Random Thoughts: Bad O or Good D?

A few observers of NU Basketball are wondering if NU's latest problems are bad offense, or playing good defense. daCoach has a few thoughts about all that after watching Saturday's game...

There a saying in football, Good D beats Good O every time.
I think that's what we saw last Saturday in the loss to Wisconsin. The Badgers just plain dominated the Cats under the basket.

NU's offense is designed to give someone the ball under the basket for a somewhat uncontested layup. We've seen Sterling Williams slash in to make a few, Tim Doyle scored 4 of his points against Penn State on a drive to the basket layup.

The problem in the Big 10 ist hat everyone watches everyone else's tapes.

Its similar to baseball, after a while you learn not to throw certain pitches to certain batters. They sometimes call that the "book."

Well the "book" on the Cats right now is to throw a 2-3 zone, and leave a guy inside to contest the layup. The way to break the "book" is to keep making 3-s and force some other defense.

We're seeing some really nice shooting from Craig Moore, and, at times, Vedran Vukusic. Every color commentator lately has talked about how nice Bernard Cote`'s stroke is, he just needs to start making those 3 point jumpers and I suspect the 2-3 zone disappears from the "How to stop NU" book.

Meanwhile, our guys need to learn how to recognize the setup when the other team's big man is parking just outside the lane to contest those layups. Early in the season, Coach Carmody challenged the "shooters" on the WGN post game to step up and to a certain extent, they have.

Lately he's been challenging his team to start playing with more intensity, and maybe start to win some of those battles in the paint. I know the team can hear his comments after home games, and mostly everyone can also read them here.

Hope it works, and the Cat's O starts making those other D-s look bad.
Meanwhile
It would appear that the Big 10 is starting to shift into the alignment predicted by the pundits at the start of the basketball season.

After NU's surprising win over Minnesota [who appear to be that bad], The Cats have dropped a pair to teams they could have beaten, altho a win on the road last Saturday would have been a minor miracle.

The "doormat" teams, especially Purdue and Penn State, seem to have found their stroke mid January. They're always not winning yet, but both seem to be on track to rise up and win more than one game this year. For example, Purdue humbled Minnesota at home over the weekend 72-55.

Buts what's with Minny? and do they suddenly wake up and tighten the Big 10 to where everyone [except for Wisconsin] is around .500?

Now wouldn't that put a bunch of Big 10 teams on the NCAA "Bubble."
-- da Coach

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