For every schizophrenic sports team, there is a schizophrenic fan base. The Bruins Nation collective is no different. After the Montana game many, if not most, BNers were seeing visions of another downward spiral of a season featuring a turnover prone offense and lackadaisical defense. Following Wednesday's victory, those visions gave way to images of 20+ wins and Pac 10 title contention from a team with size, talent and match-up problem makers all over the court.
The truth is, both of our split personalities are correct. This squad is capable of going from "hardly-better-than-last-year" to "Top 10 team" depending on whether or not Josh Smith is in the game. I present to you a tale of two teams, otherwise known as our + / - numbers with and without Josh on the court:
|Opponent||With Smith||Without Smith|
|Minutes||+ / -||Minutes||+ / -|
So, just to clarify, if you look at the Wazzu row, against the Cougars Josh played 17 minutes and (obviously) sat 23. During his 17 minutes on the court, we outscored Wazzu by 20. During his 23 minutes on the bench, we were outscored by 11.
The most exciting thing about the numbers here, is the realization that with Josh on the court we beat Kansas and dominated Villanova, BYU and Washington State. The most terrifying thing about the numbers here is the fact that without Josh on the court we were beaten by Cal State Northridge, Cal Poly and UC Davis and pretty much crushed by Villanova, Montana and Wazzu.
Let me know what else jumps out at you, and feel free to offer any theories explaining the outliers of Pacific, VCU and UCI.