Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Lesson from Florida

I am not predicting BC will win the National Championship next year. But Florida’s run should give many teams hope. Here are three takeaways related to the Gator win.

Peaking at the right time

Florida started strong, struggled in the middle of their season and then rallied late (when it counted). Under Al, BC has either come out early and fizzled late or struggled early and finished relatively strong. Even though we only advanced one game further than past seasons, I think the ACC tourney run and the Sweet Sixteen are signs that Al and staff are building towards something, shaping the way they schedule and peaking at the right time.

Bench players can step up

Look at the preseason preview for Florida. They lost 59% of their offense. Noah, Brewer, Horford and Green had much smaller roles last year. Heck, calling Noah a role player would have been generous. Yet good coaching and a good system allowed them all to step up this year. I don’t think BC’s current bench has the same potential, but I could see Rice, Haynes, Williams and even McLain becoming much better players next year.


I know I am obsessed with blocks. I guess I like them because they are the most tangible defensive stat, they change games and in Williams’ case, are fun to watch. In a much broader sense, they have real importance in college because the game has fewer possessions and more contrasting styles of play and mismatches. A good shot blocker can hide many flaws. To reinforce my point look how important the move was to four of the last five NCAA champions.

YearChampionTotal BlocksTeam Leader
2006Florida197Noah (89)
2005UNC142May (38)
2004UConn315Okafor (147)
2003Syracuse247McNeil (100)
2002Maryland216Baxter (69)

UNC was the only one of the group that didn’t rely heavily on the shot block. And even they had a respectable number.

Sean Williams had 55 blocks this season in less than 500 minutes of playing time. Assuming he doubles his minutes next year, he is the type of player that can carry BC defensively. I made this same assumption last year. We know what happened. If he stays out of trouble this year, he should get those minutes.


flutie22phelan20 said...

The Florida dominance this weekend took some of the sting away from BC's loss to 'Nova. I realize the tourney's all about match-ups, and we matched up better with the Gators than with 'Nova, but that team was on a roll--they would have been very tough to beat.

I hope Mr. Williams was watching Noah out there. He has all the raw tools that Noah does--Noah's rebounding and two offensive moves/good positioning are something he honed over the past 9 months. There's nothing stopping Williams from doing the same.

My concerns about next year are two pretty basic ones: 1) Can Duds carry the load without Craig's passing and presence (read: double teams); 2) Depth at point guard. Rice has a considerable amount of Marcus Hatten in him (not a good thing)--overall, he has a ton of potential but I don't know if I see a 40-min-per-game PG there.

ATL_eagle said...

I see two things happening. They keep the tight flex and just use Oates, McLain, Blair and Williams to fill Craig's minutes or they go wide open flex (like the Bell years) and Rice becomes a shoot first point. Supposedly the guys want and are getting ready for uptempo. We'll see.

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