Date: Feb 4th
Source: Team Rankings
I believe that this board makes very astute observations as it relates to this current Broncos squad. Some are positive, some are negatve, but accurate. I think it’s safe to say that this board’s consensus is that the Achilles Heel of this team is turnovers. So, where do the Broncos rank out of 362 NCAA Div I teams? Turnovers per game below:
We rank as the 290th “best” team protecting the basketball and 2nd worst in the WCC. St. Mary’s (no surprise here) is the best in conference and I listed Yale as the best team that protects the basketball that SCU has played this season up to date.
I don’t know what Herb is doing in practice to remedy the problem. My personal observations when watching. I see careless passes, lazy passes, lack of communication. It’s a team epidemic as I don’t lay this on one player.
The Broncos will need to greatly improve in this department if they hope to make some noise in Vegas (WCC Tourn).
The problem is magnified by the fact that our Broncos are 312th in the nation at creating turnovers on defense. Our opponents turn the ball over 15% of the time against us. Iowa State, first in the nation in this category, has their opponents turn the ball over 26% of the time. USF 's opponents turn it over on 21% of possessions (good for 33rd in the nation).
Good to point out.
I’ve been fixated on the number times we turn the ball over (thanks Pistol for the sobering documentation!), but I hadn’t realized how infrequently we force turnovers, ranking #312 in that department. That’s downright shocking since this team plays at a pretty rapid pace; there ought to be more turnovers forced simply due to the increased number of possessions.
Honestly, turnovers alone might explain much of what’s wrong with this team. If they were just average in both categories, like #150, I wonder what their record would be. Or if they seriously shored up just one side of the turnover equation.
But you can’t be #290/#312; that’s either a coaching problem, a personnel problem, or both.
The defense has been mediocre all season; the poor defensive turnover is both a cause and indicator of that. Most of our rotation are not great 1on1 perimeter defenders, which limits your ability to put pressure on the ball and allows teams to penetrate on us too easily.
And turnovers don’t result in just occur from direct on the ball pressure. Good on the ball pressure forces the opponent to make poorer quality, less accurate and longer passes, generating turnovers, and opportunities for our guys to jump passing lanes. We have a lot of guys who are offensively skilled and have OK offensive games because of that offensive skill. But things would be even easier if we generated three or four more steals/turnovers a game and get out on fast break opportunities more often. Bal, O’Neil, Bryan, Knapper are all better off in transition.
Re: our passing in turnovers…I agree with all of the above. In addition to just lazy and carless passes I’d add that some of the bad passing and resulting turnovers are also a result of bad decisions (wrong type of pass) and in some cases poor fundamentals and mechanics. Last night, both Ensminger and Marshall tried to make hard chest passes in tight quarters in traffic over short distances…in one case it was easily deflected as one would expect in the key amongst traffic and in the other our guy couldn’t handle the pass because it was such a short and hard pass they couldn’t react in time. Both situations called for quick bounce pass, or soft touch pass or lob…just about anything besides what they did.
Game after game I see this, and even when there’s no turnover I see a lot of shaky passes that nearly resulted in turnovers, again because of poor decisions, wrong pass type choice, or simply errant delivery…often feels like we’re on the verge of disaster.
Thanks for research Pistol. I see way too many one hand passes and way too few pass fakes. What happened to the old “fake a pass to make a pass”?
All year Herb has been putting the ball is guys hands like 20 ft from the rim who have no business touching the ball other than really close to the basket… trying to force Bal to be the defacto point (another bad decision). Just has guys out of position on offense all the time.
On D, if you play non-contact man D and just back peddle until your under the rim you aren’t going to get turnovers (besides you give up tons of easy hoops).
Quite simply, the problem on both sides of the ball is Herb induced.
If Herb is the problem, what then???
Pretty simple solution… there are some rather large donors who shall we say aren’t over the moon with Renee or Herb. It takes them using their weight to make changes.
I’d rather stick with Herb but just want to see him overcome this hurdle. There are so many coaches who are more aggressive with adjustments and trying different things, especially in the first half, until they find success.
Now, Renee, on the other hand…to be honest, I am shocked that she hasn’t already moved on to greener pastures.
Herb’s not going to change. I’ve given up on that hope.
[/Now, Renee, on the other hand…to be honest, I am shocked that she hasn’t already moved on to greener pastures.]
Renee tried moving on (bailout) in late 2020 when she applied for the AD job at Boise State.
Herb is currently tied with the great CW for WCC titles.
Not sure Herb has learned anything about basketball since the CW era.
No one said anything about winning WCC titles (unless you mean winning the conference tournament?), you are the first to mention it in these threads. FYI, the WCAC (the predecessor to the WCC) didn’t even start a conference tourney until 1987, I believe. Before that, teams had to earn the title by having the best record in conference play.
