Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Growing pains

I know many of you didn't see this. Let me tell you: I am amazed we were shooting to tie the game with seconds left. We had no right being that close. It was an ugly game where very few things went right in the second half. The bright side is that considering all the problems, the team kept it close. Here are my thoughts on the game.

-- Solid minutes from Roche. He hit his shots. He played good D. He had his best game of the year.
-- Raji's anticipation. Penetration was killing us in the second half. Eventually you could see Raji begin to slide over to slow it down and get the rebound.
-- Fighting back. At times in the Skinner era when the team got down, the effort seemed to fade too, leading to the occasional blowout. This game and the Providence game could have gone that way but didn't. These guys fight back.

-- Tempo. We played their game. We rarely got into our set offense. It was sloppy.
-- Reacting to the half court trap. They kept pressuring Rice and we couldn't create anything off of it. The other guards need to help him and we need people cutting for easy baskets.
-- Interior D. Why are Oates and Blair hovering at the perimeter? This led to the easy penetration by the pesky UMass guards.
-- Spear's fadeaway. He loves that shot and it never seems to drop. It also takes him away from the good rebounding position.
-- ESPN U's coverage. Andy Katz was great. Everything else sucked. Rooke was off. The edits, cuts and graphics were terrible. I appreciate that ESPN U is another outlet for us to watch, but the production can be really hit or miss.


Matthew said...

great minutes from Oates... it would be nice for all his naysayers out there to give credit when it is actually deserved.

How can Blair look so good sometimes and so bad other times? He should have dominated offensively tonight, but he did nothing. One thing is for sure -- he cannot rebound, and we are going to have trouble this year on the defensive boards. No one seals off their men. Everyone knows rebounding is about heart commitment, and there is often a lack of that. I'd like to see Sanders/Blair/other actually throw their ass into somebody.

Yes we played to their tempo. But we still managed to be slow after they scored their baskets. We are every opposing coaches dream -- we give them enough time to set up their press and then some.

When teams double team Rice, our offense is stopped. No one spreads out/moves, and people don't move the ball quick enough to take advantage of what should be a 4 on 3, and a layup.

Not impressed with our defensive adjustments. How many times did they screen for the ball and we were too slow to switch and too slow to help. I know their guards were athletic, but still not an excuse.

Just a bump in the road of a long season. Hopefully we can go into the rest of our ACC schedule with one loss at most. And a competitive game against Kansas would be nice too.

Bravesbill said...

Can someone for the love of God tell me why Al can't form a "T" with his hands? Once again he showed what a putrid game manager he is. How does BC still have 4 timeouts in the last minute again?! Why does Al refuse to call timeouts to try to control the tempo of the game or at least break up a 20-4 UMass run in the second half. There is no excuse why UMass should have gone on a 20-4 run and Al is left with 4 timeouts in the final minute. And how about calling a timeout in the last 10 second to set up a play instead of having Rice dribble down the court and chuck up a 3. It did not work against Providence, what made him think it would work this time. It didn't help that Rice had to pump fake to get 2 defenders to fly by him. After the pump fake, you knew Rice was not going to hit the shot. It was way out of rhythm. The only thing Al does well is to not let his team quite even when it is down big. However, BC would not be down big if Al knew how to use timeouts and manage game situations better.

ATL_eagle said...

Matthew, the reason I didn't give Oates more kudos, was because his offense was good but his defense was bad. How many times did he get caught too far from the basket?

Matt said...

We have joked about Skinner not using timeouts for about 6 years reason that will change now. Was at the game last night - UMASS had their center (whoever Oates/Blair was guarding) set up at the top of the key and give a high screen for the ballhandler. We switched EVERY time and Oates/Blair got burned, there was no help, and UMASS had a layup line going to the hoop. Al did NOTHING to adjust to this after several easy baskets. Horrible.

Would like to see Raji in the game earlier. Spears was off, and couldnt compete at that tempo. We had a lineup at the end of the first half that played great, and we didnt get that lineup back onto the floor until it was almost too late in the second half and we were in a big hole.

