Thursday, January 7, 2010

Answer: Now.

Question: When, Lawd? When's gonna be our time?

And thank God for that, Marquette faithful. If we found a way to spit the bit last night, I don't think there's any way we could have avoided a 2008 Notre Dame-esque death spiral for the rest of the year.

Some quick hitters:

(1) As I said to Reid last night, David Cubillan hitting six threes (on six attempts, no less) is the equivalent of Jason Kendall hitting two homers and driving in six in a single game: it's never going to happen again, so you better fucking win the game.

(2) The end-of-game coaching was marginally better. We finally got the ball to 'Zar in the last two minutes, although "dump it to 32 on the block and let him get triple-teamed" wasn't exactly what I had in mind when I said we needed to run some plays for him. How 'bout setting a screen for the big man?

Also: it was a good call to put Acker in the game after Georgetown cut it to a one-point deficit with thirty seconds left. (The defense on that GU possession left something to be desired, though; we were so worried about the three that we basically laid out a red carpet to the hoop.) But don't run an inbounds play where 'Zar gets the inbounds pass in the backcourt. 'Zar needs to get the second pass, and preferably at midcourt. If you get him the ball in the backcourt, he's going to be trapped and have to give the ball up.

(3) It was good to see EWill get some run, though I'm still baffled that he gets bypassed in favor of Mbao in the second half. Let's be honest: Yous has no fucking clue what he's doing out there. We were in that silly 1-3-1 zone with Mbao at the point, Georgetown swung the ball to the corner, and Yous abandoned his post to double team the guy with the ball. As Reid said: I'm not sure that's how we drew up the defense.

(4) DJO is really, really bad on defense. And he can't be put into the game when Fulce and Acker are on the floor, because it turns into a backdoor-cut, uncontested-layup exhibition. Also: anytime DJO wants to stop biting on the pump fake, that's fine by me.

Now, to an extent, defense can be taught. We saw that with Dom James last year, when he went from a serviceable defender to a lock-down pest. But there's some parts of playing defense that can't be taught, and the most important of those is that you have to want to play defense. The prime example last night: a Georgetown player beat his man off the dribble at the top of the key and was barreling down the lane. DJO was in perfect position to take a charge. Instead, he opted for a Roger Dorn "ole!" move and let the guy hit the layup with zero resistance (and promptly earned himself a seat on the bench next to coach). That's not good.

(5) In the end: it's a win. And it's important, because John Thompson III is right: in the Big East this season, there is little difference between the top 5 teams and the teams that will finish in the 7-12 range. I watched Cincy and Pitt the another night, and I didn't see a whole lot of difference between both of those teams and Georgetown.

There aren't any gimmes for this MU squad. Take the wins however you can get 'em.


EMoney said...

1) Comparing David's 6 tre's to Kendall is a bit of a stretch. In his sophomore campaign he was averaging 20mins and 10ppg (probably 2 3's/game). Now that he is a senior leader and essentially a default 4thish option, he is going to put up more shots and probably make more now that he has his venezuelan mojo back. But I do agree with the point about having to win a game that he hits 6 of them.

2) Maybe you didn't notice being at the game (the views on television are far superior), but Zar was THE focal point of G'town's D last night. They played a lot of zone so setting screens wasn't working too well if at all. Gtown was leaning a 2nd and 3rd guy in his direction before the entry passes were ever made into the post which made it difficult to even get it in there all night. And when Zar would get it, they immediately brought help which led to a # of blocked/tough shots.

Also, agreed with the Acker move. Buzz pulled DJO at the end which was a smart call. Left all of our best ft shooters out there.

3) Let's be honest here, neither of them really know what's going on here. I will give a slight edge to EWill, but it the end it doesn't mean anything. This is exactly why they haven't and won't play very often down the road.

4) Agreed, DJO is an o'le defender, but let's not just single him out. Buycks, Cubillan, and Acker all have a lot to learn from our previous trio of guards. We continue to allow FAR too many uncontested layups. We might walk away with these games if we tighten this up.

5) Agreed. I think that with each game, the younger players further realize the importance of each possession. A few bad shots and/or turnovers is the difference between us being 1-2 and 3-0.

You didn't answer my question about Coach Williams however. He answered the bell by playing EWill/Yous and won a tight game.

Now let's go give Nova a little payback from last weekend! A W on Saturday goes a long way towards a post season birth.

Rubie Q said...

Re: 'Zar. Were they playing zone in the last two minutes (and I ask that sincerely, not sarcastically)? It looked like they were in man, but I could be wrong.

Re: coach. Credit where credit is due: it looked like he was starting to learn from his mistakes against WVU and 'Nova. After the 'Nova game, I wasn't sure that would happen. I'm not ready to call him a great game coach, though.

