Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Virginia loss

It was great fun to see a little guy (and an "At" school on top of that) beat one of the big boys in a #1 vs. #16 matchup. However, if it had to happen, I was sorry it had to be Virginia. First of all, Tony Bennett is, by all accounts, a very class act. Second, Virginia specializes in defense, and I love defense. But half a loaf is better than none, and we did finally get a #16 seed victory.

Friday, March 16, 2018

It is really tough to do both

Chasse hired a coach who was really good, but who did not want to stay. He hired a coach who wanted to stay, but who was not very good. Either of those is relatively easy. Doing both is really, really tough at our level.

If you are good, slow it down

Efficient offenses have every reason to slow down the pace of the game. If they are producing more points per possession than the opposition, then they want to have fewer total possessions. Teams that speed up the pace can afford more mistakes because they are going to have chances to make up for them. But the slow guys tell them, "We are betting that we get more out of our chances than you do, so we don't mind having less chances."

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Where did we finish in attendance?

Hats off to Trojan fans! We had one of our worst years in history - bad enough to get the coach fired. And we still finished 3rd in the Sun Belt in average home attendance, behind only UL and Arlington. Way to hang in there!

I suspect that the numbers reflect less our good attendance as they do the bad attendance elsewhere. People in seats at sporting events is down all over, from the reports I have seen. That is one reason the Powers That Be in all sports are emphasizing offense, offense, offense - because they thing that will bring in the people.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

It was bound to happen

Finally I get a team that is a bona fide national champion candidate that hangs its hat on defense - that being Virginia. And what happens? Their 6th man, De'Andre Hunter (6th Man of the Year in the ACC) is out for the entire tournament. Ouch. Oh, well, maybe they can patch things together.

One advantage to playing at a slower pace, as Virginia does, is that you can get more minutes per game out of your players and still have them at peak efficiency. They had an 8-man rotation, and Hunter averaged 19.9 minutes per game. That comes out to 2.8 more minutes per game for the other rotation members. Plus maybe some of the guys farther down the bench can provide a few minutes here and there.

Not only did Wes Flanigan lose this job

but he probably ruined his chances for another head coaching job, at least for a while. I would assume he has a ton of contacts and probably can land an assistant position fairly easily, but HC spots might be hard for him to come by.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Looking a the 2018 season stats

The first thing that jumps out at me is the fact that, with the departure of Andre Jones, we did not have anyone who was even close to averaging double figures. This was an offensively challenged team, to say the least. We couldn't shoot - not even FTs. Ben Marcus and Kris Bankston shot a very good percentage from the field, but they didn't shoot enough. Ryan Pippins and Cameron Corcoran shot a very nice percentage from the arc, but they didn't shoot enough. K. J. Gilmore and Camron Reedus shot well from the FT line, but they didn't shoot enough. Familiar tune.

Bankston had 30 blocks, which was not enough to make the all-time list, still it was impressive for a true freshman and gives a promise of good things to come.

All in all, this was not an impressive stat sheet at all. It tells the story of a team that lost a lot of games.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Wes just did not have it

The circumstances were favorable: a local player come back to coach in his hometown. It ought to have worked, but Wes just did not have what it took. I assume that he was a pretty good assistant coach, or he would not have had a shot at the job. However, even top-notch assistant skills do not always translate to good head coaching skills. Whatever it takes, Wes did not have it. So, we wish him well and move on down the road of the revolving door of mid-level coaching changes.


In our effort to make the regular season in basketball mean more, here is our annual award of our Regular Season Champions:


Sunday, March 11, 2018

ADs always make national searches

There was complaint that Chasse Conque did not make a "national search" before he hired Wes Flanigan. I would argue that athletic directors are always searching, especially at our level, just because of the nature of the beast. They know they may have to fill a position at any time, and so they are always evaluating, always making contacts, always developing relationships. At the same time, they are also creating a "short list" of names they would prefer to go to first. So when they hire, they have done it both ways. It may make the fans feel better for the AD to hire a search firm and go through the motions of a formal process, but any AD worth his salt already knows who is in the field, and who he would prefer.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Why won't anyone post up?

Yesterday I watched the finals of the 3A girls state championship game between Mountain View and Charleston. It was a close, back-and-forth game, not determined until the final minutes. Mountain View had a 6-2 girl who could make her shots, and Charleston did not have anyone who could stop her. Three times she posted up down low, and three times she either scored or was fouled. In other words, she was eating Charleston's lunch, but evidently the MV coach had her on a diet, because he did not go with what was working - and lost the game. Over and over I see teams that have a good post player who just will not use him or her - why I do not know for the life of me. Yes, it is out of style these days, but it remains true that sometimes a good post game in unstoppable. When it is, why not use it?!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Why all the Tubby bashing?!

