Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Fallacy of a Top Ten Pitt

For the sixth year in a row, the Pittsburgh Panthers are ranked in the top ten in December/January. For the sixth year in a row, the Pittsburgh the Panthers have started off the season at least 10-0. And for the sixth year in a row, the Pittsburgh Panthers will disappoint their fans by flopping in the NCAA Tournament.

Let's go through the seasons:
Started the season 18-0
Ranked as high as #9 before losing to UConn
Didn't play a ranked team until Jan. 19th
Lost to Oklahoma State in Sweet Sixteen

Started the season 10-0
Ranked as high as #7 before losing to Bucknell
Didn't play a ranked team until Feb. 14th
Lost to Pacific in First Round

Started the season 14-0
Ranked as high as #9 before losing to St. Johns
Didn't play a ranked team until Jan. 15th
Lost to Bradley in Round of 32

Started the season 10-0
Ranked as high as #2 before losing to Oklahoma State
Didn't play a ranked team until Dec. 16th
Lost to UCLA in Sweet Sixteen

Started the season 11-0
Ranked as high as #6 before losing to Dayton
Didn't play a ranked team until Dec. 20th
Lost to Michigan State in Round of 32

Started the season 12-0
Ranked as high as #3 before losing to ???
Didn't play a ranked team until Jan. 3rd
Lost to ??? in ???

I thought this was our best chance of winning out of the three game span against UConn, Pitt and ND. Way to beat Pitt is to force them to take set shots. Their starting guards, Levance Fields and Jermaine Dixon, are shooting a dismal 20% and 35% from beyond the arc. Despite our big men having the height advantage, we will lose the rebound battle again but if we control tempo, we can control how many second chance opportunities they end up with. Keep playing the matchup zone we showcased against UConn. Should be another classic G'town vs. Pitt game, JT3 is 4-3 against the Panthers, and 2-0 at home.

Good talk.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Game 11 - Connecticut

I am a firm believer that if you expect the worst, you can never be disappointed. It's just the way I have become after being hurt so many times by Esherick. Thus, I am probably a lot more excited with this victory than the knuckleheads that expected us to march up to Hartford and kick the crap out of the unbeaten Huskies. There, I said it.

I said that the only way we could win this game was if we limited the use of our bench and shot over 40% from three point land. Well, our bench players averaged less than 10 minutes in this game, whereas the UConn bench averaged over 17 minutes of playing time. In our eleven games this season, we utilized the bench the least in this game, only three players got on court and they saw the least amount of combined time than in any other prevous game. We shot 46% from beyond the arc, which is tied for third highest percentage this season (the average margin in those three other games is 41 points). We also hit our free throws, going 18-19 in the second half.

We want our bench to be neutral on the court, not contribute anything positive while not doing anything stupid. This game was a perfect example of how they should play as role players. Past games the bench has taken it upon themselves to shoot (ahem, Wattad) and drive (ahem, Clark) which just ends up in quick transition buckets for the other team and turnovers.

Some other random observations:
- Jay Bilas loves Greg Monroe, and rightfully so. The freshman had an incredible game and absolutely outplayed Thabeet
- 31 NBA scouts and execs in the stands for this game, kinda wish Monroe didn't have such a great game...
- Monroe gave me a great idea, the fake timeout. Instead of wasting a timeout, just pretend your contact fell out and stall the game for 5 minutes.
- Georgetown centers are now 3-3 from beyond the arc against UConn in the JT3 era
- Henry Sims shouldn't get any ideas by this fact
- Balance scoring continues, 8th time in 11 games that we have had at least four starters in double digits
- Amazingly, in those 8 games, the difference between the high double digit scorer and the low double digit scorer has never been more than 10
- Freeman is having a very quiet all Big East year
- Wright is starting to get much deserved attention, Jimmy Dykes said he could end up being the best PG in the nation come his senior year
- Summers continues to prove me wrong, the attempted dunk on Thabeet was a great idea
- JT3 won this game with his mixed man/zone D and off/def substitutions with Monroe in the second half
- ESPN incorrectly (as usual) applied a JT3 quote regarding Wattad starting over Sapp in their pre-game analysis but maybe they were on to something...
- Sapp has completely disappeared in the last four games averaging 5 points and shooting less than 24% from the field and 23% from beyond the arc
- Clark should see more playing time as the season goes on, he is shooting 95% from the stripe which will be critical come crunch time in some of the upcoming games
- This was the lowest the UConn has scored in a loss since we beat them in '06'-07 season

