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!


  1. Last night was also our first chance to see an entire game, but we watched over beers with a big crowd, so my thoughts are more impressionistic than yours.

    We looked surprisingly good, but was that because the Huskies are just awful? Maybe, but note how close they played Florida today . . .

    Speaking of today, we're at home listening to Bob and Chris (or is the preferred term "Bob and Piper"? "Bob and Pipes"? anyway . . .), and we sound great so far against Syracuse.

    This game feels more like a test, and so far (with the exception of some unfortunate missed shots) I'm pretty happy with things.
    Whistle's seems less friendly, so our big half-time lead seems encouraging; and Morningstar's free-throw shooting combined with our rebounding margin also seem promising RE dgl's comments. (Though of course the Orange play a zone, so the same caveat applies in reverse on that last point.)

    In any case, I'm enjoying it. Your #1 and 2, dgl, seem just right. (And thanks for finding a way to work President-elect Obama into the blog!)

  2. Okay, so the 2nd half is proving more, um, exciting.

    But how about Sherron, Cole, and Tyrel: when we were down, they stepped up. I like that. I like it a lot.

  3. Well f**k.

    At least it's just November.