Thursday, December 14, 2017

Determined to persevere

I still say that in a year like this fans need to have a sense of humor and just ride out the rough spot. Things will eventually change, one way or the other. I do not intend to let our ineptness spoil my enjoyment as a fan. I am going to be a good Trojan fan even if the Trojans are not very good players. (That's my story, and I'm sticking with it.)

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

I know we are pretty bad this year

but I still love Trojan basketball.

Why "football"?

Have you ever wondered why football is called "football"? Yes, we do occasionally kick the ball, but not much as a percentage of the activity in the sport. The rest of the world, of course, reserves that name for what we call soccer. I wonder if they wonder at the logic of what really is a misnomer. We throw and we carry, but we do not kick a great deal. So why "football"?

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Finish the shot!

I get tired, tired, tired of watching young players (including college) charge into the lane and throw up a shot at the basket. As if making a great move was all that was required. Finish the shot!

Monday, December 11, 2017

More offensive fouls?

I have not seen the statistics, but it seems clear to me that the officials are calling a lot more offensive fouls this season than in the past, both charging and pushing off. To me that is a very good thing. Almost every rule change or point of emphasis in recent years has been in the offense's favor. ("Scoring is good; defense is bad.") This new point of emphasis, however, has really made a difference. It appears to have given back a portion of what they took away a few years back when they clamped down on hand checks by the defenders.

Go defense! Go Trojans!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

ESPN comment about Kentucky under Sleezipari

"He has had arguably the most talent every season since he has been in Lexington and has just one banner hanging at Rupp Arena."

Some folks have worse trouble

Drake did not have a winning season from 1987 through 2006. That is pretty tough. Not that they did not win any championships through that period - they did not even have a single winning season. Their fans would have been die-hard of necessity.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Why pull players in foul trouble?

We all know the answer to this, but it does make for some interesting theorizing.

Every shot counts the same no matter when it is made in the game. (The only difference in that would be shots made after 1-and-1 is in effect.) Let's assume that a player is as likely to make a shot at the beginning of the game as at the end of the game. What difference does it make when he makes it? Assume you pull your best player with five minutes left because he gets his fourth foul, and put him back in with one minute left, on the theory that the score at the end of the game is the only one that counts and you want him in the game when it comes time for the final score. The other side of the coin, though, is that in the four minutes he was out of the game he might have accounted for several points so that your team would be in better shape on the score board when it did come to crunch time. You want him in the game when the game is tied, but if you had left your better player in the game you might be several points ahead. Six of one and half a dozen of the other.

The answer, of course, is psychological. A coach is taking a gamble to do that, and most of them are not willing to make that gamble. Sort of like always going for it on fourth down in football.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

3-point shots and home runs

The three-point shot in basketball is the logical equivalent of the home run in baseball. They get the most cheers, but in reality they are boring. What is exciting about watching a man swing a bat and then jog around the bases? Big deal! I do not get worked up about a bunch of players standing around the arc launching 3s in warm-ups, either. Pretty mundane stuff.

But put the fences back to 500 feet, and baseball immediately and automatically becomes exciting. Lots of running. Lots of action. And take away the 3-point shot, and you would take a big step toward restoring the entertainment value that the fathers of college basketball keep trying to restore by their continual tweaking of the rules. As long as players will be rewarded by 50% for falling back on threes instead of playing the game, why shouldn't they stand around and play HORSE?

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

It will be late, if it happens

If this team accomplishes much this season, it will be late. We are very young, and there are lots of kinks to get worked out. Presumably our injured players will be back at some point, and if we have any 3-point shooting it will come largely from them. I have little hope of Wes improving much as a game coach, but the team may come along despite everything. We do have pretty good athleticism, and sometimes that will rise to the surface. So, we need to stick around as fans. We might get a surprise later on.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Sit back and enjoy the ride

It is frustrating when your main team, the team you root for, is pretty bad. But, hey, even Kentucky has off years, relatively speaking. Why, not so long ago they got beat in the first round of the NIT, even with all their high-powered, high-dollar talent.

But basketball is a great sport. It is fun to watch, even if your team doesn't win (as long as it is being played well). Trojan basketball will be back. Wes seems to be a good guy, even if he is not a very good coach. I can root for him, which I couldn't do for a jerk or moral degenerate who happened to win a lot of ballgames.