Big matchup against Pitt at Verizon this Saturday. Georgetown puts its 29-game home winning streak on the line.

Good talk.

Friday, December 26, 2008

UConn(vict) Preview

Ladies, gentlemen and the creatures that are fans of Cuse, welcome to the Big East Season. Georgetown opens up against arguably one of the toughest stretches any team will face this season. At UConn (#2), vs. Pitt (#3) and at Notre Dame (#8). And those numbers in parenthesis aren't Big East standings, they are national rankings. So three games against top ten teams in eight days, two of which are on the road. JT3 has never opened the BE season 0-3, the worst was 1-2 in '06-'07, but it is a very real possibility this season. If we walk out of this stretch with one win, consider it a moral victory.

And now on to the fun stuff. I'm not going to tell you what to expect against UConn because I have talked about it enough the past few weeks. In sum, we are going to get absolutely destroyed on the boards. Only way to win is to stay out of foul trouble (i.e. limit use of our weak bench) and take smart shots (i.e. good ball movement). If we shoot under 40% from three point land we cannot win this game. All that said, I am going to focus my attention on something sent to me by follower jhags99.

First, read the heart warming story of UConn junior Stanley Robinson.

Wow, that Coach Jim Calhoun is a class act. Saw one of this student-athletes (emphasis on student because that is what Calhoun really cares about) heading for trouble and wanted to put the derailed train back on the tracks. Can't say enough about him, we need more good, earnest, hard working folk like Jim Calhoun not only in college basketball, but life in general. Three cheers for Jim!

But wait, something seems askew. This pathetic piece of journalism by Dana O'Neil is missing something. She provides the facts but forgets to the connect the dots. Let me step in where Dana failed.

Let's review the facts as presented. Coach/Savior Calhoun was worried about his starting forward after he was late for a few study halls. In order to teach him a valuable life lesson, he suspended Robinson for the first semester of the year. Robinson, so inspired by said punishment, works hard to get his life back in order and rejoins the team, having earned enough money to pay for his education, thereby not requiring a scholarship. Hmmmm...

Here is what really happened folks, and why Calhoun is a notorious dirtbag. At the end of last season, Calhoun was looking ahead to this year (and trying to forget about his embarrassing loss to #13-seed San Diego in the first round of the NCAA tournament). He had no seniors on the team and had eight definite returning scholarship players, since Hasheem Thabeet was leaning towards going pro. He had four incoming players: freshmen Scottie Haralson, Kemba Walker and Nate Miles and Juco transfer Charles Okwandu. He was also heavily recruiting Australian sensation Ater Majok and had extended him a scholarship offer. If Thabeet decided to postpone his NBA dreams and come back for his junior season and Majok accepted the offer, Calhoun would have fourteen scholarship players for the '08-'09 season. That is one over the thirteen maximum scholarships allowed under NCAA rules. Knowing this, Calhoun took a good hard look at his roster and saw that Stanley Robinson, a five-star recruit, wasn't really living up to his expectations. Although he was billed to be a superstar player, Robinson took a smaller role on the team, over-shadowed by fellow big men Jeff Adrien and Hasheem Thabeet. So Calhoun called Robinson into his office at the end of the season and told him that he no longer had a scholarship at UConn and had two options (1) transfer to another school or (2) become a walk-on. No idea why Robinson didn't choose option #1, but I think it might have something to do with the money thrown at him through a BS job with a former player of Calhoun.

