“Shut Down Sam Merrill”

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“Shut Down Sam Merrill”

Post by scotlandog » March 20th, 2019, 12:43 pm

I’ve read a lot of scouting reports and fan analysis on Washington fan sites. They all come to the same conclusion; if they shut down Sam they will win the game. I see a few problems with this analysis.

Everybody has tried since day 1 this season to shut down Sam. The only team to have any success was Houston. Even then, Sam has open looks but missed a few of those. Everyone else including Nevada, who is the next best defensive team we have played, hasn’t been able to shut him down. Houston was also earlier in the season and the team has changed a lot, especially Sams ability to drive the lane and finish at the rim. Washington is the best defensive rated team we have played except for Houston. They play a 2-3 zone defense which is susceptible to our style of play and I think containing Sam will be very difficult for them.

Our offense also doesn’t rely on a single player to score. Evidence of this is the amount of assists we average. Everybody passes and the guy with the best shot scores. This is why our offensive efficiency is so high. We play as a team not an individual. When a defense tries to take Sam away by overplaying that will leave something else open for us to exploit, and we have. Overplay the passings lanes and we drive. Play the drive and we shoot. Double team and we pass. We are one of the more balanced teams I can remember. Couple that with the pressure the defense feels to make stops because our defense is so good, and you have a recipe for a bad defensive day.

Lastly, what does shutting down Sam mean? Most are only looking at the 20PPG average. Sam is more than a scorer. Sam can shoot, Sam can drive and finish, Sam can pull up mid range. But Sam also leads the team in assists. Sam draws the defense. Sam plays great defense and is great at drawing charges. Sam coordinates the offense. Sam has one of the highest basketball IQs out there. You can’t shut that down.

JUST shutting Sam down is a bigger task than many understand. But they will Mar. 22nd! GO AGGIES!!!!


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Re: “Shut Down Sam Merrill”

Post by sam tingey » March 20th, 2019, 12:57 pm

I approve of all this talk about Sam. I like that you wrote Sam's name at least 18 times. Go Sam and Go Aggies!
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Re: “Shut Down Sam Merrill”

Post by Aggie formerly in Hawaii » March 20th, 2019, 1:09 pm

You could argue New Mexico shut him down in the Spectrum or at least forced him to be an ineffective shooter, but the rest of the team stepped up and we won by 16.



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Re: “Shut Down Sam Merrill”

Post by Aggiewest » March 20th, 2019, 1:31 pm

scotlandog wrote:
March 20th, 2019, 12:43 pm
I’ve read a lot of scouting reports and fan analysis on Washington fan sites. They all come to the same conclusion; if they shut down Sam they will win the game. I see a few problems with this analysis.

Everybody has tried since day 1 this season to shut down Sam. The only team to have any success was Houston. Even then, Sam has open looks but missed a few of those. Everyone else including Nevada, who is the next best defensive team we have played, hasn’t been able to shut him down. Houston was also earlier in the season and the team has changed a lot, especially Sams ability to drive the lane and finish at the rim. Washington is the best defensive rated team we have played except for Houston. They play a 2-3 zone defense which is susceptible to our style of play and I think containing Sam will be very difficult for them.

Our offense also doesn’t rely on a single player to score. Evidence of this is the amount of assists we average. Everybody passes and the guy with the best shot scores. This is why our offensive efficiency is so high. We play as a team not an individual. When a defense tries to take Sam away by overplaying that will leave something else open for us to exploit, and we have. Overplay the passings lanes and we drive. Play the drive and we shoot. Double team and we pass. We are one of the more balanced teams I can remember. Couple that with the pressure the defense feels to make stops because our defense is so good, and you have a recipe for a bad defensive day.

Lastly, what does shutting down Sam mean? Most are only looking at the 20PPG average. Sam is more than a scorer. Sam can shoot, Sam can drive and finish, Sam can pull up mid range. But Sam also leads the team in assists. Sam draws the defense. Sam plays great defense and is great at drawing charges. Sam coordinates the offense. Sam has one of the highest basketball IQs out there. You can’t shut that down.