Also, I would say the crowd, similar to the crowd against providence at the garden, at times felt like it was an away game with UMASS fans being louder than BC fans.

Matthew said...


i didn't mean you specifically, I just meant anyone who always rips on him. I do the same, but last night he played better than usual.

Yes, he and Blair got caught up at the top of the key way too often after their man set the screen for the ball-handler. It was awful to watch that continue to happen - that's the kind of thing that should fool you once, and then you just hang back, I don't get it.

But yeah, Oates got a couple of nice rebounds, and made a couple of nice shots. More than he usually does, so I thought he deserved a mention that isn't negative for once. And he played better than Blair, so it was good that we had him (even though we still lost)

jay said...

spears has worse hands than my eight-year-old sister.

Angry Eagle said...

I agree with most of what you say, but Roche had another weak game, especially on D. He lost his man about 5 times for layups, and he is a huge liability in the backcourt when the opposition presses Rice. Yes he drilled a couple of wide-open threes (missed a couple too), but that was all he brought to the table. I was really rooting for the kid coming into this year, but I have seen enough. He is just a limited. Marc Molinsky-like spot up shooter. If you have no other options on the bench (like last year), then fine, play him. But you can't keep Raji off the floor. I absolutely love Al but I never understand why some stiffs get so much playing time (Doornekamp, Oates, Roche), when there are much more talented guys on the bench (Sean Williams, Raji). That's the negative stuff. The positive stuff is that I love this team. Paris, Raji and Sanders are all ready-to-play ACC guys who will get a lot better by season's end, and have great careers. Rice is awesome and Blair and Spears are not great, but serviceable in the front court. I wanted that win bad last night, but if you told me they'd be 7-2 at the beginning of the year, I would've taken it. More on my blog.

Nicholas said...

BC getting ripped on by a JV magazine...great.

bceagle08 said...

i think you are correct in your criticism of our interior D/Oates. Even though it was his best game offensively (he converted his first 3 FG's of the season!) His D was atrocious as usual. I'm sure they didn't show this on TV but every time Forbes or one of the other umass players drove past Oates in the final minutes Blair became visibly upset on the bench. We needed Oates in there because no one else was rebounding but he cant guard a chair.

EagleInTheCuse said...

First, Nicholas: That article is complete crap and doesn't make any sense. Are we USC? No. We admit that. But otherwise, it's ridiculous. Don't worry about it.

About the game, I'm glad other people picked up on the man-to-man defense. Switching (or fighting through screens! Imagine that...) is an integral part of that system, and one that players learn in 4th grade (I know this, because I did!). It was awful. If you switch, commit to it for a few seconds until you can switch back. They kept having one guy trying to switch back too soon, while the player they switched with stayed as is, and it left a man wide open. It was awful.

Also, I agree with the time out complaint, although down 3 with 10 seconds left, the shot Rice got off is as good as we're going to get. I don't think the pump fake threw him off too much. It just didn't fall tonight (as it did for Providence and Maryland). But we certainly should have used a couple of time outs when things went awry in the middle of the second half.

I really like the freshman, but I have a couple complaints about Paris. He is lazy on defense, especially when trying to hustle back and contend a fast break. It's at least worth getting in there and making them maneuver around you. He just gave them open lanes on several occasions in the second half. Also, when he gets the ball when we're being pressed he dribbles once and then immediately does a behind-the-back move. It almost got stolen a couple of times last night, and if he doesn't change it up it certainly will get stolen in the ACC games.

Concerning the complaints about Blair's rebounding, I actually thought he did a better job last night. No complaints here. He grabbed 8 boards, and a few of them were fights that he won, so I'll take it. I'd love to see him establish more of an offensive prowess, and I think he has it in him. We'll see.

Not a great game, but a loss that we can certainly learn from. On a random note, did anyone notice that the last foul shot Oates shot was a fade away? What the hell was up with that?!

Matthew said...

I don't buy Blair being a rebounder. Total rebounds doesn't mean everything. I am talking about finding the nearest man and throwing your ass into him when the shot goes up. That is the sign of someone who is committed to rebounding. Blair doesn't do it, and neither does Oates. Spears does it sometimes.