A few things to note:
- Coach/Savior Calhoun rescinded a scholarship from a 19 year old father of two, who was notoriously shy and quiet, in order to extend it to someone else who Saint Calhoun deemed to be a better player
- Robinson was suspended a semester for being late to study hall. He was not allowed to attend class and had his scholarship taken away.
- In 2006 Marcus Williams of UConn was suspended eleven games after being arrested on four counts of third-degree felony larceny. Williams still went to class and kept his scholarship.
- As per the idiot author of the article: "Ruslan Inyatkin returned from vacation to find he had a new employee at Prime Materials" meaning Calhoun somehow had Robinson hired at the company without an interview with his supervisor
- Robinson receives somewhere around $25/hr to clean scrap metal ($700/wk working 9:30-3:30)
- The player that received Robinson's scholarship, has yet to play a minute of basketball for UConn because the NCAA has not cleared him to be eligible

Some more tidbits about the Grade A program Calhoun is running up in Storrs:
- Nate Miles, one of the recruits coming in this year, was expelled before playing a single minute after abusing a female student and violating a restraining order
- Jerome Dyson, current starting guard for UConn, was suspended last year after failing two drug tests
- Doug Wiggins, UConn guard that transferred to UMass, was suspended from UConn last year for alcohol possession and then suspended from UMass this year for breaking and entering
- A.J. Price, current starting guard for UConn, was suspended a full season after trying to sell stolen laptops
- Marcus Williams, former star player for UConn, was suspended for four months after stealing laptops with Price
- Antonio Kellogg, former starting guard for UConn, was suspended from the team for drugs and then attempted to assault a police officer

UConn and Calhoun represent all that is wrong with college athletics today. A scumbag coach running a dirty program with a University that looks the other way as long as the money keeps flowing. What Calhoun did with Robinson is not illegal but it certainly raises an eyebrow as to what coaches can get away with, and how secondary something as important as an education can be in collegiate athletics. And nothing is going to ever change as long as morons like Dana O'Neil write garbage pieces praising the perpetrators for doing something so obviously suspect.

Good talk.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Game 10 - Florida International

In honor of the holiday season, I shall award presents to those people/occurrences which I deem noteworthy, and lumps of coal to things that are not. But since I think that idea is lame, I am changing it to super sweet lax high fives for positive things and kicks in the crotch for the negatives. Let's begin.

Kick in the crotch to JT3 for not wearing a suit. Mismatched coat and slacks is just the beginning, it is a starter-drug if you will. Soon he will be sporting the no tie look, wearing polo shirts and some ugly school-colored blazer. And then he will drop out of school, run away from home and be seen sporadically sporting collar-less shirts. Don't believe me? Guess you never saw the after-school special on Mike Brey.

Super sweet lax high five to the Georgetown offense. Second time ever under JT3 that every player on the team scored at least a point. 19 field goals on 16 assists is mighty impressive. Four players in double figures. Shot over 46% from 3-pt land, which will be our only tool for competing against UConn come Monday.

Kick in the crotch to Greg Monroe. You looked lost for the second game in a row. Showed no heart, passion or interest in the game. Coincidentally, this lack of aggression comes just as Greg started receiving attention as a potential lottery pick next year. So maybe it's not a bad thing? Well if this is not actually a coincidence and it is some secret plan to make the scouts think Greg should stay in school an extra year or two, then I guess I can give it a super sweet lax high five. But I'd rather just kick you in the crotch.

Super sweet lax high five to the G'town big men, you actually rebounded, with Henry Sims leading the bunch!

