Monday, December 30, 2013

Buffalo - Learning From Our Mistakes

So many places to go with this post, and just 1 hour until my vacation starts.  So today you get the bullet point review, which is ironic because I'd rather watch Jamie Harris' and Kevin Phillip robbery videos then the game tape from yesterday.

*They shot 7% from 3.  Fouch was 0-8 from deep.  I thought by and large they were good shots, especially the last few from Fouch that went in and out.  While it would be exciting to see these guys pass the ball ever (great CAAZone Post by DrachenFire at that link) to the big men, shooters gotta shoot when they have looks.  The money says they find their stroke eventually, and since this team isn't going anywhere against good competition without their shooters, you have to give them the chance to find themselves.

*The coaching left, being generous, something to be desired.  It was great to see them throw a zone and see how slow Buffalo was to adjust.  But they did adjust, and the Drexel staff saw it, I was right there as Coach Connors was yelliing at his team that Buffalo had shooters at every spot on the perimeter.  In a "First to 50" game, you can't watch the other team put shooters at every spot in the perimeter and stay with zone.  The zone is a panic move from this staff, and while I like it, both times that they have thrown it this year they have stayed in it well beyond its usefulness and gotten burned for it.  In the two possession that DU played Z after Connors yelled about the shooters DU gave up a 3 and an offensive board.  In a game this tight, that decides the game right there.

*The coaching left, being generous, something to be desired.  After doing a great job in the first half getting McCrea into foul trouble (even noted on the blog twitter feed) they let him come out and never went at him in the second half (see again the great CAAZone Post by DrachenFire at that link).  Buffalo has one guy on the floor that the Drexel defense can not stop, he's got 3 fouls, and the answer to that is Tavon Allen midrange jumpers?

*The coaching left, being generous, something to be desired.  The continued overreaction to foul trouble doesn't help the team.  For all of the managing of fouls that they did, not a single player from either team fouled out.  Sure you run a risk playing a guy with fouls, but Bobby Hurley managed McCrea aggressively and challenged Drexel to knock him out of the game.  The Dragons hid their starters on the bench.  If Bruiser Flint was coaching Buffalo, McCrea only plays 20 minutes and the Bulls lose by 5.  Instead he coaches Drexel and Ruffin and Williams combine for 35 minutes.  Goran filled in nicely and bailed the coaches out a bit, but aggressiveness wins here, Bill Belichick leaves his guys on the floor there, Andy Reid doesn't.  Both of them are good coaches but who has the rings?

*Tavon Allen - almost half of the teams turnovers by himself.  I honestly believe his basketball IQ has improved, but the collection of turnovers and midrange jumpers should have him running laps right next to the coaching staff.

*The interior defense was poor, without question.  McCrea is a talented player and everyone in the building knew that stopping him would be an issue.  But with the new foul rules and the guys being in foul trouble (and no doubt seeing and hearing how terrified their coaches were of the foul situation) they were still never told to front him, never doubled him, never made an adjustment, they just got beat time after time.  The second half of this game was pretty much a practice drill for Javon McCrea.  How much of that is on the bigs, and how much of that is on the coaches, I'll leave to the reader to decide.

*Frantz Massenat came back and had 5 assists and had his teamates miss bunnies or he could have had 1-2 more.  He still wasn't looking for his bigs though.  I actually liked what he did when he drove the ball though, doing a much better job of going hard at the rim which resulted in him getting to the line 8 times.  That offset at pretty brutal 2-9 day from inside the arc a bit (I haven't gotten a chance to rewatch this contest and chart it yet, but per the play by play 5 of those misses were 2 point jump shots, so maybe I'm giving his driving too much credit).  At the very least there was improvement after his disaster of a game against Saint Francis.

*I actually thought this was going to be a nice opportunity for Rodney Williams, and I loved what he showed when he caught the ball at the elbow and took it to the hoop, even if he didn't finish.  But with 4 fouls in 8 minutes, he continues to be a freshman.  In fairness, he is a freshman.

*Not sure what to say about Freddie Wilson at this point.  Some really braindead plays... although Bru blaming him after he went for the steal on McCrea drove me batty.  Drexel had a combo guard on a big man who may well be the MAC player of the year and Bruiser thought the the problem was that Wilson went for the steal?  That was the problem with that picture Bru?  Really?  On ESPN now I believe they call that "C'mon man".  Having said all of that, 11 minutes for Wilson whose only purpose out there is to score and he took all of 1 shot...  And the shot would have been closer if he was aiming for the South Gym baskets.

Eight bulletpoints and that's without me even trying hard.  The team was also outrebounded without McCrea playing for 30 minutes.  Just a lot of bad.  Fix any of these mistakes, any of them, not all of them, any of them and they win this game, even playing as poorly as they did.  Part of that was Buffalo not being that good on this day, part of that is credit to the perimeter d, and part of that is Drexel's raw talent.

Maybe this is the wakeup call that the team needed, but after four straight games of this, that's tough to be optimistic about.  I hate reading about "playing to the level of Drexel's opponents".  They haven't played to the level of their opponents, if they had they would have had a close game at SJU.  They've played to the level of stunk.  End of story.  We've seen what this team can do, we know the talent is there, but until they decide to show it or the coaches can motivate them and get them back, they're gonna keep stinking up the joint.  With Southern Miss coming up, I can't think of a better put up or shut up opportunity.  The talent is there, it's time for the IQ, heart and coaching to be there as well.


  1. Your blog is actually a pretty good read...which is why I'm confused why you begin this post by turning to an ugly moment in the program's history in a weak attempt at humor. You lost a lot of credibility there.

  2. I appreciate the compliment on the blog. As far as the Jamie/Kevin situation goes, I'm past it, and don't really feel a problem using it as a landmark. For what it's worth, I defended both Bru and the admin when that happened as I believe it to be the first serious criminal problem in their tenure at Drexel. Record of that can be found on the zone.

    What I don't understand is how that would make you question my credibility as a basketball fan. I'm not sure a one liner is reason to question anyone. And while I'm happy to take anonymous comments on basketball, ill note that when I take a shot at someone, I sign my name. I think that lends itself more to credibility than anything else.

    I appreciate the read and the feedback. I will work on being both more sensitive and creative in these post in the future. These last few over the holidays have admittedly been hastily put together and not as carefully reviewed as some in the past, due in part to travel, personal obligations, emergencies and the holidays. I do appreciate your criticism and the push it gives me to be better