Monday, August 31, 2015

All senior starting line-up


Not too bad. Of course, Brandsma is not supposed to be playing this year, so someone else would have to be plugged in at the 3, but still not bad at all.

More bullets

It appears that we may have more options on offense this year than we have had in a while. Hagins and Woods have both scored in double figures at the SBC level. Jackson, Johnson and Ruttley scored well up into double digits at their last stops. And then you have Evan Moorman, who evidently can put up points by the truckload if someone is not right on him. It gives Beard lots of mix-and-match opportunities.

Go ahead and hack him!

Last season, Duquesne's Dominique McKoy show a blazing 36.9% from the free throw line. Considering that he shot 54.4% overall, it would not be hard to figure out what to do in his case. Hack him! He is going to miss it, anyway.

Maurius Hill

I have no idea how Maurius is going to fit into Coach Beard's scheme of things, but I figure there will be situations when he is glad he has him on the roster. There will be times when we will need some muscle, and Hill provides that. However, that is not all he brings to the table. He did not shoot a lot of 3-pointers last season (24), but he made 33.3% of them, which is at least respectable. Furthermore, he averaged 4.4 rebounds/game in only 16.8 minutes, so for his size he is a very capable man on the boards, which we probably are going to need at times.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

I like the versatility of this roster

If we need size, we have it. Shooters, check. Ball handlers, several, thank you. "Junk" players, got those, too. Rebounders, looks like we are covered there.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Sum of the parts

It is still a team game. The bottom line is how the parts come together, not so much what the parts are individually.

Friday, August 28, 2015

I don't know how they did it

but they did. Drake shot 41.3% from the arc - as a team - and still managed to lose 21 games.

Jem Mace - bareknuckle fighter

Readers of the Louis Lamour novels will find multiple references to Mace, who was a historical figure, and the English boxing champion. Originally, Mace had aspired to be a violinist and evidently was fairly good. One can imagine that bareknuckle fighting probably did not do his playing any good.

Jem mace.jpg

Mareik Isom

Isom is an intriguing player along the lines of Will Neighbour. Both have post size but the shooting ability of guards. It took Mareik a long time to find his stroke, but once he did, he has been excellent, and I expect big things of him. He creates match-up problems on the offensive end, especially if he is in the 3 spot. Obviously, the same problems exist on the defensive end if Mareik were to give up some quickness, but I am guessing that we will be the winner on that exchange most times: we will give up less quickness than they will give up size.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The benefit of non-D1 games

Well . . . they ought to be wins - cheap wins. After that it depends upon the quality of the opponent. The better D2 teams should be able at least to keep the game interesting and not be a total pushover. After that, it allows your players to get into a game rhythm and work through kinks in the system without too much pressure. What you do not want to see is a  60-point blowout that turns completely sloppy, and nothing positive is gained. On the other hand, you may learn something you hoped not to learn - that your team is not (yet?) very good and there is a lot to work on. Most of the knowledge we as fans get from non-D1 games is negative knowledge.

Non-conference helps conference

"At our level, conference games are the only ones that count." We say that frequently, but it is completely true? The reason that only conference games count is that we are so lousy as a conference. Thus, once conference season begins, the RPI of the league is, for the most part, locked in place: one team goes up while another goes down. It is only in the non-conference portion of the schedule that we, as a league, can help ourselves as a league. Every meaningful game that a Belt team wins helps everyone else in the league, at least indirectly. Sure, non-conference games count - unless we want to be a bottom feeder forever.

The arc's effect on shooting percentages

There is no doubt that basketball has learned how to shoot well from one narrow strip around the perimeter of the basketball playing area. But how has that fact affected the shooting from other places on the court. The Rules Committee has dictated that players must shoot from THERE (well, not actually dictated it, but it amounts to that). However, in the regular ebb and flow of the game, THERE might not be the best and most natural shot to take. So, the players take a shot from the wrong spot, and get in a groove shooting from that spot, because it is about the only spot they ever practice (and if you don't believe that, just watch pre-game warmups). But what about their overall game? It seems logical to me that if other facets of shooting are neglected with the fixation on the 3-point line, then shooting percentages from other spots might be going down as shots from the line are going up. No way to prove it, I guess, but it is a thought.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Stetson Billings

In the patchwork quilt that is Trojan basketball this year, who knows where Stetson Billings will fit in? He has had a year away from game time to hone his skills, but he did not know during that time what system he should be honing for. Will he fit Beard's system? Has he improved enough to gain playing time under any system? He was a spot player under Shields, and it seemed obvious that he was being groomed to be a defensive specialist. Beard brought his own defensive specialist with him, so will he have any need for Stetson in that role? Or maybe Stetson worked hard and did improve his offensive skills to the point that he can contribute significantly on both sides of the ball. We are just speculating blind at this point.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


I do not know how much of an emphasis rebounding is in Coach Beard's scheme. (Before you jump on me, strange as it sounds, it is not a major emphasis in some of them.) However, he has the players at hand for this to be a solid-rebounding team. Lis Soshi was a fraction away from double figure rebounds in juco. Roger Woods had adequate numbers for a small forward playing power forward. Josh Hagins is a very good rebounding guard. Maurius Hill had good per-minute numbers for a small forward. Likewise Stetson Billings the last year he played. Daniel Green certainly ought to get his share of boards. I am not worried about our rebounding as long as we work at it.

Fort Smith lands another one

UAFS has added Teris Bourgeois, transfer from New Orleans. That makes six D1 transfers now on their roster out of 13 players.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Why RBIs went down as home runs went up


Look at the pattern. Of the single season home run totals, the top six have been since 1999. Of the top 13 RBI totals, the most recent was 1938. Also, remember that the home run hitters had a longer season in which to get their totals. Why did home runs go up while RBIs were going down? Hmmmm?

Best teams, or best tournament teams?

By this I mean that the teams that might win 6 out of 10 meetings during the regular seasons might lose 6 out of 10 times to the same team under tournament conditions. Some schemes seem to fare better in tournaments. For example, teams that depend solely on 3-point shooting or defense usually go down, because they do not have a Plan B. On the other hand, teams that are tough defensively AND have something on offense to go with their shooters usually do well.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Low teams in high conferences

I have advocated for years that one of the best strategies for teams at our level is to get low-ranked teams from money-conferences to pay us to come play them. This gives us a higher-profile name that we might stand a chance of beating if things fall out right. We have two of those this year. Texas Tech was the last-ranked team in the first-ranked conference. Just exactly what we would like to have. Couldn't have picked a better one. DePaul is an also-ran from the Big East, which is not a money conference because they do not have football, but it is a powerhouse basketball conference that is better than most of the money conferences. Nice scheduling!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

We have an attractive non-conference schedule

It is just that the attractive part is mainly on the road.

Late signing big men

There are lots of reasons why this principle will not hold true in every case, but I am guessing that it is true more often than not.

If a big man holds out until the late signing period, it is usually because he is not very good, or has health questions, or because he is waiting for one particular school that has not yet offered a scholarship - playing Russian Roulette, in other words. The logic behind my statement is that good big men are so scarce that they are going to be snapped up quickly. Colleges can afford to be pickier in their perimeter recruiting because there simply are a lot more choices out there. (What percentage of the general population is 6-8 or taller?) Any good big man (or even decent big man, or even really promising project) who wants to sign will have plenty of offers early. Here is hoping our new signees fall into the exceptions category.