Kick in the crotch to JT3, again. You ain't telling the truth about why Wattad started over Sapp.
We put Omar in charge of the second team and everyday, particularly this week the huge disparity that had been there is getting smaller, which is better. He has managed that team, so it was more about Omar than it was Jessie. Jessie knows what to do more than anybody, he knows what his coach wants more than anyone, so he knows what we want to do. - JT3
That just broke a 79 game starting streak for Jesse Sapp. You never did anything of the sort in previous years, bench Wallace or Hibbert to give Wright, Rivers or Macklin a chance to start. Something else is going on and you ain't being forthcoming about it so I will give you another kick in the crotch whilst you wither in pain on the ground from the first one.

Bracketology Watch: 2-seed in West in the easiest bracket implying we are the 5th best team. Nine Big East teams. Cuse as a 2-seed as well? Well that about takes away all credibility from this prediction.

Six Degrees of We Beat Duke for this game: Georgetown beat Florida International who beat Toledo who beat UMass who beat Kansas who beat New Mexico State who beat University of Texas-El Paso who beat St. Mary's who beat Providence who beat Rhode Island who lost by three at Cameron so it is as good as beating Duke.

UConn preview to follow sometime before Monday, but I don't guarantee it. Random, but great read on local recruiting. This is the reason for Georgetown's resurgence the last few years, and Maryland - College Park's fall from grace.

Good talk.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Game 9 - Mount St. Marys

Note: Like Georgetown's performance on Saturday, this shall be a very uninspired post.

Statistically, nothing good about the game. Couldn't hit a shot, couldn't hit a three, couldn't hit a free throw, couldn't rebound and couldn't care less. It was just a lazy effort by the team and JT3 was well aware of it:

"Yes, we're in exams, we've gone through two weeks of exams and all of these guys are fatigued. Exam period is rough, you're staying up late studying and everyone forgets about it but that is a dynamic that's real, its tangible. I believe that this group no matter what is going on is tougher than that, is stronger than that. When we walk onto the court in practice at McDonough or in games here for that two or three hours whatever time it is, we can block that out." - JT3 after the game

Chris Wright was the only person to show up to play. Some random thoughts:

- Greg Monroe looked like he lacked motivation, something critics knocked him for at the end of his senior year in high school
- DaJuan Summers had a Bowman-esque game
- Surprise surprise, we were outrebounded on both ends of the floor
- Mount St. Mary's had a 5'8'' starting point guard
- He had seven rebounds
- Georgetown had a 6'11' starting center and 6'8'' starting forward
- They had four rebounds a piece
- The Georgetown guards had three times as many rebounds as the big men
- Getting bored with writing about rebounds

Other stuff:
-Louisville has had zero games against ranked opponents this year, yet has two losses.
- Cuse beat Memphis, makes our win a lot less impressive
- KenPom thinks we are good

Another boring game Tuesday night.

Good talk.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Cheddar Bob is Next OJ

Kudos to Syracuse Holding Cell/University for dishing out some much needed corporal punishment. I thought they would let their star player off scot-free after punching a female student in the face. But no, those mean Orange disciplinaries inflicted a much worse punishment. 40 whole hours of community service and missing three and a half weeks of the season! Good Golly Miss Molly! He will miss the four most crucial Big East games for Cuse, against Seton Hall, South Florida, Depaul and Rutgers, the creme de la creme of the conference. Hammurabi is smiling in his grave knowing that eye for an eye is still the prevalent format of punishment up in Syracuse, Canada.

I guess we will have to wait until Cheddar Bob tries to steal sports memorabilia from a Vegas hotel room to truly see justice.

Good talk.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Say It Loud Boeheim

When it rains, it pours. Just ask Jim Boeheim. First, one of his star players punches a women and now faces suspension for the remainder of the school year. Then Boeheim is outed at a press conference (see below). And then his team loses at home to Cleveland State of the Horizon Conference.

Two things to take away from this pathetic attempt at masculine aggression:
(1) We now know the origins of Cheddar Bob's affinity for punching.
(2) Boeheim attends the same Dojo as Arod, which specializes in open-palm, limp-wrist attacks.

Special thanks to follower Long Time / First Time for sending over this gem.

