Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Can't stop the bleeding

The defensive effort in the first half was strong. Guys were ball hawking and rebounding. It looked promising. Then things feel apart again. I've been trying to remain positive. Not tonight. Half court offense -- an area where we should be strong -- was atrocious. Everyone just stands around waiting for Rice. He forced things. Sanders forced things. Raji had some curious shots. The offense didn't get better in the second half and the defensive effort lapsed. No offense and lazy D equals blowout.

Lacking an offensive identity and being young is understandable. But there is no excuse for the passive effort. Blair seemed lifeless. Rice and Sanders looked beaten down. The only guy who played with any life was Spears -- but that doesn't excuse him for chucking up some awful shots including a 3!


Good news: Southern and Raji played hard but are still very raw. Things looked better once they went to the 2-3.


I don't know where to go from here. We need to have an alternative to Rice. We need another set or play that can score consistently. I don't expect a win against UNC, but I hope for a better showing.

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19 Comments:

At 12:31 AM, Blogger Bravesbill said...

Blame another loss on Al. Once again he fails to make any adjustments on offense, when it struggles to make baskets. This is the recurring theme the past 1 1/2 months. Look for Al to remain with the flex the rest of the season, even though it is obvious it has not worked effectively recently. What a horrible coach.

 
At 12:43 AM, Blogger Andrew said...

He's playing 4 freshmen. The team is just not up to the task this year. If you want to blame that on Al, that's different, but Wooden would not win with this team this year.

Great prediction. What else would we look for? "Look for Al to completely abandon his philosophy on scoring the basketball in the middle of the season during which he is trying to teach it to his undermanned team."

 
At 8:50 AM, Blogger Christopher said...

I agree with Andrew - Bravesbill, whether it is football or basketball I have never seen you say something positive, and that gets about as old as watching BC basketball look this bad - give this team a break. The past few years Al has given us great teams, great games and great wins. This year we have one weapon and no true big man - of course we are going to struggle. I can't wait to see what awful/discouraging things you have to say about our new qb next year, Frank Spaziani's defense, Jags and Logan's mistakes, etc.

 
At 8:54 AM, Blogger Guest1 said...

'What a horrible coach'. I couldn't disagree more. Of course this season has been a disappointment, but look at the bigger picture. We stole an excellent coach from RI and one of the most underrated in the country. You can argue his ability to make in game adjustments or ability consistently motivate, but you can not argue 5 NCAA bids in six years starting in 2000 or a .730 winning percentage during that time. That is no where near horrible.

 
At 9:45 AM, Blogger Andrew S. said...

I understand Atl's comments about being frustrated by the lack of effort at times on the court. Even during some of the best years under Al, (Smith/Dudley teams) they would seemingly have games that were closer than they should've been or even a loss to an inferior team because our boys didn't seem to come with hustle... I remember wondering what would happen if we weren't so lucky as to have star scorers/leaders like Smith and Dudley (who seemingly never took a play off.)

I can only hope that one of the young guys getting time these days will become a good leader on the court and get his teammates to play hard and smart. IMO, for all the good that Skinner brings to BC bball, motivation doesn't seem to be his specialty.

 
At 10:38 AM, Blogger Dports1 said...

After the huge turnaround that Reverend Al brought to BC hoops, 6 NCAA tournaments appearances, and constant influx of underappreciated talent, the man deserves a pass for a .500 season.

For the die hard hoops fans, a season like this is tough to bear. But for everyone else at BC, hoops is the 3rd most important sport, and treated accordingly. Yet Al has succeeded in spite of the (relative) obscurity.

What's more, Al runs a tight ship and avoids the air of scandal and NCAA sanctions -- a fact that gets lost as we focus on IU and their problems. I'd like to see how a less scrupulous coach/school would have handled the Ryan Sidney, Andrew Bryant and Sean Williams situations of the past few years.

In 2 years when these frosh are juniors, I think we'll all be praising Al again...

 
At 10:42 AM, Blogger Lally said...