JUST shutting Sam down is a bigger task than many understand. But they will Mar. 22nd! GO AGGIES!!!!


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I hope you're right and we don't struggle against their zone. Syracuse plays the same type of zone and it seems even when they don't win the their conference, they can make some deep runs in the NCAA tournament. Teams that haven't played against their zone have a hard time adjusting to it when they see it for the first time. We saw very little zone all year and when we did it wasn't anything like what we will see against Washington. That is pretty much all they practice and use during the season. It is not just something they toss in to change the pace of the game.

I love that coach Smith has until Friday to get us ready for it, but I do think we will struggle with their zone defense. I'm always a pessimist; that way no matter what happens it will be better than what I expected. I don't know how you optimistic people handle it because things hardly every turn out as good as you expect at least until this year.
Last edited by Aggiewest on March 20th, 2019, 2:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Re: “Shut Down Sam Merrill”

Post by 918AGG » March 20th, 2019, 1:35 pm

Aggiewest wrote:
March 20th, 2019, 1:31 pm
scotlandog wrote:
March 20th, 2019, 12:43 pm
I’ve read a lot of scouting reports and fan analysis on Washington fan sites. They all come to the same conclusion; if they shut down Sam they will win the game. I see a few problems with this analysis.

Everybody has tried since day 1 this season to shut down Sam. The only team to have any success was Houston. Even then, Sam has open looks but missed a few of those. Everyone else including Nevada, who is the next best defensive team we have played, hasn’t been able to shut him down. Houston was also earlier in the season and the team has changed a lot, especially Sams ability to drive the lane and finish at the rim. Washington is the best defensive rated team we have played except for Houston. They play a 2-3 zone defense which is susceptible to our style of play and I think containing Sam will be very difficult for them.

Our offense also doesn’t rely on a single player to score. Evidence of this is the amount of assists we average. Everybody passes and the guy with the best shot scores. This is why our offensive efficiency is so high. We play as a team not an individual. When a defense tries to take Sam away by overplaying that will leave something else open for us to exploit, and we have. Overplay the passings lanes and we drive. Play the drive and we shoot. Double team and we pass. We are one of the more balanced teams I can remember. Couple that with the pressure the defense feels to make stops because our defense is so good, and you have a recipe for a bad defensive day.

Lastly, what does shutting down Sam mean? Most are only looking at the 20PPG average. Sam is more than a scorer. Sam can shoot, Sam can drive and finish, Sam can pull up mid range. But Sam also leads the team in assists. Sam draws the defense. Sam plays great defense and is great at drawing charges. Sam coordinates the offense. Sam has one of the highest basketball IQs out there. You can’t shut that down.

JUST shutting Sam down is a bigger task than many understand. But they will Mar. 22nd! GO AGGIES!!!!


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I hope you're right and we don't struggle against their zone. Syracuse plays the same type of zone and it seems even when the don't win the their conference, they can make some deep runs in the NCAA tournament. Teams that haven't played against their zone have a hard time adjusting to it when they see it for the first time. We saw very little zone all year and when we did it wasn't anything like what we will see against Washington. That is pretty much all they practice and use during the season. It is not just something they toss in to change the pace of the game.

I love that coach Smith has until Friday to get us ready for it, but I do think we will struggle with their zone defense. I'm always a pessimist; that way no matter what happens it will be better than what I expected. I don't know how you optimistic people handle it because things hardly every turn out as good as you expect at least until this year.
Just remember that we are playing with house money right now. We were picked to go 9th in the MW and we won the damn thing. Everything is gravvvvy at this point. If we lose, we still look back on this season as an excellent season with no regrets.
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Re: “Shut Down Sam Merrill”

Post by NVAggie » March 20th, 2019, 2:54 pm

That will be a tall order for sure. To this point, Sam has scored 721 points on 486 FGA. That is good for 1.48 points per FGA. That is efficient scoring. Sam is shooting 91% from the line, 54% from the 2, and 38% from the 3. That doesn't even take into account his passing. I'm very intrigued by this match up.



