View Poll Results: When Hubbard returns to the Gopher lineup....

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  • The current starting lineup remains the same all season no matter what

    1 7.69%
  • Hubbard is immediately added to the starting lineup, sending Brunson to the bench

    0 0%
  • Hubbard is immediately added to the starting lineup, sending Lamke to the bench (4-guard lineup)

    0 0%
  • Hubbard is eventually added to the starting lineup, sending Brunson to the bench

    8 61.54%
  • Hubbard is eventually added to the starting lineup, sending Lamke to the bench (4-guard lineup)

    2 15.38%
  • Hubbard won’t return to the active lineup this season

    2 15.38%
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  1. #1

    Default When Hubbard returns to the Gopher lineup.....

    I have an educated guess on how Iggy will vote on this.


  2. #2

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    I feel Whalen likes the two post lineup, plus I've always thought of Taiye as a PF anyway. We have seen the results this year after moving her to the natural position. I Personally think it would be smart to have hubbard come off the bench the first few games, but if she is back by Wisconsin conference opener, I see her entering starting lineup by the Iowa game. Brunson has been solid but they need to offensive punch in the starting 5 that Diva would bring. Hubbard coming back will be huge in pulling defenders or at least spreading out the floor for Bell and Hubbard.

  3. #3

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    IF Hubbard returns I expect her to take Mercedes Staples spot in the rotation as first guard off the bench. There's no doubt Whalen prefers a two post lineup and at guard, Whalen was touting a Bell/Brunson shared point guard role before Hubbard's surgery. So I don't see Gadiva breaking in immediately. In the last couple of weeks, the play running and passing has improved as the players get used to the offense. It's easy to forget that this group didn't play together much last season.

    As Shades assumes, I think if Hubbard moved into the starting lineup it would be Lamke sitting with Taiye at the five and Pitts at the four. I just think we're more likely to see Hubbard off the bench with a four guard lineup used as needed. Let's face it, we have more guard options than post options.

  4. #4

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    She'll probably be a bit rusty, so I'm guessing that she'll come off the bench to start with and then maybe eventually move into the starting lineup, replacing Brunson. I actually like having Bello and Lamke on the floor at the same time, especially since this coaching regime is willing to use them as part of the offense. That being said, I wouldn't mind seeing a 4-guard offense in certain situations. If and when this happens, it wouldn't matter to me if Bello or Lamke was the post player.

  5. #5

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    No doubt she'll come off the bench to not only get back in game shape but also has to prove that she is worthy of starting like anyone else would. Wish I knew when she was going to be back (fully healthy that is).

  6. #6

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    I don’t think they’ll let her play unless she’s 100%.

  7. #7

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    None of the above.

    Whalen (in consultation with O'Banion, Roysland and Thibault-Dudonis) will dynamically and strategically alternate (as needed) between a 3-guard/2-post system and a 4-guard/1-post system, depending on opponent factors such as their height, 3-point shooting ability, and guard speed.

    While using a 3-guard/2-post system (as in the current default starting lineup), the primary guard rotation will likely include Bell, Hubbard, Pitts and Brunson (with backup by Staples and Garrido Perez); and the primary post rotation will likely include Lamke, T. Bello and Kaposi (with backup by others).

    While using a 4-guard/1-post system (essentially a go-small lineup designed for use against short and/or good-3-point-shooting teams), the primary guard rotation will likely include Bell, Hubbard, Pitts, Brunson and Staples (with backup by Garrido Perez); and the primary post rotation will likely include Lamke and T. Bello (with backup by Kaposi and others).

    As others have noted, Whalen might prefer to keep Hubbard's minutes down, especially at first, to ensure that she continues healing. So they might bring her in off the bench for quite some time. Maybe only start her in critical games against tough teams. Also, it matters very little who starts (now that we got our guard depth back).

    Starting lineup might well be a function of which system Whay decides to start out with. Maybe she'll almost always start out with 3-guard/2-post, as currently is the case with Hubbard injured (the advantage being perhaps building a good first-quarter lead via post-play and rebounding by Lamke and T. Bello). Or maybe sometimes she'll start out with 4-guard/1-post (the goal being maybe building a good first-quarter lead via hot 3-point shooting plus guard drives into the paint).

