Michigan State vs. Georgia Tech
Having not seen the UIC debacle, but assuming it looked something like the second half collapse against Elon; I wasn’t really sure what to think the boys were going to pull-off in this game. I knew we had the talent to win, despite what the overwhelming number of dumbasses on The Hive thought after the UIC game. What I wasn’t sure was if we had the mental discipline to stick in a game in a hostile road environment against a much more experienced and physically stronger MSU team.
Well, I’d say that question has been answered now. At least for a single game this season. I’m not about to crown the boys conference champions or anything and I’m sure there will be some more inexplicable losses a la UIC in the future, but the fire and the foundation are there. Just surrounded by a few rough edges that I know Hewitt and experience can round off.
Dickey is realizing that he’s got the potential to be a dominant big man. Although I think Paul Davis is more Dirk Nowitzki than Shaquille O’Neal on the defensive end. He also was less of a black hole, though still pretty bad at times, than he was in other games that I saw this season.
Scoring points when we needed them. We might not shoot this hot again from behind the arc all year, but the boys are going to believe they can make those baskets in the future and that is always a step in the right direction. Morrow’s confidence grows by leaps and bounds every single game.
We hustled for rebounds. Unfortunately there is a negative corollary to this one.
Offensive spacing, ball movement, and moving without the ball were all very improved in the half-court offense. In the second half of the Elon game and I can only assume in the entirety of the UIC we did a very poor job of moving the ball around and moving without the basketball. That was much improved in this game.
Jeremis Smith will cut you. I have now seen Jeremis knock a man out completely in the Elon game and bust open pretty boy Davis. The thing I especially like is that they aren’t dirty plays just going hard after the ball and being 230 of rock solid whup ass. If he was a punk, I wouldn’t be as impressed.
We lost. Hear me out on this one. I would have loved a win as much as anybody else, but a loss is sometimes a better teaching tool, because now Hewitt can point at some of the negatives I’m about to get into and say “see, do this and this differently and we win that basketball game.” We barely lost a game that we were supposed to lose by a lot and hopefully that becomes momentum to win the games we’re supposed to win and steal a couple of the ones we’re supposed to lose.
Boxing out. We seem to be trying to pull down most of our rebounds off of athleticism. That works great in high school, but not against Michigan State and certainly not against the beasts in ACC play. It also allowed for a lot of easy second try buckets for MSU in the second half.
Help Side Defense. I made a lengthy post about this on the Hive and it’s just something we’ll have to be patient about as good rotational and help side defense is about turning everything into an automatic reaction to a situation. You can’t really teach that as much as just drill the boys over and over.
Stopping the ball in transition. We have got to do a better job of getting in front of the dribbler in transition defense. We hustle back, but I don’t think we do a good job of keeping an eye on where the ball is and gave up some easy buckets while we were trying to setup the half-court defense. Like the help side defense problem, I think this is just a matter of drilling it into the boy’s heads.
All in all, I was impressed with the gutty performance we had last night, but unless we turn that momentum into some wins before ACC play gets into full swing it might all be for naught.
Big 11\ACC Challenge
Work has been hellacious this work and my wife is sick so I haven’t gotten to watch as much basketball as I would have liked. So my thoughts around some of the remaining games in the slate will be fairly brief.
First and foremost the ACC pulled it off again which is always a good thing for the conference especially in a “down year” like the one we’re having this year. You also need to consider that two of the “rebuilding” ACC teams took top 15 Big 11 teams down to the wire. I think the ACC will be just fine when March rolls around.
Florida State 97 over Purdue 57
Where the fuck did that come from? Florida State ran a nice up-tempo game against a completely overmatched Purdue squad. I think they even managed to get at least 15 students together that knew the rules to basketball in their auditorium which is always a moral victory for the Seminole nation. I suspect many of them were probably just hoping to get an opportunity to throw things at Jeff Bowden should he be there.
Illinois 68 over UNC 64
In the first 5 minutes of this game, I thought UNC was going to get run out of their own gym. They stuck with it by playing solid methodical basketball and letting Dee Brown throw up some awful looking shots (my god he can handle the rock though.) David Noel is setting himself up to be the surprise player of the ACC this year. He looked very solid in what I saw of this game. And thank god for Tyler Hansbrough. Duke has held the goofy looking white kid monopoly for far too long. I don’t think UNC has had a kid this goofy and this white with this much talent since Eric Montross was a lock to be drafted by the Celtics. Bravo to Coach Williams on bringing back a Carolina tradition.
Although I think there might be something nefarious afoot with Hansbrough and McRoberts. See below.
Iowa 45 over NC State 42
I love NC State games. Whenever the score rolls by you have to double check to make sure they aren’t showing a football score. I tried watching some of this game last night and it was like watching flies fuck. I’d run their game down some more, but Hewitt is 0-4 against the Pack in his last two years. So I guess their old-time basketball works somewhat.
Next up on Discovery, NC State vs. Air Force. What a moment!
Duke 75 over Indiana 67
I’m just not 100% sold on the dominance of this Duke team yet. Redick has become an undeniable all-star player (even if he’s still a bad poetry writing fairy.) Chewbacca is still the landlord, although Killingsworth was giving him fits. And McRoberts and\or Paulus are set to carry the torch of annoying white Duke douchebags that stick a dagger in your heart at every opportunity.
Despite all of that, there’s just some congruence missing in how this squad plays together and they seem too foul and turnover prone to stay #1 all season. Paulus is becoming the new Jason Williams (Miami Heat version) in that he either makes a gorgeous feed or no-looks it into the Indian kid sitting just to the right of the Duke bench. I think Texas bumps them off on the 10th. Of course Coach Ratface manages to find ways to win when you think they’re down.
(Picture: I'd be careful if I was you. The Landlord has been known to rip people's arms off when he loses.)
Same Player Different Teams?
Finally, until somebody proves to me otherwise I’m going to continue believing that there are no such persons as Josh McRoberts and Tyler Hansbrough. I think they are the same superman cloned from the DNA of Larry Bird, Danny Ferry, and a small piece of Adam Morrisson’s junior high style mustache. I think this player then travels from game to game swapping jerseys in between and gaining power from the ridicule of opposing fan bases.
Look he even played for both sides of the Mickey D’s AA teams
First we need to consider the evidence of the case. One, there is no way that Duke let’s a goofy white kid like Hansbrough slip past them unless they knew he would actually be playing for them. This is a school whose entire basketball foundation is based on annoying white kids that look like they should be in homes for people with special needs that can play basketball. Bilas, Laettner, Hurley, Ferry, Redick, the list goes on and on from there.
Duke’s annual letterman’s game is a little different than most schools.
Secondly, I think we need to start looking into this recent trend of coordinated white kids that can actually play in the paint. Either Larry Bird was his generations Wilt Chamberlain and just didn’t write a biography about it or human cloning has come farther than we thought. McRoberts, Davis, Hansbrough, Morrisson, can all score from anywhere on the court when recent trends had tended to force the small white kid to the outside and the big white kid to the inside. I’m not too caught up on my bible, but I could swear one of the signs of the apocalypse had to deal with white kids with tiny mustaches being talented basketball players.
Most likely it’s a question without an answer, or until UNC and Duke actually play at the same time. Until then we’ll have to consider it one of the NCAA’s great unsolved mysteries.