Defense might have been fazed out in basketball by rule changes, but it’s still the #1 factor determining outcomes in the NBA and NCAA. Michigan is off to a strong start because they’ve locked down top teams like Villanova & North Carolina, both of whom usually score a lot. And they beat Purdue handily in Big Ten play, then narrowly beat Northwestern, the latter a game in which neither team could score in the final minutes.
Often times, teams seem lost offensively. The only thing to do is clamp down on defense. It’s all you can control. You have to limit teams to one shot, force turnovers, and then create easy buckets. That’s how you find your scoring rhythm, not by taking 3’s. The Pistons and Clippers have cooled off after hot starts, and both teams were thriving because they were playing together, not one-on-one bullshit.
Michigan, Michigan State, Detroit and LA all have great coaches, all defensive minded. Izzo is the best rebounding coach in the world, Beilein really knows how to defend the perimeter and limit turnovers, Casey is helping us stay poised down the stretch, actually motivating unlike the arms folded, passive aggressive Stan Van. And Doc Rivers lost his best player (to the Pistons!), yet has an ensemble rotation including the best backcourt defense with Avery Bradley & Patrick Beverely.
It’s going to be a long year, the teams are maybe 25% through the season. FOCUS ON DEFENSE, NOT OFFENSE, AND YOU WILL STAY HEALTHY AND SURVIVE. In a playoff series or in March Madness, everything slows down, and that’s what will win in the end.