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Re: “Shut Down Sam Merrill”

Post by Murkymerk » March 20th, 2019, 4:25 pm

We are 12-4 when Sam scores less than 20 points, 14-2 when he scores 20 or more. I’d say keeping Sam under 20 is a good goal for opponents, and half of the time they were able to do that.
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Re: “Shut Down Sam Merrill”

Post by Blue42 » March 20th, 2019, 4:39 pm

Murkymerk wrote:
March 20th, 2019, 4:25 pm
We are 12-4 when Sam scores less than 20 points, 14-2 when he scores 20 or more. I’d say keeping Sam under 20 is a good goal for opponents, and half of the time they were able to do that.
Though it’s only happened once in our last 7 games, when he scored 19 in our win over SDSU in Logan.


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Re: “Shut Down Sam Merrill”

Post by donlarson8 » March 20th, 2019, 7:06 pm

Every time I watch a game it feels like the other team is limiting Sam, then I look at the box score and he will inevitably already have like 15 points. He’s just so efficient and never forces things.


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Re: “Shut Down Sam Merrill”

Post by Blitz79 » March 20th, 2019, 7:18 pm

Blue42 wrote:
March 20th, 2019, 4:39 pm
Murkymerk wrote:
March 20th, 2019, 4:25 pm
We are 12-4 when Sam scores less than 20 points, 14-2 when he scores 20 or more. I’d say keeping Sam under 20 is a good goal for opponents, and half of the time they were able to do that.
Though it’s only happened once in our last 7 games, when he scored 19 in our win over SDSU in Logan.
So you are saying we/he is do?

You can't stop Sam Merrill you can only hope to contain him!


But seriously OP, you are over analyzing. If they stop Sam, they probably win. Don't get to fancy.

We gotta play our A game.



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Re: “Shut Down Sam Merrill”

Post by Blue42 » March 20th, 2019, 7:32 pm

Blitz79 wrote:
March 20th, 2019, 7:18 pm
Blue42 wrote:
March 20th, 2019, 4:39 pm
Murkymerk wrote:
March 20th, 2019, 4:25 pm
We are 12-4 when Sam scores less than 20 points, 14-2 when he scores 20 or more. I’d say keeping Sam under 20 is a good goal for opponents, and half of the time they were able to do that.
Though it’s only happened once in our last 7 games, when he scored 19 in our win over SDSU in Logan.
So you are saying we/he is do?

You can't stop Sam Merrill you can only hope to contain him!


But seriously OP, you are over analyzing. If they stop Sam, they probably win. Don't get to fancy.

We gotta play our A game.
I was just pointing out that while the OP says Sam has been held to less than 20 points in half of our games, he clearly has been more elite and efficient at scoring lately, as he has scored 20 or more in 6 of our last 7 games.


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Re: “Shut Down Sam Merrill”

Post by dyedblue » March 20th, 2019, 8:35 pm

The genius of Sam Merrill is that he never backs down but will not fierce the issue. You can double team him all game long and he'll fund the open man or drive. If you overplsy the screen he hits the cutter. He is so solid that I stunt know that you can shut him down.


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Re: “Shut Down Sam Merrill”

Post by hipsterdoofus21 » March 20th, 2019, 8:50 pm

How do you shut down someone in a zone?



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Re: “Shut Down Sam Merrill”

Post by jpswensen » March 20th, 2019, 10:15 pm

hipsterdoofus21 wrote:How do you shut down someone in a zone?
That was my question too. Thybulle can only cover one side in that zone and we move the ball to the open man pretty well.


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Re: “Shut Down Sam Merrill”

Post by dyedblue » March 20th, 2019, 10:37 pm

Quick passes and we need Making Miller to show up with Brito.


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Re: “Shut Down Sam Merrill”

Post by aggietime » March 21st, 2019, 5:01 am

Tyler Newbold brought up the idea of having Sam work the high post area in spurts to try and collapse the zone. The more I think about it the more it makes sense - he has a killer mid-range game and could kick to shooters when Washington's wings collapse. Sorry, don't know how to post his tweets.

I think this game is going to be a battle and am not nearly as confident in a win as most. The PAC 12 sucked this year, but UW is exactly the type of team that has given us problems.