    Whalen will likely use the appropriate system and players for the given situation; whereas Stollings had a religious belief in the 4-guard/1-post system, and would stick with it even if it was driving us into certain defeat.

  8. #8

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    The Lynx never fluctuated starting lineups to match up to opponents. I’m not sure why Whalen would think it’s a good idea. If you’re good, other teams have to worry about matching up to you. The only time the Lynx starting lineup would change during the season is if there’s an injury to a starter. I’m struggling to think of an elite college team that does it. Help me out with that. ��

  9. #9

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    I agree with Shades. Not a good idea to fool around with different starting lineups based on matchups. I think players like knowing what their roles are. Last year, Stollings did that a bit with her starting post player and I always thought she was out-thinking herself when she did that. I'm wondering how Whalen sees the different talents of Hubbard and Brunson. I'm guessing that she sees Brunson as a better defensive player. IMO, Hubbard is a much better offensive player. Like Brunson, she'll handle the ball a bit on a fast break. Both players will drive to the hoop...Hubbard more often than Brunson. Hubbard a better outside shooter. Either way, I think Brunson will benefit from all the PT she's receive during these non-conference games, whether she remains a starter or is the first person off the bench.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shades View Post
    ... I’m struggling to think of an elite college team that does it. Help me out with that.
    Quote Originally Posted by tripledouble View Post
    I agree with Shades. Not a good idea to fool around with different starting lineups based on matchups. I think players like knowing what their roles are. ...
    Good point, Shades. I think that you're probably right in the sense that in practice very few college coaches meddle with the starting lineup on a per-game basis (except of course in case of injury, or a rookie rapidly developing to take over a starting role). There probably are a few that selectively modify starting lineup based on opponent characteristics, but I can't specifically name any either. I think it's a matter of a desire for consistency, including consistent roles that players can get used to and feel comfortable in, as TripleDouble points out.

    At the same time I would guess that there might be at least a few coaches that do so. And I guess the main thrust of my point was not so much to accurately estimate how much that practice might be used at the college level, but more to argue that doing so should be the perogative of the coach. They should have that available as a tool, which they may or may not choose to use (and I agree that most coaches probably don't change starting lineups as a tactical or strategic tool).

    Quote Originally Posted by tripledouble View Post
    ... Last year, Stollings did that a bit with her starting post player and I always thought she was out-thinking herself when she did that. ...
    I know that many GopherHole WBB posters were hugely annoyed by Stollings practice of seemingly randomly switching-up which of her top-three posts started the game in her single-post system. I too would admit that I was somewhat perplexed in trying to figure out how she made that choice. But allowing her to make that decision as she saw fit (perhaps as she saw it to be the best fit for the game plan) is one aspect of her coaching that I would strongly defend as her right to choose. As former coach, she should (and did) make such decisions on the basis of trying to win games, not just to assuage the desires of us (more basketball-technical) fans. Perhaps in some games she might have been just trying to win the jump ball. In other games (e.g., against a team with a big/strong center) she perhaps felt the need to start a tall/strong/physical post player like Fernstrom or Lamke. Perhaps in other games (e.g., against a team with a shorter center) she preferred to start a more agile/faster player like T. Bello or Edwards. In any event, I strongly believe the coach should make such a choice if they feel it might benefit the game outcome, while at the same time granting you all the right to be crabby about either the choice per se, or about the fact that the end result lacked consistency in starting lineup. Bottom line: we're trying to win games, not please fans.

    What I think is more important (toward winning games) is not starting lineup per se, but rather the entire rotation (which I imagine is tricky to devise). And the potential flow of the rotation through (if needed to win a given game) an appropriate mixture of 4-guard/1-post and 3-guard/2-post systems. What I like about Whalen is the fact that even though she's initially (based on talent available)focused on a 3-guard/2-post system (and I count Pitts as a guard here, in spite of her nominal SF position, just because she's closer in height to the guards than the PF and C postions), she's not afraid to switch to a 4-guard/1-post system temporarily as part of the ebb and flow of the rotation. We've seen that already, where she'll sub in a guard for a post or vice versa. Indeed, doing so might become even more important once Hubbard is healthy and back in shape and back in the rotation. That's essentially because we need more guard minutes to take advantage of Hubbard's shooting. So I expect to see the rotation flow back-and-forth between 4-guard and 3-guard once Diva gets back in the mix.

