Sunday, March 04, 2007

Georgia Tech thoughts and pics

Rough game. But before I get into specific criticisms of this game, let me take a moment to defend the team and certainly defend Al. Basketball is a lot about matchups and styles of play. As long as Paul Hewitt is at Tech and Skinner is at BC it will be a tough matchup for us. Hewitt recruits athletic kids, coaches a suffocating style of defense and substitutes like a hockey coach. They take risks on steals and clutch and grab on every play knowing that only so many fouls will be called. This same sort of approach has frustrated us in the past (for example Pitt under Howland and UW-Milwaukee). But Al is willing to bet (and I am too) that our defense will settle in, that we’ll eventually adjust and get some easy baskets and we’ll beat them at the foul line. It didn’t happen Sunday, but Al has my trust. Also, I’ve seen a lot of posts on the blogs and message boards talking about uninspired play or lack of effort. Maybe it came off differently on TV but in person these guys were trying. They didn’t play well, but it wasn’t really an effort issue. Things were sloppy, Tech certainly got to them, but the huddles were focused and the guys were communicating well. And finally we played Tech at the wrong time. They are peaking now and are always tough at home. All these folks who are coming down on this team are coming off as spoiled to me. Virginia and Virginia Tech both finished their seasons with bad losses. This is the ACC. Every game is tough. But Al has produced in two years in the conference and this year did it with very little talent. He lost his second best player in January, yet we still finished in the top four of the ACC. I am not proud of this loss, but I am proud of this team and this coach. I still think we can make a little run here, but if we don’t, so what? This team accomplished a lot despite numerous short comings and provided some very exciting moments. Here are my thoughts related to this game:

-- Spears showing signs of life. I was worried about Shamari, but he came to play. He still had some issue with his hands, but in general played well and was not afraid to shoot when everyone else seemed tentative.
-- Blair finishing. He has the ability and strength to close down a dunk. That might seem silly to get excited about, but his counterpart (Oates) does not have the same ability. Next season, Blair should be able to contribute 10 or so points in our offense.
-- Sean Marshall fighting to keep us in it. Some are getting on Marshall’s case. He ran the floor hard, handled more than he normally would or should and hit two big 3s when we were floundering. Of course we came up short, but he stepped up when we needed something.

-- Rice’s recklessness. Tech forces a lot of TOs but some of Rice problems were pure sloppyness or moments of panic. Plus he killed us by not getting shots off as the clock ran down. He couldn’t get the ball to Dudley in good spots. He just did not have a good night.
-- Dudley’s rebounding. I know he got 6 boards, but it was not a good night. I don’t know if he is in pain or is tired, but he let a lot of guys push him around.
-- Everything about Roche. That was ugly. The kid looked so out of place. What is he bringing to the table? He needs to be ready for a kick out – not posting at the top of the key. And we had to go to the 2-3 when he was out there to protect him defensively.

Maryland might be the hottest team in the conference, but I like our chances. This team is in the tournament, but they need to regroup and need a few breaks.


Bravesbill said...

You are an Al Skinner homer. As he proved yet again today, his in-game coaching abilities are severely weak. He had 8 days to prepare for Ga Tech and this was the game plan he drew up? Sure as heck looked like the same exact game plan he utilized in blow out losses to Va Tech and Duke. He does not use his personnel efficiently and he makes 0 in game adjustments. Name one thing he did to try to break the full court press or defend that alley-oop play Ga Tech kept running. The performance by the Eagles was uninspired; they came out flat again like they normally do. All of this reflects on one person: Al Skinner. If you think we have a chance against Maryland, you're smoking the good stuff. They blow us out by double digits at least is Al doesn't make the changes he needs to make. This season is nothing more than disappointing even after losing Sean Williams. After he was dismissed, the team still looked decent, but now the wheels have fallen off the bus and Al has done nothing to fix it. I guess I was right. All of you Al defenders who absolutely bashed me when I said I would take Paul Hewitt as my in-game coach over Al Skinner any day of the week have egg all over your face. What an absolute joke he is. Hewitt embarassed Skinner; he coached circles around him. Not one adjustment before this game by Skinner and he was given 8 days to prepare! When BC gets mauled by Maryland by double digits on national television again, I would not be surprised in the least to see them headed to the NIT after this absolutely collapse at the end of the season. It is what this team would truly deserve.

b said...

Well, Bravesbill, at least you got the name of your blog right.

Matthew said...

well bravesbill, thanks again for saying the same thing 10 different ways on 10 different blogs.

i have to agree with atl eagle... people say this team is playing uninspired, but I dont see any difference in their style of play when they win and when they lose. when they beat maryland and michigan state and va tech and virginia, Al had the same coaching style, and the team approached the game in the same manner.

If you are going to give him crap for every loss, you need to give him credit for every win, because it is the same stlye and philosophy that produces both.

And saying this team "truly deserves" the NIT? One win away from winning the best conference is nothing to sneeze at. All people do is rip all of the players and the coach. If skinner is a terrible coach, and this team barely has any talent, how the hell did they win 10 games in the acc? I assure you that these kids want to win, whether you approve of them or not...they have done enough to get into the tourney, and we all know what can happen when march arrives.

Enjoy the tourney, and I can't wait to see your "bitter" post if and when the Eagles' season ends with a loss.

Bravesbill said...

