Saturday, March 07, 2009

"What bubble?" Ugly win but I'll take it

I hate watching Paul Hewitt's teams especially against Skinner. I don't think Hewitt is a great coach (far from it actually) but his micromanaging, style of play and the type of player he has in his system makes for an ugly game especially against our more deliberate scheme under Al. Our guys didn't help things by playing some of the most sloppy and dumb basketball of the season in the second half. Rakim Sanders final 20 seconds was a microcosm of the game. Up 1, he makes a dumb foul to send GT to the line for 2 shots. Then out of the timeout, he dribbled into the corner to take a tough shot...and made it. Fortunately style points don't matter. No one will care about an ugly win on Selection Sunday. Here are my other takes. As always, leave your thoughts below.


-- Reggie Jackson playing to the whistle. Too often over the past couple years we've had players who sort of gave up on plays. Not Jackson. He cleaned up a crucial missed layup from Rakim late and he also went for blocks inside on GT's much bigger frontline guys.
-- Southern's shot selection. I expected much more out of Southern this year. He has not progressed as quickly as I predicted. When you see his touch and decision making today, you see what type of player he can be. Hopefully he turns it on over the next week.
-- The final play out of the timeout. Like Dave Odom, that is not what I would have drawn up. But it worked. In hindsight it was brilliant. Instead of Rice -- who was cold from the field -- forcing a final shot, you had the much hotter Sanders move to the midrange and get space. Sanders also drew two guys over, so if you watch the replay, the rest of the team was in good position for a potential putback.

-- Rice's decision making. Certainly a deceiving stat line for his final game at Conte. While his free throws were important, he made multiple mistakes throughout the game. Dumb fouls, sloppy and forced passes, wasted possessions while he dribbled around, and ugly shots.
-- Awkward lineups in the second half. Roche played a lot and not particularly well. Paris never got much PT. Al went smallish while their bigs dominated the boards. There wasn't much flow and no group looked good against the press. If not for their fouling us, we would have lost.

With 9 ACC wins, this team is in. But they will be one and done if they don't start playing better. Fortunately Jackson and Sanders are coming on to the point where they can fill the void on Rice's off nights. See you all in Atlanta.


BCMike said...

I'm not sure the play wasn't supposed to go to Trapani, as Jackson was following the play looking for a put-back second through the lane. My guess was that Sanders was going to look for the drive and easy hoop and if not, draw the defenders and dish to Trapani.

Regardless, I'll take the shot, the win, and the 100% sure chance that our EALGES ARE DANCING!!!

blockparty said...

live to play another day. you just know that when we lose (acc/ncaa), its going to be supremely frustrating. thats the name of the game with this year's mbb team.

Ralph said...

While I'm extremely glad were gonna be dancing, it's important to remember we are two, late Sanders heroics from being 7-9 and not dancing. Yes we beat the best in the ACC but it's just as important to remeber we are two shots away from the NIT

CT said...

That's why everything from here on out is gravy.

This team ages me, but I'm happy for the guys and for the program--that's about as good a season, given the talent, that could be had.

Congratulations ballin' Eagles!

Erik said...

I was there today. The last shot more than made up for the frustration of letting that awful GT hang around.

I hear what you're saying, Bill, about Southern. LAst year her started poorly, came on to give us bigger expectations this year, and he's been on and off. My take is that its all about where and how he gets the ball. If its passed to him in a place he can quickly go at the hoop, or if he gets the ball on a good spot of the floor, he's effective. Other times he's a little out of position and can't create his own opportunity.

Rakim was a beast the whole game.

BaldEagle90 said...

At the game today. Wow. What a dysfunctional team. They blast out (the best they have started all year?) to a 14 7 lead and then thanks to a late three and a three point lead end up 30 - 25 at half. Horrible in between. The substitution rotation seems week. Rice seems to pout. Why isn't Jackson in there more? Did Trappiani kill the coaches dog? Is there any reason BC runs the same horrible throw the ball in play every time - and then Roche or Trappiani bounces the ball THREE times out of bounds or on the out of bounds line. God. They can't even get the ball in play.

