Switching Dudley and Marshall's roles attacking the zone. Last year and earlier this year we would put Marshall on the wing, Dudley on the baseline and Smith in the lane when attacking the 2-3. Dudley and Smith were deadly with the high-low. Yet Marshall rarely exploited the open looks. Last night Marshall was on the baseline and Dudley was at that wing. Marshall is not as effective as Dudley down low (but he still has his moments) and Dudley is a better perimeter shooter and passer, so overall it was an upgrade and nice adjustment to Wake’s strategy in the first game.
Breaking the pressure. Wake was hardly aggressive with their traps and presses, but when they did apply pressure, BC broke it easily. Honestly, my biggest fear going into the tournament is facing a team with an effective trapping defense. Last night’s success was encouraging.
Foul shooting. Not to get all statistical on you (and this is not my strong suit) but obviously each foul shot is an independent event. A rough game from the line (NC State) doesn’t guarantee that the next will be better (Wake). But over the course of a few games the foul shooting is likely to revert to its statistical average. I am always relieved when it does. My fear with multiple bad games from the line is that we are not a good foul shooting team. As it stands now, we are an above average, yet very inconsistent, foul shooting team. If we can just get rid of the inconsistency I will stop worrying all together.
Our starts. Skinner had this to say: “We’ve had a tendency to get off to slow starts. I don’t know what the reason is…". I’ll give you one reason -- Oates. It is not all on him. The team does often come out flat, but Oates is a huge defensive liability. Against a good team, he will cost us early points. I don’t expect the coaching staff to change now, but we need to have the quickest hook possible for him as we get into tournament play.
Rice's play making. Rice is dynamic and players like him are hard to contain. Someone just needs to sit him down and explain that he can make plays and look good, he just needs to pass with a little more control.
Marshall’s outside shooting. Where did anyone get the impression that Marshall was a good shooter? He’s looked awful lately. Despite misplaying a few passes, I think he has looked much better closer to the basket.
I like how the team is coming together. Hats off to Skinner for keeping them on track after the awful start. Now let’s win on Saturday and lock up the 2 seed in the ACC Tournament.