Monday, March 30, 2009

Post shooting

One encouraging stat is that Wayne Burton and Courtney Jackson both shot .500 in their first year at the D-1 level. Good news, because your post men have to be able to make shots to make Grinder Ball work.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Savannah State

Savannah, if you recall, about three years ago go the nation's attention in the wrong way by having zero wins for a season. They have turned things around big-time since then, going 15-14 this season. Not bad for an independent school that does not even have any realistic opportunity to go to post-season play.

Varying expectations

As is always the case, when you have a high turnover of players and a talented class coming in, expectations can range greatly. If, IF, everything pans out, this might be a very good squad. If they don’t, it could be mediocre. Dare we hope? I’m going to. Why not?

Boring NCAA

Always is when all the favorites win.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Regular season vs. tournaments

For me there is a lot more satisfaction in doing well in the regular season vs. tournaments. It is steak vs. sizzle, substance vs. showtime.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The 4 spot

Bails, Smith, Burton, and two new 6-9, 240# guys. I cannot believe that all of these are going to be candidates at the 5 and none of them at the 4. I know that Shields said that Courtney Jackson has the 4 spot for next year. He is not a true 3, but he is really too small for a 4. It just does not make sense to have 5 beefy guys competing at the 5, and none of them at the 4. I have to believe some of them will be in the mix there.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Statistical curiosity

I wonder how many teams this season had their point guard lead the team in blocked shots. Brandon Freeman had that distinction for Little Rock. Of course, he is 6-6, and not many point guards are.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Northwestern in the NIT

The Wildcats went to their first post-season since the mid-90's. They still have never been to the NCAA, but they have only one senior on the squad this season, so they expect big things next year.

Monday, March 16, 2009

It's all over

Well, it is all over. The long season finally came to an end. I really did not expect to get a bid to the NIT, but I figured we would go to one of the other tournaments. Evidently it was an administrative decision not to go, since a lot of teams with far less impressive resumes did get invited.

Wait until next year, I guess

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Gladiator mentality

One thing I find particularly repugnant is the "gladiator" mentality, that is, that the only person who counts is the one who came out on the top end of the score, and that "valiant striving" is worthy of no mention or regard. This is just the opposite of the old adage, "It isn't whether you win or lose, but how you play the game."

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Where is Stan?

One thing this team has sorely lacked over the last few years is a really mobile, active post player. Someone like Stan Blackmon. When he got the ball on the block, you had to pay attention to him because he was going to get loose, some way or other, to get a shot, or get fouled. He was SO mobile in the block. We haven't had that sort of player much in the Shields era. Maybe Courtney will turn out that way.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

When the team goes south

It is an interesting phenomenon that an entire team's shooting occasionally goes bad at the same time. Hard to figure, but it happens. You would think one person at least would be hot.

They just don't know the feeling

If basketball were really important, I would be really depressed; but it isn’t, so I’m not. I can understand how the team and staff might be, though. It is discouraging. This was probably our best chance of postseason in a long, long time, and we just absolutely went dead in the water. It happens sometimes.

Fans of big time programs like Fayetteville do not know how that feels. They will be in post season most years. They cannot imagine the discouragement that pervades an entire program when you blow your only shot at the gold ring, probably for years.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Fear Denver

Denver should be very good next season. They return their entire roster, and with the precision needed for the Princeton offense, having the whole team back is a huge plus. I am looking forward to seeing how they put it together.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


ULL is a puzzling team. They will have fully eight players returning next season in the 6-6 to 6-8 range. This year they didn't shoot, didn't play defense and didn't take care of the ball, but they blocked shots all over the place, so I am guessing they are athletic as all get-out. Why don't they play better?