Thank goodness for GT. Their coach should be fired. Every time BC scored, their coach was screamin' for them to full court press and half the team would ignore him. When they actually did press us - and Rice wasn't in the game (see horrible second half of the first half) BC would turn the ball over. Any competent will eat BC alive.

Bleech. Awful. Rice needs to pick his game up (ala the NCAA run that Culeys's underperforming regular season team had)or we are one and done.

Beat Virginia. Get that 8 seed (or win two and get a 7), please pull yourselves together and win one in the NCAAs. Please.

Ted H said...

Skinners rotations are shit. Where is Trapani? Where is Paris? Where is Jackson? These are guys that should be seeing more time and for whatever reason are not. As for the inbounds plays, we are never going to be successful at that. There is no urgency. Even when we do get it inbounds we viloate every rule to breaking a press. Is is alwyays inbounded to the man in the corner so he can be trapped. THis is the last place that you want to inbound it. Congratulations to the team though. I agree with CT we could not expect a much better season with the talent that we have.

eagle1331 said...

winning shot = #4 on sportscenter top 10

Unknown said...

second time this season Rakim has had a top 5 play

Eagle0407 said...

Ugly game is right. Have to applaud Sanders's defense though. He's really become an excellent on the ball defender. I'm happy we will never have to see Rice's awful body language and decision-making in Conte ever again. Hope someone gave him a map of Europe along with his framed jersey yesterday.

I agree that Southern has not had a great year, but we've also made very little effort to get him the ball on the block in a position where he can score. Odom made a good point about Southern -- to be effective he needs to get the ball quickly while he still has the footwork advantage and can just drop step. Because he's not a high priority option, we never get him the ball quickly off ball rotation when he's got his man sealed. Whenever he does get the ball, the wing player has waited so long to give it to him that the defender has adjusted to the rotation, and Southern is just not the type of post player to score with a guy directly behind him (something that very few college basketball players can do). We miss out on a lot of easy baskets because our perimter guys are not anticipating Southern's positioning and aren't thinking about getting him the ball. Effective post play depends on the point and the wing just as much as the post man, and Southern is doing his part with his footwork.

He'll have more of an opportunity to prove himself next year when Rice's absence makes it possible to actually run an offensive set that doesn't culminate with Tyrese running to take a handoff from whoever has the ball with 10 seconds left on the shot clock.

morrina said...

I agree with everyone's assessments. What a frustrating game to watch. One more note....the place was actually full and the team got good support. Too bad there were very few moments to cheer, the quietest 8000 you will see. Each time the crowd got going, BC would go into a slump and drain the life out of the crowd. But it was good to see that the athletic department can actually fill seats even during spring break.

We should all be happy with 9-7 and an NCAA berth. Very good year.

matthew2 said...

"I agree that Southern has not had a great year, but we've also made very little effort to get him the ball on the block in a position where he can score."

I like some things that Southern does, and have been a staunch supporter of him throughout the year. THAT BEING SAID....

There have been numerous times when Rice has made brilliant plays to give Josh free and easy points, but Josh is not on the same playing level as Tyrese, and he often fumbles the ball away. He seems to have hands of stone and reacts a split second late to these great passes. Just ask Raji what having decent hands and playing at the game speed of Rice can do. He and Trapani have benefitted from quick passes and easy baskets, while Southern, Dunn etc. just can't keep up.

"We miss out on a lot of easy baskets because our perimter guys are not anticipating Southern's positioning and aren't thinking about getting him the ball."

I respond to that by saying that we have missed a lot of easy baskets because Southern is not anticipating getting those passes, and when he does, he can't handle them. You can argue about which causes which, but I'm on the side of him not getting the ball all the time because the guards feel like he cannot handle it.

In my opinion, Rice sees the court incredibly well. I know he isn't amazing or anything, but I don't think you're giving him enough credit. Many of those painful possessions watching him free-lance with under 10 come about becuase nothing comes from the flex in the first 25 seconds. We can discuss why that is if you want.

The team will be interesting without Rice, and I look forward to improvement in some areas. But lets not forget that he is one of the better players in one of the best conferences in America. The attention that he draws alone makes life easier for other guys... and he has realy taken an unselfish step back from promoting his offense this year, simply because his coach asked him to.

