Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N
Rough week for our Bruins, as we drop two in a row for the first time in what seems like forever. But such is life in the Pac-10, where road games, especially against two amped up teams, never come easy.
Pro’s and cons from this game. Well let’s see:
1. Outrebounded again.They outrebounded us by 5 boards, including two offensively. But it wasn’t the raw totals – it was the fact that we weren’t securing the ball when we were touching it. I saw way too much tipping the ball around, knocking it out of bounds, etc. which gave Arizona a ton of extra chances. This ties into our lack of a big post presence which has hurt big time – getting outrebounded, and having little defense in the paint. Sure we stopped Harongody, but against Harden & Pendergraph, and today against Wise & Hill, we got burned repeatedly. Right about now, I really wish Bobo was able to play better defensively, because a big body underneath means rebounds and clogging the paint.
2. Did not get to the line again. 7 free throws vs. 30. Yeah, some of it might be home cooking, but we just did not do a good job in the inside. Our lack of interior presence really bit us too with Hill there.
3. Defense. Defense. Defense. They shot over 50% from the field. You can’t win often if they shoot greater than 50% from the field and they burned us throughout the game. We were slow on rotations which meant a lot of 3’s were being relatively uncontested.
4. Lackadaisical playing. We need to play more aggressively both on defense and offense. Our defensive intensity was WAY down, we didn’t play that man to man coverage on each possession we’ve gotten used to, and it cost us time after time. Offensively, I saw us get them to commit on jump shot fakes and what not, but seemed timid to press the case when the defense over-committed.
5. Turnovers. Wow, the first half was uncharacteristic of a CBH coached team. Inexcusable.
And that leads to my biggest con from this game was:
6. Our lack of intensity and focus coming in. Both against ASU and AZ, we fell into early holes that we could not dig ourselves out of. On the road, that is lethal. The best course of action was to take the crowd out of the game and play our style of ball. Instead, we fell behind and let them dictate what to do.
Now typically I have no issues with Coach Howland’s coaching or preparation, but these past two games have disappointed me tremendously. It’s both up to the players, team leaders and the coach to get our team motivated and prepared for road games against good teams. Instead, for the first time I’ve seen in a long time, if ever, CBH was outcoached for a half of the game. Defensive lapses, inability to adjust to the aggressive zone, etc. are largely on the shoulders of players, but adapting to the game and preparing players to focus is also on the coaches.
Now I fully expect ourselves to rebound from this trip with a new focus and with eyes set on crushing UW at home. I know CBH will not let us lose 3 in a row and I certainly hope the lessons learned here will be learned by everyone on this team.
Now for the Pro’s:
1. Our offense is still excellent. We shot 49% from the field, and 40% from 3’s. When we make shots, we still score. Had we not turned it over 18 times, 12 times in the 1st half no less, this game would’ve been within reach even with our poor playing on the defensive end.
2. Our freshmen still play with incredible intensity and energy. Again, I’d love to see our depth get more playtime on the court. Lee, in particular, stood out this game – his length and athleticism made him a capable defender against Harden at ASU, and when he came in during the 2nd half this game, he really helped us on that run towards the end of the game. Add in the fact that he’s got great offensive moves and is a shooter, and I think he could be a gem off the bench if he played a bit more (consistently, as well).
3. JH. I know we are down on JH, and he made some boneheaded passes himself, but I have a hard time faulting him too. He also made some brilliant plays and passes we’d all be raving about had the guy on the receiving end held onto the ball for instance. In a lot of ways, JH is mature in the game way beyond his years – he sees plays and passing lanes a lot of players dont expect. He makes the pass, but the player’s dont expect it. I’d like him to be more assertive on the offensive end to finish as he’s a great offensive rebounder and finisher, but if nothing else, make plays to free up shots for DC.
4 DC was torrid from 3’s tonight. Hopefully this will give him some of that confidence that he can make big 3’s still. I know DC has shouldered a lot of the pressure this year, and he isn’t the greatest playmaker on the floor, but he’s still our #1 offensive player.
I know we harped about getting go-to-guys this year, and our team is incredibly balanced offensively – but the truth is, DC has been our to go to guy. In fact, even last year. Sure, Love put up the big numbers - but who was the guy at the end of the game that drove for the layups, made the big free throws,and put teams out of their misery?
Now, I know Howland is grooming Anderson to be our PG of the next few years, but I don’t think it’d hurt if we experimented with switching up the scheme a bit. For instance, play JH at PG and DC as the shooting guard. Or even JA at PG at times. My logic behind this is that it gives DC some time to rest from the pressure of handling the ball at all times, and it also allows JH or JA to use their playmaking ability to get some free looks for DC, especially out on the perimeter. Plus, it keeps opposing defenses off guard when they realize we don’t have only 2 official PG’s to watch.
5. We didn't give up. This team should never have dug itself in its hole had the team played the first half like we did in the last 10 mins. No excuses there. But at least we didn’t give up even when down 25. Louisville packed up for home before the 2nd half even started against ND, and at least we tried to gain some of our dignity back. We might have played like crap, but we did not quit.
6. Two losses in a row will spark a fire under the butts of the players and coaches. No doubt about it. This is going to be a hell week of practices I bet, but there is no greater teacher than learning from defeats. And no greater coach for these lessons than Howland.
Wanted to add this too, since I hear it a lot: people claiming our recruiting class was overrated. That could not be more wrong. Maybe Holiday isn't the same star people thought he would be - a Love or Durant type player or something, but few players are. In fact, how many players have single-handedly led their team to a NCAA Championship, or even Championship game? Carmelo is the only one in recent history to single handedly come in and take over, but he's obviously an incredible talent that should've went straight to the NBA and would've been the #1 pick had Lebron not been in the same draft. (Oden doesn't count either, since he came in with Conley, who was also highly regarded)
Kansas won last year with recruits from their 2005 class (Brandon Rush and Chalmers) which was their #1 class. It took Kansas 3 whole years for their #1 ranked class to cash in a final 4 appearance and championship (it didn't hurt that they were #8 the next year also with Arthur and others).
How about UNC? After winning it all in 2005, they brought in the #4 class (including espn-love-fest Hansborough) and then the #1 class the next year and.... they got blown out in the final 4 by Kansas