Saturday, January 10, 2009

Quick basketball and coaching thoughts

Not a good night for the basketball team. Now we know Harvard was not an aberration. This team still makes too many mistakes. Miami's two best players were nonfactors and fouled out and we still lost. The refs didn't help BC's case, but ultimately the offense was the problem. They did not take good shots and with Raji dinged up, there were not enough second chance points. Every game is going to be an adventure this year. I'll have more thoughts on the loss Sunday afternoon.

Coaching stuff
Once again the Globe is all over the place in its coverage. I agree that with their lead that Spaz remains the frontrunner. I strongly disagree that Barry Gallup even has a shot. I imagine that was a courtesy interview at best. I also challenge Blaudschun's assertion that interviews wrapped up Saturday. I know of at least one going on Sunday. I strongly challenge that '...[Steve] Addazio appears to be the primary "outside" candidate"'. I think Addazio would be a good fit, but I don't think he's been interviewed yet and know that he is not the primary outsider.

I know I am being more coy about the process this time around, but I am not going to leak any interviewee who is a current head coach and not public yet. The last thing we need is for one of them to turtle up when things leak. As for for public names, I would rank them as follows:
1. Spaz (way out in front)
2. London
3. Holtz

As of me writing this late Saturday, Addazio has not had a face to face yet with anyone.

Coaching articles
-- Roy Johnson thinks Gene should interview Charlie Strong
-- An ACC reporter's follow up the Holtz angle. No comments all around.


WI_Eagle said...

I was at the basketball game, sat a few rows away from Spaz (he goes to a lot of bball games). Gene was in his usual spot on the opposite side of Conte and Spaz was getting a ton of texts. Didn't read anything into it, but thought it was funny.

Secondly, I don't expect a ton from the bball team this year, but I think a lot of people are starting to write them off already and I think its too early. In the '02-'03 season at one point they were 8-8 (1-4) and then won 9 of their last 11. They were arguably the last team left off the bubble that year. The next year ('03-'04) same thing, team was 13-7 (2-5) and ended up one shot away from the Sweet 16. That team was even younger than this year's. They started one senior (Uka), two sophomores (Byrd and Smitty) and two freshmen (Marshall and Dudley).

I figure they need to go 8-6 from here on out to make the Dance. They have 4 very tough games, Wake twice, Duke and Clemson. Assuming they can pull one upset in those 4, they need to go 7-3 against the Marylands and GTechs. Given the flaws of this team (especially lack of any inside game) that is not a gimme, but I am holding out hope that they can peak at the right time like those previously mentioned teams.

While I am on it, I heard a lot of grumblings about the overall state of the basketball program tonight and that is bogus. This team had almost zero history prior to this decade and then made 6 trips to the tourney in 7 years (and really should have been 7 of 7), had 3 All-Americans, etc. Then the team has one tough year last year and has been up and down for the first half of this year and people are calling for Skinner to be fired, not showing up at games, etc. Even Duke and UNC have down years (Duke when Coach K was out in the mid 90s and UNC under Daugherty). Wake has been 3-13, 5-11 and 7-9 in the last 3 ACC seasons. Maryland was one of the hottest teams of the early 2000s and now have done nothing for 5 years. My point is that programs go in cycles. Our recent performance frustrates me more than anything but I still believe the program is in great shape and will bounce back soon. Go Ealges!

Karen said...

WI Eagle, your points make a ton of sense. Fans are so down on Skinner and I just don't get it. This team has been very successful the last eight years, starting with Troy Bell's sophomore year. I know lots of people, including myself, wish that the Smith, Dudley, Williams team of '06 had reached the final four (which would have been a herculean task against that Florida team) and it is slightly disappointing that did not happen. Still, these years have been exciting and have lifted the program to a height not reached in any sense in the 70s, 80s or 90s.

This team is very young and prone to inconsistency. They win games based on their offense. They lose games because they do not stop penetration and because they are careless with the ball. The difference in tonight's game was defense. It was so clear that McClinton was setting up to launch a three from the corner with about two minutes to go and yet there was no effort to stop it. Part of that is that young players have lapses.

In the end, this team needs to play defense as well as they play offense. If they do that, they have a great shot at righting the ship and making the tournament. If they don't, it was not in the cards.

Plus, Rice needs to be a dominant player throughout the game, not just when he chooses to be.

campy said...

Is there any hint that Strong would be amenable to working in New England?