Southern still has a lot of developing to do -- he needs to harness his offensive ability (take the elbow jumper/develop one move for the block really well) and vastly improve his rebounding.

Joe Bags said...

Crowd was good outside of the DBS sections. Those $10 tickets were a hit.

Lenny Sienko said...

I've always wondered what went on in those side line huddles with Coach Skinner. Now we know:

Skinner called a timeout to devise the perfect play, only he didn't like the one he came up with.

"He drew the play up, and he was like, 'Nah, I don't want to run that,' and wiped it off the board," said Eagles captain Tyrese Rice.

Meanwhile, one of the officials was telling Skinner to get his team back on the floor.

"A lot of the younger guys are sitting around like, 'Hold on. What's going on? What are we running?' " said Rice. "[Skinner's] like, 'Don't worry, we've got another 30 seconds.' I'm like, 'Another 30 seconds, hell.' "

The last thing Skinner said was, "Take your time and get a good shot. And if you don't have it, we have another timeout and we can still run a pretty good play with two seconds."


Read entire article here:

Big Jack Krack said...

The Globe article really gives us an insight into Al Skinner's laid back coaching style. Wow! Nothing about which to be proud.

It's no wonder BC lost to Villanova 3 years ago on an inbounds play with 3 seconds to go that never should have happened. Since he can't coach on how to get the ball inbounds, why would we ever think he can coach how to defend the inbounds pass?

With the game on the line he basically said - do whatever you want to do. Just keep the check coming, BC - I've grown accustomed to the high lifestyle.

Same mistakes all season. Yes, we're dancing, and I'm proud. I don't understand the rotation either - not at all.

Best of luck in the ACC and NCAA team - you've earned it, even if maybe it was all on your own.

Erik said...

Thursday, March 12
No. 8 Virginia Tech vs. No. 9 Miami, Noon (Raycom)
No. 5 Clemson vs. No. 12 Georgia Tech, 2:30 p.m. (Raycom)
No. 7 Maryland vs. No. 10 NC State, 7:00 p.m. (ESPN2)
No. 6 Boston College vs. No. 11 Virginia, 9:30 p.m. (Raycom)

Friday, March 13
Game No. 5: No. 1 North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech/Miami winner, Noon (Raycom/ESPN2)
Game No. 6: No. 4 Florida State vs. Clemson/Georgia Tech winner, 2:30 p.m. (Raycom/ESPN2)
Game No. 7: No. 2 Wake Forest vs. Maryland/NC State winner, 7:00 p.m. (Raycom/ESPN2)
Game No. 8: No. 3 Duke vs. Boston College/Virginia winner, 9:30 p.m. (Raycom/ESPN2)

Saturday, March 14
Game No. 9: ACC Semifinals, 1:30 p.m. (Raycom/ESPN) Game
No. 10 - ACC Semifinals, 4:00 p.m. (Raycom/ESPN)

Sunday, March 15
Game No. 11 - Championship Game, 1:00 p.m. (Raycom/ESPN)

Ry said...

i agree, al's style is a lot different from what you see in the most successful high profile coaches. but you really can not argue with the results he has produced over the years with talent that is never highly touted. we might not even have the big wins this season if not for the way al approaches the game.

i think we need to accept al for who he is and what he brings to the table. yes, we realize he is lax on some things that drive us crazy, but at the end of the day he has done more with less consistently than many other coaches in the country and i am glad that he's our coach.

Unknown said...

Right, there has been nothing about Al Skinner's coaching at BC to be proud of. That is f'in rich! He's the winningest bball coach in BC history despite himself, I suppose. He has succeeded year after year in two of the premiere leagues against major heavyweights that possess significant recruiting advantages that BC certainly cannot call on. Seriously, we as BC fans should be head over heels with pride at the accomplishments of Coach Skinner. He has built a consistent winner that has a real chance at a strong tournament run almost every season. The detractors of Coach Skinner simply baffle me but then again, to each his own.

BTW, about that play call, isn't it possible that Coach Skinner was trying to keep his team relaxed as they faced a moment with their season possibly on the line.

Finally, we should be favored in our first round NCAA tournament game and we should have a solid chance to win it. Winning anything after the first round game would be gravy to me.