    And to me it machts nichts whether Hubbard comes back as a starter or off the bench. Starting (or not) only has a minor impact on her total minutes via the rotation. Rotation is king, not starting. And I think that the current players are rather mature in the sense that they are all buying into the team goals and specifics that Lindsay is teaching them, and are all willing to sacrifice personal goals/minutes/ego in deference to the team goal of winning in the B1G and NCAAs.

    Having said that, if I had to be pinned down for the purposes of this survey, I would guess that Iggy's intuition is wrong, and Hubbard will not replace Lamke in the starting lineup. That amounts to a guess on my part that Whalen will stick to a 3-guard/2-post starting lineup. Under that assumption, I don't care whether Hubbard or Brunson start or come off the bench - they'll both get their minutes at some point in the rotation. But let's assume (for the sake of being specific) that Hubbard comes off the bench (which she certainly will do initially). Then under all these assumptions, my prediction is that Hubbard will be first off the bench, subbing in for Lamke in lieu of Kaposi coming in. So the first rotation not only brings in Hubbard, but also switches from a 3-guard/2-post system to a 4-guard/1-post system (at least temporarily, til a later rotation substitutes a post for a guard).

    One of the reasons I like Whalen so much as a coach (extra especially in contrast to Stollings) is that I'm confident that she will not hesitate for one minute to employ such seemingly exotic rotations. In contrast, Stollings would prefer to live and die by the 4-guard/1-post system. Actually, if anyone recalls, in her first game or two as Gopher coach, she tried a 5-guard system - which she immediately had to abandon, since we got our butts kicked.

    I recall vividly the Michigan State game from last year. We started and played 4 guards and 1 post as usual, and two of the guards (Carlie and Destiny) got in foul trouble. Stollings had to sub-in her next-best player in her pecking order, which was a post player - so that for relatively large portions of that game she played two-out-of-three out of {Fernstrom, Edwards, T. Bello, and a few minutes by Kaposi}. The posts played amazingly in their two position-slots (presumably without having practiced that configuration very much), scoring 29 points and hauling down 14 rebounds. We won. I claim that we won that game quite by accident. If it were not for foul trouble, we would not have been forcibly switched to a 3-guard/2-post system for a significant fraction of the time, which gave us the rebounds and points to win the game. In the post-game debrief, Stollings seemed rather befuddled as to how we won the game, although she did confess that "well, we got a lot of rebounds." In later games after that game I found myself almost wishing that the guards would get into foul trouble, because Marlene didn't seem to learn the lesson offered by that game, namely that "two posts at least part of the time makes for good basketball outcomes." And we later lost several games that would have been winnable if we had only played a 3-guard/2-post system for at least some non-trivial fraction of the game.

    We're in good hands with Whalen. She won't make that mistake. She understands what wins games, at a significantly higher level of basketball IQ than Stollings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shades View Post
    The Lynx never fluctuated starting lineups to match up to opponents. I’m not sure why Whalen would think it’s a good idea. If you’re good, other teams have to worry about matching up to you. The only time the Lynx starting lineup would change during the season is if there’s an injury to a starter. ...
    Again, perhaps you're right - coming from the Lynx and thus not having any tradition of switching starting lineups per game, plus very few college coaches do so, probably Lindsay will stick with her 3-guard/2-post system at tipoff, with Hubbard either in or out (probably out initially, perhaps in later in the season, e.g., for playoffs).

    But also note that, at least in my opinion, there are significant differences between the WNBA game and the college D1 game, which make it almost always a negative thing to micro-manage starting lineups at the WNBA level, whereas doing so might conceivably be a useful tool at least once in a while at the college level.

    There is considerable parity between the 12 WNBA teams, thanks to the effects of the draft. The difference between this year's championship team and last year's might quite literally be the existence of the WNBA MVP (Stewie) on the champion team, plus an ill-advised trade of a probably future all-star center from the Lynx to the Storm.