Finally, re: the guards. Buycks leaves a lot to be desired on the defensive end, I agree. (He's guilty of biting on the pump fakes, too.) Cubbie and Acker are who they are at this point: too short, not exceptionally quick, and a nightmare against any guard over 6'2".

EMoney said...

I can't give specific examples as to when exactly they played zone....they were going back and forth quite a bit. I was too busy worrying about losing another nail biter to define what defense they were in at the time.

IMHO, we pressure the ball too much (see Acker and Cubillan)....even during Crean's tenure. Due to this it's easy for the offender to pick a direction and blow right by a defender who has to then turn and play catch up all the way to the hoop. Such a style is only ok when you have a strong inside presence that can either take up space and/or alter shots....something we haven't had since RJackson and Merritt. I would much rather give a little cushion and let the guy shoot the long jumper if they want. This is college, not the NBA, so very few guys will hit it with consistency. This is something I never understood with our defense. It especially irks me when they hand check 35 feet away from the basket or at midcourt when the other team is bringing it up. Come on!

Master Reid said...

I have no quarrel real with anything said here by these to upstanding gentlemen. My takes:

-The Mbao Zone is hilarious. Unfortunately, as a told VJJ last night, hilarity doesn't equal good basketball. I wish it did, but it doesn't. I do not see the point of wasting time in that defense. On offense, he's something else entirely. The guys around us were saying "Give him the ball!" I couldn't have disagreed more.

-DJO's defense, is a work in progress at this point. Let's hope that he can go from bad to serviceable as the year goes along. Shit gets reall in a hurry when you play a team that can execute like G'Town. Hopefully last night's display is just part of the learing process.

-EWill had 7 minutes? When? The only time i noticed him was in the first half, and he was in for what seemed like about 40 seconds.

-Coaching and composure were both noticeably better. The possession where Lazar bailed us out with that offensive board, they actually ran a play that seemed to get Jimmy open on the right side. However, Jimmy looked a little gun-shy after having gotten his shit swatted a few times already and didn't go to the hoop. The result was a Buycks jumper that was off, but 'Zar bailed us out with that huge board. Just shows that X's and O's can only do so much I guess.

Rubie Q said...

Another point: we scored our last field goal on fall-away prayer by Buycks, on another play where we dribbled aimlessly around the three point line -- and after taking a time out, IIRC. Gotta get a better look there.

Devil's Threesome said...

Reid - I obviously didn't see the game, but if the yokels around you were crying for Mbao to get the ball, they should have their season tickets revoked. That dude scored his first bucket in practice last week, that according to Buzz. And now, fun with Spanish keyboards while I continue to fight the flu

Devil's Threesome said...

Another thought on the actual game from looking at the box score. We beat GT despite only shooting 39% from the field, only taking 9 FTs and only getting 20 combined points from Zar & Jimmy. Thats not too bad.

Rubie Q said...

And despite allowing Georgetown to shoot 49%. That ain't going to happen very often.

Devil's Threesome said...

Ah, there is Rubes with his best Murf impression. Instead of viewing this as a shot in the dark, monumental upset that will never be repeated, I tend to view this, from my distant post, as a very nice win that is all the more encouraging bc we didnt bring our A game. The ceiling hasnt been reached. Sure, we needed a huge game from Cubey, but good teams get those performances once in a while. (fucking elusive apostrophes)

Mr. Rumsfield's Brownies said...

MU held G'town to 59pts (their 3rd lowest of the season) and 10pts below their season average. Maybe the D wasn't as bad as viewed by some. Buzz's crew also outrebounded G'town by 3, had 8 steals, and held them to 45 shots.

Rubie Q said...

OK, Brownies, but of the 59 points, how many were scored on layups?

Mr. Rumsfield's Brownies said...

If the D was so bad, how come they shot 50% and only scored 59pts? Yes, they gave up a lot of layups, but they also prevented a lot of shots from even being taken - via steals and forcing turnovers. The defense isn't great - but for god's sake they play 5 guys under 6' good do you want it to be?

Why is it that I feel like we have to convince you to be happy about a Win? Back in October, what were your expectations for this team? If you were to tell me that MU would have been in the OSC championship and beat G'town, I would be pleased...especially considering the loss of 4 starters....but maybe I'm easier to please

Rubie Q said...

What concerned me, especially when DJO and Fulce and Acker were on the floor, was that we were getting beat for backdoor layups, on plays where our guys just lost their men defensively. In one stretch in the first half, Julian Vaughn scored on layups or dunks on three straight possessions, and then had another layup after Wright missed a jumper.

In all, we gave up 10 layups/dunks during the game. We had one DJO layup. All the other MU field goals were jumpers.

You don't have to convince me of anything. I'm just pointing out things that have to improve if we want to sniff .500 in the Big East.

Master Reid said...

Ooh, the "If would've told me" argument. That's sure to get Rubie wrankled.