I keep saying the same exact thing every time because they continually need to be said. There is absolutely no excuse for making no adjustments in-game or between game. And if this is the best performance Al could muster from his troops after an 8 day layoff, well then that's pathetic. Just because BC gets a win, does not mean Al deserves the credit. A lot of the time BC wins despite Al like in the two FSU games. And BC should win other games against weak teams like UNH no matter what Al does. However, when the coach continually helps lose you games, well thats where I draw the line. Whether its a terrible meltdown to Duquesne or this recent streak where BC seems to get blown out by everyone, Al has done absolutely nothing to help BC win. What exactly did he do today to help break the press? What exactly did he do to freakin inbounds the ball? He did absolutely nothing the entire game. If its broke, you fix it. You don't wait until it magically fixes itself. And if it doesn't work for 5 games in a row, there's no way in hell you can just sit there and do nothing about it like Al does. You Al defenders call it "patience." I call it pure stupidity. There's a reason why Doug Gottlieb picked BC as the most disappointing team in the ACC this season. And it starts at the top with Al. This game rivaled TOB's performance against Miami last season as one of the worst coaching performances in any sport this year.

ATL_eagle said...

Bravesbill, give it a rest. No adjustments? You mean like switching defenses throughout? You mean like bringing Shamari and Marshall up to the wing to break the press? How about giving Oates the quick hook? Fuck Gottlieb. He's probably watched 3 BC games this whole season. Tech is tough at home. Ask Duke or UNC. And as far as underachieving...after we lost Williams we were in the bottom half of the ACC talent wise. Yet we still finished in the top of the conference.

tpsreports said...

Judging by your pics I was about 10 rows behind you. I'm with you on Roche--he doesn't have the physical strength to hold his spot in the flex but he doesn't have the athleticism to get his shot off either. Between he and Oates they saw 26 minutes and produced 1 point, a few rebounds an not much else. we can't expect to win w/ such little production from two starters. Ummm why do they start again??
There aren't enough whistles in atlanta to call all of the fouls tech was committing but I think they just drafted the blueprint on how to beat us. The truth lies somewhere in between Eagle and bravesbill...I'm ecstatic that we've won 10 games with this group but certainly there is a little more Al can be doing here. Rice is too little a guy to not have more help and drawing up simple plays to safely inbound the ball should be squared away in November. I think if we get blown out by Maryland on friday we all might be squirming some on sunday night.

ATL_eagle said...

No squirming. We're in. There is no way they are leaving out an ACC team with an RPI in the low 30s. Won't happen. TPS reports, I was two rows behind Ted. I had a BC hat and rocked the maroon pants.

flutie22phelan20 said...

All you need to know about Doug Gottleib is that he said BC would not win another game in the conference after Williams was suspended. He is an absolute jerk who fails to realize he comments on college basketball where (most of) the players are not being paid.

I'm worried about this team. I think they deserve to make the tournament, but if we lose to Maryland that will be 5 of 6, at least three of which were blow outs.

Al Skinner is undoubtedly a good coach, and anybody thinking otherwise is insane. The team can look bad, but they only have 2 true ACC-calibur basketballl players in the lineup right I'd say they're doing pretty well with the guys on the court. And, help, supposedly's on the way...if it doesn't come, some criticism will be warranted. But Al has kept BC at a remarkably high level, with remarkable consistency. Bravesbill's guy, Hewitt, has utterly failed at that.

Dan said...

Coming from the other side of the fence, I agree with a good bit of what you said. I kept telling my wife and other Tech fans that we were a bad match-up for BC and I think it showed. But I don't think there was a lack of effort or caring. Dudley was really trying to fire up the huddle during TO's. Although I do think having to shoulder the load of carrying this team has worn him down some. I honestly did not expect to contain him as well as we did.

BC absolutely deserves a tourney shot, regardless of what happens in the ACC tourney.

ClassO10 said...

Anyone else hope Miami beats the Terps like they did in January? Oh, I am such a Hurricane fan Thursday.

Joe Jones said...

I understand the quantitative and reputational argument, that no ACC team with a sub-40 RPI fails to make the tournament. But really, does Boston College at this moment look anything like a NCAA team? Really? The 10-6 ACC record, with wins over Maryland and MSU, was built exclusively on the back of Sean Williams. Do you really think Boston College would beat GT, FSU, Clemson, Michigan, Iowa, or Georgia on a neutral court today? Of course not. If the Committee does its job, it will select the pool based on the answer to that question, and throw Williams-fueled biased statistics out the window.

You will fuss if the committee opens its eyes, but it would be a real statement for fairness and justice if the committee said, "Yes, Boston College is 34 in the RPI and 10-6 in the ACC, but they're a joke. Tell Al Skinner to show up at the office before noon if he wants to play in the Tournament".

Bravesbill said...

Last time I checked Paul Hewitt has been to the FInal Four and Al Skinner hasn't. What's your point?

ATL_eagle said...

Hewitt's Final Four team was loaded. The guy underachieves with his talent every year. The team we faced yesterday has two lottery picks and four guys who will probably play in the NBA yet they are 8-8 in conference and have 1 road win. Give me Skinner any day.

Bravesbill said...

Hewitt has done wonders with his team this year. His team has 6 freshman, 10 lower-classmen and just 1 senior. His team should be good for years to come.

Angry Eagle said...

Love the reference to Hewitt going to the Final Four three years ago. Do you remember who they escaped in the 2nd round? None other than your BC Eagles. Had Jermaine Watson hit a runner in the final 5 seconds, it would have been BC in the Sweet Sixteen. And while we're on the subject, had Sean Williams picked up the ball that rolled thru his legs with 3 secs left against Nova last year, it would have been BC in the Elite Eight. That's not coaching, those are the breaks. Everybody's entitled to an opinion, but 23-12 in the ACC over 2 years speaks for itself in my view.

Bravesbill said...

And if Al had drawn up a decent play to defend an in-bounds pass, which Wright drew up to perfection, BC would have gone to the Elite 8.