CT said...

At this point, I really wouldn't look past Virginia.

Is Mrs. Skinner's name Karen?

Opinionater said...

Wow---a lot of great observations on the GaTech "win". I was there but was so frustrated, I didn't dare post an opinion until I took 24 hours to cool out.

Well, 24 + hours later....BC still is a D1 Hoop team which, for the last 3 years has had no clue on how to break a full court press--much less inbound a basketball. It absolutely astounds me that with 6 "suits" on the bench, we still remain "undecided" on how to break the press. Trapani, our best rebounder and hardest working player in the first half (but 0-8 from the floor and 3 throw-aways trying to inbound the ball, finally had to be benched. Unfortunately he was replaced by Tyler Roche who offered NOTHING. Teddy Nation and Al tout his "defense", but he lost out on every rebound---check the final stats---Zeee-Ro rebounds, and basically was helpless. Rice was the 2009 version of Tyrese Rice...totally "disinterested", uninspiring, a turnover-looking-to-happen, malcontent. Thank goodness for Rakim and a good showing by Southern.

We are very fortunate to have won the game---thank god GaTech was as bad as the last placed team in the ACC can be! Here we were at home--vs. the last place ACC team, on Senior Day---and this was the best we could do---needing 39 minutes and 58.3 seconds to take a 1 point lead??

What are the positives, headed into the tournament(s)? Is it the HOPE that Rice will have a personality transplant and decide that he will come to play? Is it the HOPE that Al brings in a good HS coach to install a press break?

I know, I know, I know..."Don't Worry---Be Happy?" Live off the memories of the NC and Duke wins (how the hell did they ever happen?!)....don't get so worked up over the state of BC Hoops.
It ain't easy---it would be nice to at least see SOME sign that we have improved as the season has gone on. Maybe.....yep, and maybe the Dow will be up 600 pts tomorrow.....

Unknown said...

I have no idea what the name of Al Skinner's wife is and I am surely not her. However, I do know that Al Skinner has developed a consistently winning program at BC despite recruiting disadvantages and has every right to be proud of his accomplishments here. Further, the alumni and fans of BC basketball should be just as proud of Skinner and the work he has done here. I just cannot brook a statement "Nothing about which to be proud" in reference to Skinner's accomplishments and style. There is plenty to be proud of and it ignores plain fact to say otherwise.

Opinionater said...

You are right Karen--in one sense, looking at the "Big Picture", over the years there have been many accomplishments, directly influenced by Al Skinner, to be proud of.

On the flip side, it is indefensible to account for the team's inability to break a press and inbound a basketball by citing a "recruiting disadvantage"!

Unknown said...

Whoa, I am not saying that Skinner does not have flaws and coaching weak spots. He does, as do Coach K and Roy Williams and Calhoun. I am just as frustrated as you that Skinner has not schooled the team well enough in breaking the press and attacking it for easy transition buckets. And I am not saying that recruiting disadvantages excuse that flaw. I was not talking about BC's problems breaking press defenses and I do not believe that recruiting disadvantages are the reason BC struggles with that. Breaking the press comes down to preparation and execution. But even with BC's struggles there, BC has earned a 9-7 record in arguably the toughest conference in the country. Even with those struggles, BC has had a highly-ranked, very efficient offense all year. Skinner has done an overall high-quality job and coached his team to a very successful season so far despite the team's struggles against the press.

My main point is that BC's recruiting disadvantages do make the success Skinner's teams have earned much more impressive.

Big Jack Krack said...

Karen - I could have expressed myself differently. I was more focused on Coach Skinner's laid back manner in the huddle with the season on the line, for sure. As the Big Guy stated - we're two last second Sanders shots from the NIT. If Sanders didn't hit that shot against GT, we're not going to the dance.

I didn't mean to infer that there was nothing to be proud of when looking at Al's career and BC successes since he has been here. I guess it sure came off that way.

But I'm with Opinionater and others, though - Al exhibits a very laissez faire attitude about coaching (especially about inbounding the ball against the press - and beating the press).

Go BC - beat Virginia.

Unknown said...

As it is the only thing that really matters, I agree wholeheartedly with you Big Jack Krack, Beat Virginia and go from there.