Watch the ball

USI coach Rodney Watson has a way to tell how well his defense is playing: watch an opponent’s ball reversal and count how many points that opponent scores after it reverses the ball. If you don’t know, “ball reversal” is basketball jargon for whipping passes around a defense, from one side of the court to the other, in an effort to force that defense out of position. Do it well and open shots ensue.

He doesn’t think his team’s defense is succeeding at stopping or limiting points off ball reversals, despite its 4-0 record. “It’s just OK,” he said. “When the ball is reversed, that’s when we have had problems. How you react when the ball is reversed — how an opponent shoots against you when the ball is reversed — that’s how you can tell how good you are at defense.”

USI has several new players this season, so it’s taking awhile to get used to Watson’s schemes. I did ask him if he had specific statistics on how often opponents score after reversing the ball on USI, but he said he didn’t have anything concrete, that it’s something he just sees on video and in games. But he did say one could track that during a game. I may try it sometime. It won’t be anywhere near scientific, but it would be interesting to see what he means on paper. I”l get back to you on that.

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