Bobby Cremins drove me nuts during last night’s broadcast, but he was dead on about one comment -- BC needs to learn to put teams away. This game was in control and BC let Clemson back in. The forcefulness of the final minute -- when BC took back the upperhand – should have come into play five minutes earlier. Here are my takeaways.
Defense. Although the stats don’t show it, I thought last night might have been the best defensive effort of the season. The only reason the game was as close as it was were due to the difference in 3s made and some easy baskets Clemson got off of turnovers. The half court defense looked strong. Good rotations. Good switches. Shutting down of passing lanes. Getting Clemson to eat too much of the shot clock. Good effort by everyone.
Williams final minutes. Like with any savant, you put up with a lot of B.S. and ugliness for those moments of brilliance. When Clemson went small, Williams was a killer waiting in the paint. Especially in the final minute.
Sean Marshall playing close to the basket. This is where he should be. It is pretty clear that teams are going to shut down Smith and Dudley and force the rest of the team to beat them. Rice stepped up against Wake. Marshall stepped up against Clemson. Whatever he thinks of his shooting skills, it is his size where he usually has an advantage. If Sean sticks to backdooring and rebounding he’ll be a hero.
Ball handling under pressure. Although it hasn’t been an issue of late, it is not because the team has suddenly improved…we just haven’t been challenged much. Even Duke laid off a little. The Clemson tape should give all our remaining opponents any encouragement they need. Rice is very dynamic, but he still gets a little excited and cannot pass over the trap. This is why Hinnant and Rice should be on the floor at the same time -- it helps break the press.
Continued atrocious foul shooting. Nothing analytical to offer. Just sharing my fears. Every point counts. Hinnant missing the Technical…Smith and Rice missing some ugly ones. I guess you could call Dudley’s clutch shots a bright spot.
Stony Brook will be a nice relief from the conference play. I still feel good about the Miami game. The most troubling thing is that there really isn’t a statistical pattern to our wins and losses. I’ve been going over everything trying to look smart or get an interesting take, but there is nothing. We’ve won games when we made foul shots. We won when we missed. We’ve won with turnovers. Won when we’ve been outrebounded. Etc. I guess like last season’s undefeated start, this team doesn’t fit as cleanly into statical models as other winners. Until we win it all, we remain an unproven anomaly.