Of course, Bill, I see you fail to note that when we do leave the flex and halfcourt offense for a more open scheme, our defense breaks down even further and the game slips away. While this team has more athletes than I can remember on a BC basketball team, we will remain in the flex 1) until our team shows some discipline and commitment on the defensive end and 2) because Rice has to be on the floor 40 minutes for us to have a chance. The flex slows the game down and gives Rice the ability to play a full game.

 
At 11:00 AM, Blogger ATL_eagle said...

Al is not the problem. He is trying everything. I think the problem is we didn't bring in an impact player last season (Spears/Roche Class) and there isn't a dominant player among the freshmen. They've all shown flashes but none are of the Bell/Smith/Dudley mold where we can count on them for consistent offense.

 
At 11:16 AM, Blogger BCDoubleEagle said...

But isn't it Al's responsibility to recruit those impact players?

 
At 11:32 AM, Blogger Christopher said...

Sure Al wants to recruit those kinds of players but we are BC, we cannot just snap our fingers and have them come. I am not one of those who believes in a ceiling for BC sports (like TOB), but I do believe in the framework of our players as student athletes and good citizens. While I do believe that BC can compete for the best awards and positions, I do not believe we will ever be able to expect it like Florida or Ohio State. After all Al has done for us and all the exciting seasons, don't jump on him for not being able to bring O.J. Mayo or Kevin Love to the Heights. Give him a break - he has earned it and proven himself in the pass. If things don't get better next year and/or the year after, then maybe it is time to seek more answers from Al.

 
At 11:34 AM, Blogger ATL_eagle said...

Sure. Finding talent is part of Al's job. The point I was trying to make was that in game coaching, game strategy is not the problem right now. It is talent, effort and understanding roles. That is still on the coaching staff. It is just harder to fix midseason.

 
At 12:27 PM, Blogger Tim said...

I think the idea that Al isn't finding enough talent is laughable. One could reasonably argue that three of the top five (maybe four of the top ten by the end of next year) players in the history of our program have played in the last five years. We're not yet a destination for blue-chip basketball players, but the job that Al has done to even put us on the national radar is impressive. This year sucks, but I think we'll be in a much better place a year from now.

 
At 2:02 PM, Blogger Eagle in Somerville said...

I'm not endorsing tanking, but there are advantages to losing right now.
Even if we had won more games and made the tournament, we wouldn't have gone far. Plus, Tyrese Rice would have gotten more national exposure and it would increase the likelihood of him testing the draft waters.
Now, freshman like Southern are getting a chance to play and develop, and we are primed for a great season next year during Rice's senior year, with a group of some of the most talented sophomore classes in the country.
If Al can keep bringing in recruits like he did with this batch of Freshman, we are looking at a very bright future for BC hoops.

 
At 4:25 PM, Blogger Andrew said...

All four freshmen look to be legit ACC players. I'd bet that Sanders, who has a NBA body already, steps it up over the next couple of years to become the big scoring star.

There is no excuse for poor foul shooting. And the team has consistently failed to get back on defense. Those are coaching deficiencies if you ask me. Gotta take the good with the bad though and there has been way more good than bad with Skinner at BC.

 
At 6:38 PM, Blogger Bravesbill said...

Al's problem isn't recruiting, it's retention. How many players have either transfered or have been booted from the team since 2002? The reason why BC is doing horribly this year is because 12 players have left the program in the last 6 years. This is why BC has a horrible senior and junior class. That's not exactly the recipe of success. Further, if BC is down by 20, do you really think that staying in the flex will do anything for the team? Bricking shot after shot or committing infinite turnovers will do nothing for BC or its confidence. When BC struggles to score baskets, Al needs to abandon the flex and open things up. Put some people in motion, look for players cutting, set more screens. Every player just sits around and watches Rice--it's almost like watching the Lakers play with Kobe the last 2 seasons before this one. BC can never get an open look when Rice is double and even triple teamed because there is no movement. If Al would open things up and let Rice create off the dribble more, BC's offense would be much more effective.

And yes, I am critical of the BC coaches who deserve the criticism. I was all over TOB and rightly so. I have been all over Spaz the past 5 years because he utilizes a terrible defensive scheme (drop zone), which has been proven ineffective time and time. And yes, I have been critical of Skinner for the past 8 or so years simply because he is a bad in-game coach. His teams over underachieve as well because Al never seems to light a fire under his players. I have given props to Al though on numerous occasions for his ability to recruit and develop the talent that no one else wants. Al is a great recruiter and developer but a bad Xs and Os coach.