In Rubie's defense, he is by nature inclined to not just accept what he sees. He is one who naturally looks beyond the surface and finds the flaws that others may have missed. This is a fine quality to have, however it can often be taken the wrong way. Rubie isn't saying anything we didn't all say after this game: basically that it wasn't pretty, but it's a win and we'll take it. He is merely saying it with specific examples and a few superlatives to help convey that point. Mr. Q fully appreciates the win over Georgetown, and is merely stating that there is room for improvement. Albeit in a manner that could possibly be construed as somewhat negative and/or combative.

Rubie Q said...

From now on, all inquiries should be directed to my spokesperson, Mr. Reid.

And I do apologize for my combative tone. Occupational hazard, and all.

Devil's Threesome said...

By my count, we have already played 3 of our toughest 6 games in the BE - we still have Nova, Cuse and UConn, all on the road. Let us chalk those 3 up as losses and that puts us at 1-5, meaning we need to get 8 wins from the following, I like our chances to hit .500. What could hurt us around bubble time is that we may not have a high profile scalp. Many thanks to the Big East for giving us such a putrid home schedule.

Providence - W
@DePaul - W
Rutgers - W
DePaul - W
@Providence - 50/50
Pitt - 50/50
@UC - likely loss
@SJU - 50/50
@Seton Hall - 50/50
Louisville - likely loss
ND - 50/50

Also, I didnt see the game, but Gtown always gets their layups against everyone. Fretting about the number of layups that Gtown gets on you is similar to fretting about about the Texas Tech putting up a load of passing yards on you in football.

Devil's Threesome said...

I double posted, so I deleted the extra post. I agree that we needed a stupid effort from Cubes, but how many times will Zar and Jimmy only give us 20 combined points¿ There is some balance there.

Master Reid said...

That's very true about G'Town and their lay-ups, but there were a few head slappers in there too. The DJO matador maneuver is the one that sticks out the most for me, because we basically had that defended but changed our mind at the last second.

By the way, love the upside down question marks!

Mr. Rumsfield's Brownies said...

To D3's point - G'town's focus on Jimmy and Zar left the perimeter open....which is what I think led to Cube's big night.

Rubie - I appreciate your POV, but I would like you to take a step back and maybe appreciate what Buzz has done with this team - I believe this team is playing above their talent level and above expectation - I'm ok with the way they are playing and think they have a realistic chance at .500.

Rubie Q said...

It's good advice, Brownies, and I should smell the roses more often.

EMoney said...

Something that I found very interesting...I believe it was a yahoo article on the game. Cubillan was highlighted in the article due to his bust out performance, which led to a discussion about last season. Buzz was quoted, and I don't recall Rosiak ever coming out and explaining this situation last season, which basically explained that Cubillan did in fact get in Williams' doghouse for not taking a charge in some game early in the season. Essentially unlike most of the other guys on the team, he wasn't laying it on the line. This ties into our discussion about the defensive liabilities of our guards. These guys are not stepping into an offender as they are penetrating towards the basket....something that our seniors did with regularity last year. Instead they reach at the guy doing.....I don't know what they're doing but it's pretty soft and pathetic. I'll describe it is intramural-esque. You can throw in all of the defensive statistics you want from the most recent games, but the fact of the matter is our guards don't "get it".

Rubie Q said...

From the Yahoo! game story:

Williams said the senior guard had been in his doghouse last season, but his play against Georgetown brought him to tears in the locker room after the game.

“I had frozen Cubbie out because he didn’t take a charge against Tennessee (on Dec. 16, 2008),” Williams said. “I’d never play him again. He was at a point where he was ready to roll and I was at the point where I was ready for him to roll.”

Mr. Rumsfield's Brownies said...

Agreed - Guards aren't as good as last year - offensively or defensively and how could they? Wes, Jerel and DJ were 3 of the top 10/15 players at MU.

A weird stat though - and I know how we hate facts/numbers. Comparing the first 15 games of last year vs. first 15 games of this year- 09/10 team is holding teams to 61.5 ppg, the 08/09 team held its first 15 opponents (one less BE game) to 60.6 ppg.

Devil's Threesome said...

Swinging back over to Rubie´s side, Buzz hasn`t impressed me as a defensive coach overall. We were #10 in Pomeroyś defensive efficiency ratings in 08. Same crew in 09, sans Crean and Barro, add Buzz and we were #51. So far this year, we are #61.

EMoney said...

Interesting, but what these stats don't tell you is that this year's team is milking the clock on the offensive end against BE opponents to limit the # of offensive possessions for the other team. I would guess that the avg. time of possession for this year's time is a bit longer than last year's. It's actually very Badger-esque. I don't like to say that, but considering our team's makeup this year, it makes sense.

Devil's Threesome said...

KenPoms stats are tempo adjusted. It is all about points per possession

EMoney said...

I was referring to Brownie's comments, not yours D3. Don't know if it's the same case for his stats.