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A mismatch

Started by ERacerHead, March 16, 2023, 06:30:34 PM

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What exactly is a mismatch in D1 basketball?  I've heard the term for decades but am really unclear what it means.  I get the extremes.  For example if a 5 footer is guarding a 7 footer in the paint, that's a mismatch.  But coaches talk about mismatches all the time among really talented players, so I get confused.  Anyone have any guidance?  Thanks!


We had a few players this season that regardless of who they were guarding defensively m2m they were mismatched lol. 
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I consider it a mismatch if there's a 5" or greater difference in height or a 50-pound or more difference in weight.

Not sure what others think but that's my take.

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IMO a "mismatch" can be size, but that's not a constant.  Talent creates mismatches too. You could outweigh Ja Morant 60 pounds and have a foot in height on him and he still created a "mismatch" regardless.  
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Watching Kennesaw St. play in the first half, I would say that it's a mismatch for Xavier LOL!
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 If you are better than me, then we are mismatched.


Generally players are tied to a position based on their quickness, dribbling ability, and size/bulk.  Generally quickness and size/bulk are disproportionate.  You sometimes hear of positions as numbers.  1 - Point Guard, 2 - Shooting Guard, 3 - Small Forward, 4 - Power Forward, 5 - Center.  Generally your point guard is going to be quick with superior dribbling ability but not a lot of size or bulk.  Contrast to the other end of positions, your center is going be be tall and bulking and you don't want him dribbling the ball.

In recent years the traditional positional scope is not followed as closely as it was in years (decades) past.  You almost always still have a point guard.  But you're shooting guard and small forward (generally more-so your small forward) have switch to being swing men.  Swing men are players with quickness and dribbling ability of a guard but more size (generally height as opposed to bulk).  It's also become more common to see two point guards on the floor at the same time.

You're seeing fewer and fewer traditional centers in the game now.  You're seeing more teams go with a 3 guard set (or 2 guards and a swing man) to go with two forwards.  You're seeing more teams adopt a stretch-4 power forward.

The short and easy way that I consider this, is to look at who you have or who you want shooting 3's on your team.

A point guard and a shooting guard should be able to shoot 3's and hit them.  A small forward can also shoot 3's and while it's not necessarily forbidden that they shouldn't he's not really the first option you want to take 3 attempts.  A swing man on the other hand that's playing the 3 spot, you're generally OK with them taking 3's because they are essentially a guard.  A true power forward you really don't want to see attempt any 3's.  A stretch-4 is a power forward that can hit 3's.  A true center is someone that only attempts 3's if he winds up with the ball late in the shot clock beyond the 3 point line (why?).  A true center never attempts any real 3's.

When you look at the Racers from this past season:  Moore and Wood were your point guards, with one playing the shooting guard spot if they were on the court together.  Perry was a shooting guard or swing man, depending who of Moore and Wood were on the court.  Smith was a stretch-4 (and undersized) power forward.  Burns was an undersized center.  White was a small forward.  Morgan and Anderson were a swing men.  ... To go a bit off topic here, this is where you can really see the Racer's deficiency from last season, they had no size/bulk to compete against other teams with size and bulk.

Again this positional analysis is all general.  Each possession could be looked at as it's own instance.

A mismatch happens when an offensive player is guarded by a player that doesn't match his position's characteristics.

A guard guarding a power forward or center is going to be a mismatch because traditionally the power forward or center is going to be in the low block with their back to the basket and a guard is just not going to have the size, height, or bulk to really stop the power forward or center from scoring.

Likewise a power forward or center guarding a guard out on the perimeter isn't going to have the quickness or agility to stay in front of the guard driving to the basket.

A traditional power forward guarding a stretch-4 power forward may also be a mismatch, because a stretch-4 may roam around the perimeter, something the traditional power forward is not used to.

Again to look at the Racer's roster from last year, none of their guards, except for maybe Moore, really had superior guard quickness, so that put them at a slight mismatch against other teams guards.  Their forwards didn't possess the size or bulk to really compete against other team's size and bulk.  White's slashing ability and height probably made him the best mismatch in our advantage.  But he just rarely showed up willing to compete at a high level.


The whole focus of the pick and roll offense is to create a mismatch.  That's why you never see a guard setting the screen out front for the point guard - it's always a big.  They're trying to isolate a big guarded by a small or a quick point guard checked by a lumbering big man whenever they switch.  Pick and roll is why the big guys for Kentucky and Purdue won't be lottery picks (or probably even first round picks) - they can't guard the pick and roll due to their lack of quickness and they're a big liability on perimeter defense.  If you've got a big that can shoot the 3, he sets the pick and steps back ready to shoot the 3 for the pick and pop.  The big can shoot right over the top of the guard.  

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