There is something to say for good defensive teams in basketball.
I grew up watching UNLV (University of Nevada at Las Vegas) playing their Amoeba match-up zone and stifling man-to-man defenses. It is that style, that “in your face without mercy, organized chaos” style of basketball that gets players pumped, fans entertained, and “W’s” showing up the local newspapers. Good defense clearly shows that the kids are hustling and thinking, since people are not only flying around the court trying to get a hand on the ball, they’re also communicating with each other in regards to what is happening on the floor. Then all of that work creates fast breaks and the sport becomes a whole lot of fun to play. I loved watching the Runnin Rebels because that defensive pressure was chaotic and unending. Play Princeton? Constant man pressure. Play “40 Minutes of Hell” Arkansas? Constant man pressure. And some of the best offensive players in the game ended up as victims all might Rebels. Ask Dennis Scott what happened in the first nine minutes of the second half of the 1990 Final Four. One field goal is what happened.
My basketball practices have lately shown elements of some pretty good defense. That might be a wee bit important in the first few games because two guys that can score a lot of points will be out. This means that the defense on my team, a team full of high energy guys, must work that much harder to keep guys away from the basket. Last year we had a nice run going where we wore teams down and in the last few minutes would out execute and do the little things well. With the defense I’ve witnessed, maybe that streak will continue.
We shall see.