One trap avoided. Despite Wake being in disarray, getting this win -- on the road against a talented team, with off nights from our two stars -- should not be overlooked. Here are my takeaways:
Dudley and Smith’s night (with a few expectations listed below). Wake’s collapsing zone was obviously designed to stop Smith and Dudley. It worked. Yet despite their lack of points I really liked many of the things they did. Both had huge games on the boards. It is refreshing to see them attack the glass when other things are not working. Dudley was starting to heat up before he split his lip. Smith didn’t get involved in the offense due to foul trouble and Rice being hot…and it was a good thing. Some nights we just need rebounds. I remember Danya’s last year. He demanded the ball and it hurt the rest of the team. If Craig is big enough to get his points in the flow of the game when things are working well, than so be it.
Rice. It was one of those nights where everything was going in. I don’t expect it every game, but his presence and willingness to chuck it is comforting. He is going to need to work on his passing. Some of his turnovers were obvious showboating displays, but what concerned me was when he would get trapped and try to jump over the pressure. With his size, he is either going to have to keep dribbling or find little moves with his pivot foot to get separation.
Williams growing pains. Williams had another awkward night. But two mistakes stood out and showed me that he is trying and learning. The first was when he was called for a moving screen trying to set a pick for Rice. Not something you would put in an instructional video but another example of him at least trying to contribute offensively. The other mistake that I took as a good sign was when he blocked out his man from the basket on a rebound…which he didn’t get. Wake’s Williams swooped into the recently cleared space and grabbed the uncontested board. What I liked is that Sean is trying to box out and doing a good job on his man. He just needs a little more seasoning to understand what other players are trying to do. Once his feel for the game meets his athletic ability, BC will have an all conference player.
Foul shooting. Missing so many late made the game much more interesting than it should have been. No easy solutions. It just gets scary. Smith’s night worried me the most, since it appeared he fixed his stroke a week ago.
Smith’s foul trouble. Majerus nailed it -- Craig commits dumb fouls. For all of Coach K’s spin on the foul disparity, he was right about one thing: you need to know how to avoid fouls. Craig needs to play smarter. If he is in foul trouble there is no reason to reach for a steal or go for the block. Just play good fundamental ball and get rebounds.
Using Oates. Another slow start at the beginning of the game and the start of the second half. It is not all Oates fault, but he brings so little to the table. His fouls are dumb, not the type that wear on another player and seemingly result in a lot of three point opportunities. McLain is our best option at Center and should be getting most of the minutes.
Another win. Not the perfect game, but a great coming out party for Rice.