I watched every national championship game since 2000

... and made a 38-minute video breaking down all of them.

Welcome back to the Hoop Vision Weekly!

Last week, we released a new video over on the YouTube channel that was over a month in the making. In today’s newsletter, we have:

  • That new video breaking down every national championship since 2000

  • Some additional notes from the making of the video

  • The latest Hoop Vision PLUS newsletter, an interview with Huntington (Ind.) University head coach Kory Alford

  • Links from around the internet

I watched every national championship game since 2000

Back in May, while watching games from the early 2000s for the flex offense video, I started developing another video idea on the “evolution” of college basketball. I was going to watch different games from the early 2000s and compare them to the present day.

Around that same time, my YouTube recommendation suggested an interestingly titled video: I watched one SNL episode from every season. So taking inspiration from that title, I decided to pivot my idea slightly to watching every single national championship.

It took a while…

But 21 games later, I produced a nearly 38-minute voiceover video breaking down every national championship game of the 21st century.

The timestamps for each game are listed in the description of the video — so you can jump directly to whichever game you’d like at the click of a button.

Additional notes from making the video…

  • Georgia Tech in 2004 was a team (surprisingly) ahead of their time. Before making the video, I didn’t remember much about Georgia Tech and Paul Hewitt’s surprise run to the national title game in 2004. Big man Luke Schenscher was the first thing that came to mind. But to my surprise, the Yellow Jackets were running a ball screen style offense that still holds up decently well even by today’s standards. I’ll have clips on Georgia Tech’s offense in the behind-the-scenes video coming out later this week for HV+ subscribers.

  • Some coaches haven’t changed much in 20 years. Of all the coaches I watched, I think Roy Williams easily takes the cake for the least amount of schematic changes over the 20-year period. The recently retired UNC coach both started and ended the time period by running his Carolina break and freelance motion offense. Of course, that system did lead to three championships. My runner-up would go to Michigan State’s Tom Izzo.

  • Steve Kerr was an unfortunate loss for college basketball. I had forgotten that Kerr was an analyst for the national title games from 2011 to 2013. I thought he did a very good job of going a little deeper tactically than the other championship broadcasters. I especially enjoyed his analysis of the ball screen battle between Louisville and Michigan in 2013.

  • Greg Oden was a beast. It’s pretty crazy to watch the 2006 and 2007 national championship games back-to-back. In 2006, Joakim Noah and the rest of the Florida frontcourt were absolutely dominant — owning the paint against a very good UCLA team. The last 10 minutes of that game might as well have been a dunk contest. But then in 2007, the Florida frontcourt — which still had Noah and Al Horford — looked completely outmatched against Greg Oden. The freshman center was easily the best player on the court.

  • Villanova in 2016 was very different than Villanova in 2018. The first Jay Wright national championship game was all about the post-up. Villanova played through the post both as means for direct offense and for generating three-pointers. In fact, the 2016 title game had the fourth most post-ups in the Synergy era.

    By contrast, the 2018 version of Villanova was more perimeter oriented. The Wildcats shot more threes than two during their tournament run. Plus, they relied more heavily on ball screens to generate offense.

  • The most entertaining game to watch was… My biased answer here is Virginia-Texas Tech. Because I spent so much time during that 2019 season analyzing the Virginia offense and the Texas Tech defense, I’m able to especially appreciate all of the pre-game and in-game adjustments made in that title game. But besides 2019, I’d probably go with Kansas-Memphis from 2008. Not only was that game an overtime thriller, but it’s fun to watch Self vs Calipari.

  • The least entertaining game to watch was… This one is a toss-up between 2002 (Maryland vs Indiana) and 2011 (UConn vs Butler). The UConn game is probably the easy answer — the teams combined for just 94 points and Butler couldn’t make a two-point shot. But the Maryland game was an especially ugly watch because of all of the turnovers. Both teams wanted to play through the post, but kept turning the ball over on their entry passes.

The latest for HV+ subscribers

Over at Hoop Vision PLUS, we recently caught up with Solving Basketball alum Kory Alford.

After several seasons as a DI support staffer at UCLA and Nevada, Kory recently finished his first season as the head coach at Huntington University — an NAIA school in Indiana.

In year one, Kory’s team produced a shot chart that would make Daryl Morey proud.

Kory is among the first of the new-wave "analytics guys” who have stepped into head coaching roles, moving from a specialized support role into that of a program leader. While he’s among the first, it’s safe to assume a number of staffers may find themselves on similar career trajectories before long.

So we caught up with Kory for a Q&A on his experience in making that transition. We discussed the following questions:

  1. How has Kory’s work with data and analytics changed since moving from the role of support staffer to head coach?

  2. How has he approached hiring? Is he looking for coaches with a strong understanding of analytics?

  3. How much data is directly shared with his Huntington players?

  4. What are Huntington’s 12 game goals?

  5. Huntington used a significant amount of post-ups within their offense. Was that always the plan or a function of personnel?

  6. The obligatory question about running Continuity Ball Screen…

  7. Overall, how well did being a DI support staffer prepare Kory for year number one of being a head coach?

Click/tap here to read the entire HV+ Q&A.

Links from around the internet

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