Good talk.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Game 8 - Memphis

I keep looking at the score, expecting it to change. Expecting it to correct itself. How can a team be outrebounded 53-26 (25-10 on the offensive glass) and still win? How can a team give up 28 second-chance points and still squeak out a victory? Baffles me, but I am happy it happened.

If you haven't realized by now, I will probably just list a bunch of random observations and then make one equally random and sometimes offensive argument and then call it a night. So here goes:

- Jesse Sapp had the worst game of his career
- Monroe had a deceptively bad offensive game, but he hit his free throws which is why we won this game
- Four Hoya players had over 40 minutes of playing time
- Our starting five can compete with anyone in the Big East
- We have no bench whatsoever, will hurt us immensely come conference play time. This game was one of three in a two week span, and sandwiched between St. Mary's School for the Blind and the local CYO team. We will tire when we have to play UConn, Pitt and ND in an eight day span.
- Jason Clark did a great job at the point and breaking the Memphis pseudo-press
- Do not know why Calipari did not play zone against us, we were awful from beyond the arc
- Memphis took 78 shots, more than half were taken by Evans and Taggart
- Henry Sims had his best game in a Hoya uniform
- Henry Sims did not play
- Pretty disappointed with attendance of only 15k
- Special thanks to Ed Hightower for acknowledging my existence

The press is making a big deal about JT3's impressive overtime record with Georgetown (6-1). Got me wondering about Calipari's. This is the second game Memphis has been taken to overtime against a team they should have beaten in regulation. The first was last year's national championship game. It is also the second game Memphis has lost in overtime. Brand new team, same old mistakes. And it is directly attributable to poor coaching. JT3 runs a system. And as infuriating as it is to sometimes watch a team pass around the perimeter for 30 seconds and then take an off-balance three, his system works. It is effective because regardless of the time, opponent, or score, the team plays the same. We run the same offense in the closing moments of a tie game as we do in the opening minutes of the game. That is why Georgetown always looks so calm and collected come crunch time, why you never see JT3 show signs of worry and why the team has been so good in close games. Calipari has an offense, but when his team desperately needs a bucket, he relies on his recruits' athleticism as opposed to set plays. Nothing wrong with that but for the past two overtime games, you have seen the same result:

vs. Kansas in OT - 1-8 field goals, 1-6 three pointers, 50% of shots taken by one player (CDR)
vs. G'town in OT - 1-9 field goals, 0-4 three pointers, 56% of shots taken by one player (Evans)

In both games Memphis had no offensive sets, no designed plays. Calipari relied on his players to make plays, which is a lot to ask for a bunch of 20-year olds. Kansas had five different people score in the five minute overtime period, and Georgetown had six. That is why both these teams won. They played team basketball in the closing minutes of the game and followed through on the game plan they had prepared. And we are all happier for it, so thanks John.

Boring games until the 29th, expect the same type of game against UConn and Pitt.

Follow-on: I was kindly reminded by follower BBC4EVA that I neglected to post Six Degrees of We Beat Duke for this game. I offer my many apologies. So here goes: Georgetown beat Memphis who beat Seton Hall who beat USC who beat New Mexico State who beat University of Texas-El Paso who beat St. Mary's who beat Providence who beat Rhode Island who lost by three at Cameron so it is as good as beating Duke. Phew, I need a drink after that one.

Good talk.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cheddar Bob Gets The Book Thrown At Him

It seems that our classy and admirable friend Mr. Boeheim over at Syracuse Holding Cell/University has decided to do the honorable thing and insist that Eric Devendorf play despite the recommendation that he be suspended for the remainder of the school year for assaulting a female student.

