No use in trying to draw up too many positives here. It wasn't good. But I am disappointed in the meltdown on the board and the blaming of Coach Self. We seem to have a great time poking fun at MU and UNC and others when they lose. If we are going to dish it out, then we had better be able to take it.
The 3 juniors that start carry this team - there is no doubt about it. But this year the focus is all on them. Wayne doesn't have Nick to help draw defenses away. This was pointed out last year when we started talking about this year's team. We don't have Kirk and his leadership. Aaron is trying to push the ball and is having an outstanding year, IMO. But we don't have the offensive threat out there that we did with Kirk. Don't most of us hope that Russell Robinson will be an immediate impact player next year? Somebody that can score from the perimeter and create his own shots out there.......
Free throws have hurt us for 3 straight games now. That has to improve. Our team this year needs defense and free throw shooting. We are not a strong offensive club, and we have to take advantage of those situations.
Many of us talked about the bumps along the road that would occur this year. Many of us weren't setting our expectations really high during this first year of Self's regime. Sure, we expected to win our share of games, but we also knew that it wasn't going to be automatic. It seems we are getting about what we thought we would - but like always, once the season starts we set these lofty expectations. There isn't anything wrong with wanting to win every game. It just isn't going to happen. And shame on us for dogging the opposition. Richmond has a fine team, gave a great effort, and executed what they had to in order to win. Sure we should be a better team than they are, etc. - but the better team doesn't always win.
We came out and worked harder on the boards - which was a point of focus after the last few games. We pushed the ball the first half and got some really good transition buckets. Did somebody think that Richmond wouldn't try to make adjustments at half to keep that from happening? Langford had a great first half - taking the ball to the hole, getting some nice assists, helping on the boards, etc. Then, for whatever reason, he didn't seem to have the ball in his hands often enough the last part of the second half.
Miles was great. How about stepping up and hitting that trey at the end. I bet a lot of posters said a group "oh, no" as he let it go. He ran the floor, played great defense, and had some tremendous assists. Yet we will remember the free throws missed at the end.
I, like everybody else, wishes we were 13 -1 because we should not have lost to Nevada and Richmond. But some of us need a reality check. This team does not have a consistent threat from the perimeter. If we could have pulled up and hit some of the perimeter shots that Richmond did, then this game would have been a real blow-out. Since we don't have that consistently in our arsenal, then we have to rely on what is supposed to be our strength - getting the ball inside and scoring with our big men. Our big men need to go directly to the hoop when the pass gets there and not wait for the defense and try to pump-fake them. And, even if that happens, then they have to convert the free throws when they are fouled. I'm not putting the blame on the big men - there is plenty to go around - but that is suppose to be the strength of our offense. That, along with Keith taking the ball to the hole.
News flash - we are still 3-0 in the conference, and March Madness is still over a month away. There are going to be more bumps - get ready for them. The team needs our support when things aren't going well. It's one thing to be upset with the loss. It's another to be trashing the Coach and the players. This is our team - like it or not - and we should be supporting them. Being upset with how they play is the life of every fan of a team that loses, but our true colors show when we berate them at a different level. Maybe we would be better off if we just won 10 or 12 games each year - then we wouldn't have to worry about it.....NOT!
Sunday's a new day and another game. Fasten your seat belts. It's going to be an interesting ride............Discussion on Bullhawk's comments may be found here.