TBSBC03 said...

Anyone who thinks that Skinner should be fired knows next to nothing about basketball.

Anonymous said...

I love Al Skinner. Love his demeanor, his offensive coaching ability and his seemingly endless skill in finding diamond in the rough recruits. He's brought BC basketball to a level of sustained excellence that fans of this program in the 80's and early 90's would have salivated over.

That said, all of Skinner's teams have the same flaw - defense. The team that came oh so close to going to the NCAA tourney promised land before losing to Villanova had the same basic flaw as this year's green and untested team. Check out this stat below, until Al gets someone on staff who can coach up the defense, BC teams will struggle to get past the Sweet Sixteen, at best.

No Final Four team in the past five years has been ranked outside the top 25 in adjusted defensive efficiency (a competition-adjusted figure). And only two Elite Eight teams in the past five years have ranked outside the top 50 in adjusted defensive efficiency. It's unlikely that a team will make a deep NCAA tournament run with just a good offense, and only a mediocre D.

The good news, such as it is: one of those two Elite Eight teams to flout Winn's cutoff was 2005 West Virginia, which finished 78th in adjusted D efficiency and was an overtime away from the Final Four.

The bad news:

Which teams in the AP's top 30 might be suspect in the postseason because of their lack of a quality defense? Eight ranked schools had adjusted defensive efficiency ratings outside the top 60. Unless they shape up over the next few months, the odds are stacked against them making deep NCAA tournament runs:

Team AP Adj. OffEff. (Nat'l Rk.) Adj. DefEff. (Nat'l Rk.)
Oklahoma 6 117.7 (8) 93.8 (66)

Notre Dame 13 119.7 (3) 99.1 (146)

Boston Coll. 17 112.2 (32) 96.1 (86)

Minnesota 22 109.4 (51) 96.1 (88)

Baylor 23 117.0 (11) 95.4 (78)

Michigan 26 116.6 (13) 101.2 (185)

California 27 115.6 (20) 93.5 (63)

Arkansas 28 106.2 (79) 96.8 (103)

Ry said...

I was there last night and I have to disagree with the posters who are pointing the finger at the defense. I thought we played relatively solid D with the exception of Roche who seems to be getting way more playing time than his play would dictate.

The biggest problem last night was a failure to convert underneath on high percentage shots and putbacks. We missed quite a few of both and it could have been the difference. Rice shooting 3-12 from behind the arc doesn't help much either.

I guess Raji was hurt, but there was still no reason why Trapani was riding the pine for most of the 2nd half while Roche was out there leaving his man open every time down the floor.

Anonymous said...

Ry - that's probably a fair assessment of one game, but the numbers just don't lie. This team's defense has decreased markedly each of the last four years. The following are BC's rankings in overall defensive efficiency for the five years:

2005 - 46th in D-1
2006 - 84th in D-1
2007 - 93rd in D-1
2008 - 113th in D-1
2009 - 123rd in D-1

This trend needs to change.

jim said...

"I know I am being more coy about the process this time around, but I am not going to leak any interviewee who is a current head coach and not public yet. The last thing we need is for one of them to turtle up when things leak."

ATL- Do you mean that you don't want to spread the rumors that are floating around on blogs or do you have inside sources? I'm just curious. I enjoy reading your blog but didn't realize you had media connections or access to more information than the general public.

ATL_eagle said...

Jim, if you go back and look, last time around I shared anything I had that was credible. The reason I am more just shooting down stuff this time around is because I don't want to be responsible for being the source of any yet to be released names. The unnamed names have been speculated on at various points so don't get your hopes up that it is some super hire. They are good guys but not blockbusters. As for sources, I am just in the middle of a lot of gossiping FWIW.

Thomas said...

Who will you be more happy to see go - Steve Aponavicious or Tyler Roche?

I'd say Roche, given his inability to do anything, ever. Aponavicious made a GW FG in a bowl game and occasionally knocks through a PAT. Though how many games might have been won if we had a decent kicker???

morrina said...

Roach! Does anyone have a good reason why Trapani didn't play in the 2nd half until under a minute was left. The crowd actaully cheered when he finally went in (too late). I like Skinner too, but I don't understand the decision to leave Roach in when he gets burned on defense, can't score, and can't rebound. Not to mention, Trapani has been having a great year. If you ask me, that is what cost us the game. Am I missing something?????