This team looks different than previous teams

touchdownvikings

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I will start by admitting I know nothing about basketball beyond knowledge acquired as a spectator. So I might be about to state the obvious or way off base. Maybe someone more informed will add their wisdom. That said, this team looks very different than teams in past years. Specifically there appears to be many points of "focus" for opponents. At least two defenders are aware of Murphy wherever he goes and one sticks like glue to him. Another sticks like glue to Gabe. Another to Amir. So when these move the entire defense moves with them.

In years past (the Hollins/Hollins years for example) motion would do nothing. Defenders sat back and packed the lane no matter what. Not this year. If Murphy, Gabe and Amir move the defense moves. And that creates openings. If Washington can continue to develop his pass-first mentality I think very good things will come out of this for the whole team. Guys move, therefore defense moves, therefore openings emerge, therefore Isaiah drives into opening, therefore defense moves again to react to Isaiah, therefore a Gopher is open, therefore Isaiah passes, therefore a Gopher has a shot from within a few feet, therefore score. In decades of watching Gopher basketball I really haven't seen a team constituted in such a way that this would work. Until now.

So the formula is motion - particularly on the part of Murphy, Amir and Gabe - plus Isaiah driving, plus Isaiah passing. And all of that can reliably work. It's really just mental at this point. The trio needs to keep their heads in the game and move. And Washington needs to focus (every possession) on driving and passing. All the motion in the world won't matter if he simply puts up a quick shot. (That said, I have noticed his quick shot propensity has been diminishing, starting in the latter portion of last season.)

Thoughts?
 

Gophers7NatTitlesBadgers0

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I love that Pitino is challenging Amir to be the guy who puts the team on his back and be a dominant presence. Looks like Amir is accepting that challenge.
 
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march madness

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If McBrayer and Coffey start hitting their 3's we would be a hard team to stop.
Continuted maturation from IW and a healthy retun from Curry would be a huge bonus also.
 

bga1

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Other than the shooting against North Florida, which was hideous, the team looked talented and the team looked like it was one that was playing together with purpose. Best passing I have seen here in a long time. IW led that but the whole team followed suit. There would have been a lot more assists but the ball didn't go in the basket a lot.
 

Flash30

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Other than the shooting against North Florida, which was hideous, the team looked talented and the team looked like it was one that was playing together with purpose. Best passing I have seen here in a long time. IW led that but the whole team followed suit. There would have been a lot more assists but the ball didn't go in the basket a lot.
Good play is contagious. IW was the engine and everyone followed suit. They looked like they were having fun passing the ball. It’s much like in baseball when hitting becomes contagious and you’ll bat through the order.
 

tikited

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Other than the shooting against North Florida, which was hideous, the team looked talented and the team looked like it was one that was playing together with purpose. Best passing I have seen here in a long time. IW led that but the whole team followed suit. There would have been a lot more assists but the ball didn't go in the basket a lot.
The passing is key. Murphy and Oturo almost always get their shots blocked when the ball is dumped down low without moving it around (or Washington driving in the lane).
 

march madness

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It's hard to post up when you have so few good 3pt shooters. You have everyone sagging into the middle on defense.
 

sal

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Add in Eric Curry and it's another element that we haven't seen as yet. Eric is a very good passer so ball movement can only get better with his availability.
This team is not a finished product. Getting better as the season progresses seems more likely than not with this team.
 

Moonlight

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LOts of very good pieces - can they get it all come together?
 

touchdownvikings

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I didn't do a great job of articulating my main point in my original post. I'll try again.

Some on this board say that the Gophers don't have an offense. They stand - motionless - and pass the ball around the perimeter until the clock dwindles. Then they put up a last second shot.

I think that until this year the Gophers have been afflicted by the I-don't-believe-you demon. Joe Coleman flashes into the lane and moves back behind the arc? Defense doesn't move. Why not? Well they have to believe that Coleman could be effective behind the arc to be motivated to move. They look at Joe and say "I don't believe you." Same with Rodney Williams. He could move around all he wanted. The defense didn't move - they didn't believe it. Konate moves from one side of the lane to the other. Does the defense move? No. They don't believe that Konate can catch and convert an entry pass. They don't believe him.

In short, a coach can preach movement all he wants. If your players have vast regions of the court that they are known to be ineffective from, the defense will not move. So the players move around - like the coach told them to - but the defense doesn't move. Eventually the players just stop moving because it doesn't cause the desired effect. And you get the offense that so many complain about.

No this year. Because the defense DOES move when Murphy moves from one side of the lane to the other. Same with Oturu. The defense DOES move when Gabe flashes into the lane and then moves behind the arc. Same with Amir. So they move, the defense moves, holes open, and Isaiah can drive the holes and then pass or shoot. We never really had the ability before. It's fun to watch!
 

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I'll add that these last three years (at least until most of the starters were out last year) we've been able to field a team (starters, at least) that are all dangerous with the ball. So I'll agree that there is something different about these recent teams (not just this year). It also starts to reveal that they do have an offense. It's the same one that Pitino's been running, but is much more effective when your talent level means anyone can score rather than just pass around the perimeter and run around aimlessly.
 
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jovs

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Last years team had the depth and scoring ability from different people until the injuries started and Lynch was suspended. I think the advantage last years team had over this years team was Lynch's scoring ability from the center spot. This team is close though.
 

Otis

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Last years team had the depth and scoring ability from different people until the injuries started and Lynch was suspended. I think the advantage last years team had over this years team was Lynch's scoring ability from the center spot. This team is close though.
Lynch's suspension killed our defense and made life incredibly hard for Jordan Murphy. Players guarding Konate didn't stay between him and the basket, they went to the spot most likely to be where the deflection of the entry pass went off his hands.
 
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