Saturday, December 29, 2007

Going to NIU today

We travel to Northern Illinois today. This is a big game in a way. We are predicted to win. If we do, it will be the first time we have been 10-2 to start the season since the '87-'88 season, when we finished 24-7 and went to the NIT, back during the Wimp Sanderson days.

Friday, December 28, 2007


If we can't win the SBC this year, I hope New Orleans does. They have a few players who stuck it out after Katrina and did not jump ship. They are to be commended. And they have a pretty good team. Right now they have the best record in the SBC, and have wins at NC State and Colorado.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Hat's off to Trojan coaching staff

Last year perimeter defense was one of our most glaring deficiencies. Obviously that was a point of emphasis this season and it has payed huge dividends.
This is a pretty impressive stat about our team. Of the nine D-1 opponents we have played, seven of them have shot less than their season average from the 3-point line. The average difference for all nine is 6.6 percentage points less.Now, get this: of those nine opponents, five of them have shot MORE THAN 10 pct points less than their season average from the 3-point line when they played us.For whatever reason, for two games in a row (Rice and LaTech), they shot well over their season averages against us. Then we seemed to right the ship, and Centenary was about nine pct points less again. What that says is that 3-point numbers MAY go out completely out the window when teams play us – if we are on our game.Even Creighton shot over 10 points below their season average against us. Pretty impressive, huh?

In the Sun Belt it is not even close:
FG% Defense - First at 36.3%. Second place is 41.9%3PT% Defense - First at 26.7%. Second place is 32.0%.Scoring defense - First at 56.9. Second place is 61.9Trojan defense is BACK WITH A VENGEANCE!I love it!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

dominating SBC stats

We are doing something right. In the Sun Belt stats through last night’s games, we lead the conference in these categories:
Scoring defense
Scoring margin
FG% defense
3 PT% defense
Rebounding margin

Also, interestingly, we are third in the league in blocked shots, which is a change from the last couple of years. In another change, we do not have anyone in the top 30 in scoring average in the league.

Upcoming Creighton game

Creighton is the biggest opportunity we have this year to make a ripple on the national scene. They have lost only one game and are playing very well. They have several quality wins so far this year. The Missouri Valley Conference has pressed the BCS conference in stature the last two or three years, and Creighton has been one of the better MVC programs. We probably would not beat them once in every five or six tries, but who knows: this might be the time.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

We are 8-1! First time since 1995-96. Granted we have played a fairly easy schedule. No BCS schools on our schedule. Our only loss is to Arlington, which lost its first game only this week. Our biggest non-conference test comes Saturday when we travel to Creighton, which is having a good year in the tough Missouri Valley Conference. Two more non-conference games left. Worst case basis is 8-3 at the end of non-conference, which is much better than we have done for several years. Given the fact that we had so many new faces, it was a good schedule.

The trouble is that we have no idea yet how good this team may be. A lot of their wins have been "ugly" wins, but that may just be the nature of this team - blue collar, scrappy, hard-nosed - I love it! The game at Creighton should tell us a lot.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Taking on Pepperdine tonight. I really would like to win this game, because they play run-and-gun, and I always like to see a more disciplined team beat one of the playground sort, especially when it is my team that wins.

Monday, December 17, 2007

FIU game

We had a great time at the FIU game this past Saturday night. There were 24 of us, including ankle-nippers, coming from both directions. It was a good game. The Trojans did not play particularly well. FIU had a skilled big man who ate their lunch inside, but their perimeter defense was good and they managed to eke out a win. I was impressed by Mike Smith and Derrick Bails offensively. They know how to score in the paint, but they did not have an answer defensively for FIU. It was a definite “ugly” win, but we’ll take it.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

This week the Trojans led the nation in scoring defense and FG% defense.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Trojans currently lead the Sun Belt Conference in these categories:
Scoring defense
Scoring margin
FG% defense
3-pt % defense
Rebounding margin

That's good basketball!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Rice win

I was very proud of the Trojans last night. Rice shot lights out from 3-point range, and still we managed to find a way to win on the road. Rice is not very good this year, but any road win is a good win. Dre Eggins and Stevie Moore had their best games of the year so far; very strong efforts from them both. Dre has had trouble with his shooting percentage, but he hit his shots last night. He attempted only one 3-pointer, which is not his strength. Stevie has turned into maybe our best 3-point shooter, or at least the hottest for the moment.

The Trojans continue to dominate on the boards, beating Rice 39-23. To do that on the road is pretty impressive. However, they have allowed their last two opponents to shoot well from the arc, which is a cause for concern, since Tulsa coming up lives from the 3-point line.

