I just sat there. I wasn't angry or mad. Notre Dame won the game, they played better and they deserved the win. But something wasn't right. Something was wrong about what I had just witnessed. But I just couldn't put my finger on it. I figured maybe I should sleep on it and it would come to me in the morning. But I woke up blank, no rhyme or reason why I was so bothered by last night's game. I did my usual complete avoidance of all media reports of a game after a loss. I hoped what was troubling me would come from within. And now it just hit me.
That was not our team playing last night. The speed, the fast breaks, the REBOUNDS, the intensity, the urgency, the passion. I had never witnessed a JT3 game like that before. Even during some of the more emotional and memorable games, Duke in '06 and UNC in '07, the passion was reserved. The intensity was directed and channeled. The concentration was there for 40 minutes (45 for UNC). No matter what the situation, the team played the same. Stuck to what it knew best. This has become a trademark of a JT3 team.
Now I welcome the naysayers. Lay it on me. Yes, the backdoor passes were there last night. The quick passes around the perimeter were evident. We brought the shot clock below five on a few occasions. The passing big man was on prime display as Greg Monroe had his best game as a collegiate player. But consider this: JT3 has now been the coach of Georgetown for 149 games. In those 149 games, there have only been six occasions where the team attempted more shots than last night. And two of those six were overtime games. And it is not because we were chucking up shots when we were down. We attempted the same amount of field goals in both halves.
We have never been a running team. Or a one pass and shoot team. Nor have we ever been a bruiser team, judging by the 14 layups we missed last night. We won games by being us. The calm, collected and composed set of players that are able to put the scoreboard behind them at all times and play with restrained intensity and passion.
Now don't get me wrong. That was a great game to watch. And we easily could have and should have won if a couple of shots and bounces went our way. I said in the last paragraph that we have never been the team that showed up on the court last night, but that doesn't mean we can't become it. We can definitely compete in the league playing the offense we showed last night. The only problem is that it is exhausting and conducive to lots of fouls. Both require a deep bench to overcome. We don't have that.
I don't think the players have anything to hang their heads about, coming out of that three game stretch 1-2 is a great feat within itself. Problem is we have another four game stretch which could pose to be just as difficult. Luckily three of the four are at home. Some more thoughts to tickle your fancy:
- That was a HORRIBLY officiated game last night. Small hand-check fouls were called often, while on every shot in the paint someone gets hacked and there is no foul called. And I can objectively and surprisingly say that Harangody's 4th foul on the charge was a terrible call, but there were plenty of make up calls against G'town
- But it's not like a better officiated game would have helped. I guess track number two on "Fundamentals of the Game of Basketball" will be about free throw shooting
- I said it before but it needs to be repeated: WE REBOUNDED!
- But we couldn't shoot. At all. We haven't shot that poorly from beyond the arc in our last thirteen Big East games.
- Special thanks to our starting guards for showing up for the game. They are now shooting 27% from the field and 20% from three-point land for the last two games.
- Brey did a good job of keeping Harangody away from the ball on defense after he picked up his 4th foul. That's why they won the game.
- Harangody is a beast. Beasts are ugly, smelly and make terrible NBA players. Harangody is ugly, smelly and will make a terrible NBA player. Special shout-out to the transitive property for that one.
- I'm scared Monroe is gonna go. Perhaps I will write a song about it. But probably not.
- Two straight losses and we are still top four according to KenPom
- We have a bench? They were the most surprisingly part of last night. Both Jason Clark and Henry Sims showed why they were highly touted recruits. 38 minutes and no turnovers between the two of them. Clark did a great job bringing the ball up and Sims was very, um, hard for me to say, solid. Don't let it go to your head.