Saturday, December 09, 2006

Win over Charlotte

While I could easily talk for a while about "fan conduct" and what not (apparently there were a couple of students who took it upon themselves to go up to the Charlotte student section), I'm going to take a break from that until January and stick to the nitty-gritty.

One of the biggest keys to this double-digit win over Charlotte were the daggers that we jabbed in their hearts at the very beginning. Stephen, Max, and Thomas hit threes. Max and Curry both get a fastbreak basket, and before they know it, they are down 21-9. And they were only shooting a little bit under 50% at that point. When you feel like you are out there playing your game and then you are down by 12 to a team that you don't feel is any better than you are, you are really challenged.

Overall, I thought the coaching was absolutely excellent from two standpoints. The Wildcats came into the game without their fireball 6th man, Will Archambault. But McKillop instilled a lot of confidence in his team during this week, and he gave Max his shooting "license" back. After Gosselin had scored eight big points early, everyone knew that he would no longer be an offensive liability at the 3 spot.

I also give credit to the in-game defensive coaching, as our team defense was really threatening with zone switches and the "bigs" in the lineup (Andrew, Boris, Thomas, Max and J). Charlotte was a little thrown off, and their half-court O really suffered. If you would have told me that Goldwire and Alexander would have combined for as many threes as Stephen, Jason, Boris and Thomas, I would have wondered how we could have beaten them by double digits.

Give credit to the hustle on this team and the willingness to get on the floor. We had several possessions that were reignited by Wildcats not quitting on long rebounds and loose balls. It is so demorializing when you get outhustled by someone, especially when you initially had position on them.

There had been a little bit of banter over on Davidsoncats about whether this team is better than last year's SoCon championship group. I think that it is becoming harder to say that this year's team isn't completely better (no disrespect b/c I loved those guys). But look at the matchups.

Last year's frontcourt of Ian, Thomas and Boris. Obviously Ian was incredible with his post shots and outside looks, but his rebounding wasn't as spectacular as consistent. Thomas is developing his touch inside as well as finding three-point range now. He and Boris have already combined to hit 16 three-pointers this season. Throw in Andrew's rebounding prowess and Steve's solid depth, and you have a much improved frontcourt.

In the backcourt, you look to replace a Matty Matt's three-point shooting prowess and we can already look at Barr or Archambault, both of whom are taking the outside shots and really forcing the defense out on top of them. You then open up the middle for Curry and J-rich, something that Brendan and Kenny weren't always privileged to, and our guards start knocking down some big baskets. We are much quicker in transition, and Richards could very well be on his way to challenging Grant's assist records with his 72 assists on the season so far.

You look at these guys out there and you see all of them smiling and you see that hop in their step, and you can't help but think that this team is really ready to go slay some giants. They had chances against Michigan and should've beaten Missouri. I can't wait to see what the SoCon holds, especially with spring signing period in the middle of that. If we get a signature from JJ then there's no telling where this program can go.


Stan said...

Sorry for my ignorance. Who is JJ?

wibryan said...

Stan said...

So how good is he and is DC a serious option for him?

Or do you think the pub is a big positive for us to get him (if he is a reach in terms of talent)?

wibryan said...

I really don't know more than anyone else about this. It seems that he's pretty smart, so academics isn't a problem. gives him 3 stars. Don't really know what that means.