John Fowler had another strong defensive game. He is turning into one of my favorite Trojans, and has been a real steal. Speaking of steals, he had three last night, and won Bobby Vint’s Defensive Player of the Game award.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Injuries continue to trouble the Trojans. LaMarvon Jackson is out for six weeks with a broken finger. We previously had lost Key-Key Malone to a leg injury. At least that is at the spots where we had some options, but we need them back.

Nice win over Louisiana Tech. To be 4-1 at this point with as many new faces and injuries as we have is not too bad. I'll take it.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I got to see Texas A&M beat Ohio State yesterday, and I was impressed. OSU is a pretty good team, and A&M totally dominated them. They have plenty of size up front and play tough defense. Looks like the new coach has things continuing the right direction.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I'm really proud of this team so far. They are 3-1. They haven't necessarily played well all the time, but with one of the team leaders hurt, and so many new players being integrated into the system, there was bound to be an adjustment period. Several of the new players are real keepers. The future looks bright.
I only heard the last few minutes on the radio, and it is obvious we let our guts come up on us down the stretch. Thankful for Akins' big play in the crunch, though.
Ugly win, but I'll take it. Some good things, though. Great team rebounding effort, 48 to 28 for Centenary. John Fowler must be one of the best rebounding 3's around. Huge 14-rebound effort for Mike Smith. The Big Ticket is making a player. I thought Patterson would be the big prize we got from Ole Miss, but now I think we got two. In case anyone wonders Mike is 15-19 from the field for the year (78%).
Why is Rashad Moss not getting more minutes? We all thought he was going to be our main inside guy at the start of the season, but now I don't know about that.
We have five players shooting over 50% from the field, and we are hitting 48% as a team. That is good, since we can't hit the side of a barn from the 3-point line.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Well, needless to say I was very disappointed that the Trojans couldn't pull out a win over Arlington. They had some good post players. Two of our main starters really didn't show up last night, especially Edwards and Patterson, whom we need to be clicking in order to win. It was a close game and showed us where we stand - about on a par with the better Southland teams, which is not good enough to win in the SBC with the likes of WKU and North Texas there. So, we have a lot of work to do.

One player that I am really proud of is Mike "Big Ticket" Smith. He is 10 of 12 from the field thus far and has already become a legit post threat for us. Also John Fowler has really played well. Some bright spots, but we are a ways from where we need to be for conference play.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Great win at Loyola Marymount. Dominating. Still don't know how good this team is since both opponents so far are weak, but it looks like the potential is there. At least the old defensive intensity appears to be back, which is what UALR basketball is all about.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Observations from the Ozarks game

First off, I really had a great time. Thanks to Doc and the folks there for being so hospitable (we jumped seats, don't know where we were supposed to be).

1. General impressions. The team is noticeably better in talent. Many more options. And the future looks very bright. We played ten players, and all of them got double figure minutes. Brian Smith did not play, so I assume that means he, along with the two walk-on guards, will be redshirting. Sine we had two players out hurt, the rotation will be tightening up as we go, and it ought to be a pretty good rotation.

2. Bails and Stewart will be very good SBC players by the time they are seniors. Bails still forces shots, but has a nice turnaround jumper that will be a good weapon even this year. Stewart moves very well. BTW, Stewart played 20 minutes last night, even more than Moss. Bails needs to learn to shoot free throws, because he will be spending a lot of time at the line in his career.

3. Good defensive effort, but it was hard to tell how much we have improved because of the competition. Still, holding anyone to 30% overall and 18% from the arc is pretty good.

4. Fowler is the man on defense. We have found our stopper.

5. Moore had a good game at point, but he still tends to penetrate too far into the defense and get into trouble. At this point Patterson will be at point in tough situations, but Steve is the point of the future. Together the two point guards had 12 assists against 4 turnovers, along with 6 steals. Good night at the point.

6. LaMarvon Jackson is a rebounding machine, at least against weaker competition.

7. Mike Smith moves surprisingly well and will be an offensive force. He was 6 for 7 from the field. Has a nice touch.

8. More assists than turnovers as a team. That is always a good sign.

9. Shane Edwards is sneaky good, and at this point is our 3-point option. Looks like T is off to a slow start again this year.

10. Moss is a man underneath. Our big guys did what they had to against a smaller time - totally dominate the boards. Interesting to see Bails get eight rebounds in his first D1 game.
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Friday, November 9, 2007

The new UALR basketball seasons begins tonight. Lord willing, I am headed there with my wife to take it in. I'll post my impressions later. Here's hoping this is the year the Trojans get things turned around.