Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Ashamed

I have by no means given up on this team. We have several weapons left, a lot of senior leadership (or at least potential leadership), and we have already won 12 games. So good things could still happen.

However, when we lose to a bottom-halfer, at home, doing badly the things we have been doing badly all along, it is pretty discouraging. I am ashamed, to be blunt. This team ought to be better than this. Injuries have hurt, but it is not the offensive end that is the problem, and the injuries ought not to have affected the defensive end as much. Sure, we lost a shot blocker with Shoshi, but it is the perimeter defense that is our most glaring shortcoming. We just cannot defend the 3-point shot. Let me amend that statement: we just will not defend the 3-point shot.

Monday, January 23, 2017

.500 look good?

I would say at this point that finishing at .500 in conference play would be a pretty good accomplishment. Ought to be better, but it probably won't be.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Free throws

One thing this team continues to do well is to shoot free throws. We currently are at 74.3%, which is first in the conference by 3.6 percentage points.

Time to make a move

Of  our next six games, five of them ought to be in the "definitely winnable" category. (Beating UL on the road will be tough.) If we are going to have a season that is successful by any standards, we are going to have to make our move NOW.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Can you believe it?!

Money factory Texas is 7-12.

Someone has to be the point guard

Someone has to give his full attention to running the offense. If it is Johnson, that is fine. If it is Burns, that is fine. Even if it is Osse, that is fine. But someone has to do it. We can't all be shooting guards.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Lost 5 of our last 7

No escaping the fact that we are on a bad downturn. The problem is that I don't see anything on the horizon that indicates the problem is being fixed.

Watch Northwestern

If you want to keep up with what could be one of the stories of the year in college basketball, stay tuned to Northwestern. They, of course, have never been to the NCAA tournament: the only money conference team not to have done so. This year they are looking to have a decent chance to make it. In fact, ESPN's Bracketology has them there at this point.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Time to make our move

If we are  going to make a statement in this confusing mess which is the SBC this season, now is the time. We have the senior leadership. We just need to get it done. Yes, we have some problems, most notably the point guard situation; but we just need to bow up, minimize our weaknesses, play to our strengths, and get it done.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Going with our strength

If we go with our strength, then we need to be trying to get to the line more. We lead the Belt in FT%, and we need to milk it for what it is worth. Of our five players who have the most total minutes played, all of them shoot at least 73% from the line except for Maurius Hill at 67.8%, which is not awful.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Accountability and desire

The main component of good defense is "want to." The main component of "want to" is accountability. The coach has to prove to the players, very quickly, that if they do not play defense they do not play.

Disappointments

Well, we have not done as well as we had hoped to thus far. But then, we have lots of company in that regard in the SBC. UL is 2-3. Arlington already has two conference losses. But Georgia Southern and CCU are smiling.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Burns' contribution

Deondre Burns definitely has been the find of the year from an offensive standpoint. He is shooting very well and has been a huge plus to us in that regard. However, he has not been the answer for us for our point guard problem. Over the last three games, since he has been getting increased missions, he has had 2 assists against 5 turnovers. Not the sort of stuff championship point guards are made of.

Not much of a judge

Rick Pitino thinks Grayson Allen is a "terrific young man." Big deal! Whether he is or not, I would say that Pitino is not much of a judge on such a subject, given his history.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Big Three

As of this writing, there is a definite Big Three in the Belt, according to Sagarin. Arlington, UL and Ark State are at the top, then a gap, and the rest of the teams, who are spaced pretty evenly.

Friday, January 13, 2017

It doesn't matter: it won't be good enough for some folks

Everyone knows John Wooden's unbelievable record at UCLA. Can anyone name the man who followed him? A few could. It was Gene Bartow. He coached two season at the school and compiled a 52-9 (.852) record, which actually was better than Wooden's (.808). But he won no national championships.

I have no idea why Bartow left UCLA after two seasons that would be termed very successful by any reasonable person. But when you follow a legend, fans are not always reasonable. I have no way of knowing, but I think it is reasonable to assume that the unreasonable expectations of UCLA fans played at least some part in his departure. Thus they lost an outstanding coach, who went on to UAB, and took them to an Elite 8, a Sweet 16, and seven straight NCAA appearances. Is there anyone who could guarantee that Wooden would have done that well at Birmingham? After all, he did not win any national championships at Indiana State before he left for UCLA.

There always will be some fans who just won't be satisfied, no matter how well you do.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Getting the breaks

Dayshawn Watkins is out for the season from a team that badly needs a true point guard. Stetson Billings was out for the first half of a season from a team that badly needs help on perimeter defense. Now Lis Shoshi's status is questionable as we head into the teeth of the conference season with an already depleted roster. 

Some years you get the breaks; some years you don't. It looks like this will have been one of those "don't" years.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Solidly mid-major

As I write, RealtimeRPI has the SBC ranked #13 among the conferences. That is toward the top of the middle tier of conferences, the "mid" majors. That is significant, since in the non-too-distant past the conference was struggling to stay in the top 20 and was dangerously close to having "mid" slip down to "low."

Where is Fowler when you need him?

John Fowler was one of my all-time favorite Trojans. I love good defense, and his was the best. He was a lock-down defender, no nonsense, take no prisoners. I loved to watch him play. I wonder where he is now, but I wish he were still in Little Rock. We could really use him this year.

Image result for john fowler ualr

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

How Wes was advertised

This team has a lot of offensive weapons, and when we are clicking, we can score well enough. Plus, we just found another scorer in Deondre Burns. That is all positive.

But, if I remember correctly, Wes Flanagan came advertised as a tough-minded defensive coach. We certainly have not seen that yet. Maybe that was just the PR spin. And our lack of ability (willingness?) to play defense is doubly surprising since the returning players all had a culture last season of lock-down defense,