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Re: “Shut Down Sam Merrill”

Post by aggies22 » March 21st, 2019, 5:08 am

jpswensen wrote:
March 20th, 2019, 10:15 pm
hipsterdoofus21 wrote:How do you shut down someone in a zone?
That was my question too. Thybulle can only cover one side in that zone and we move the ball to the open man pretty well.


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Box-and-1?



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Re: “Shut Down Sam Merrill”

Post by QuackAttackAggie » March 21st, 2019, 6:05 am

Washington forces a turnover on 25% of their opponent's possessions. It has to be a huge concern. However, because our transition D is so good (top 7% in NCAA) and because Washington is a bad defensive rebounding team that allows a ton of offensive boards (343rd best at D rebounding%), I like our chances.

They're also ranked 224th in preventing their opponent from getting to the FT line. We are 77th in getting there and 43rd in making them once we do.


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Re: “Shut Down Sam Merrill”

Post by dyedblue » March 21st, 2019, 6:14 am

aggietime wrote:Tyler Newbold brought up the idea of having Sam work the high post area in spurts to try and collapse the zone. The more I think about it the more it makes sense - he has a killer mid-range game and could kick to shooters when Washington's wings collapse. Sorry, don't know how to post his tweets.

I think this game is going to be a battle and am not nearly as confident in a win as most. The PAC 12 sucked this year, but UW is exactly the type of team that has given us problems.

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The only thing I don't like with this is it would pack the middle and eliminate Queta on offense.

It also brings more Huskies in to better rebounding position which could reduce opportunities for second chance points.

Maybe this could be done when Queta is out?


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Re: “Shut Down Sam Merrill”

Post by NVAggie » March 21st, 2019, 7:43 am

QuackAttackAggie wrote:
March 21st, 2019, 6:05 am
Washington forces a turnover on 25% of their opponent's possessions. It has to be a huge concern. However, because our transition D is so good (top 7% in NCAA) and because Washington is a bad defensive rebounding team that allows a ton of offensive boards (343rd best at D rebounding%), I like our chances.

They're also ranked 224th in preventing their opponent from getting to the FT line. We are 77th in getting there and 43rd in making them once we do.


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Thank you for those numbers QAA. I think the message is pretty clear. Take care of the ball, hit shots, hit the boards. Taylor and Bean could have a field day on the offensive glass.



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“Shut Down Sam Merrill”

Post by jpswensen » March 21st, 2019, 7:50 am

aggies22 wrote:
jpswensen wrote:
March 20th, 2019, 10:15 pm
hipsterdoofus21 wrote:How do you shut down someone in a zone?
That was my question too. Thybulle can only cover one side in that zone and we move the ball to the open man pretty well.


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Box-and-1?
But that would be a complete transition away from their vaunted and effective 2-3 zone. Maybe they will try it or do it on occasion based on personnel on the court, but don’t think they would make a big change away from their bread and butter unless Merrill is torching them.


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Re: “Shut Down Sam Merrill”

Post by mcaggie1 » March 21st, 2019, 9:42 am

When I first read the title of the thread......I first thought it was going to be about his defense....and that you were creating a nickname for him..."Shut Down" Sam Merrill. That fits too.



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Re: “Shut Down Sam Merrill”

Post by aggies22 » March 21st, 2019, 9:59 am

jpswensen wrote:
March 21st, 2019, 7:50 am
aggies22 wrote:
jpswensen wrote:
March 20th, 2019, 10:15 pm
hipsterdoofus21 wrote:How do you shut down someone in a zone?
That was my question too. Thybulle can only cover one side in that zone and we move the ball to the open man pretty well.


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Box-and-1?
But that would be a complete transition away from their vaunted and effective 2-3 zone. Maybe they will try it or do it on occasion based on personnel on the court, but don’t think they would make a big change away from their bread and butter unless Merrill is torching them.


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I know but everything I've read keeps talking about how Thybulle is going to shut Sam down. It's like they think there are two of him.



