Saturday, January 24, 2015

Arlington postgame

Too bad. We probably were underdogs against Arlington, even at home, but we needed this one. This team is not going to win much when we don't make our threes. We didn't, and Arlington did. Plus we got hammered on the boards. Pretty much tells the story. This team now has so little room for error that if we do not play a pretty much perfect game, we are not likely to win.

Several good things happened. Solid game by Gus Leeper once again: 8 points and 6 rebounds in 27 minutes. We have to have that at this point to have a chance. Another good performance from Roger Woods. Are big guys are becoming dependable. We were 11 of 15 from the line.We had 17 assists and only 5 turnovers - outstanding!

BUT we were 9 of 29 from the arc, and that did us in. James Reid and Mareik Isom had pretty good nights, but Josh Hagins and Ben Dillard were 3 of 12 from the arc.

Oh well, pick up the pieces and move on.

Offensive linemen

Being an offensive lineman in football is sort of like playing the violin in an orchestra. Everyone hears the group, but no one ever hears you - unless you make a mistake.

Just mark it down

Your shooting percentage on those possessions where you have a turnover is always ZERO. Always.

Remembering Ernie Banks

Ernie Banks just died. Thinking about him brings back a lot of memories from back in the days when I followed major league baseball closely. They had some great Cub teams back then with several all-time greats on the rosters, but they never were quite able to get over the hump to a title.

Banks' public personna, at least, was very positive. He was an easy player to root for. Just one more connection with pleasant recollections gone forever.


The time is now

If this team is to salvage anything out of this disastrous season, they have to start now. Running out of games in which to have an impact. I realize we are wounded, but we just have to change our approach and cinch up and get it done. No excuses. No excuses.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Arlington pregame

They come in 11-7, 5-3 in conference. They had wins over Bradley and Weber State in non-conference. They are not tall, probably starting 6-8, 6-5, 6-2 on the front line. They have 6-9 and 6-10 also on the roster.

They have only one player in double figures. Johnny Hill averages 10.7 ppg. They do have very balanced scoring, though, with all the top five scorers over 7 ppg.

Their forte is their defense, holding opponents to 39.6% overall and 30.9% from the arc. That is pretty impressive. They are essentially even on the boards.

They have already won four games on the road, so do not expect them to be affected by coming to the Jack, especially with our paltry crowds.

Sagarin lists Arlington as 8-point favorites.
RealtimeRPI lists us as 1-point favorites.

Chuck Connors - dual major leager

Actor Chuck Connors is reportedly one of only twelve men to have played in the baseball major leagues and also in the NBA. Here is a LINK to his major legue baseball statistics. Here is a LINK to his NBA stats. Nothing world-beating in either, but just making it to both big leagues was an accomplishment.

Chuck Connors Brooklyn Dodgers.JPG


Troy postgame

A terrible half and a very good half translates into a badly-needed win. Someone must have given one outstanding halftime speech in the locker room!

Double-double for Roger Woods. We are going to need a lot more of those from him. Gus gave us 31 solid minutes. When was the last time he played that many minutes in a game?

Josh and Ben were making their 3's tonight; good to have the shooting eye back. (Nothing like coming home, is there?) We shot 42% from the arc and held them to 33%. That's more like it! And it was not just from the line that we were making shots. We hit 47% overall.

The bench contributed well. Nice to see Jerron Washington giving us some quality minutes, pulling down three rebounds in six minutes of playing time. We won the battle of the boards by 2, mainly because of Woods and some outstanding rebounding by the guards. Among them, Hagins, Smith and Reid had 16 boards.

Only eight turnovers. Outstanding! That is one area where this team has been really good.

Game ball to Devonte Smith. His numbers were good, and what a difference he made in the second half!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Going JJ one better

Little Rock's Rashad Jones-Jennings was known for his two-tone mouthpiece.

However, St. Mary's forward Brad Waldow has improved on his idea with a vampire mouthpiece.


