I usually don't do an extensive recap on games against Big South opponents, but when you lay an egg for the second game in a row against an in-state mid major, I need a place to rant my frustrations.
As a team, we don't do the fundamental things well. A lot of our turnovers come as a result of this. We over dribble instead of moving the ball via the pass, we attempt to make post entry passes from bad angles, and we are lazy as hell with our passing. If I see one more pass picked off because our like to lackadaisically throw one-handed passes, I'm gonna pull my hair out. If you can pass like Kendall Marshall I'll turn a blind eye to one-handed passes. Until then, put two hands on the ball and make an accurate pass.
We also don't box out well, as shown by the last possession of the game. I've heard that we don't work on boxing out in practice and it shows. If true, that blows my mind. I wish we practiced boxing out like Tom Izzo does at Michigan State. He essentially has his guys performing mixed martial arts in practice during rebounding drills. As a result, his teams are always extremely physical and dominant on the glass.
Offensively, at strategy that relies on a 5'8 guard to get open often enough to knock down 3's is a recipe for disaster. Andre Young is too small to consistently carry this team. He can't create his own shot and relies on others to get him open enough to get off shots over significantly taller defenders. The fact that Young, who finished with 20 points, can shoot so well from deep should open up opportunities for everyone else since he is stretching the defense 25 feet from the basket. Yet we still can't get another scorer in double figures against a Big South opponent.
Individually, Devin Booker and Milton Jennings have not improved from the past 2 seasons. Their numbers will show 'improvement' at the end of the year, but that is simply due to an increase in minutes. Their efficiency still isn't what it should be (Booker - 11 shots for 7 points, Jennings - 8 shots for 8 points). Granted, Jennings got himself in foul trouble and only played 18 minutes. But as I said in the preview, our bigs need to avoid the dumb fouls and stay on the court. On the other hand, it is obvious that Booker doesn't practice his jump hooks against an actual defender or else we wouldn't see him struggling with it the same way he did last year. If he ever wants to have a consistent jump hook he needs to get more physical. When you pivot you need to pivot towards the basket and get your shoulder into the defender's chest to get him off your ass. You can even use your guard-hand to get some separation. Instead, he continues to fade, which will ultimately result in more performance like last night. It's supposed to be a high percentage shot, but with Booker it feels like a wasted possession.
So what does all this mean? We're playing veterans and we're still not a very good team right now. I'd like to see the freshmen continue to get more minutes. I'm optimistic about TJ Sapp and Rod Hall's futures. I'd like to see more of KJ McDaniels. He simply looks like a basketball player. He is long and has an extra bounce in his step that most don't have. Bernard Sullivan needs to get his conditioning/asthma under control so that he can get on the court. The opportunity for playing time is there, as Bobo has shown time and time again that he isn't capable of contributing at the college level. He still has trouble catching the ball and further limits an already limited offense.