Well that one wasn’t very much fun. The Cavs started the game off on a 12-0 run that quickly ballooned into a 25-3 lead with a little under 12 minutes to go in the first half. After that, things stayed pretty even for the rest of the game, and the Cavs finished the game winning by 23 points. Credit to the team for continuing to play hard and fight despite how the game started. I don’t have anything to mention from the rest of the game, as I was pretty much only half paying attention after we scored 3 points in 9 minutes. So let’s focus on the first 10 minutes.
In the first half of last night’s game, Wake Forest shot 9-28 from the floor; 14 of those 28 shots were 3-pointers. By my count, 7 of our first 10 shots were from beyond the arc (the other 3 were two blocked shots and a Jaylen Hoard jump shot with his feet on the 3-point line). I know what you’re thinking: UVA plays a tough packline defense that makes it difficult for teams to get close to the basket, thereby resulting in a plethora of 3-point attempts. And that’s true. However, on a lot of our possessions in that 25-3 run, we didn’t even try to get anywhere near the basket.
As you see above, the ball never makes it way inside the arc, and we end up with a contested 3-point shot from Jaylen Hoard with 17 seconds left on the shot clock. Not a great possession in my opinion as Hoard is shooting just 19% from beyond the arc this season. Here’s another example, with another contested 3 just 10 seconds into the shot clock.
So why is this bad? After all, didn’t UMBC beat UVA last year shooting 12-24 from 3-point line? Well firstly, Wake Forest isn’t a good 3-point shooting team. In conference play, the Deacs are just 36-132 (27%) from beyond the arc, which is 12th in the conference in 3-pointers made and dead last in percentage. Secondly, everyone knows by now that we are 1st in the nation at scoring from the free throw line; it’s hard to get there when we’re standing around the 3-point line hoisting shots early in the shot clock. As Manning said in the post game, “...we settled far too many times instead of driving the basketball.” One thing that surprised me while doing a little research was that 5 of Duke’s first 6 shots were 3s against UVA last Saturday, and they are also not a good 3-point shooting team. That could suggest that this is an issue with young teams going up against the packline for the first time.
On the defensive side, I’ll be honest, I have no idea what our game plan is against the pick and roll/pop.
It honestly seems like our current strategy is to double team the guy with the ball and leave the screener wide open. It’s a bold strategy Cotton, let’s see if it pays off for them.
This is not something that was unique to this game either. I was going to bring it up after the Virginia Tech game, but I just forgot about it.
Besides our shot selection early and our inability to defend anything in a man to man defense, we didn’t play that badly. I’m not really THAT concerned about getting blown out on the road by one of the best teams in the nation. It will be important that the team bounces back quickly for Boston College on Saturday.