Defense Wins Championships?

You often hear that phrase in reference to football, but the first 2 entrants into the 2006 Final Four also happen to be the 2 toughest defensive teams I have seen play in this year’s tournament. Congrats to John Brady of LSU and Ben Howland of UCLA, both of whom have rejuvenated stagnant programs with their own signature, hard-nosed style. In a perfect world, we would now be free to talk to “NC State dream coaches” Rick Barnes and John Calipari, both of whom lost today. Sadly, we remain in B-minus limbo. Thanks, Lee!

FWIW, my wife’s bracket has both UCLA and LSU in the Final Four. It has Florida, too. Her prediction secret? She picked every game based on which team’s geographic location is more desirable (in her view).

About BJD95

1995 NC State graduate, sufferer of Les and MOC during my entire student tenure. An equal-opportunity objective critic and analyst of Wolfpack sports.

General NCS Basketball

16 Responses to Defense Wins Championships?

  1. vtpackfan 03/25/2006 at 10:33 PM #

    When Sendek was hired ten years ago I thought he had a defense first mentality, but It’s obvious it was just a way to sell himself to the school. He gave it a few years until he realized to keep his job w/o developing a personality, something you need to get the team to play championship caliber basketball, he would need a gimmick. Couple a legitimate out of conference schedule with some OT games that go the other way and you realize that this team teeters on a fine line between 10 or 20 wins a season every year.

  2. J.R. 03/25/2006 at 10:58 PM #

    Ok now, let’s not get out of hand. There is only so much that can be taught on the defensive end. Defense is more player heart and tenacity than anything else. Heart and tenacity will not make your jumper fall, but it sure as hell can keep you glued to a man all night. I don’t care what anyone says about Julius Hodge’s offensive capabilities, but he was one kid I always counted on slapping the floor and playing some hard-nosed defense. Herb didn’t teach him that, that’s ingrained. The problem this season on Herb’s end was the offense.

  3. Only One 03/25/2006 at 11:08 PM #

    look, i want herb gone as much as the next guy. but face it. NCSU is a school made of carolinians, run by carolinians. From the state, not the school UNC. And this state is characterized by a bunch of rationalizing losers who’d rather be mediocre and safe than run the risk of losing all in the pursuit of glory. On the one hand, they give lip service to wanting to win and have that flashy strut, but the INSTANT anyone from any of the Big 4 schools shows an ounce of championship swagger, you carolinians try to lynch them. Look at the two most dominant college athletics programs EVER. UCLA in basketball during the 60s-70s and the Miami Hurricanes in football during the 80s-90s. What is the similarity? Both had a championship attitude that let them KNOW they’re going to win when they step on the floor. okay, yeah, they stretched the rules (well, UCLA actually ran screaming past them…) but THEY HAVE BANNERS! that’s ALL that matters. then the do-gooders ruined those two programs for not conforming to their deal of the meek persona. Look at our football program. You bring in chuck amato. steeped in the winning mentality of FSU. and then you handcuff him so he can’t do what’s necessary to win.

    It’s sad to say, but NCSU is getting exactly what they deserve as far as coaches and administration go and it’s the fans/alumni fault.

  4. cardiacpack 03/26/2006 at 7:23 AM #

    I think John Calipari is one of the few coaches in America that could hang with Coach Kommercial and Dadgum Roy in recruiting. Wonder how much money it would take to get him to leave Memphis?

  5. class of '74 03/26/2006 at 7:24 AM #

    Maybe Herb could teach the team tenacity using the same principles he has used to hold on like a leech to his contract with NCSU.

  6. class of '74 03/26/2006 at 8:05 AM #

    Please read article in today’s Raleigh N&O from Carlton Tutor “Sendek needs to make changes”. It mirros the sentiments of this blog almost to a tee.

  7. VaWolf82 03/26/2006 at 8:51 AM #

    From Tudor:

    Sendek is doing enough to keep his job. But he isn’t doing enough to create genuine excitement among the fans about the future.

    Sooner or later, that has to change

    So which statement in the first paragraph does “that” refer to in the second paragraph. 😉

  8. choppack 03/26/2006 at 9:30 AM #

    I’ve been saying all year, that I thought this team’s biggest problem was the inconsistency on the defensive end. IMHO, this was one of Herb’s 2 worst defensive teams. For whatever reason, teams got easy shots against this year and when they did miss – were usually able to get rebounds. In addition, our D didn’t hardly force any TOs. As we’ve seen the last 4 days – almost everyone goes through scoring droughts – but if you are playing great D – you can withstand them.

