Cuse Country

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it’s everyone’s fault

Posted by syracusan on February 2, 2007

After watching Jimmy’s clock management in the final minutes against St John’s and Louisville, I began to wonder if he was throwing games to improve our draft position. Then with the way the team came out against ND, I figured maybe it wasn’t just him, maybe it was everyone. Then I remembered there’s no draft, and that bad years in College Basketball do nothing but beget worse years.

There’s no sense in analyzing the Notre Dame game. We’re not in their league, which is pathetic and shocking. No one or two players should get a lion’s share of blame, they were all lifeless. Terrence and Nichols had good box-score games, but in real life they were just as much to blame as the rest. Devo went 0-11 from the field, but it hardly matters; offense wasn’t the issue anyway. Don’t be fooled by that late game run to make it “respectable”, the Irish had merely succumbed to the human instinct to relax with such a huge lead. Our defense never turned it on, ND simply started missing because they ruined their own rhythm. If they had kept their foot on the gas, we would have lost by 30.

The defense was so atrocious in that game, I stopped trying to parse individual plays so I’d know who to yell at. Every single guy on our team took turns leaving people wide open, failing to rotate, not flashing out on shooters, playing soft on the interior, not fighting through screens, going for ridiculous pump fakes, losing their man, looking the wrong way, etc etc etc. Eventually I stopped getting mad, because what’s the point of screaming at everyone at once?

Jimmy probably ran into the same problem. That said, when the level of failure is this widespread, there’s no one left to blame but the coaches. Defense, rebounding, ball security, these are all coachable issues. You can’t make a guy hit tough shots or become an 80% free throw shooter if it’s not part of their natural talent, but you sure as shit can get them to perform better at the effort and intelligence portions of the game. And that’s exactly where this whole team is failing. Eventually Jimmy needs to take some heat for this, as much as the individual players may drive us nuts.

Against Louisville, there wasn’t a single player on the team with more assists than turnovers. Not one. (Only Mookie broke even, with 2 and 2.) Total team failure. Against the Irish, we gave up 61 points in the first half, yet only had a combined 4 team fouls. FOUR. You don’t have to be a fan of the early 90’s Knicks to know that if you’re getting totally humiliated on your home floor and the other team is scoring at will, you damn well better put somebody on their ass the next time they come in the lane. You damn well better elbow somebody in the face to get a rebound, ride them out of bounds and over the press table, or tackle them to the floor the next time they try to pick you. It’s not about getting techs or playing dirty, it’s about having some pride and reminding the opponent that there’s another team on the court. It’s about knocking them off rhythm any way you can. It’s about being a man and not just sitting back and taking that kind of embarrassment. In the mid-80’s this is not a lesson that anyone in the Big East needed to learn. It went without saying (ask JT II). Where’s that fire now? Why do we just stand there and take it? Why is this level of effort and desire acceptable? What’s Jimmy doing back there?!

*****

There is one thing. I liked these numbers from The Hustle:

St Johns: 21 minutes, 12 rebounds.
Louisville: 9 minutes, 7 rebounds (!!)
Notre Dame: 26 minutes, 11 rebounds.

Boeheim had the nerve to blame the blown lead against Louisville on lack of defensive rebounding in the final 10 minutes after Mookie went out, but meanwhile he kept Paul glued to the bench despite the crazy rebounding prowess he had already shown. Whatever. The important thing is, Harris is coming around. At least there’s that.

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3 Responses to “it’s everyone’s fault”

  1. Michael said

    Hell Yeah!

    Don’t forget the “You only get five fouls per game – make them count!” commerical. I couldn’t find it on the net, so you’ll have to settle for this DC mix:

    MW

    P.S. You owe my boss five bucks for this comment.

    P.S. – You o

  2. Andrew said

    Given how the season is turning out, is it safe to assume that Paul Harris will be back next year?

  3. syracusan said

    Yes, I’d say it’s extremely safe. He’ll be in the NBA some day, but considering his lack of an outside shot he’s not draftable right now.

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