Michigan State loss -- my take
Tough loss Tuesday. Others came out saying BC is a flawed team and this exposed them. I sort of agree with that, but let me list the positives here first: BC hung with a Final Four team on a night where the Spartans shot the lights out, almost won with a mediocre effort on defense and with major mistakes from the team’s second best player. Jared Dudley is one of the five best players in the country and looks unstoppable in the low post. The team calmly overcame two huge deficits. That is it for the positives.
Now the negatives. Craig Smith played liked crap. I am glad that Vega took this angle, because that is all I could think about as Dickie V. moaned that BC needed to get Smith more involved. I know Vitale only has one eye, but was he watching the same game I was? Smith was very good in the first half. In the second he was terrible. His rebounding suffered. He was forcing bad shots. He turned the ball over. And he was trying to play face up to the basket. That is not his game. He needs to work the boards and make good passes. His points will come. Others were killing him for his foul shooting. I won’t. I expect it at this point. BC shouldn’t expect him to be Larry Bird from the line. They should expect him to be a smart player in the post.
The second thing that hurt was the transition defense. BC got killed here. Just lacking effort and composure. No one got back in time. By the time we started pressuring the inbounds MSU had already made their run.
Lack of adjustments hurt too. I like Al and have given him a pass for years on in game management. I thought he let this one slip away last night. Why didn’t we play more 2-3? It was working and it was the only way to cover up Oates defensively. He was doing an okay job when he didn't have to guard anyone down low and could work the boards. If he is in there for long strenches, the 2-3 is the only way we can help him defensively.
Overall, one loss does not ruin the season. How the team bounces back against Maryland will be a much better indicator of how this year will go.
Now let me dispel something that Bob Ryan and Andy Katz said -- that BC is not a top 10 team without Sean Williams. I don’t agree. Williams was a raw role player on last year’s team that got into the top 10. Dudley and Smith alone have enough talent to carry this team. But they both need to play smart and hard every night. Dudley has so far. Smith hasn’t. This core group accomplished a lot without Sean Williams last year. This team sans Sean Williams almost beat Michigan State on a night where the Spartans weren’t missing anything. Now suddenly they are not good? I like Katz and Ryan but I think they are slighting the guys out there. I think the team lacks a sense of urgency, but if anything, this game made me feel better about the season. We’ll see if I am still feeling the same way after we play the Terps.