So just settle in, fans. Have a sense of humor. Don't take things too seriously. If you are able to go to the arena, then you are a lot better off than a lot of folks who cannot get out of bed. Enjoy what we have. Go Trojans!

Not acting like his seat is warm

Wes is not coaching like his seat is warm. Whether Chasse has given him any indication that it is, I could not say. A coach whose job is on the line is really getting on the kids who may be costing him his job by their shabby, sloppy play. I realize that that may not be Wes' style, but if my job were on the line, I would at least be cracking the whip a little.

Monday, December 4, 2017

We do not have a track record for Chasse

Since he has hired only two coaches and has not yet fired one that he hired, we do not know what our AD's criteria are for dismissing a coach purely for performance reasons. My guess is that he would be reluctant to fire Wes before he has served the three years of his contract. If when he hired him he theoretically gave him three years to get things going, then he probably will allow him that much at least.

However, if we do have another Moncrief-type season, all that might go out the window. Chasse is much closer to the program than any of us. (He can watch practices.) Thus he is in a much better position to know to what extent Wes can or cannot coach and to what extent he is just unlucky. (Imagine year before last without Josh Hagins.) If he decides that the program is just out of control and is not likely to improve, he might pull the plug regardless of the contract and probably should - IF we can afford to do so.

I have no earthly idea how much pressure big donors bring to bear on the AD at Little Rock. I cannot imagine that it is anything like the situation at Fayetteville, but still it is possible that there might be some heat on Chasse to make a move.

A more potent force than contributors, however, may be attendance. In the first four D1 games last season we drew 12,179. This year we drew 7771. That is a 37% drop in attendance, assuming we are accurately comparing apples to apples. If every one of those 4408 customers who did not attend this year bought a cheap $6 ticket and $4 worth of refreshments, that alone is $44,000 gone from the till in only four games. Granted, much of the attendance decline may be circumstantial and not connected in any way with the team's performance, but that really is beside the point. Revenue loss is revenue loss.

Big guys doing their part

Offensively, our big guys have been chipping in. Ben Marcus, Wadly Mompremier and Oliver Black are shooting 76%, 57% and 53% respectively, and even Kris Bankston is 5 of 7 from the field. They are not shooting much, but they are scoring when they shoot. (One cannot say the same for our guards.)

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Oh, well

The next year or two may be painful if we let them be. I am just going to lighten up, take it as comic relief, and wait until the next shoe falls, hopefully in a positive direction.

Why no more fros?

Back in my youth, the fashion was for black folks to wear "afros" which rose well above the level of the scalp. I liked them considerably more than some others I see today. And I do not understand why black basketball players are not wearing them. If you appear two or three inches taller than you are, it is bound to have a psychological effect upon the guy guarding you. For example, Artis Gilmore was 7-2 anyway, and did not really need any psychological assistance, but when he wore a fro, he was even more intimidating.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Go with what we have

This team does not have much in the plus column yet - not much that we could call strengths. However, by all accounts we are pretty quick, and our inside guys do shoot a very good percentage. So let's go with our strengths. Drive to the basket and dish to the big guys or take it to the rack. At least at this point in the season, outside shooting is not a strength.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Pick a team from each conference

My dad has a system for watching sporting events (which is about all he can do these days). He will pick out which of the teams he wants to root for - and then promptly go to sleep. It works very well for him.

I have at least one team in each conference that I root for, just for the sake of having one. In some cases I just picked one out because it sounded good.  For example, in the West Coast Conference I root for Portland. Don't ask me why. That does not mean that I follow Portland, but that is my team in that conference if the subject ever comes up.

Adopt a team from each conference. It spices up being a fan.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

How to have a decent team

Even sub-par talent can result in a decent team if they have excellent discipline - on the floor and off. That is why you recruit character and why you demand a lot of your players. Make them play basketball the right way. Require that they live life the right way, at least in those aspects that reflect publicly on the team.

Perfect practice makes perfect. Teach them how the game ought to be played, and insist that they play it that way all the time. No days off. If a team never beats itself, it is going to win a fair number of games, even if the other teams are better, because a good number of those other teams are going to beat themselves.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Arkansas State has one great redeeming virtue

They are our arch-rival, and we love to hate them. However, I must admit that there is one thing that I really, really like about them. They are not Fayetteville.