Why has Tubby Smith become such a popular kick-dog with the media and fans these days? In the first place, let's remember that he has a national championship, and five different programs in the NCAA tournament on his resume (no one has taken more teams to the Dance). So, he definitely qualifies as a great coach.

In his last stop before Memphis, he turned around a Texas Tech program on the heels of the Billy Gillespie fiasco. And let us now forget that Chris Beard's current team is no where near as good without Keenan Evans - and who recruited Evans to TTech? Hmmm?

Sure, there were several players who jumped ship when Tubby came to Memphis, but let's not forget that it was Sleezipari and his clone who had been at Memphis before Tubby, and when an old school coach like Tubby comes along, sure there are going to be some pampered whiners who will leave. It was a rocky start, but that was to be expected given the circumstances. Oh yes, the fickle Memphis fans are staying away right now, but if they want a coach who will do it the right way, then they will be patient. And, oh by the way, Memphis just won their 20th game this season, so the program is not exactly a train wreck at this point.

Tubby Smith is one of the great college basketball coaches. Memphis fans need to realize that and climb back on board.

Play the game right EVERY TIME

One of the reasons players regress to playground ball is that that is what they practice. They practice sloppy, so they play sloppy. Even in warmups before games. My old music teacher had a proverb: "Practice does not make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect. If you are only practicing your mistakes, you are not getting better."

It seems to me that coaches would be wise to instill a culture in which the players always play the game the right way. Don't "jack up" shots when you are fooling around. Take sound shots when you are fooling around. Do it the right way - all the time, every time. Then you have a personal culture of good basketball instead of street ball.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

We need to study their methods

This is Bob Marlin's 8th season at Louisiana. It is Ron Hunter's 6th year at Georgia State. It is Scott Cross' 11th season at Arlington. If a knowledgeable SBC fan were going to choose a coach from among the league teams, it likely would be one of these. Undoubtedly, all three of them have had opportunities to move higher on the coaching ladder.

Getting a head coach who will agree to your terms and come to your program, and who is a good one, is like rolling the dice. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. However, getting one to stay after he has been successful is really tough. Somehow, these three schools have done it. Chasse needs to study their methods and find out how they have done it.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Here's the bottom line

Wes Flanigan has embarrassed Chasse Conque big time this season. Chasse stuck his neck way out to hire a guy with local connections, but without any head coaching experience; and Wes has made him look BAD. Athletic directors do not like to be made to look bad.

So, even though Chasse may keep Wes next season (may not have a financial option if he has two years on his contract), I expect that the level of performance to keep his job, if he does return, will be quite high. Mediocrity is not going to get it done.

I could be wrong, but that is the way I read it.

Don't lose the passion!

Coaches come and coaches go. So do players. For that matter, so do fans. We have had a horrendous year. Absolutely awful! Wes Flanigan will either be here next season, or he will not. But the world will not come to an end.

In the meantime, we as fans do not need to lose our passion. True, it may take a little bit of a sense of humor to do so, but win or lose we are still Trojan fans. Brooklyn Dodgers fans watched their team fall just short year after year, but they still loved Dem Bums even as they reviled them.

Just keep plugging. Things will cycle around to the positive side sooner or later.

What is experience worth?

All else being equal, experience in D1 competition is worth a great deal. Expect veterans to be significantly better than freshmen. However, sometimes that experience is in the wrong thing. We are going to have a TON of experience coming back, but their main experience is at losing. That does not necessarily mean that they are not good players; after all, Porter molded an 18-win season with the team that had won 4 games the season before.

However, whether it is Wes or a replacement, expect that there will be a significant turnover in the roster for next season. Wes will be scrambling to upgrade the talent level to save his neck; and, like Beard before him, a replacement will be calling in his connections to plug in key players to make a good first-year impression. So, either way, I doubt that the experience on this roster is going to be worth as much to the coach as it would be in other situations.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Glad at least one "expert" appreciates defense

"Fifty-point outputs and a slow tempo are a turnoff to some. But Virginia's unmatched ability to submit opponents and force them into folly is a beautiful thing to witness." (ESPN's Myron Medcalf)

Will this be the year defense wins?

I have observed before that defense is what insures a good season, but come tournament time, you have to have offense. Virginia is riding what may be the toughest team defense since the days of Bill Russell at San Fransisco. And, of course, they have faced the best in the ACC, so they are battle tested. But when crunch time comes, can they press the accelerator, or do they only have brakes? Will this be the year defense wins?

Monday, March 5, 2018

Speaking of struggling programs

How would you like to be the head coach at Dartmouth? Yes, they were national champions in 1906, and yes, they did have a couple of Final Fours in 1942 and 1944. But since then? Their last trip to the NCAA tournament was in 1959, for crying out loud. They did go to the CIT in 2015.