  9. Cowdog13 03/26/2006 at 9:40 AM #

    I’ve been drawn to this blog like a magnet, no, near fetish for several weeks now. I’ve read every single postdating back to Jan. I have found it quite easy to dismiss many of the postings here. Yet equally I have been just as impressed by a good deal of insightful observations from the Nation.
    Defense as we are witnessing, is the key. Always has been,in any team sport. Tenacity and desire make good teams good defenders. Quickness and athletism makes good defenders great.
    This tourney has been played above the rim perhaps in a way that we have rarely seen. Are we witnessing the demise of the trey? I think not as the jumper is part of the game and a key one at that.
    To the point…when was the last time the Pack had the type of athletes on the court capable of impersonating a gazelle with aposal thumbs? These types of players are truly making the tourney teams incredibly difficult to score upon.
    From the paint to the arc these guys are shot killers.

  10. Mr O 03/26/2006 at 9:43 AM #

    Calipari has a sweet setup at Memphis. I think his success there would have some interesting story lines behind it if you look at who he is recruiting and where these guys are coming from.

    The average NC State fan spends so much time complaining about Herb Sendek’s offense when IMO the real criticism of the change he made in his program 5 years ago is in regards to defense and rebounding.

    Sendek changed who he recruited. He started looking for shooters and skilled offensive players first and foremost. However, we have lacked size and athleticism at times over the last 5 years because these attributes weren’t priorities. Also, our offensive system with only 1 or 0 offensive players in position to rebound has made us the worst offensive rebounding team in the ACC.

  11. Cowdog13 03/26/2006 at 9:53 AM #

    Yes, Mr. O. This has been my major bone of critiscm towards the program for some time. Where are the ” Jumpin’ Johnnies? “

  12. BJD95 03/26/2006 at 12:59 PM #

    The interesting thing is – West Virginia runs a pseudo-Princeton O, but defends like mad. Georgetown runs a pseudo-Princeton O, but rebounds pretty well. But I think O is right that athleticism and “banger” type players have been de-emphasized, b/c usually this type of player has flaws in his jump shot.

    But you CAN’T win titles without those type of guys. So, if you aim to be “competitive”, then Sendek’s system works. If you would rather roll the dice on challenging for titles, then you’ll be perpetually disappointed.

  13. choppack 03/26/2006 at 1:21 PM #

    BJ – I actually think we’re looking better positioned in this area in the future. Fells is one of those Gazelle types. Grant is probably our best rebounder pound for pound. Ced has a lot of athletic ability – he just needs to strengthen his trunk.

    It will be interesting to see what kind of attributes Davis, Horner, Werner, Costner and Ferguson bring to the court.

    I also think we have to recall that while at times we struggled athletically when Ilian was healthy – the injury made him slower – and made him easier for anyone to guard. IMHO, Herb made a huge mistake in the UNC-Ch game trying to out-bang a fast team by inserting Brack into the lineup. (Much like he made a mistake by not utilizing Fells more in the second half vs. Tejas.)

    Perhaps the light has come on for Herb. He knows that he fast guys to compete. I was feeling good about a guard based class of McMillan and Wright. Those 2 guys would go along way to addressing our quickness issues.

  14. topoftheorder 03/26/2006 at 1:36 PM #

    Mr O,

    Sendek has recruited a bunch of SPOT UP shooters, but, in general, he hasn’t brought anyone in who can create their own outside shot off the dribble or really bomb coming off the curl—that is why we go stagnant for long periods of time and can’t get a shot off in end game situations. Along those same lines, another missing piece, as we all know, has been a ballhandling combo/lead/point guard who can break the defense down, penetrate and score, or penetrate and dump off for a dunk…

    Sendek needs to look at the Final Four teams and realize we CANNOT hope to get past the first weekend more than 1 every 5 or 10 yrs (take your pick) unless we go to a more running athletic lineup…ironically, like we did to get back in the Texas game!! The most talented players, the NBA hopefuls, simply do NOT want to play that Princeton crap.

  15. vtpackfan 03/26/2006 at 5:20 PM #

    During the past season NCSU won 0 games when the opponet finished the game with a higher fg% You would think duh, right, until you look at Duke stats and see that they won 6 times when shooting a lower fg% (including State @ Duke). It is obvious by having no one crashing offensive boards, heaving long distance shots, and an all around take no chances attitude on defense what this coachs attitude toward winning is. Barring easy lay-ups from transition and press breaking, Sendek bets that ACC, and elite national programs, won’t field teams that can shoot the basketball better than 44%. If they can, even under light pressure, than it was just one game, and in the end this math nerd thinks that the whole body of work will vindicate him.

  16. class of '74 03/27/2006 at 6:07 AM #

    Give me a team of position players vs. the 4 or 5 interchangeable parts anytime. The results of the past 40+ years would validate this sentiment.

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