Expert Analysis: The Frozen Edition

Its another two-for-one special here at The Bootleg! "Roscoemaynard" offers up his comments on all of the Cardinal's guards at Colorado State and versus Northern Arizona. Dive into his thoughts on the cold conditions in Fort Collins, struggles at the end of the game versus the Lumberjacks, and thoughts on Northwestern as they come to Maples this Saturday!

Colorado State and Northern Arizona. They are both colder than the Bay Area, lots colder. Those poor bastards in Fort Collins. Yeesh! Sure is pretty there, when the wind chill doesn't kill you and you can safely open your eyes without fear of them freezing up. How do you recruit to Fort Collins? Wow. But before I digress too far, we won both games the good old fashioned Stanford basketball way, by clogging up the lane, playing solid ball-you-man defense, executing our offense with clinical precision, and taking care of the ball. I heard one astute basketball observer last night after the Northern Arizona game use the word "stacato" to describe our performance. Not only a good word, but appropriate for our guard play over the course of these two games.

Wait. Look up in the sky right now! Hurry damn it! Was that a shoe? No! That was Josh Owens! A suggestion for our guards, if we are spastically kicking the can, let's go all Temple Owls circa 1981 or Cincinnati with Kenyon Martin and before we turn it over again just take two dribbles toward the top of the key, freeze the back defender for a split second, and just throw the thing at the top of the square and let Mr. Launch Codes blast off for it. I was having some Roy Hinson flashbacks.

Let's start this time with Anthony Goods, who was brilliant against Colorado State. Tremendous defense, tremendous offense, and great intensity. His footwork on his jumper was way ahead of the ball. He was way ahead of the opponent. And then he must of stood too long outside in Fort Collins staring at the frozen landscape, because a different guy showed up against the Lumberjacks. Imprecise footwork on the jumper just killed his shooting. He was not "ahead" of the ball. He was reacting to the pass, instead of being ready for it. His defense was solid though for the most part. He was a bit sloppy with the ball, but then again the entire team was having ballhandling brain cramps. However, over the first five games, Anthony has been locked in mentally and it is a testament to where his game is now, that he has a poor outing and still gets us 12.

Mitch, two games, six assists, six turnovers, and a poor job against the pressure and the press in both games. He was robbed by the stat guy in Ramville, though. Criminally robbed. How do we only have six assists in a game where we make 28 field goals? I counted five assists for Mitch in that game off the top of my head. So let's credit Mitch with ten assists and six turnovers. Too many turnovers, but he knows this. Last night, I had two of those turnovers though off of situations where Mitch was overdribbling against pressure while his teammates tried to get into their offensive set. Lack of familiarity with the offense, hesitation by his teammates if you will, led to the overdribbling and bad timing. Mitch gets some credit, but so do his teammates for not having their act together. There is nothing more fun for a point guard than trying to deal with pressure while your teammates get their act together, particularly where you are not physically better than the guy that is all up in your shorts. In fairness, Mitch had some beautiful passes and penetrations against the Lumberjacks.

I am not going to go into too much detail on the other guards, because we need to talk about the ballhandling meltdown late in the Lumberjack game. So, quickly, Shiller played great in Fort Collins, great confidence and execution. Kenny did his Kenny thing, and handled the point acceptably in a pinch against the Lumberjacks and when we need his offense, he provided it. That is senior leadership. Jarrett Mann's defense was the spark that lit the fuse in the first half against the Lumberjacks and pushed us to a good lead. Ballhawking. He didn't get credit for steals, but he caused turnovers that directly led to buckets. Jeremy Green is a stud, but I'd really like to see Jarrett Mann get some more run while Shiller is out.

I thought after the Ridge game that we would be fine against pressure, particularly given the experience we have on the floor. But last night, in the last four minutes, our effort against the press was nothing short of atrocious, as was our defense. In the last four minutes and change, we had five turnovers against pressure and gave up five layins (and they missed at least 2 bunnies). These turnovers were as simple as this: sloppy, soft, and disinterested. Only Anthony Goods finally strapped it on and got his knees bent and his elbows out and acted like it mattered. In fact, the entire second half our ball handling was poor. And the Lumberjacks pressure isn't that good. We will get better, everything was fixable. I would think that film sessions will be blunt and practice heated. We have veteran guys. They understand. This was the type of win where no one was pleased with the execution or the toughness.

On the way out the door, Northwestern is going to bring it at us physically. We have to play tougher. Hill and Owens have to play "edgier" ball in the second half. It is not neat to give up layins late in the second half to some dork named Zarko. Zarko's butt should have been sprawled out on the Maples floor a few times. Two minutes left, up nine, and you have one foul and you just committed a horrible turnover and here comes ol' Zarko down the pipe at you. Come on guys, this is Maples Pavilion, have some pride, have some huevos, and put Zarko's butt on the line and take a breather. Bring the wood! Fall the Lumberjack! The ghosts of Revelli, Reveno, Vlahov, Lammerson, Alloway, Young, Madsen, Collins, Kirchofer, Sauer, Little, Washington, and Finger demand a sacrifice!!! What is the good of playing 38 minutes and committing a single foul, if you don't play with the requisite intensity when you must? This isn't berkeley!

Drop the Axe on somebody! Merry Christmas!

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