We are talking about the quality of play on the floor. There were times when CW (and DD subsequently) had less than average talent but got the most out of those players.
Also, give credit where credit is due. CW was an innovator, credited with inventing the Flex Offense that several Power-5 coaches (for example, I think the guy who coached Maryland, Gary something?) later utilized with great success.
CW also had his run of NBA drafted players, notably Kurt Rambis and Nick Vanos (whose NBA career, and life, was tragically cut short in an airplane crash).
I actually like Herb, and I’m not really sure we’ll ever be able to recruit a coach with a better pedigree to our little SCU campus. (though I could be wrong given that USD was able to get Lavin) We tried the “up and coming” coach with KK, and that clearly didn’t work for us…and let’s be honest, had KK been successful, he would’ve jumped ship to a P5 team as soon as he could. I just wish HS be more experimental early in games, kinda like a boxer in early rounds probing his opponent for weaknesses.
Herb’s style has changed during his time at SCU in some meaningful ways. At the beginning of his tenure, SCU was one of the slowest teams in the country, ranking in the bottom 15% in pace statistics. Whether due to personnel, recruiting (players often like to go fast), or shifting philosophies, SCU has been a relatively fast team the last 5 seasons, in the top 25% of pace stats.
He also used to value transition D to a fault, I think. SCU was an awful offensive rebounding team for much of Herb’s tenure because he immediately sent his players back after misses to prevent fast breaks. The last few seasons, SCU had at least been middle of the pack in fighting for offensive rebounds. This season, it’s one of the things the team is best at. And he has either discovered or recruited enough athleticism so that it has minimal impact on transition defense. Whatever this team’s flaws are, they aren’t giving up tons of fast break points. But they are getting offensive rebounds.
BB is right about the defense, though. Sendek’s SCU teams have been pretty consistent in forcing few turnovers and a relatively low rate of fouling. That hasn’t mattered so much generally because his teams are at least average to good at not turning the ball over. This team is not that.
I was thinking about the low foul rate and remembering 4-5 seasons ago when the NCAA officials decided that they were going to focus on hand checks on players who were attempting to drive. A TON of fouls got called in the ensuing couple of seasons to over police the hand check, and I wonder if Herb coached his team to avoid that like the plague because it was, at that time, forcing a ton of bonus shots at crucial moments.
But now the hand check seems back in style with relatively few calls. Our players seem to struggle getting past the first defender who uses their arm to halt a drive but almost never gets hit with a foul. 92 mentioned how the team plays against themselves in practice and defaults to the things that work in practice. If the players aren’t using their hands as much on defense in practice to stop players from driving, then they are going to be pretty flummoxed when the opposing team gets away with this in game situations.
I think it’s objectively untrue that Herb doesn’t adjust. He has in major ways during his time at SCU. But bb can still be right regarding the defense which analytically has the signs of being pretty low-contact (few TOs forced, few fouls given). I think Herb can adjust to that same as he did pace or transition D, but it requires him seeing that as an issue in the way that we do and believing that embracing physical defense, especially on the perimeter, is the solution.
From what I’ve seen, he makes adjustments, he just seems to do it too late in the game. Compare/contrast to Lavin, who was mixing it up in the first half. I’m not saying Lavin is a better coach, but he was definitely experimenting more earlier in the game.
My other concern with HS, and I’m not sure how much this should matter, but he isn’t the most inspirational coach. Going back to the game against SMC, Coach Bennett was delivering more 1-on-1 coaching during the game (in about a 7-second span, he verbally ripped down and then built back up the young Howell). I don’t see that with HS.
I think you’re right. I was responding more to betterer who suggests sometimes that Herb has a single, unchanging philosophy on how to play basketball. Whether he’s good or bad, that’s just not the case in the big picture.
But I think you’re right in that he’s a conservative coach when it comes to in-game adjustments and seems to prefer to stick to what he prepared until forced to do something different. There’s a rationale there: your team will execute best what they have spent the most time preparing. But it also can make the team predictable and prone to TOs or stagnation if they are only so good at executing even the basic stuff.
I’m far from one of the better basketball minds on this forum, so I try not to weigh in too strongly on what is or isn’t the right strategy. I just think that we have to acknowledge that Herb hasn’t been some unmoving pillar of concrete in his coaching and that there’s a potential reason behind his style choices even if he’s wrong about them.
On former Maryland coach, I want to say Gary Williams but not certain.
Good insight on CW too!
I know Broncos captured inagural WCC (then WCAC) in 1987 as I’m sure you well know, my sophomore year. Back then, there were 8 schools with top 4 seeds opening 1st round at home and semi finals were reseeded and held at USF. Believe we were the #5 seed and went up to Portland and blew them out. If not mistaken, PG Greg Anthony was on that Pilots squad, then transferred to UNLV.