Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Caught in a trap: UVA thoughts

Bad game. Bad effort. And as much as it pains me to say -- bad coaching. I still consider this a trap game since we have a bigger game around the corner, but the lackadaisical efforts the last two weeks is very disconcerting. This team has the talent to make a Final Four run. They could just as easily get bounced in the first round. I am at a loss. Here are my thoughts on last night’s game:

Likes (very few):

Craig Smith’s game. Certainly not his best but better than some recent duds. Sometimes it feels like we force things to Craig. Last night his points came within the flow. Some big rebounds too. The only guy who can really hold his head up.

Jared Dudley’s perimeter defense. Dudley had a lot wrong with his game but I wish others followed his lead around the arc. Instead of chasing, he squares his body low, gets in good position and uses his hands (three steals). No flailing at a lost man. No missed assignments. And no landing on his ass.


Everybody but Dudley’s perimeter defense. Granted UVA was hot, but we looked terrible. There is so much wrong that I will break it down into a few digestible parts.

--McLain, Rice and Marshall all lost men due to ball rotation (McLain wasn’t even in his man’s zip code a few times). We’ve used the ameba for years (with effectiveness). However the new guys (or slow guys) still get lost in the flow. This cannot happen in March.

-- Marshall has real problems with anyone smaller and faster than him. Why isn’t he using his body more? If the other team starts making Marshall run around screens, we need to yank him. Or at the very least, beat up his man on the offensive end.

-- Rice and Hinnant also looked bad and got burned off the dribble multiple times. Yet getting beat off the dribble shouldn’t be a problem -- we have a huge shot blocker waiting in the paint (like the Miami game). But inexplicably this shot blocker was still coming out to protect against the pick and roll -- leading him to get BEAT OFF THE DRIBBLE TOO! We should’ve realized this right away and said “Lou and Ty, guard your men tight. Sean stay under the basket and swat anything that comes near.” I know Williams did a great job jumping out on the perimeter against Miami and then getting back. It wasn’t working last night so we should’ve gone conservative early.

Transition defense. This was not a case of guys not getting back. More of losing the trailer as he sits on the arc waiting for the kick out. Once again, it is just about hustle and assignments.

Dudley’s scoring. I liked Jared’s D. And he had some really nice passes. But his shooting was off as was Rice’s, Hinnant’s and Marshall’s. Sometimes you just have those nights but I also think they were pressing after Virginia got hot. Instead of trying to answer with 3s we should have gone inside. Eventually the guys started hesitating. The turning point was at 14:15 in the second half. BC was down 11. We missed a few shots but kept getting the rebound. Eventually Hinnant got it to Rice beyond the arc. Rice -- who had missed a ton already -- hesitated on an open look. Singletary stole the ball and made a 3 at the other end. Game over at that point.

Coaching. I am the biggest Skinner fan and apologist around. Last night we had a poor game plan and made too few adjustments to get back in the game.

I really hope this team was looking past UVA towards NC State. At this point I don’t know what to expect.

1 comment:

Deacon Drake said...

Being at the game, there were a couple things I noticed that may have been missed on the broadcast (which has been running repeatedly on FSN here in DC).

Craig Smith is still pouting after no-calls. The refs did a fair enough job, and we got more calls going our way for certain, but the first half was constant sulking and getting back late. This forced Dudley into the post for the 8 seconds that it took to set up the defense, and they exploited it.

Dave Leitao was openly encouraging the UVA defense to play aggresively and put us on the line for the middle part of the second half. The fans booed every foul called on the Cavs, but it was a very effective strategy. We unable to create any momentum offensively and even with Cain on the bench, they still won on the glass. It help when nobody can hit 2 FTs.

Sean Singletary is quicker than Allen Iverson. He may not be as aggresive or talented, but nobody in the ACC can cover him. Hinnant and Rice were constantly backing off. During the game I thought Rice got benched for some unknown reason, but he was too much of a defensive liability.

The flex looks disjointed sometimes. Some teams will overplay the passing lanes, but UVA just appeared to be quicker in beating the screens.

Oh yeah, the unreal shooting performance didn't hurt.