Extra Helping Of HOOPS (HV Weekly: 11/29/2019)

Because nothing says Thanksgiving like basketball being played in ballrooms.

Welcome back to the Hoop Vision Weekly!

We’re thankful for your continued support of all things Hoop Vision as we continue covering the amazing start of the season in this wonderful sport that hooks us in every winter.

In this edition:

  • A look at the best — plus other notable — games of the upcoming weekend slate

  • Context on Virginia’s start to the season and the unbelievable defensive results they’re turning in each time out

  • A roundup of the week of Hoop Vision content: podcasts, HV+ coverage, an

While it is Thanksgiving weekend, the mix of early-season tournaments and a school break means that we’re being treated to some fantastic November (and December!) basketball this weekend. We have 18+ games between Top 100 teams this weekend (a new season high that almost beats last year’s high), meaning there’s great action throughout the weekend slate.

So if you’re nursing a food + drink hangover from yesterday, just keep in mind: you could be trying to prepare to scheme against Virginia’s defense (hello, Purdue!) or staying up all night to scout your third game in 36 hours.

But instead, you’re here with us reading the Hoop Vision Weekly. And for that, we appreciate you.

As always, for the full Hoop Vision experience, be sure to sign up for Hoop Vision Plus as the season (and our coverage) continues to ramp up:


(*Reminder: Team rankings and score projections via KenPom.com)

This weekend (Fri/Sat/Sun) - just to note, with in-season tournaments, many matchups are still to be determined, so these numbers will absolutely be going UP from these baseline totals:

  • 18+ games between teams ranked in the KenPom Top 100

  • 11+ games between teams in Top 68

  • 9+ games between Top 48 teams

  • 3+ games between Top 32

  • 1 game between Top 1

The fun ones

(Let’s pretend it’s still early Friday morning and at least one of these games hadn’t already tipped off…)

Highest-ranked matchups (scheduled thus far)…

HM vs. HM: North Carolina (#12) vs. Oregon (#14) — at Battle 4 Atlantis
HM vs. MM: 
Purdue (#9) vs VCU (#37) — at Emerald Coast Classic
MM/LM vs. MM/LM: Vermont (#79) at Yale (#99)

High-Major TRUE road games (excl. in-conference games):
  • DePaul at Minnesota, Fri 3pm ET

HM Road Notes: Only one true road game on the slate this weekend, and it’s DePaul’s second appearance in a row + third road game of the season; they’re 2-0 on the road this year, with a big win at Iowa and a nice, meaningful win at Boston College last weekend.

Biggest Projected Blowout…

Ohio State 77, Morgan State 50

Projected Highest-Scoring Game…

Belmont 84, Middle Tennessee State 76

Projected Lowest-Scoring Game(s)…

Fordham 68, UMES 49


Games To Watch

#6 Gonzaga vs #20 Michigan — Battle 4 Atlantis
Friday 2pm ET (ESPN)

In the finals of the Battle 4 Atlantis, it’s a matchup between two teams that were really good last season who we are still learning about this season.

Michigan is off to an undefeated start with wins over Creighton, Iowa State, and North Carolina. Gonzaga is also undefeated, with a 30-point road win at Texas A&M and yesterday’s overtime win over Oregon.

In Juwan Howard’s first year, the offense still revolves around Zavier Simpson ball screens. Simpson is averaging 18 ball screens per game that directly lead to a Michigan shot attempt. The Wolverines have an eFG% of 70% on those Simpson ball screens — 4th in the country for any player with a minimum of 50 ball screens used. But Simpson has had some turnover issues — 24% of those used ball screens have ended in a turnover.

The biggest factor for that ball screen efficiency moving forward is the three-point shooting of Michigan’s secondary players. After struggling to shoot the ball last season, Michigan is over 40% from three after six games. Some regression seems likely, but adding a healthy Franz Wagner into the rotation does bring another shooter into the mix.

On the other side of the ball, Gonzaga likes to play through Filip Petrusev in the post. The sophomore big is averaging over eight post-ups per game that directly lead to a Gonzaga shot attempt. The Zags have scored 1.15 points per Petrusev post-up — 7th in the country for any player with a minimum of 50 post-ups used.

A lot of Gonzaga opponents have been forced to double team the post early in the season. For Michigan, Jon Teske should enable them to play the post straight up. But the ability to keep Teske out of foul trouble will be important in that scenario.

Film room: Gonzaga Continuity Ball Screen

[HV Weekly Exclusive]
Contextualizing Virginia’s Defense

The Virginia defense continued its ridiculous start to the season on Wednesday by holding Maine to 26 points and 0.47 points per possession.

The Hoos have now held everyone under one point per possession, and everyone but Vermont under 0.8 points per possession. With 353 Division 1 teams and uneven non-conference scheduling, it can be difficult to really put body of works into the proper context.

Below is a graph plotting the points per possession in every game this season. Virginia’s games are represented by bigger orange dots.