From a basketball perspective, I applaud Boeheim's decision. I believe he ascribes to the philosophy made famous by Confucius: Avoid preparation; always act as if all is normal and when the inevitable happens, just cry and whine. I guess that means we can expect a lot of high pitched, nasal sounds from Boeheim come conference time when Cuse is playing without their starting guard. The same starting guard who's departure they had a whole month to prepare for, against cupcake teams mind you. And in the meantime Confucius also recommended making insensitive and crass comments to the press while completely overlooking the severity of an athlete assaulting a student. Don't think B Rabbit is going to save Cheddar Bob from this one. A sweet bro high five to you Boeheim, you really thought this one through.

From a holistic perspective, I am not a fan of the innocent until proven guilty standard being applied to athletes. All athletes should be assumed guilty until proven otherwise. This assumed innocence nonsense makes my ability to ridicule athletes I despise a lot harder. And I am firm believer that all laws should be based on making my life as easy as possible.

Good talk.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Game 7 - Savannah State

Similar to American, this game sucked. So in my boredom, I developed a new game that I will try to institute into every post: Six Degrees of We Beat Duke. Last time it was Georgetown beat Maryland who beat Michigan who beat Duke. This time it is Georgetown crushed Savannah State who lost by two in overtime at Michigan so it is as good as a win who beat Duke. That's all I have to say about that (name that movie).

I got my first acknowledgment of existence by an opposing coach this season, count it. I mentioned it in the season preview but Georgetown basketball alum Horace Broadnax is the current coach of Savannah State. And don't let the 100-38 score fool you, Horace is doing a great job with this program. The team went a 0-28 in '04-'05 and since then the Tigers have steadily improved under Broadnax, winning two games the next year over ten games in each of their last two seasons. Always nice to see a Georgetown alum on the sidelines, despite the fact he was not sporting his 1984 championship ring.

So let's talk about the game:

One wonders why this game was not played in McDonough. It would have been perfect, weekday game, classes have ended, weak opponent. Some hypothesized that there is a minimum amount of home games we are contractually required to play in Verizon. Would make sense considering we already have had three games on a neutral floor this season, courtesy of the Old Spice Classic. But last year we played fifteen games at Verizon and one in McDonough, this year we are playing sixteen at Verizon, despite the Old Spice interference. McDonough only holds 2,500 and this game's attendance was over 8,000, so I guess the economics worked in our favor. Regardless, first season since JT3 became head coach that we haven't played a game in McDonough.

- Every player on the team scored a point, first time that has happened under JT3 (also a by product of us having a thin bench)
- Largest margin of victory since 1989, which was against a Division II team (UDC)
- Largest margin of victory against a Division I opponent
- First time scored over 100 points since Radford game last year
- We made 37-53 field goals, and 7-15 three pointers, which implies we made 30 two-point attempts and missed 8
- Savannah State made 13-57 field goals, and 5-16 three pointers, which implies they made 8 two-point attempts and missed 33
- So... Savannah State made as many two pointers as we missed
- We shot 69.8 percent, highest under JT3
- Remarkably, nearly two-thirds of Savannah State's rebounds came on the offensive glass. While I would normally gripe about this , it is caused by the amount of playing time our reserves received
- There was a scuffle at midcourt which resulted in the first technical foul of the season for Georgetown
- The last time Georgetown scored 100 points there was a fight as well, which resulted in two technical fouls on the Hoyas. Coincidence? I think not.
- Henry Sims hit his first three!!!!!!!!!!!!

We all knew we were going to win this game. So what occurred in this game that will prepare us for Saturday against Memphis?

- Played 2-3 zone in second half
- Worked on a new press break
- Played a "big" lineup with Sims and Monroe on the court at the same time
- Rested starting lineup, should have plenty of legs under them for a 40 minute sprint

I think we come to play against Memphis. Our success will depend on our ability to hit the three and slow down the tempo of the game. We are going to get crushed on the boards so we need to make them take bad first shots. This game will be won or lost on the free throw line, so we need to stay out of foul trouble and hit the freebies they give us.

Side note: First time I can remember that we played back-to-back games against teams with the same mascot. Savannah State Tigers and then Memphis Tigers. Closest I can think of is '06-'07 when we played Duke Blue Pansies followed by the James Madison Dukes.