    Then too, each WNBA team has a uniformity in the sense that each team has a highly qualified starter at each of the positions: PG, SG, SF, PF, C. So each team starts a point guard, a shooting guard, a small forward, a power forward, and a center. Thanks to the parity, not to start a single player at each of the standard five postions would act as a negative factor, and probably enough to turn a would-be tie game into a loss. So it generally makes no sense for a WNBA coach to start (to use a crazy example) two centers, since the second of the two would be much less qualified. You might occasionally see them play two power forwards instead of a power forward and a center, if they want to "go small." But that's about it, other than the fact that there is a bit of a modern trend (which Lindsay seems to espouse) of playing two equal guards that rotate point duties (we'll call them shooting point guards, or SPG).

    At the college level, there is a wide variance in capabilities among teams (all 365-ish of them). And there is also a wide variance in the height of players on the teams, expecially the height and jumping ability of centers and/or power forwards. Thus, given any "next" opposing team, you may be playing a short un-skilled team, or a short skilled team, or a tall un-skilled team, or a tall skilled team. There is thus at least some motivation to adapt the rotation (and thus in the extreme, to also adapt the starting lineup) to the specific opponent, as part of the game plan. The fact that this is not done very often, probably mostly reflects the level of confidence most coaches have in their "standard" starting lineups.
    Last edited by CutDownTheNet; 12-20-2018 at 03:05 PM.

  11. #11
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    Whalen won't tinker with a line up that works. But, now as Diva gets healthier, she has more scoring and lineup options. It will take Diva some time to get in sync with everyone. But, now she is coming in at a good time at the start of Big Ten play. The Gophers need her down the stretch.

    One thing that no one wants to see is an injury occurring. Keeping everybody as healthy as possible in the Big Ten grind is critical.

    The Gophers emphasize practicing in almost game situation, and that has contributed to the development of the entire squad. The players seem more cool, relax, and happier. Not a knock against Stollings.
    Welcome to Badger Road Kill Country!

  12. #12

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    Hubbard should not risk re-injury returning this season. She's also too good of a player to bring in mid season and sit her on the bench. Red-shirting her is the way to go.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ball Like A Boss View Post
    Hubbard should not risk re-injury returning this season. She's also too good of a player to bring in mid season and sit her on the bench. Red-shirting her is the way to go.
    I would guess she has a choice in the matter. And if she’s medically cleared, doesn’t that take away the redshirt option... unless you’re suggesting something unscrupulous.

    I do seem to recall Brianna Turner most likely could have played part of last season at less than 100%, but opted to redshirt the season.
    Last edited by Shades; 12-21-2018 at 02:06 PM.

  14. #14

    Default

    Agreed. After getting her medical opinions the choice should be hers. I trust Whalen to support what is the best long term for her players.

  15. #15

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CutDownTheNet View Post
    One of the reasons I like Whalen so much as a coach (extra especially in contrast to Stollings) is that I'm confident that she will not hesitate for one minute to employ such seemingly exotic rotations. In contrast, Stollings would prefer to live and die by the 4-guard/1-post system. Actually, if anyone recalls, in her first game or two as Gopher coach, she tried a 5-guard system - which she immediately had to abandon, since we got our butts kicked.
    It's fun to look back at those early games.

    In game one, a 109-60 versus SE Louisiana the starting lineup was Hirt, Kelley, Bailey, Wagner and Mullaney. Hirt in 22 minutes had 22 points and 7 rebounds. Kelley in 18 minutes had 21 and 10. Coming off the bench Zahui put up 20 points and 12 rebounds in 22 minutes.

    Game two: A 93-76 win over Cleveland State (Cleveland State led at the half 44-41). The starters remained the same. Kelley in 34 minutes put up 21 points and 14 rebounds. Hirt (20 minutes, 6 points and 5 rebounds) and Zahui off the bench (24 minutes, 15 points and 14 rebounds).

    Game three: a 68-62 win at Memphis. Zahui replaced Hirt and Bailey replaced Mullaney (If I recall, Mullaney was out for medical reasons). Kelley (38 minutes, 20 points and 8 rebounds); Zahui (28 minutes, 12 points and 7 rebounds); Hirt off the bench (30 minutes, 7 points and 8 rebounds). A side note: Bailey played as many minutes (36) as Banham (23) and Wagner (13) combined. Rachel spent part of that game in foul trouble.

    Of course with Rachel's injury the B1G season starting lineup became Zahui, Mullaney, Wagner, Kelley and Bailey.

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