Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Georgia Southern will grow up in a hurry

Their top eight scorers are freshmen or sophomores, and only two upperclassmen have played three games into the season. Youth movement big time.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A long season for App State?

From their numbers after four games, things are not looking too rosy for Appalachian State this year. They are 1-3. Their defense is bad; their shooting is even worse. They are getting beaten on the boards, and they do not even shoot free throws well. They do actually have a couple of pretty good guards, but their bench is pretty sad. The non-starters are shooting an abysmal 30% overall.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Marquette over LSU - a satisfying result

Marquette, from the Big East (where basketball matters and where they do not have television football dollars) edged out LSU, who roll in SEC football money, and their one-and-done star Ben Simmons. Very satisfying!

The numbers I like best so far

I realize we are only three games into the season, and two of those were of the "gimme" variety, but I still like a couple of the numbers I see. First off, we have held opponents to 33.1% shooting overall. That is outstanding, even if the opposition is sub-par. Second, we have a 1.16 team A/TO ratio, which is very good. If we hold those two numbers, we will win a lot of games this season.

What has impressed me most about Beard so far

He has not put up with whatever nonsense is going on with Jalen Jackson. Jackson fits into a range where we are very thin (only two players between 6-5 and 6-10), and losing his services hurts; but Coach did not hesitate to set him down.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Early returns on FTs

Only three games into the season, but it looks like this is going to be a good FT shooting team. We are at 73.5% at the moment, which is pretty fair. And that is a solid number, because the quality of the competition would having nothing to do with it.

Thoughts on the San Diego State game

This will be one of our toughest opponents all year - maybe the toughest. What really impressed me is that we beat them with Plan B, and that is encouraging. A lot of teams really do not have a second option. Some teams that play perimeter-oriented offenses cannot win when the game turns into a slugfest, low scoring, with shooting percentages low; but we did. A lot of 3-point shooting teams just do not know to play blue collar (or are not willing to), but we did, and we did it well enough to win. That showed me a lot.

Our rebounding needs work, obviously. Point of emphasis in the weeks ahead. But with the size disadvantage we had, that was to be expected. The point is that we rolled with that punch and gave back one of our own by avoiding turnovers, which SDS did not do. We will win most games when we only turn the ball over six times.

Still a lot of things to work on. This is still a work in progress. But we showed something of our toughness Saturday, and that goes a LONG way toward a winning season.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Izzo in November

According to ESPN, Tom Izzo of Michigan State is 56-0 at home in November. That is not quite as impressive as it sounds, because an awful lot of home games for teams at that level are buy-a-win sorts. Still, he hasn't lost one, and they have not all been cupcakes.

Ruttley appears to be the real deal

Small sampling so far, but Jermaine Ruttley appears to be a legit talent. He is versatile and ought to complement Josh Hagins very well.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The highs and lows of Josh Hagins

Josh is one of the most versatile players you will ever see. He is a stat sheet stuffer - big time. Even if he is not scoring, look over on his line in the box score and you will see rebounds (lots of them for a guard), assists, steals, blocks - all the little things that help win ballgames. He does lots of things to help his team. The downside to Josh's game is that sometimes it appears that he forces a lot of shots. It looks like he feels like he ought to be doing more offensively, and so his shooting percentage is sometimes lower than it could be. Of course, the next game he may break out with a huge game, so you just never know about him on the shooting part of the game. But in everything else he will be right in there, making things work for the team.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Marcus Johnson Show

Sure, it was against a D-3 team, but Marcus Johnson put on a show tonight. How long has it been since anyone scored 30 points for us? He came in advertised as a high-quality point guard distributor, but he was shooting like a 2 guard tonight. Coach Beard will have to be re-evaluating his playing time decisions, I predict.

It's all relative

Vanderbilt won their first two games over Austin Peay and Gardner-Webb by 39 and 36 points respectively, playing everyone but the waterboy. We played two non-D1 teams. Same difference, except that they can afford to bring in D1 teams to beat up, and we cannot.

All the bad news

Between news about players being hurt and players and coaches getting into trouble, there is not much room left on the national basketball sites for any good news.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Getting a feel for the team

The first three games this year will tell us virtually nothing about this team. However, the stretch from East Carolina through Northern Arizona ought to be somewhat comparable to what we will be facing in the Sun Belt this year, so we should get a pretty fair read on how the team ought to do in conference play.

The temptation of depth

When a roster is deep, there always exists the temptation for the coach to play too many players. A college kid who is in game shape can play 30 minutes a game, or maybe 25 if he is a big man. The  balance is all the rest he needs. By skillful rotation, the coach can keep his best players fresh, and at least three or four of them on the floor at any given time. The rest of the time gets divided among the rest of the players - and that isn't much time.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Talk about a killer start!

Siena's first two games this year happened to be Duke (defending national champ) and Wisconsin (national runner-up), the first time that has happened since 1985, according to Rivals.

Coach Beard's first win as D1 coach

Congratulations on the start of what I am sure will be a sterling career.

Obviously, this Trojan team is a work in progress. That is to be expected when Coach was putting together so many diverse parts into a new system. Logically, we ought to have won by as many points as we wanted to, but I will take any win.

Our scorers scored and we shot good percentages. We controlled the boards, once we got going. Our overall defense was good, holding them to only 37.3%. So some good things are happening.

The two most glaringly bad stats from the game were CBC's percentage from the arc and our turnovers. We will not win many games when we have 18 turnovers and allow the other team to shoot 53.3% from the 3-point line. Thankfully, we did other things well enough to make up for those lapses.

All in all, a nice win. It showed us some places we need to work, and got that all-important first big W in the books for Coach Beard.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Good start for the Belt

Troy wins over South Florida from the American. Good start for the Sun Belt non-conference season; now the rest of us have to keep it going.

While I am on non-conference wins, Alabama A&M got things going for the lowly SWAC with a win over Tulane.

Friday, November 13, 2015

More evidence - quality does not matter

CBS' Gary Parrish's column, "68 things to get excited about for the 2015-17 college hoops season"

The Keydets are the team least likely to even notice the shot clock change because they play so fast anyway and are rarely bothered by it. They ranked first in tempo last season and have been in the top 10 every season since 2006. They often don't win as much as they lose. But they're always going.

And "always going" is good. Whether or not you win. Whether or not you limit turnovers. Whether or not you play good basketball. Just run and gun. Already we are hearing the clamor to reduce the shot clock to 24 seconds, and I feel sure that will happen. Because good does not matter. Fast is the only thing that matters. Because the concern is not the good of the sport, but the entertainment value of the sport.

I think I will go throw up.

The excitement of the signing periods

We get a glimpse of the future of the program, for better or for worse. It sets in motion rampant speculation, and that is a  good bit of the fun of being a fan.