What to make of the basketball team
Lapses are expected in any basketball season. Skinner teams are notorious for their their hiccups and no shows against some of the worst teams on their schedule. Unfortunately for this team, with the loss to URI, we now have four losses in the first ten games. Even if URI, Harvard and Northern Iowa end up being better than we anticipated, a good team shouldn't have lost all three. Losing all three is a sign of bubbles. It also negates any momentum from the Providence, Michigan, Miami run. Now there is no wiggle room. The team cannot lose another non-conference game and probably needs to win 9+ ACC games. No way we get in with a 8-8 ACC record.
As for Sunday's game, here are my thoughts...
-- Handling the press and free throw shooting are problems...but not the more troubling problems. Both areas have often been an issue for Skinner teams. We still could have won with the turnovers and missed foul shots.
-- The major problem remains defense. URI was 9-15 from 3 (and many of those were open looks) and interior D. How many times did they exploit mismatches or get cuts to the basket?
-- The other issue is our offense. We got impatient on offense and didn't set up the flex enough. We don't need to take 3s. The Dudley-Smith teams rarely took them. Instead we need to work for better shots in the flex. We only had 11 assists! That is troubling. These guys are veterans and should know where to find points in the offense.
-- We need to find a good lineup. Sanders probably tried to do too much tonight, but the bigger problem is that we now lack a good plan for minutes. I think Jackson needs more playing time. I have no idea who should sit more. My guess is that our best lineup is Sanders-Raji-Trapani-Jackson-Paris.
I still have faith. Al tends to pull things together and there is still a lot of talent on this team. But they need to play much, much better from here on out and it starts at D.