Blog Entry


Posted on: December 21, 2011 4:06 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2011 9:54 pm
By Matt Norlander

When looking at some of the more complex offensive and defensive schemes in college basketball, it's paramount to pay attention to Kentucky, which is one of the more athletic teams in the country. Rumor has it a few of these guys may play in the NBA one day, but I'll let the screencaps be the judge of that. After all, we're breaking down film here, which I am unquestionably qualified to do.

Let's examine how Kentucky can score its points, since scoring points is something done frequently in the game of basketball. We'll go with the sequence depicted below, which happened early in the first half of the Wildcats' game against Samford Tuesday night. To avoid confusion about what you should be reading where, below each frame, the explanation for the often-confusing confluence events is laid out for you in reference to the picture above it.

Samford's Devin McNeil has the ball about 27 feet from the hoop. Everyone else is sort of just standing around because it's early in the game and the news Ashley Judd wouldn't be showing up kind of put a damper on the night. In the paint, you'll notice Kentucky's Anthony Davis appears to be burdened by an invisible 60-pound book bag.

I'm now ready to use the first of what will be many arrows in order to help illustrate just how easy this stuff can be to see with the untrained, DVR-accessible eye. By the way, McNeil just dribbled the ball off his foot. Kentucky's Marquis Teague reacts like every basketball player in the world would: he reaches for the basketball. Davis is the only other player to react.

Teague now has the basketball, evidenced by the left arrow pointing directly at it. Teague opts to do the right thing: run toward the other hoop. Meanwhile, my svelte arrow to the right picks up on the fact the baseline referee is still humming Carol of the Bells to himself and is slow to move his roller-skates.

After what must have been tough deliberation, Teague begins to take off down the floor. The baseline ref is now out of the picture, which is completely explainable, but we'll save the strategy behind that for when you're ready to interpret things at a higher level. Oh, the yellow circle? I just did that because I can.

The green arrow means go. It also means I can use Photoshop at an above-third-grade level. Teague's now on the run, and it appears he's looking directly at the Samford bench. He would not get whistled for a technical foul. Teague is able to dribble straight ahead and look to his right at the same time because he's an elite, top-level college basketball player.

A critical part of the play's sequence, and perhaps this will truly help you understand who Kentucky is and what it does. I've opted to go with the circular rainbow effect in an effort to veil my limited coachspeak and basketball knowledge with a flair for graphic manipulation in Photoshop. Quite the ruse. This is so easy. Look, that ref's about to crush that star.

You'll notice Teague's now decided to go for the gold. Two points are probably on its way, but McNeil still has ... well, you see what he's mulling over. By the way, these two players are the only ones in the frame because they're arguably the two fastest guys on the floor. I hope my encircled graphic helped make the clear to you.

McNeil chooses not to foul, because look at the time and score, and so Teague goes up for the layup. I thought you might need some help understanding what was happening at this point of the play, so I slung a few more arrows into the screencap just to help ya out. In no time you'll be digesting all of this great tape evaluation and wanting to take a crack of your own. I highly encourage it!

The ball is through the hoop as you can see (if you can't, look for the yellow circle) and although the ESPN television producers are slow to recognize it, the score is now in fact 6-0. Anthony Davis has essentially wasted his time taking a trip down the floor, and everyone needs to hustle back. I thought about tossing one more arrow into the graphic here, but I think you've come far enough. Two is educational without being patronizing.

Now, let's watch the play in real time to truly take in what we just went over.

And that's pretty much it. I hope you've got a good understanding of how Kentucky's transition offense works, because understanding this stuff makes you the smarter, better basketball person. By the way, no one asked me to do this, and I don't really have much precedent with it, but I went ahead appointed myself as an expert, since this was something the Internet absolutely needed.


Now that our lesson is through, do this for me. Follow Sebastian Pruiti on Twitter, read his work and understand he's the godfather of tape evaluation and everyone else just feeling the fabric of his coattails. The man has spawned a legion of imitators, and it's been hilariously impressive to watch.

And a special thanks is in order to the ever-reliable Timothy Burke for the screencaps.
Category: NCAAB

Since: Dec 21, 2011
Posted on: December 22, 2011 12:32 am


Thanks, Matt.  As you can tell, I'm reading and istening.  Today's podcast was the best yet, in my opinion.  

Please make sure to give Michigan State some love next week when they take down the resurgent Hoosiers at The Bres for their twelfth straight W.



Since: Sep 7, 2008
Posted on: December 21, 2011 11:09 pm


Did CBS hire an extremely stoned Luke Winn?

Since: Nov 16, 2010
Posted on: December 21, 2011 10:06 pm


I appreciate your very deep and insightful analysis of our offense.

Since: Dec 6, 2010
Posted on: December 21, 2011 9:56 pm


This is officially my favorite comment ever.

I was only drunk on snark when writing the post.

Since: Dec 21, 2011
Posted on: December 21, 2011 8:58 pm

I learned, and I laughed!


Are you drinking at present?  The tone of this post is a great deal more playfully humorous than any of your previous posts from this season, and betrays your rather dry demeanor during the podcasts.  Keep it up, or you will only further incite me to create my own college hoops blog, replete with amateurish podcasts that devolve into debating who is the best white player in D1 (and therefore the 43rd best player overall, regardless of race or ethnicity).

Happy Holidays!

PS--I have been drinking 

Since: Nov 3, 2008
Posted on: December 21, 2011 4:21 pm


Does Luke Winn approve of your analysis?  Throw in some fashion tidbits & you'll have it nailed!

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or