebrating a dunk, or something along those lines.  And then the announcers failed to clue me in on what had just happened (“Great play there by Iowa State” isn’t very informative, guys).  So, my stats didn’t quite line up with the box score at the end of the game, and I lumped the ~5 plays I was missing into the “Team” lines.  Ugh.

More notes and comments are after the break, but first, the tables (click for larger view):


I’m trying an alternate sorting this time: by defensive rating (DRtg) rather than number of defensive possessions (DPoss).  I think this makes it easier to see at a glance who defended well, regardless of how long they were on the floor.  Then, I can mentally take minutes and %DPoss into account when evaluating overall defensive value.


  • Elijah Johnson was the worst defender for Kansas for the second game in a row.
  • Check out Calvin Godfrey and Jordan Railey, the worst two defenders for Iowa State.  When I first transcribed the data from my handwritten chart, I thought I must have made a mistake.  13 free throws caused in only 12 combined minutes?  But I’m pretty sure it’s legit – they committed 9 fouls in their 12 minutes.  I don’t know what’s more impressive – fouling out in only 9 minutes (Godfrey), or ending up with more fouls than minutes (Railey, with 4 fouls in 3 minutes).  I took a few notes while scoring, and next to Railey’s name I wrote “can’t handle Morrii FFF”.
  • Kansas did a fantastic job of getting the ball to the Morris twins to attack Godfrey and Railey while they were in.  Check out those %DPoss values – 33.9% for Godfrey, and an astounding 65.8% for Railey.  Given the 5 point final margin, you could make a pretty good claim that this was what won the game for the Jayhawks.
  • Not to keep railing on Railey and Godfrey, but compare them to Vanderbeken, who was the main interior defender for Iowa State, and hence bodied up on a Morris on nearly every play.  Vanderbeken is a senior, and the other two are freshmen, and it showed.  Vanderbeken didn’t have a great game, but he had a tremendous amount of defensive responsibility (28.4 %DPoss), and he could have done a lot worse.
  • 3 of Marcus Morris’s 5 made free throws allowed (DFTM) were the result of fouling Vanderbeken while he was shooting a three-pointer with  only 3 seconds left, with ISU down by 7.  It was a dumb foul, but made no difference in the outcome.  If you remove that play, Morris’s rating changes from 103.3 to slightly more respectable 100.7.
  • Markieff Morris was again one of the top defenders for the Kansas, and better than his brother Marcus.  I’m curious if this is the usual result.
  • Similarly, Tyrel Reed’s DRtg was again among KU’s top 3, despite the fact that he again ended up with more official steals (2) than my unofficial forced turnovers (1.8).
  • Diante Garrett’s %DPoss was a ridiculously low 3.4%.  The announcers told me about a dozen times that he’s the only Cyclone who can create his own shot, so my guess is that Mayor Hoiberg is intentionally having him guard whichever opponent player is least active on offense, to save him from fatigue and fouls.  I noticed him shadowing Brady Morningstar on several possessions.
  • I’ve been impressed by what I’ve seen defensively from Josh Selby both games.  He’s quick, with active hands.  He does seem to stray a bit to far from his man at times, and ends up closing a touch late, but it hasn’t been too damaging in these games.
  • Note that Iowa State’s “Team” was one of their top defenders.  I think this is a sign of how sloppy Kansas played, offensively.  There were quite a few missed open shots, and unforced turnovers.  (However, remember that a few of these were simply plays that I missed because of the poor TV coverage.)
  • Kansas’s forced turnovers were again mostly team efforts.  I only credited 2 of 12 (17%) as solo efforts.  For Iowa State, that number was 7 of 16 (44%).

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