Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thoughts on Purdue

For those who didn't see the game, it was another uneven effort that had you doubting the team's potential, then thinking things might go our way, only then to see it slip away. Regardless of the emotions, it is still a loss and not a good one. Rice is now in a true slump and if we can't figure out what to do when he is cold, we're done.

-- The half court defense. It was surprisingly effective. The rotations were solid. There were still some breakdowns, but that was mostly on clearouts when our defenders were in one on ones.
-- The spark from the freshmen. Jackson and Ravenel both looked good in their limited minutes. While they didn't fill the stat sheet, neither looked overwhelmed and both fought hard.
-- The late run. It wasn't enough, but the guys did pull it together to cut the lead to 6 with a minute and change left. They couldn't capitalize, but it showed effort, the ability to score quickly and get some defensive stops.

-- Turnovers. Sloppy effort from everyone. We cannot waste so many possessions.
-- Rice's offense. Purdue swarmed him and he was unable to get the offense set nor get his teammates open looks. Lavin brought up a good point: perhaps Rice should move to the 2 spot and Paris should run the point to free things up for Rice.
-- Lack of flow within the flex. It is frustrating watching a "system" offense not run that offense when things are breaking down. We need to get into the sets early and wait for the right shots. Skinner teams are at their best when they stop a run with an easy basket out of our base offense.
-- Transition D. If the halfcourt was decent, this was terrible. These team has enough speed, they just need to play smarter.

It is very early but I am not feeling great about this season. We need to find some answers quickly.

To end on a high note, check out BC Guy Kevin Armstrong's piece on Rice.


hsk said...

Saw the game at MSG. Good sized BC crowd was present,young and old, nicely surprised, unfortunately not a lot to cheer about. Definitely miss those Big East MSG days for basketball, not missing Big EAst football at all.

Anyway, Team definitely is a work in progress- Rice plays like he is ready to move on already, Trapani plays with a lot of heart, Raji is inconsistent, sometimes looks lost, Jackson looks like he will shine soon, Ravenal reminds me of Smith when he was young- we will see, but not this year.

WI_Eagle said...

I agree with hsk's comments on Rice. Sure, he will continue to put up a lot of points and make plenty of highlight reel type plays, but he is really lacking in the leadership department. You can just see it in his body language. I realize Louis Hinnant didn't put up the numbers that Rice does, but he ran the flex offense very well, distributed the ball to our scorers for high percentage shots and was an extension of Al Skinner on the floor. I haven't seen any of that from Rice. I was hoping with him as the only senior this year that that would change, but, as they say, you can lead a horse to water, you can't make him drink.

Overall the team is just lacking in communication and continuity. They certainly don't run the flex offense like the '04-'07 teams did. I think this team has more raw athleticism than any BC team in a long time, but they just haven't been able to put it together yet. Part of the problem is the lack of an inside game. Trapani is turning out to be a fine player, but he is a 3, he clearly does not play with his back to the basket. So we have basically no PFs and one servicable center. Southern is a guy who could possibly be a 3rd team all-ACC type of player as a senior, but he has a long way to go to get there. No touch around the rim and not much in terms of post moves. He has somewhat made up for this with his effort on the boards.

So, outside of Rice, we basically have a bunch of decent 2s and 3s with a lack of leadership at the 1 and a below average front court. That is not going to win you a lot of games in the ACC.

That being said, we had a great run from '01-'07 and you have to expect some troughs in the cycle. Hoepfully as the young guys mature we can have some solid years ahead of us. I am not completely writing this year off, but, after watching all of the first five games, I do not have high expectations.

Hoopraker said...

I was also at MSG last and there weren't many of us in the seats, which I found pretty disappointing. The place was practically empty. Not a good atmosphere for college hoops.

I was there to cheer Purdue but I wanted to give props to Trapani, who I really liked; a good player who plays hard, but agree with WI Eagle, he's more of a 3. Rice takes possessions off unlike Reggie Jackson who caused Purdue trouble when he was on the floor.

BCDoubleEagle said...

Why are our road jerseys red?

LAEagle said...

This personnel doesn't seem to lend itself to the tight flex (the most exciting offense in collegiate athletics). With guys like Sanders and Jackson we need to spread the floor. Not gonna happen, unfortunately.

BeantownBC85 said...

I had the same thoughts

I miss the Big East for basketball. Those were some fun games in a damn good league. Forget football, but basketball was awesome. Frankly that league is still the toughest today. I wouldn't mind going back to the big East for hoops.

And yeah that maroon jersey looked mighty red to me last night.

eagleboston said...

I still can't figure out why BC fans despised O'Brien for his mediocrity in football (despite the fact that all he did was win bowl games and it appears he is turning around NC State) but never a disparaging word is uttered about Skinner.

I think this guy is just a so-so coach. He failed to build off the Dudley-Smith era, he never calls time-outs to stop runs by the other team, his teams make absolutely horrific turnovers and lazy passes and he shows no emotion.

Gene D'Flip, please get us the basketball equivalent of Jags.

marcos said...

He's lazy! Heard stories how he shows up to practice 15 mins late all the time and how his assistants basically do everything.

I think Al has a great eye for talent (found Bell, Smith, Dudley, Sean Will etc) and the fact that he was an NBA-caliber player is a good trait too but I'm in agreement with eagleboston that theres a lack of emotion and would like to see the "Jagz equivalent"

CMondo1 said...

I was at the Garden last night for the game. BC had the most fans in attendance--though the Arena was pretty empty . . .

The team looked better than last year and the mini-comeback was heartening--last year's team quit in a number of games.

