Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N
The last few days I have been thinking about the role of "luck" in college basketball. Personally I want to make the case that "luck" has caused some of the MSM and maybe even some on BN to underestimate DC's role as a clutch player, and a go-to player down the stretch.
Listen to Cal's Mike Montgomery after the game.
''That's why (Collison) is what he is,'' Montgomery said. ''The ability to make a play in late clock is probably what separates UCLA from a lot of people. Collison is such a clutch player, and he makes plays in critical situations. In late clock, he's as good as there is.''
So an opposing coach (who personally I don't think is just saying nice things about us after the game --- this is a genuine belief) - views DC as one of the best in the game in closing plays. Yet in general people don't have the confidence that our team has the closers to finish the games...I have to admit, I feel the same way for the most part...and with this team for whatever reason, like others, I don't have the secure feeling during a close game that I had in times past. And have been sympathetic with the argument that in addition to our teams lack of defense, we struggle with having a "closer" or the go-to-person who can close out a game.
After thinking about it, and watching this game against Cal in particular, I believe the reason for our lack of confidence is exclusively due to our poor defense this year and not the lack of a clutch player, or players. It is understandable that we might feel this way --- we lost close games to ASU (61-58 OT), ASU (74-67), and WSU (82-81). But I don't think we lost these games because of the lack of clutch plays. In some (the second ASU game) we had clutch plays that SPTR eliminated. In others, our defense didn't stand firm and the other team had a Curry-type inspired player (WSU). But our guys really did ok in the clutch. If Collison gets the ASU call, and if Rochestie misses one shot, we are in sole possession of 1st place, and a top ten team. And those things, IMHO, are due more to "luck" than the clutch play of our players.
The only way to beat "luck" is defense. Our problem is not the lack of clutch players, we have them in Collison, Shipp, and Aboya. These guys have time and time again done what it takes at the critical times. The fall-offs have been in the critical defensive stops, and there it takes five players to stop it from happening. We had it in the past. We will have it in the future. Hopefully these guys will get better as the tournaments come.
The nice thing about luck is that it can produce a run. Lute's Wildcats had a national championship and it wasn't because of their defense. If we're in Vegas, you don't bet on that run, but it doesn't mean it can't happen. I am hopeful that a combination of better defense and better luck will enable us to make a run. And am glad with CBH at the helm that year over year we don't leave things to chance by having a defense that survives bouts of bad luck. But I am not going to wish for a clutch player this year, because we have three of them.