X's & O's with Z: Major Defensive Adjustments

Like they have on offense, the UVA staff is experimenting defensively with shifts away from traditional Packline concepts to cater to this team’s personnel. I break it all down in the first installment of X’s and O’s with Z:


I don’t usually brag but I’m pretty proud of how this art came out. Was fun to work on it with Zach


Great Job


To what extent is the drop coverage on ball screens made feasible by the longer 3-point line?

P.S. I imagine Carson Edwards would have gone for 50 if we played drop coverage against Purdue.

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The "MIG’ Is just making the packline even more Of a zone defense than a man defense. This is one reason why the Packline is not played in the NBA. Its more zone than a man defense. Plus, if you have a more perimeter team. Its almost impossible tu stop. Thats why they always say smaller teams give the packline issues. The packline also invite you tu take the three but with less freedom. So if you are late rotating tu the perimeter or have a team that can shoot. Teams will hit alot of three pointers. Do people ever say. Why do teams that cant shoot. Have good shooting moments against us? Now eventually, lack of talent will take over and most of those teams will start tu miss. Plus our offense make teams fatigued. Which also hurt players shooting.

Here is my question. Why did it take until Gonzaga tu realize Huff shouldnt be hedging 40ft from the basket Or our defense is not the best for our team top player this yr? See this is my problem with fans. As long we are winning. You shouldnt point out issues. I say why not. Eventually it will catch up. My parents need a new roof. They say dont worry about it because its not causing any issues. Im saying, the roof is an issue Mom. Eventually a problem will occur and now you HAVE tu get fix it. I been saying for tu yrs. Huff shouldnt hedge. Find a defense that will allow him tu get on the flr. He is tu good of an offensive talent tu be on the bench. Especially when our offense is struggling. Exactly what Im saying about Jabri. Find a way tu help his defense and get him some minutes. His offensive abilities are tu great tu be on the bench. I want tu say more but Im trying tu be better in 21. Jan 6 didnt help with that but im trying. LOL GO HOOS

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I can patch a roof (but please do not call me to fix yours, not licensed nor insured), or just put a bucket under it, not a big deal imo.

What is your point, that other fans are not as critical as you?

Somewhat of note, some elite NBA defenses are moving towards walling off the paint and being willing to give up more 3s: The Bucks Built The NBA’s Best Defense. Now, Other Teams Are Copying It. | FiveThirtyEight

They don’t do it exactly in the same way as the packline, but the general idea of being willing to trade rim protection for more 3s taken seems to work in the NBA for some teams.


Tu, you make a number of good points but I think there are decent explanations for most of it. I think last year Huff could still successfully execute a hard hedge, in part because we had a number of excellent and quick defenders on the floor that could compensate. This year, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Now I think earlier in Huffs career, his defense was so bad that he couldn’t even execute a reduced version like the one we are seeing now. His foot speed has noticeably improved since his first year. In essence, no matter what defense we played, Huff would have been torched still.

Now on JAR, it comes back to the point I mentioned earlier. We simply don’t have the personnel to cover up for his mistakes. Every player, outside of Morsell, poses some sort of challenge on the defensive end. Clark is (obviously) short. Murphy is inexperienced. Hauser has terrible foot speed. And Huffs problems are well documented. And the bench guys are all inexperienced too. So there really isn’t a way to hide him on D. This isn’t like teams past, where you have a Braxton Key to lock down on the wing with Mamadi able to execute an excellent hard hedge. We can’t play JAR because we are already trying to hide the defensive deficiencies of our other players


One thing to keep in mind is both Jabri and Carson are legitimate college freshmen age wise. If they weren’t athletes they would still be freshmen this year. They aren’t a year or two older like many (majority?) top 150 recruits. I mean a kid like Hunter Dickinson could easily be a college junior (depending on where he grew up) right now if he wasn’t an athlete. Combine that with significant injuries their senior years and it’s understandable they aren’t physically ready to play defense at the college level. Let alone up to the Bennett standard.

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I think the lack of other elite help defenders on the team plays a role here. If this team had a Zay Wilkins, I wonder if TB might be more likely to play them for an offensive spark. This team has played good offense with the current rotation, it’s more the defense that needs the spark.

Also, on top of being young, Jabri and Carson also both missed their senior years due to injury. So they lost a ton of game time and then also weren’t able to train normally with the team this summer due to COVID. Just noting that as well.


My point tu YOU is. No matter that I LOVE UVA Basketball with all my heart. I will always keep it REAL or speak MY truth. I wont say I love our championship doc because im a FANATIC. Im going tu speak MY truth and keep it real. Nothing in my above post was offensive and you chose tu be a smart ass. Instead of having a discussion on why you disagree with my post.

 One of the things Im trying tu change in 21 is how I reply tu post like yours. #JAN 6

By the way and Im sorry I didnt say this first. What a EFFING great article. You are very talented young man and I hope you are in the coaching industry. Not only because of your GREAT Basketball knowledge. I LOVE how you keep it real and I think you would become a TREMENDOUS asset for kids and young adults who play basketball. PLUS A great mentor in the community. We need people like you and it doesnt matter about your race. Men who care and want tu help the YOUTH basketball community. My gut is SCREAMING this tu me. LOL I really enjoyed reading your article.


I think that is a terrible idea. The 3 point shot is taking over and dominating the NBA. Why wouldnt you put more emphasis tu defend the 3 pointer. The 3 point shot is one reason why you can have Draymond Greene be in the NBA. He is a 6’5 player that play center at times. The league is smaller. He also can hit the three. Big post men are being pushed out the league. They are dinosaurs. So not putting emphasis on 3 point defense is a HUGE mistake. In my opinion. LOL

I’m not very familiar, but I think the answer may still have to do with three pointers. I speculate the thinking is that for many players, shooting off the dribble, either contested or uncontested, isn’t very effective. The most devastating shot is a catch and shoot three. So by walling off penetration, you are limiting catch and shoot threes and pushing towards shooting off the dribble

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Yea I mentioned that too lol Young and injured=way behind in body development.


That’s a great point, I forgot they were both injured last season as well. Cost them a ton of development time in some ways they are still HS seniors.

I think the theory behind it is you try to be selective with who you let take those threes. So with the Bucks, they don’t give up a lot of corner 3s (which matters in the NBA but not so much in college) or let dangerous shooters shoot as much; the OK-shooting stretch big will be allowed to shoot when not in the corner.

This article has a good breakdown with film of what they do: The Bucks’ one trick to forming an elite defense - SBNation.com

Thanks Norfolk Hoo and great post. In regards tu Huff playing better on defense last yr tu this yr. As a fan, didnt you know Huff played better defense because of Mamadi and Braxton support? Im going tu guess YES. When did you realize this. Again, im going tu guess. Sometime during last season. So if your theory is correct and you answer the above questions as a YES. Why wouldnt our coaches know this and MODIFY, MODIFY MODIFY. You said it took Huff 3 yrs tu get more time. But the main reason was because of Mamadi and Braxton. Since those tu left. Why did our coaches assume Huff will be at the level we need for our bigs on defense? All of a sudden, Huff was going tu change. Even tho it didnt happen in 3 years.

I will post about hiding players on defense, specifically Jabri, later.  Thanks Norfolk Hoo. Your post was the perfect way tu reply and produce EFFECTIVE dialogue.

I think that is something that would have been worked out in a scrimmage or something that would have been caught during a complete offseason. Though I do think it took a while to make the change