Things that should be noted:
-Purdue is a top ten team and a Big Ten favorite. BC played right with them in the first half, but youth and lack of discipline killed them in the second half. Hopefully they'll learn from it; I think they will.

-Rice didn't play well, but Purdue plays ugly and their D was impressive. Grant was on Rice all night and he is the reigning Big Ten player of the year. So, I'm willing to give Rice a little more of a pass than others here.

-That's it. I like this team and believe it will be a fun season. A true bubble team, etc. That being said, Friday's game against UAB is a huge resume game, considering it's only December.

CMondo1 said...

Grant = reigning Big Ten defensive player of year.

see above

Andrew said...

Again, with the "Al Skinner doesn't call TO's to stop runs"? We know. Obviously, he has different philosophy on that. His philosophy works A LOT. We were right in that game at the end, just needed to start the comeback earlier and get a few breaks on the calls.

I was frustrated with two things last night. First, this team (and Al's teams historically) gets beat back on defense consistently. That is unacceptable. Second, they should have initiated some sort of pressure or something to get that comeback started earlier. It took us 30 seconds to get a shot off and we let them walk up the ball up the court the whole game. That' a minute at a time gone each possession switch.

I wish Sanders would decide he wants to play too. Frustrating player to watch.

Tough night overall. I am encouraged though, Purdue is a good team.

As an aside, Blake Griffin is a monster, but a completely unlikable player. From my seat, I saw him argue with his coach and teammates more than once and taunting the other team all night. Boo.

JERZeagle said...

Ok here is my issue with big al.

He hasnt been recruiting for his flex at all. its one thing if you go back to the 05-06 team, top to bottom that team was built around the flex, hinnant marshall duds smith williams. top to bottom that team was a bruising team with guards who want to run the offense through the bigs down low.

fast forward through the last two years and this year's team. rice is one of the best scorers in the country, but yet the offensive scheme has him setting up and running the flex. also look at our bigs, our bigs right now are not solid down low so there should be no reason why we should be consistently pounding the ball down low to our least developed players.

two things must happen, recruit flex personnel or change the offensive scheme. i dont know if anyone saw the johnnies game, but st. johns offensive scheme is all attack, i think with our personnel this year that would be the best offense to run.

also, it should not be this hard to get good ballers to the heights. i just dont understand it. every year a premier player should be coming. its a basketball city, its an acc school, and we are all around a great school.

oh its also embarassing how terrible conte has gotten. there is no buzz. its lifeless. there is no connection between the team and the school. its terrible.

Eagle93 said...

I don't know ... pretty optimistic, and I wonder if you were watching the same game I was. I thought the team was slow, disorganized and careless with the ball. What's with all the dribbling in traffic? How about quick, clean passes? They seem to REALLY struggle just to get a clean shot.

And Rice only shooting the ball 12 times? (Let alone only making 4.) Skinner needs to put together better gameplans, or at least show some emotion, or they are in for a really really really long season (again).

Andrew said...

Rice was guarded all night by a pretty good defensive player. That was a top ten team. BC did struggle to get off good shots and generally did not have a good night. But there was another team out there. I think it'll be a decent season, but I could be wrong. There are a lot of young players out there, we need a couple to step up. Southern is already looking much better.

Don't hold your breath waiting for Al to show more emotion. He's not going to change now.

I guess I agree that they should think about a different scheme with this personnel. Particularly Sanders and Jackson.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Eagle0407 said...

We're so athletic at 1,2,3 it would be great to see this team press. The problem is that Rice needs to play 40 minutes because no one else can create any points on offense. So Al is stuck in a bit of a catch-22 there. I'd like to see us at least intermittently apply pressure though to try to get more opportunities in transition, given how we struggle in the half court. With Jackson and Sanders in particular, we could be excellent in a full or 3/4 court press. We know its in Al's playbook because that '00-'01 team used to press a good amount. Since then we've never had the athletes to do it, but this is the group.

Purdue was a really impressive team. Definitely a good learning experience for a young team.

Bravesbill said...

Eagleboston--I have been harping about Skinner for the past 6 or 7 years now. He has a great eye for talent and he develops his talent well. However, he is a bad strategic coach who is unwilling or unable to make crucial adjustments either in the middle of a game or from game to game. Further, Skinner does not do well in the postseason. How many times did BC get upset in the NCAA Tournament with a good team. That loss to UW-Milwaukee and USC continue to haunt them.

As for Rice, he has displayed no leadership at all this year. When he has been in a shooting slump (the past 2 games), he let's that slump affect the rest of his game. Instead of trying to drive or dish the ball to an open guy, he takes horrible shots and he just handles the ball sloppy. Look at all those turnovers he had the past 2 games, esp. against St. Louis, while he had virtually 0 assists.

marcos said...

JERZeagle - definitely agree with your recruiting point. Its great that Al can find these "diamonds in the rough" but at the same time, its mind boggling why we can't bring in at least one top tier guy per year.

I feel like Al is too stubborn and has too much pride to go out there and try to woo a big time recruit. I don't expect BC to have the type of recruiting classes that Duke, UNC, etc. have but why can Villanova (a similar school) get McDonald's AAs but BC can't????

JERZeagle said...

marcos you ask why we cant get a big time recruit? its because there is no buzz about our team. its the coach's job to unite school and team. jay wright eats in the cafeteria. he does everything right. skinner just comes in and does his job and leaves. he will be a perfect nba coach where the head coach could care less about people in the stands. where its all about w's and l's. college basketball is about wins but its also about buzz. its about how loud arenas are. its about people in the stands. there are a lot of teams that are bad in college basketball but still sell out.