Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Before Syracuse pulled a Mario on us at the end of last night's game, I was ready to write another post about how much promise this team has, how great the newcomers are, how far we can go in March, etc. So I'll still try to keep this on a relatively positive note.

A lot of the good things we said yesterday still stand. As a matter of fact, some of the newcomers impressed me even more against the 'Cuse than against the Huskies.

I may have been unfair to the twins. Last night they were snatching contested rebounds, blocking shots, nailing 3's, driving and dishing -- Marcus had 2 turnovers last night, but he also had 6 assists. (!)

And Tyshawn Taylor? That f**king guy can finish!

On the other hand, Taylor did have 4 of our 17 turnovers, and TOs were the key to the game, I thought. The Orange had almost as many, but more of ours were in the backcourt, leading to easy runouts for them; I thought our defense was pretty good, but they shot 48% largely because we gave them so many layups.

Which begs the question: Who is our point guard? Down the stretch Taylor was bringing the ball up, but he doesn't really strike me as a PG -- only had 2 assists to his 4 TOs. If Sherron is our only guy who can really play the point, this could be a huge Achilles heel. Maybe Reed can do it? He had a terrible first half but finished with 5 assists.

FTs were obviously an issue as well -- one more from Cole at the end and we win the game. The twins seem to be a liability at the stripe: 1 for 5 collectively.

But the other major problem last night was Sherron, as he readily admits. He seemed out to prove that he was better than Syracuse's Flynn, which led to a lot of ill-advised freelancing down the stretch, and his miscues seemed to deflate our whole team. Maybe he's not yet "ready to lead," after all.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

We're Back, Baby!

Last night against Washington was my first exposure to the '09 'Hawks, though my ESPN-deuce shorted out for the first 15 minutes of it. What I saw, from the 6:30 mark of the 1st half on, was more than encouraging:

1. Cole is ready to break out as a star. He didn't look like a guy who'd been warming the bench only last season.

2. Sherron has become a supremely confident quarterback. Like Obama, he is putting to rest all questions about being "ready to lead."

3. The supporting cast looks none too shabby. Morningstar, Taylor, and the twins -- esp. Marcus -- all showed me something last night. And Conner T. got his stroke back.

4. The Self formula lives on with different personnel. The zone is not necessarily a welcome innovation, but shooting 50% while holding the opponent to 29% -- those are numbers worthy of last year's team.

Now, a few caveats:

1. This was a home game, with friendly refs, against a team that couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. Is our defense really that good, or are the Huskies just that incompetent? Syracuse tonight will be a better gauge.

2. Outside shooting could be a big question mark. Cole and Sherron need to be able to kick it out when the double-teams come, but we were 2 for 9 from 3-point range; Morningstar and Reed were 0-fer. (The line has been moved back this year, which could theoretically help us if it makes the inside game that much more important; but still, we're in a bit of a hole if we can't nail the open 3.)

3. Rebounding was obviously an issue. That's typically the first thing to suffer when you go to a zone, and we were playing against maybe the best rebounder in the nation in Brockman. So let's reserve judgment on that one.

4. The Twins, as advertised, have talent but low hoops IQ -- remind me a little of C.J. Giles. They combined for half of our 10 turnovers. As sidekicks to Aldrich, they can be very dangerous; hopefully he stays healthy and they won't have to be load-bearers.

We haven't done predictions yet, because I had absolutely no sense of this team until last night. Maybe after this tourney we can do some late handicapping.

Tonight, j'Cuse!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

2-0 and Nothing to Say

We're perfect in exhibition season!


Anyone out there?

Highlights from the Emporia State game here