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Playbook: Wake Forest vs Notre Dame

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Pick and roll defense continues to be a struggle

NCAA Basketball: Notre Dame at Wake Forest Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

I saw a few people request that we take a look at how the Deacs gave up 5 dunks to Martinas Geben in yesterday’s 71-76 loss to Notre Dame. Geben did a number on Wake Forest in this game, finishing with 22 points on 10-18 shooting and 14 rebounds. So how was he so open? Let’s take a brief look.

First dunk of the day was an offensive rebound. Elijah Burns gets by Crawford, forcing Doral Moore to step up and defend him. This leaves Geben with a clear path to the basket for the put back dunk.

The second dunk is basically the exact same thing. Nikola Djogo blows right past Keyshawn Woods forcing Doral to step up and contest. Geben slips in right behind him and again gets the put back dunk.

This is the only one of the dunks that is Doral’s fault in my opinion. He steps up on the Matt Ferrell drive when he probably didn’t need to and gets stuck in no mans land, leaving the lane wide open. Ferrell throws a nice bounce pass and Geben gets yet another dunk.

The pick and roll defense has been pretty awful all year, to be frank. Here, Geben comes up to set the screen, and Doral moves out to hedge as we have done basically all season. Geben slips the screen and ends up with a dunk. Mike Brey adds a nice to wrinkle to this where the 2 weak side guards simply switch places at the same time as the screen, which serves to move the man playing help defense (in this case Terrence Thompson) out of the lane. Chaundee has his back to the ball, so he can’t see whats happening behind him, and he is late to rotate into the lane to take Thompson’s place. Result: dunk.

We see a similar play here. Doral doesn’t really hedge, but he picks up Ferrell until Wilbekin can recover. The weak side guards switch places, again pulling Terrence Thompson, who was in a great position to play help defense at the start of the play, away from the lane to cover his man. This time it is Woods who is late on the rotation, and Geben gets another wide open dunk.

The common theme in most of these is help defense. Doral is either stepping up on a guy who blew by his man or coming out to hedge on the screen, and the guy who is supposed to rotate and defend the basket is late. The result is an easy dunk in both cases.