Good talk.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Game 6 - American

What a game. Hitting 13 out of 14 free throws in the final three minutes to cement a win against a top five opponent. And it was on our home court, in front of a sell-out crowd, on national television and versus one of the most annoying teams in the country. Doesn't get much better than that!

That is what I would be saying if I was a fan of the Michigan Wolverines. Unfortunately, I am not, and instead, watched one of the most boring and one sided games in recent memory. The funny thing is that I have a terrible memory and this game was actually more competitive than the one that occurred six days ago, against the University of Maryland (College Park) Twerps. Make sure you don't confuse Maryland - College Park with Maryland - Baltimore County. The latter made the NCAA Tournament last year, something the former hasn't done in two years.

What does all of this have to do with the game against the American Eagles? Absolutely nothing. Except: Georgetown 75 - Maryland 48; Georgetown 73 - American 49. Therefore, Georgetown > American > Maryland. Taking that a bit further. Georgetown > Maryland > Michigan > Duke. In conclusion, there is no need to play the game on January 17th.

Side note: I challenge you to find me another professional or collegiate team where the full name of the team is a sub-specimen of the mascot. Example, the mascot of American is the Eagle. The full name of the team is the American Eagles. The American Eagle is a type of Eagle. Talk amongst yourselves.

By now you are probably wondering why I am stalling so much. Well the reason is because there is nothing to really say about this game. We played awesome in the first half, and terrible in the second half. Here are my thoughts:

- Chris Wright looked great, although ended the game with no assists
- Greg Monroe was pretty careless with the ball and showed his biggest flaw - lack of outside shooting ability
- Shot 50% from 3pt land
- Summers is getting more confident
- We were out-rebounded on the offensive glass, again. I've talked about it enough and am disappointed nothing is changing with this
- Henry Sims had his best game to date
- Henry Sims did not attempt a shot
- JT3 was not happy with the way we played:
Overall, we did not play well. It's about us, its not about the opponent, it is not about the score, it's us trying to prepare, us trying to get better, us trying to improve. Regardless what the numbers are relative to what the score is, I'm a little disappointed how we played today. Now we have to keep moving forward, and we have to learn and grow but that wasn't one of our better games
We are not prepared to play Memphis, at least not after the performance against American. Let's see which team shows up against Savannah State on Monday night.

Good talk.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mailbag Time

It's tough being me. Fans hound me wherever I go. Following me around town, harrassing me when I am out, interrupting my QT with my bittie. So in an attempt to qualm the mass hysteria that I have started, I shall start responding to readers' mail during quiet periods of Hoya basketball.

Message from reader TBG:
Hey Hire Esherick. Long time listener, first time caller. First off, I just wanted to let you know that I think you are amazing. Your wit, sarcasm and humor are second to none. There are too few out there that are able to profess so eloquently about something they care so deeply about, while writing in a manner which attracts a mass audience. Kudos to you and your endeavors and I hope sometime I can buy you a drink and invite you back to my hotel room. I do have a question for you though. I am currently the coach of a middle school girls basketball team and want to install the Princeton Offense into our system. Any suggestions on how I should go about this?
Thanks for the note TBG. I appreciate your warm, kind and incredibly accurate compliments. But wowsers, you certainly dropped a bomb on me with that question. For the sake of brevity (and to keep T^3 from complaining about the length of my posts), I will answer your question quickly, and post followup thoughts as the year progresses.

There are three points that need to be addressed from your question. (1) What is the Princeton Offense? (2) What type of players do I need to run the system? (3) How do I teach it to a middle school team and more importantly, should I?

Simply put, the Princeton Offense is a scheme that involves all five players from a team working together. All field goals should come off of assists, and all shots should be high percentage shots. It is a type of motion offense that involves constant movement, quick passing around the perimeter, and interior cuts. The benchmark play of the Princeton Offense is the backdoor cut, which often results in a wide open layup. It is named after Princeton University where it was brought to the national spotlight by Coach Pete Carril when his 13-seeded Princeton Tigers defeated the 4-seeded UCLA Bruins in the first round of the 1996 NCAA Tournament.

