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Saturday, March 05, 2005

nit - depressing

Tough loss tonight. Sounded like an amazing game -- back and forth all the way. Providence really killed us inside. Green and Hibbert simply couldn't handle Gomes who hit the game winner with one second left. Rebounding was the difference, period. We shot very well and the defense (sans rebounding) seemed quite good. But man did they kill us on the boards. 8-8 on the season. Good run but very very disappointing finish. What really sucks is that with West Virginia's loss to Seton Hall tonight we were poised to get into the tourney with two wins (tonight and in the first round). Now, it would take a run to the finals and that ain't gonna happen. Oh well, maybe we'll see Maryland in the NIT.
In other news, JTIII has been nominated for the Naismith award but the loss tonight pretty much guarantees he won't get it. (I imagine no coach has ever recieved it without going to the tourney.) Funny -- this Providence team has lost 5 games this year by less than 5; everyone kept saying that just couldn't hit the big shot. Well, tonight they hit it.
In other Big East news, UConn showed that they are one of the best teams in the country by dismantling Cuse. I wouldn't be surprised to see UConn in the final four.


Diamond_Mike said...

Oh, and as a follow-up on our recent 5 game skid -- it is undoubtedly due to these guys getting tired. Early in this game JTIII was bringing in Crawford and Diaw -- something he never did earlier in the season. I think that was an acknowledgement that playing 6 men the entire season really killed us. (You can also see it in the way we've been outrebounded over this stretch.) It is hard to second guess that because it got us to .500; hopefully, with a few more players we can extend the rotation and not face this again.

Italian Stallion said...

right now based on our seeding, we should be set to face off against the hall in the BE. a win there puts us in front of uconn. should be interesting to see how that unfolds. i agree, short of a trip to the saturday night game, it's nit time for the hoyas.

.500 is better than a losing season. small steps forward.

Jeff said...

Maybe wishful thinking, but there's a glimmer of hope with a strong Big East Tourney showing. West Virgina and ND had a chance to separate from the pack but also lost today. From those three, the team with the best run at MSG will probably get the last spot (if there is a last spot).

IPB said...

The biggest reason we got killed on the boards against Providence was b/c Hibbert and Green--our two bigs--were both in foul trouble the entire game.

It now appears as though we need a miracle to make the NCAA tournament.

What is so depressing is two weeks ago we were a virtual lock and we frankly choked coming down the stretch.

Yes, we are inexperienced and yes we are not deep and yes we far surpassed the pundits expectations for the year, but all we needed to do was win one of the two games against the two worst teams in the BE--SJU and Providence--to get a spot in the dance and we couldn't get it done. That is what makes me sick.

This collapse is reminiscent of Jean Van de Velde's final hole collapse in the British Open 3-4 years back (for those who don't follow golf, all Van de Velde needed to do was double-bogey the last hole to win the British Open and he couldn't do it)! Like GU, Van de Velde came out of nowhere (I don't even think he was ranked in the top 100 or 200 golfers) to lead the Open Championship and couldn't close the deal.

Don't get me wrong--I am proud of the way the team played this year but we clearly didn't do what we needed to do in the last five games. The team showed a lot of heart early on and hopefully we have a solid foundation to build upon.

The one player I am going to very happy to see graduate next year is Brandon Bowman. I have expressed my feelings about Bowman to Mike D. on several occassions, but I actually think he's regressed this year. His overall stats look good, but I can tell you from attending one game after another and watching him very closely that for every spectacular play he makes, Bowman makes 3-4 stupid ones, many of which will never show up on a stat sheets (getting beat on defense, missing your rotation, etc).

His poor decisions in the final two minutes of the Providence game (throwing the ball away with the score tied with about 1:20 to play and fouling Ryan Gomes' with a ticky-tack foul on Providence's final possession) cost us dearly. Btw, if you're going to foul, at least do it right.

Bowman reminds me a lot of Braswell, who got worse the longer he played at GU. And Bowman's on-court IQ hovers at the mentally retarded level.

No question, he possesses wonderful physical attributes, which is what has gotten him this far.