 
At 10:02 AM, Blogger flutie22phelan20 said...

The credibility of someone who bashes Skinner and Spaz as bad and ineffective coaches is zero.

Neither are perfect. But they're both damn good coaches. I'd like Bravesbill to name one coach in the country who would have taken BC to 6 tournaments in 7 years (and we all know it should have been 7 in 7), and would have not used our school as a stepping stone. And perhaps lets name a D coordinator who would have been able to take our injury-ravaged defense and go beat Clemson on the road last year. I think we're all waiting to hear that response.

 
At 4:38 PM, Blogger Matthew said...

I agree with the general sentiment that this season is just a young team that will hopefully come together next year. Side note though to whoever said basketball is the third most important sport? When did you graduate, 1945? Hockey fell behind a while ago - just ask any current student who grew up south of Worcester.

 
At 5:35 PM, Blogger Bravesbill said...

Flutie, both of your arguments are inane and misplaced. First, TOB rebuilt BC football from the shadows of the betting scandal. He took BC to a bowl game 8 times in a row, winning 7 of those in a row. That does not mean TOB is some great coach. Quite the contrary. The measure of a great coach is not the ability to make the postseason, but what he actually does in the postseason. BC basketball, like the football program, has failed to achieve any level of success under Al. In fact, BC tends to underachieve in the tournament, just look at its loss to UW-Milwaukee. So the fact that Al has made all these tournament appearances means absolutely nothing.

Next, you bring up the Clemson game to attempt to establish how great Spaz is. But this is a misplaced argument. The reason why BC beat Clemson was because Clemson played right into the strength of BC's defense (run). Clemson did not have a good quarterback, which did not allow Clemson to open up its offense. If Clemson had a decent QB, there's no doubt it would have had another 300 yard passer (BC gave up at least 7 300 yard passers last year). And (in the words of John McCain) my friend, one game means nothing. It's the totality of the game sin a season and a career. BC's defense has always been pretty mediocre even with decent talent. The problem with Spaz is that he does not play to the strengths of his defense: this past season being the defensive line and linebackers. Spaz always played a drop zone coverage (which is a prevent-lite) defense that proved ineffective time and again. There will always be an opening or a soft spot in any zone defense. This allowed quarterbacks (even horrible backup QBs) to just shred the BC defense this year. The key to success is to pressure the QB as the Pats found out. If Spaz played into the strengths of his defense, he would have blitzed 5-6 players half the time. Spaz did seem to grasp this concept toward the end of the season, which I give him credit for. And as for your last question, I'd take the defense coordinator of over half the D-I schools in the country.

 
At 12:07 AM, Blogger Andrew said...

I don't know what this is going to accomplish, but bravesbill, you seriously have no idea about basketball. A hallmark of Skinner's teams has been the ability to come back from a big deficit. Did you watch, e.g., BC come back against Providence earlier in the year? Nobody opened up anything and they came back to go up with a minute left by just good defense and playing in the offense. (I know they lost, PC hit a bunch of threes in the last minute and OT.) All I had to do was read "Put some people in motion, look for players cutting, set more screens." Yeah, guys, go set some more screens! More screens than a flex offense? OK. And let me know the next a team triple teams anyone in any game. Skinner has a much better idea about basketball offense than you ever will, but it's funny that you think the opposite. Your "analysis" is kinda like when new or young football fans want their team to throw the bomb every down and abandon the run. Open it up!

I agree that Skinner is not a great game coach. The point is, you don't get to pick some mythical perfect coach to take your program to a NC. Your measure of achievement is silly. You can't judge a coach solely by how the team does in the tourney. Skinner's teams almost always over-achieve by most standards. That's because they are well prepared and well coached for situations they are put in. That said, it would be nice to see a good run in the tournament, but other than losing to that torrid UW-M team that year, I think they have done ok.

This year is a bad year to point out anything other than the team is too young. Fortunately, pretty much everyone agrees that they will be a force in the league next year.

 

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