Monday, December 1, 2008

The Daily Spoke...Beyond the Box Score Edition

We're getting close to one full day separted from what we saw in Nashville. Here's the problem...I'm angrier now than when we lost. If you were there, I'm sorry. I was almost there. In fact, I was coming home from Nashville and saw many of you on I-65 representing! That's about all the good I can say about the day. If you suffered from the drawl of the redneck announcers on TV then I'm sure today you're as angry as myself. Here are some ideas floating around in my brain.

1. Same ol' shooting story. Listen guys, we've got NO better in this area. Bring in Reggie Delk, he takes no shots and plays 5 minutes. Jeremy Smith shoots ZERO times, 0 points in ONLY 14 MINUTES?!? Louisville shoots 6-30, that's 20% folks. 20 percent for a team that's supposed to be in the top 5 in the way, sorry!

Here are the players I scoff at this morning.

*TWill 5-14. Terrence, I thought you were athletic? I thought you could get to the bucket whenever you wanted? I thought you could throw down over people and were the best athlete in college basketball? Why is TWill settling for 7 three the ball...we know SOSA and MCGEE CAN'T!!!
* Earl Clark 3-9. Way to take 3 shots in a game where your team was losing or tied throughout and they really couldv'e used those "NBA skills" you possess.

* Samuels. Too many profane words will be written if I continue but I will say this...ONLY 7 shots for the supposed frosh of the year and possible NBA talent. Again, too many outside shots that are taking away from Samuels and Clark's strengths.

*McGee. Maybe Andre McGee should gain his weight back. I think he lost his jumper along with his fat cells. 0-7 from the field with 5 missed threes. His poor play put the nail in the coffin. The guy can't drive and if he can't shoot then he needs to be replaced. Knowles can guard better, Smith can shoot better, Scott actually hit 2 threes!, and Sosa can drive and somewhat finish better. McGee, wake UP or this will NOT be your team.

*Will Scott. He shoots 2-8! Yeah, that's right he shot 8 times. I love Will Scott but should be playing vital minutes and taking more shots than Knowles, Samuels, McGee, Delk, Sosa, Smith. The answer...NO! Actually, hell no. And Will, when you do get a chance make more than 2 of 8, thanks.
2. Foul problems? Tell me how in a team with a rotation of 12 people we have 2 of our main guards foul out? Here's the catch...Smith and Preston Knowles are our defensive stoppers at guard. They run well and defend incredibly tight, obviously, maybe too tight. How do we not move them around to keep them out of foul trouble? Preston is a complete hustle and momentum player. Not having him in stretches hurts. Jerry Smith, I thought, would be the MVP of the team besides Samuels...not so. He's been pathetic. If he can't guard, fouls too much, sits the bench, and can't hit spot up 3's then he needs to ride the pine. Smith MUST realize that him fouling gives more minutes to Knowles and Scott. Not that it's completely bad but these guys can't do what he does on the floor.

3. Rebounding. I think two or three posts ago I wrote how the rebounding, specifically from Samuels was poor. Here we are again. No heart. No jumping. No boxing out. But more frustrating than any of that was the pure lack of hustle. Somtimes rebounding isn't about whose bigger, faster, stronger, or position. Sometimes it's simply heart and hustle....both things were absent on Sunday. Samuels MUST be better inside. This isn't high school. You aren't playing guys my're in college now. You may have to position yourself better or actually jump to get a rebound. The days of raising your arms and being bigger than everyone is GONE!
*TWill and Earl. Big ups to these guys. 9 boards for TWill and 11 for Clark. They could've done better but at least held up their part of the bargain.

You know what's the most frustrating part? This team was beaten by Steffphon Pettigrew. He gets 12 boards with 10 of them coming on the defensive end...and yes that's more than Samuels.

4. This isn't WKU of last season. One lingering problem I have is that we lose to a team that IS NOT WKU of last season. They just aren't. You drop Courtney Lee, Brazelton, and Rogers off their team and they DOMINATE Louisville...they punched us in the mouth!

5. Hustle points. They were there all day guys. The play that ended it for me was when Scott hits a big 3 to bring us to within 6 or 7. WKU comes down, has an awful possession, loses the ball under the goal but hustles, gets it and scores a lay up. Again, more heart. They played this like a big a tourney game. They kept the scoring low and let our awful outside shooters fire away.

6. Bigs just aren't least for now.
*Clark isn't scoring enough. I was hoping we could at least get 13-15 per game. We'll have to wait and see on that one.
*Goode got some "good" minutes in the past few games but logged 1 minute Sunday...that's his only non-zero in the box score.
*Jennings almost saw playing time...3 minutes, no affect on the game.
*Samuels played nearly the whole thing, which I love, but can't get me 15 points. He's only a frosh, give him some games and hopefully we'll see some nastiness and consistency!
7. Positive outlook. The positives are endless. We'll still be ranked in the top tier of the country but have some big work to do. The good thing is with the Big East schedule and teams such as Kentucky, Ole Miss, UNLV, Minnesota, and UBA...Louisville CAN get people's respect back. Plus, let's be honest the talent is top notch still. There may be some gelling issues, let's wait and see. Coaching wise I think we have to trust Pitino.

8. Negative outlook. Here's my main negative I keep seeing in my head. Last season early season loses killed us. It hurt our seeding in the tournament which meant having to play UNC in Charlotte. UNC playing there is unfair anyways but that's a different topic for a different blog. I would really hate to see this team peak too late and get ripped off again because they can't beat teams like WKU.
9. Finally, go to the GO- TO's! I love the team, don't get me wrong but when the "you know what" hits the fan the TOP NOTCH guys MUST be in. I'm not saying Pitino did a bad job of this on Sunday. He worked with what he had. But if Smith gets in foul trouble then that gives more time to Preston and Scott. We need Jerry Smith in the game! I'm sorry but if McGee can't shoot then it's Sosa's job.....I hate how we're playing musical point guards. It rarely works for quarterbacks in football so why would it work here?!?!

We need to have Earl Clark, Terrence Williams, Jerry Smith, Samardo Samuels in the game as much as humanly possible. One of the point guard jokers needs to wake up and take the job...this is your chance Sosa. This is why you DIDN'T transfer.

Get the good players in the game and keep them there.

10. One final thought: Notre Dame, Gtown, Tennessee, Gonzaga, Marlyand, Michigan State, Oklahoma, UN freaking C, Indiana, etc. all played in big time invitationals with big time teams.

So, what's the point? These teams have played big time teams and have won. Even if they lost they lost in respect. Louisville schedules cupcakes...Morehead State, South Alabama (not a complete chump), WKU, Indiana State, Ohio, Lamar, Austin Peay, and Ole Miss on a neutral site. Honestly, I'm not sure we can win that Ole Miss game.

What if we would've been tested early? What if we weren't bored with the monotomy of this schedule? We would probably have a loss but at least it woudln't be to a NON TOURNMANET MAKING SUN BELT TEAM!

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