It’s another Friday and another edition of the Hoop Vision Weekly!
Welcome back; we’re in this strange in-between phase of the preseason right now; the excitement (and in some cases, controversy) surrounding Midnight Madness festivities has faded, the buzz around league media days has come and gone — although the meaningless debates over preseason all-league teams will certainly continue all the way up until the season tips.
And yet, REAL COLLEGE BASKETBALL is only 18 days away. In less than three weeks, nearly every D1 team in the country will have a win or loss on their 2019-20 record — and exhibition games will come quickly before then to give us a preview of how the winter might look.
(If you’re starting to feel anxious and want to begin thinking about the Day 1 slate, BartTorvik.com already has “lines” and projections for the opening day of the season.)
Today, we’re back with a classic Weekly Roundup, re-surfacing the stuff you may have missed from the Hoop Vision universe and showcasing some of our favorite bits and pieces from others around the hoops world from the week.
Thank you so much for your continued support of this newsletter and Hoop Vision as a whole. If you’d like to get a deeper look into college hoops — and support the continued growth of Hoop Vision — please consider subscribing to HV+ — our premium subscription product going deep on teams and trends around the sport:
1) Expectations are high for Seton Hall this season, with 85% of the Pirates’ minutes from last season returning to South Orange this year. While we examined some of the narratives surrounding minutes continuity and experience in last week’s Hoop Vision Weekly, Seton Hall got some of the Twitter breakdown treatment this week (53 sec):
2) Going a step further on Seton Hall, here’s a brief but telling video look (1m20s) on the Pirates’ use of a screen-the-screener exit for star guard Myles Powell.
3) Next, we take you all the way from New Jersey to California, where expectations are ALSO quite high for a Saint Mary’s team returning the core from a team which was an 11 seed in last year’s NCAA Tournament. Highly acclaimed for their execution in the halfcourt, a look below at one of the Gaels’ mainstay actions on the offensive end (1m28s):
4) For all the MAAC enthusiasts out there — and yes, there are quite a few of you out there reading this — here’s a look at Quinnipiac’s Pistol/21 Series progression (1m27s) as we move into Year 3 of the Baker Dunleavy era in Hamden.
5) It wouldn’t be a Hoop Vision Weekly without a coaching chart, so “Here. We. Go.”
Below — a look at halfcourt threes made per game — off the bounce vs. catch-and-shoot for active coaches (minimum 100 games).
The top 3 for each:
Off The Bounce: Bobby Hurley, Steve Wojciechowski, Jamion Christian
Catch-and-Shoot: Bob McKillop, TJ Otzelberger, Ritchie McKay
The outliers in the bottom left of this chart? Two which stick out: Willis Wilson (Rice & TAMU-CC) and Mark Slessinger (New Orleans) find themselves on the lowest end of each axis.
(This went up on Twitter earlier this morning, but the full image is included below to allow easier zoom-in on mobile.)
This week on Hoop Vision PLUS
Two new deep dives on HV+ this week for subscribers, as we continue our preseason coverage going deep on the teams, trends, and curiosities making an impact on college hoops at large.
Tuesday: An in-depth look at Brad Underwood’s defensive schemes and their early adoption in his first two years at Illinois.
The topics tackled in Tuesday’s deep dive:
The Bob Huggins / Frank Martin / Brad Underwood coaching tree
How turnover-dependent defenses transition from the mid-major level to the high-major level
The relationship between turnovers and fouls
The relationship between turnovers and rebounding
An excerpt from the section of the mid- to high-major transition:
In all, 54 head coaches have spent at least two seasons coaching in both a high-major conference and a mid-major conference within the past decade.
Of those 54 coaches, 38 coaches (70%) oversaw an average turnover which was higher at the mid-major level than the high-major level.
The notable example here is Texas coach Shaka Smart. Smart was known for his “Havoc” brand of pressure defense at VCU, but he has switched to a much more conservative style at Texas. As a result, his turnover rate has dropped from 24.7% during his time in Richmond to 18.4% since he’s been in Austin.
Brad Underwood’s teams at Stephen F. Austin were right in line with Smart’s VCU teams in terms of turnover creation (24.7%). At Oklahoma State and Illinois, however, Underwood has only dropped to 21.8%.
One fun element of Hoop Vision (and our “Basketball, Smarter” motto in general) is the challenge of go taking on preconceived notions and long-held assumptions. We did that last week in this space (HV Weekly 10/11/19 - “Is Experience Overrated?”) and yesterday we did it on an even more fundamental basis…
Thursday: Psychology of the “Hot Hand” — a post tackling the research and data surrounding the “hot hand” and heat checks during a game — including a Q&A with John Ezekowitz, the author of a 2014 Sloan Sports paper on the hot hand and a great HV+ subscriber and supporter.
In other words, the “heat check” is very real. The threshold for what gets defined as an acceptable shot is lowered (whether consciously or subconsciously) when a player feels hot.
To isolate the actual effects of the hot hand, the Sloan paper introduced the idea of “Complex Heat” — which takes into account the difficulty of the shots. By using Complex Heat, the research found a small but significant effect for the hot hand.
If you want to receive full access to content like what’s listed above — and it will only ramp up and get better during the season — please consider subscribing to HV+ using this handy button below:
Our (non-Hoop Vision) favorites from the week
Ben Falk of Cleaning the Glass weighed in on the “The Midrange Debate” sparked by Kevin Durant and Matt Moore on Twitter.
Seth Partnow of The Athletic had Ben Taylor on his opening podcast episode. Both have unique perspectives of the game that challenge conventional wisdom. No subscription required to listen to the episode.
We love college basketball YouTube channels — and Rob Dauster has entered that space with a bang. Check out his videos and subscribe to his channel by clicking/tapping HERE.
Past HV Weekly contributor Kevin Sweeney is in the middle of his in-depth 32x32 conference preview series.
Bonus: A throwback episode of Solving Basketball
Since last season ended, we’ve had A LOT of new people sign up to receive this weekly roundup email. It’s amazing and exciting, but it also means that many of you reading this likely haven’t been formally introduced to the Solving Basketball podcast.
So, this week, we’re shaking off the cobwebs, digging into our audio cassette collection, and re-sharing an episode from the early days of Solving Basketball, which launched around this time last year.
Last year’s interview with Zak Boisvert — an assistant coach at Army — was one of the episodes receiving the most feedback and engagement throughout the season, and even had a — unbeknownst to us — recap post written about it.
Much of the conversation with Zak focused on the process by which Army approached their early-season matchup with last year’s vaunted Duke team, but the lessons in scouting approach and coaching are applicable across the board. A worthwhile listen if you didn’t have the chance to do so last season:
P.S. - Look out for a new episode of Solving Basketball scheduled to drop next week!