Immediate infusion

This team needs an immediate injection of something to get it going. Our offensive options are down with James White out of the lineup,  but we still need something. Having our 3-point shooters to get hot again would help, but now teams are able to lay for them because of the lack of inside threat. We need a couple of players to find their strokes and start lighting up the basket. Amazingly, all of a sudden out defense has improved, but our offense has gone south. Hard to figure.

Almost always a contradiction in terms

A coach who "lets them play" is almost always not a coach who "makes them play right." By the nature of the beast the two are generally a contradiction in terms.

Are we shooting more 3's?

During the tenure of Steve Shields as coach at Little Rock, the Trojans have ranged from 13.5 attempted three-pointers per game in 2005-06 to 17.1 in 2010-11. So how many 3s are we taking this year? Through 17 games we have taken 325 long-range shots, or an average of 19.1 per game, or 11.7% more than in any other year of Shields' tenure.

A chance to show off

One reason that coaching basketball is such a challenge is that, perhaps more than any other major sport, basketball lends itself to show-boating. Players get a chance to show off, and what young person can resist that opportunity. So, coaches have two courses: one is to go with the players' inclinations and loosen the reins and hope to blow away the opposition, and the other is to keep the reins tight and teach the players discipline, self-control and teamwork instead of seeking to call attention to themselves. Since I think the latter attitude is the right one for life, I also think that is the best course for coaches.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A worrisome trend

In three of our last four games we have shot less than 39%. In all four of them we have shot 25% or less from the arc. Our shooting is headed south at a high rate of speed.

I feel for these seniors

Ben Dillard and Gus Leeper especially. Between them they have nine years in the program, and to go out on the sour note we are constructing this season would really be sad. We could hardly pick two better representatives for the program.

13 more strikes

We have a minimum of 13 more games this season. Seven of them are at home. Theoretically, we could still end up with a 14-6 conference record. That probably would save Steve Shields' job. The reality is that we probably will struggle to make the tournament, and Shields probably ride into the sunset. If we make the tournament and win a couple of games, who knows? In any case, we have 13 more chances. Given the depleted status of our roster, we will have a razor-thin margin for error. Effort will have to make up for numbers and height.

The downward spiral of a wounded coach

When a coach looks vulnerable, opposing recruiters can use that to try to persuade players not to sign with that team: "Their coach may not be there next year." That tack might not work, but it probably has its effect. With a new AD and a terrible season underway, Steve Shields certainly looks vulnerable. We only have one more player more to sign, but other slots might open up if players do not return. We certainly need some talent upgrades, especially inside.

Raheem Appleby - one that got away

Raheem Appleby was one in-state player that we let get away, and lived to regret it greatly. This season he is a senior at Louisiana Tech, has started every game, leads the team in scoring (17.5 ppg), and is shooting 41.4% from the 3-point line. That one hurt, because we could have used him this year.

Minus a rim protector

With the injury to James White, we lost our only real shot blocker. He had more than twice as many (25) as anyone else on the team. Roger Woods is now the leader with 11. Gus Leeper is not a leaper and is not likely to fill that role. Mareik Isom has the length and athleticism to do it, but has only six so far.

Troy pregame

They are 7-9, but only 1-6 on the road. Two of their wins were against non-D1 teams. They have wins over Arlington and Georgia Southern in conference play.

They likely will start 6-8, 6-7, 6-3 across the front line, and have three more 6-8 players on the roster. Two players in double figures scoring. Their perimeter game is pretty good, shooting 34.7% from the arc while allowing only 30.5%. They are -2 on the boards.

Their two gunners are Abdul-Aleem and Person, who shoot the three well and shoot it a lot. Kevin Thomas is their inside man, averaging 9.7 ppg and 7.5 rpg, and shooting 62%.

We need to get things turned around, and this would be a good place to start. Our roster is short, but we still need to get it done. No excuses.

LINK to Troy official site pregame.

LINK to Little Rock official site pregame.