The offense was developed to counter teams with superior athletic talent. It is a slow offense that makes full use of the shot clock and tries to tire the defense out. It is also used to combat aggressive defenses that guard the perimeter tightly. The types of players that excel in this offensive strategy are accurate passing, sharp shooting guards and small forwards. It is also critical to have a strong inside presence that is able to pass effectively.

TBG, to be quite honest with you, I do not think it is worthwhile to teach it to your middle school team. It is a very hard offense to learn and an even harder offense to perfect. Small mistakes can lead to significant turnovers. And I do not think it is the type of offense that should be used solely with a group of players so young. Just like you can't run before you can walk, you can't perfect the Princeton Offense before perfecting how to pass, dribble, rebound and shoot. At that age, I would focus on utilizing pick n' rolls and screen plays, and letting guards dribble-penetrate and forwards/centers work on their inside games. You don't have to take my advice, but if you ignore my suggestions, I have a feeling your team is going to suck.

Good talk.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Game 5 - Maryland!

"It's tough playing local teams when you're supposed to be the best team, to be honest with you." - Gary Sweaty Williams (2004)

Georgetown 75 - Maryland 48 (2008)

I am so dumbfounded by the remarkable, incredible and righteous (yes, I just went there) outcome of this game that I cannot even write coherently about it. So instead I will list a bunch of things.

Thoughts on the Game
- 14 assists on 26 field goals
- Finally won a game on the boards
- Georgetown was up 73-38 with 7 minutes left. They only scored two more points afterwards. The outcome could have been a lot worse.
- Great team effort with even scoring all around
- Austin Freeman is deceptively quick
- Jason Clark got 25 minutes and only turned the ball over twice
- And of course, Henry Sims attempted and subsquently missed another three pointer. He is now 0-7 on the season.

Implications of the Game
- Worst loss for Maryland since 2005
- Worst OOC loss for Maryland since 2000
- Fewest points scored by Maryland since 1995 (which was a 50-47 loss to UMass, not a 75-48 massacre to a local team)
- Fewest points scored in a college game by Greivis Vasquez

Random Recruiting Information
- 6 players on Georgetown roster that were also recruited by Maryland
- 53 points scored by these 6 players
- 5 players on Georgetown roster that were given offers by Maryland
- 39 combined points scored by these 5 players

- 3 players on Maryland roster that were also recruited by Georgetown
- 13 points scored by these 3 players
- 1 player on Maryland roster that was given an offer by Georgetown
- 3 points scored by this player

What does this mean? (1) Georgetown gets the top tier of local recruits. (2) Maryland unsuccessfully attempts to crack Georgetown's hold of the top recruiting school in the area. (3) Georgetown passes on Maryland's local recruits (i.e. does not extend offers) . (4) Georgetown is a better evaluator of talent. (5) Gary Williams got blindsided by JT3's arrival.

Random Observations
- Fran Fraschilla is an idiot. He tried to argue last night that players have a hard time shooting free throws on technical fouls because they do not practice free throws when the lanes are empty. I am sure every coach puts six idle people in the box during practice so one player can practice free throws. I guess that is why I sucked at basketball, I should have asked my family and friends (if I had any) to line up in the lane when I shot free throws in my driveway. If only I had known Fran's advice growing up, I coulda been a contender.
- Hubert Davis thinks Georgetown can not only win the Big East, but also the NCAA Tournament. I guess he needed to say something controversial since Bobby Knight kicked him off of the prime time squad of analysts.
- Gary Williams needs to wear an undershirt. It was either really cold in Orlando or he was icing his nips during timeouts. There is another possibility that will require me to use the words "aroused" and "stimulate" but I will leave it at that.

Good talk.