Virginia’s points are all towards the left, with that Vermont game being the only one truly approaching the center. They have yet to face a top 50 opponent, but have at least played three in the top 100.

For even more context, check out this similar graph from last season plotting both Virginia’s defense and Michigan’s defense.

So how does the Virginia defense compare to other top defenses historically? We went back through the entire KenPom era (2002 to present) and calculated each team’s points allowed through their first seven games of the season.

Fewest points allowed through seven games (KenPom era):
  1. 2020 Virginia - 282

  2. 2012 Wisconsin - 295

  3. 2009 Washington State - 304

  4. 2015 Virginia - 305

  5. 2017 Virginia - 309

  6. 2015 Kentucky - 312

  7. 2013 Stephen F. Austin - 329

  8. 2012 Virginia - 330

  9. 2005 Air Force - 332

  10. 2013 Florida - 338

Not only does this year’s Virginia defense lead the way with 282 points allowed, but the list is absolutely dominated by Tony Bennett coached teams. But, obviously, the HV Weekly is a tempo-free space. And it’s only right to look at points per possession allowed through seven games for a clearer picture.

Fewest points per possession allowed through seven games (KenPom era):
  1. 2020 Virginia - 0.668

  2. 2015 Kentucky - 0.674

  3. 2005 Texas A&M - 0.69

  4. 2015 Louisville - 0.70

  5. 2012 Wisconsin - 0.70

  6. 2013 Stephen F. Austin - 0.71

  7. 2009 Washington State - 0.71

  8. 2003 Georgetown - 0.71

  9. 2007 Texas A&M - 0.73

  10. 2005 Georgia Tech - 0.73

So even when accounting for the pace of play, this season’s Virginia defense is putting up historical results to start the season.



First — for those of you about to endure a long drive or flight back home (or you’re ready to hear a voice that’s not your uncle’s), two new podcast appearances + one Big Game Pod episode for your enjoyment:

1) Jordan went on Joseph Nardone’s podcast to talk college hoops, life, and business. Give it a listen here, and sign up for Joseph’s newsletter + pod while you’re over there.

2) Jordan went on Coach Tony Miller’s podcast — A Quick Timeout — to break down Texas Tech’s defense and the lessons it can provide to coaches at all levels. Give that one a listen here.

3) Before Duke lost to Stephen F. Austin, they beat Georgetown — yes, it’s been a wild week; on the latest Big Game Pod, we broke down the Blue Devils’ win over Georgetown, Georgetown’s win over Texas, and included some slight foreshadowing of what was to come for Duke. Give it a listen: (Apple // Spotify)

More roundup:

If you thought those Maui rims were generous (either because Jay Bilas continues to tell you on the broadcast or just because it’s that obvious), here’s 10 years of video proof:

— Some fun Twitter chatter between HV+ subscribers Sam Vecenie and Ben Falk based on one HV+ article from earlier this month:

— Hoop Vision got a shout-out in this blog post on Georgetown blog CasualHoya.com discussing the Hoyas’ approach on defense in this young season.

Several more X’s and O’s videos:


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Tuesday: Virginia Tech vs. Michigan State Breakdown

A text + exclusive video breakdown of how Virginia Tech — under new head coach Mike Young — shocked the college basketball world by taking down Michigan State on Day 1 in Maui.

With under a minute left in yesterday’s game, Virginia Tech only led by a point. The Hokies went to their slice stagger set — with Landers Nolley knocking down a huge three.

The video [in full post] contains three examples — including two from last night’s game — of Virginia Tech scoring off the slice stagger this season.

Monday: The Starting Five — Three-Point Stats

Every Monday, we feature five notes, actions, or other standout trends from the prior week of games. This week, observations on Baylor, Gonzaga, Vermont, and three-point shooting…

This week’s Starting Five Topics:

  1. Gonzaga’s structured plays within a freelance-based system

  2. Baylor’s Circle SLOB

  3. Vermont’s After-Timeout Defensive Adjustments

  4. (Excerpted Below)

  5. The new three-point line & Off-Ball Screens

#4 [New Three-Point Line] Pick and Pops

Efficiency is down this season as a result of the new three-point line. And while efficiency and shooting do improve as a season progresses, it will still be — according to Ken Pomeroy — “the worst offensive season (by points per possession) since the shot clock went to 30.”

The pick and pop was a specific play type that I was eager to see how the longer three-point line would impact. In a lot of defensive schemes, the base defense is to stunt — not help — on pick and pops. The line movement should (in theory) justify that no-help coverage even more.

2018-19 Pick and Pop Statistics:
  • 1.26 shots per game (per team) directly out of pick and pop situations

  • 36% field goal percentage on pick and pop shots

  • 0.95 points per shot on pick and pop shots

2019-20 Pick and Pop Statistics:
  • 1.25 shots per game (per team) directly out of pick and pop situations

  • 33% field goal percentage on pick and pop shots

  • 0.86 points per shot on pick and pop shots

The volume of pick and pops is essentially the same as last season, but efficiency — just like shooting in general — is down.

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That’s it for this week!

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