Tuesday, January 6, 2015

William and Mary Postgame - Are We Learning From Anything?

Final:  William and Mary 73, Drexel 47

Player of the Game:  Damion Lee
Key to the game:  Defending the three point line
Next Game:  Thursday January 8 @ Towson

"It's tough because you were putting kids in positions that you weren't expecting 
to at the beginning of the year."

That's Bruiser on the CAA Teleconference today.  He's correct.

And that is last time in this post that I am going to call him correct.  Because while he may be playing kids longer minutes than he was expecting, they are also literally playing out of position and no one is putting a gun to Bruiser's head and making him put them on the floor like that.

Playing a four guard set that the team doesn't often practice is foolish.  Instituting it at a time when the team can't practice seems much worse.  Coach Flint is harping and harping on how this team hasn't been able to practice, how they are down to eight men (all while saying his players need to stop talking like that.  Set an example for them, maybe, Coach?) and yet is instituting new schemes, moving his best player to power forward all while they can't practice and adjust to it?  The fans understand that the team can't practice, but maybe then the staff would want to go with a plan that you have previously practiced?  No?  Isn't this the time for making things simple, and dumbing the "playbook" down?  A playbook that wasn't exactly much thicker than "See Spot Run" to begin with?  Why on earth would a time when the team can't practice be the one time to add wrinkles?

Because of the matchups he says.  The Dragons just played against three teams that like to shoot from outside, that like to run and Drexel needs to keep up with them.  Ignoring the fact that those teams still took 22 shots a game from behind the arc even with a more mobile 4 guard "defense" playing against them, since when has Bru cared about the matchups?  When this team stunk up the joint two years ago and the Dragons played run and gun Towson Bru left the not quite mobile McCoy and Ruffin combo out there for over half the game, and never went 4 guard.  Since when did Bru allow other teams tempos and game plans to dictate who he put on the floor?

I was telling Josh Lyman about a friend who just got his pilot’s license. 
He told me the most remarkable thing. He said a new pilot will fly into cloud cover. 
There’ll be no visibility. And they’ll check their gauges, they’ll look at the artificial 
horizon, it’ll show them level, but they won’t trust it. So, they’ll make an 
adjustment and then another and another… He said the number of new pilots 
who fly out of clouds completely upside-down would knock you out. 

~The West Wing

So a guy goes down and Bru has to put in a new point guard.  Another goes down and now he's playing his 2 remaining point guards at the same time.  And on and on we go.  And now we have:

  • The worst Pomeroy rating of Bruiser's career
  • The worst 2pt field goal defense of Bruiser's career
  • The worst 3pt field goal defense of Bruiser's career (and there is no close second)
  •  The next to worst offensive efficiency of any Bruiser team ever
  •  The next to worst offensive rebounding percentage of any Bruiser team ever
  •  Opposing teams are shooting a higher percentage of 3's than they have against any Bru team in the last decade
  • The offense is getting to the foul line less than any team Bruiser has ever had
All while he has at his disposal maybe the most talented player he has ever coached.

This team needs the basics so bad it doesn't even know it.  And yes, they could go with a 3 guard 2 forward set, Tyshawn Myles hasn't been atrocious, and he's been criminally underused while Bru is busy driving his guards into the ground.  Play with what they have actually practiced, what the kids know, and let the other team matchup with Drexel.  Throw some bodies around in the paint, get physical and cover the three point line.  The turnover crisis seems under control but with the four guard set there is now a rebounding epidemic that has seemingly gone unnoticed.  A game after Elon either made the basket or got the offensive board on 68% of their shots, William and Mary did it on 67% of the time.  It's the basketball equivalent of never being able to get your defense off the field.

As good as Marcus Thornton and Tony Shaver are, this game wasn't about William and Mary any more than last game was about Elon.  And that's the take away.

Before conference season Bru said that "From a talent standpoint, if we get it together we'll be fine".  I agreed with that then and I agree with it now.  But you're adjusting the team the wrong way Bru, it needs less wrinkles, not more.  Drexel Men's Basketball is upside down.

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