Finally, what really irked me occurred at the end of the contest. As the players lined up and went down the line congratulating the Providence players (as happens following nearly every contest), every GU player (and Thompson as well) looked distraught and looked as though they were on the verge of tears. Bowman, however, and I kind not, had a smile on his face as though he were heading out to Champs, and proceeded to give Ryan Gomes a friendly (NOT AGGRESSIVE) chest thump/bump as the two passed, as though Gomes has just beaten him in a friendly game of PIG.

Diamond_Mike said...

I think Bowman's on-court IQ has improved this year. He was at Slingblade level under Esh and now could pull off Corky. I think the reason you're noticing his bad decision-making is because the rest of the team is playing smart, team-oriented basketball. His boneheaded plays stick out like a sore thumb now. I think Thompson has shown a lot of patience with him; repeatedly calling him over to the sidelines to explain why he is screwing up. Hopefully he'll mature over the offseason and we'll see a new Brandon next year. He is incredibly talented. If only he could make good decisions . . . .
My one major concern for next year is the front court. The back court will get a major upgrade with Sapp and Thornton and with Wallace having the summer to get into better shape. I worry that neither Egerson nor Spann are big enough to really pull down board consistently in the big east and will be used as small forwards (sort of like Owens). Green and Hibbert better continue to progress if we are going to compete for a big east crown next year. (And that's not a knock on them; Hibbert, in particular, has gotten much better as the season progressed.) Not getting a blue-chip big man really hurts.

Jester of Magellan said...

I don't even know what to say.

I know we're much better off, but this feels a lot like last year. We started from a higher spot, but we demonstrated the same kind of Chernobyl-esque meltdown. 0-5 just plain sucks.

And I think that being tired is party of it, but I don't think that you can blame things totally on the fact that our 6-man rotation just got worn out. If that's the case, then you need to blame JTIII for not doing enough to condition his young players (both physically and mentally).

I'm calling it now. Seton Hall by 5.

Diamond_Mike said...

I certainly don't think JTIII can be blamed at all for not conditioning them. He clearly knew this would be a problem and that is why he had us play at such a slow pace. The fact is that freshman are never in ideal playing shape because the coaches only have the summer to get them ready. I'm sure he did everything humanly possible because he knew it would be an issue. Someone posted this analysis on the Board which confirms the role conditioning proved in our demise:

1) We weren't a great rebounding team, but we were far from awful:

A simple average yields 35% on Offense, 63% on Defense for the year.

2) "The Slide" had some interesting trends:

a) It wasn't really the offense's fault. While 3 of the 5 games had a subpar offensive effort, the UND game was acceptable, and the Providence game was our most efficient offensive performance of the year -- 65 points on about 52 possessions!

b) Turnovers had little to do with the slide.

c) Rebounding was different -- the offensive % was 37% before, 30% after. The defensive % was 65% before, 56% after. In a usual game, that's a substantial amount -- 5 rebounds or so, BUT the Providence game is a bit of an outlier.

d) The only pure common thread is Defense. We didn't keep a single opponent under 112 pts per 100 possessions. We had FIVE of our SIX worst defensive performances down this stretch, and on average were 20% than the rest of the BE sked.

3) Related to the slide, how's about this: we were 1-7 when opponents shot 20+ FTs. We were 7-1 when they shot less than 20 (Prov: 18).

4) Did teams figure out our offense?

Offensive Efficiencies:
UConn - 87 (Home) to 91 (Away)
Rutgers - 107 (H) to 112 (A)
Nova - 107 (A) to 90 (H)
ND - 101 (A) to 106 (H)
SJU - 118 (H) to 100 (A)

Ehh, it hardly looks like it. In defense of the hypotheses, the Slide included 3 of our 5 worst performances offensively.

A more noticeable slide was on the defensive side.

5) What affected our offense and defense most?

Correlations between the Hoyas' offensive efficiency and other stats (adjusted for pace):

FTA: .25
TO: -.35
Oreb: .35

And defense:

FTA: .72
TO: -.03
OReb: .16

I find the defense really interesting. We were very consistent at not forcing TOs, but it was the FTA that moved in line.