Saturday, February 23, 2008

Signs of life in another tough loss

We're now to the point where the season is over. Any pipe dream of a late run and sneaking into the tourney is dead. 8 ACC losses (and counting) is Al's worst showing in conference since 2000. All that said I am going to focus on the positive of today's loss. Another close game that will go a different way next year.

The Good
-- Southern's quick accession. Because we are losing, it makes sense for him to get more minutes. But I think he is a net positive when he is out there. He's a much better rebounder than Oates or Blair and is our only good inside scorer.
-- Paris's aggressiveness. He went at the basket and also took open shots.
-- Rice's passing. He put the ball in the right place. Guys just had trouble finishing. If he comes back next year, his assist numbers will be very impressive.

One more thing: I disagree with the announcers on Rice's quiet second half being the reason we lost. Sure when they shut down your best player, it is tough to win. But I felt the bigger factor in the loss was really the poor defense when Blair and Oates were on the floor in the second half. Once we went with a lineup of Rice, Paris, Raji, Spears and Southern, the rebounding improved as did the defense. They didn't have enough time to overcome the deficit, but Rice got the players involved and they all contributed offensively.


Big Jack Krack said...

What's this about "if Rice comes back next year"?

BCNorCal07 said...

I think there are a few factors at play in Rice determining whether he comes back.

-It's a weak draft class, purportedly. This year's juniors are a generally weak group and the draft as a whole is very top-heavy (with freshmen, mostly). I don't know what next year's draft is projected to be, but there's a good chance it's deeper.
-It's not likely that Tyrese becomes more than he is. I think he's a wonderful player and a great college scorer, but he's an undersized scoring point who doesn't shoot spectacularly well. Those are things that he won't grow out of with another year in college and will be major weaknesses in the eyes of scouts. That said, Al could always make Ty better at what he does well.

Plus, there's some assuming on our part. College hoops has gotten to the point where it's assumed that good players, even if not highly projected, are leaving early. I have no inside information and I hope Ty follows Matthias' lead from a couple years ago and stays, but that's definitely not certain.

Big Jack Krack said...

Thank you, bcnorcal07 - I appreciate your analysis.