Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Thinking Out Loud About SDSU

Some thoughts on the Friday game as I start wrapping my head around SDSU. Be warned, I make a lot of ACC comparisons because that is mostly my point of reference.

Jamaal Franklin - Sophomore guard who's taking 30% of Aztec shots when he's on the court - that's up in the Mike Scott territory as far as usage. And according to this very good Q&A with a SDSU blogger, he's probably a little bit like Terrell Stoglin in his bad-shot-loving ways. He's not the entirety of the offense, but he's certainly the biggest component.

Playing a guy like this is always a blessing and a curse - just depends on what version of him shows up on Friday. He's seems to be more of a slasher than Stoglin, and he's not nearly as good a 3-point shooter, so perhaps the best strategy is to give him some room and let him chuck.

Defensive similarities to UNC - To me, based on their defensive numbers and what I've read about them, they remind me of a much smaller, less athletic version of Carolina (though to clarify this is a very athletic team, its just not at UNC's level. Few teams are).

They are similar to UNC in that they don't really try to generate turnovers with their defense. They sort of pack it in, try to protect the rim and if you want to shoot 3s so be it (32% of opponents points come from 3s, which is right in line with what UNC and allows and one of the highest percentages in the nation). They also crash the defensive glass extremely well, so second-chance points could be limited.

The Aztecs play mostly man - Fischer talked up playing zone in the offseason but I can't find a lot of talk about zones once the season started. I think you could see them do what several teams have done to State this year and go to zone when Wood is out of the game.

They will double off of CJ Williams - If they double the post, and I think its likely they will double Leslie at this point, its coming from CJ's man. Williams was 6-of-22 (27%) from the floor in the ACC tournament and has hit all of one 3-pointer since February 21st (he's 1-of-12 during that stretch).

I know the media loves to point out the correlation between Scott Wood's play and the Pack's success, and there's plenty of truth to it, but CJW might be the biggest key to the Pack offense in this game. I think he's gonna get some open shots and he needs to find the same form he had earlier in the year when he was a mid-range assassin who was also hitting 35% of his 3-pointers.

Offense creates off the dribble - As you might imagine from a team that essentially employs a four-guard line-up, this team likes to take its opponents off the dribble. They don't really seem to compare well to any ACC team - if Duke actually drove to score instead of driving to kick out for 3 they might be similar. This team wants to attack the basket more than it wants to take shots beyond the arc. I'll be curious to see how the Pack handles this sort of offensive scheme and whether they will get caught out of position by the spacing/quickness/athleticism of SDSU. I'm guess Lutz is doing the defensive gameplan, so we'll see how well he & Gottfried get the team ready for this style by Friday. I expect Williams to start out on Franklin but you could see Brown (who is quicker and would be able to keep Franklin in front of him more easily) switch over to him if Williams struggles.

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