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Re: “Shut Down Sam Merrill”

Post by aggietime » March 21st, 2019, 10:36 am

dyedblue wrote:
aggietime wrote:Tyler Newbold brought up the idea of having Sam work the high post area in spurts to try and collapse the zone. The more I think about it the more it makes sense - he has a killer mid-range game and could kick to shooters when Washington's wings collapse. Sorry, don't know how to post his tweets.

I think this game is going to be a battle and am not nearly as confident in a win as most. The PAC 12 sucked this year, but UW is exactly the type of team that has given us problems.

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The only thing I don't like with this is it would pack the middle and eliminate Queta on offense.

It also brings more Huskies in to better rebounding position which could reduce opportunities for second chance points.

Maybe this could be done when Queta is out?


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Good point about it limiting the space Queta has to work. Maybe Sam in the high post would pull their bigs up and Nemi would be able to get some boards/lobs? Very curious what Coach Smith has cooked up since we haven't played against many zones this year, especially the 2-3 matchup variety.

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Re: “Shut Down Sam Merrill”

Post by AggieFBObsession » March 21st, 2019, 10:39 am

dyedblue wrote:
March 21st, 2019, 6:14 am

The only thing I don't like with this is it would pack the middle and eliminate Queta on offense.

It also brings more Huskies in to better rebounding position which could reduce opportunities for second chance points.

Maybe this could be done when Queta is out?


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It's harder to rebound from the zone, because you're not already guarding a man and you need to find one before boxing him out. Stew used to talk about this often.

I like our chances for offensive rebounds with Queta.



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Re: “Shut Down Sam Merrill”

Post by aceofspadeskb » March 22nd, 2019, 6:11 pm

Seems to be working...

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Re: “Shut Down Sam Merrill”

Post by HuskyHugh » March 22nd, 2019, 6:22 pm

Well...this is awkward. When is Sam showing up for the game?

Ive heard so much about him, I can't wait to see him play....when he gets there,



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Re: “Shut Down Sam Merrill”

Post by QuackAttackAggie » March 22nd, 2019, 6:54 pm

HuskyHugh wrote:Well...this is awkward. When is Sam showing up for the game?

Ive heard so much about him, I can't wait to see him play....when he gets there,
Way to wait until the last few minutes of the second half to show up. Your team played great. But you must have not expected it or you'd have posted two days ago.


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Re: “Shut Down Sam Merrill”

Post by Blitz79 » March 22nd, 2019, 6:59 pm

Well they shutdown Sam Merrill.

Just wait til next year...



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Re: “Shut Down Sam Merrill”

Post by AGNUMPI » March 22nd, 2019, 7:12 pm

As soon as I saw the OP, I knew we would lose. The jinx is real, kids. I wasn't able to unjinx this one because my wife was there bagging on my superstition, and it threw me of my game. Sorry guys.


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Re: “Shut Down Sam Merrill”

Post by AGNUMPI » March 22nd, 2019, 7:15 pm

HuskyHugh wrote:
March 22nd, 2019, 6:22 pm
Well...this is awkward. When is Sam showing up for the game?

Ive heard so much about him, I can't wait to see him play....when he gets there,
Aside from the jinx, it invites sad douchebags to the board.

Welcome, sir.


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Re: “Shut Down Sam Merrill”

Post by Aggie formerly in Hawaii » March 22nd, 2019, 7:20 pm

Give them credit they shut down Merrill and won the game because of it. Smith, merrill and the team will learn from this and have a great tourney next year. As much fun as this year was i really see this season as the first step before an even bigger season next year.



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Re: “Shut Down Sam Merrill”

Post by tjensen_25 » March 22nd, 2019, 7:32 pm

Sam played like horse (I can't express myself without swearing).

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Re: “Shut Down Sam Merrill”

Post by Aggiewest » March 22nd, 2019, 7:36 pm

Who are all the new posters showing up to run their mouths. Where were they before tonight.



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Re: “Shut Down Sam Merrill”

Post by Aggie84025 » March 22nd, 2019, 7:37 pm

tjensen_25 wrote:
March 22nd, 2019, 7:32 pm
Sam played like horse s***.

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[]Hard to argue against that comment. I would have like to see him play better.



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