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  • Originally posted by boatcapt View Post
    First big MEC game tonight against 7-1 Charleston tonight. Color me very nervous about this one. While WLU has one three straight since losing to NDC, the manner they have won those games has not given me much confidence. Offensively, WLU is all over the place. We've swung from shooting 56% from 3 in the first half of the WVW game to 11% in the first half of the D&E game. The offence just seems very different than what we've seen for the last number of years when it just appeared very smooth (run the weave, get the ball onto the wing, reverse with a couple of crisp passes for an open 3...This year it just seems more herky-jerky with players getting the ball and almost immediately driving the lane).

    The last two games have been poor opportunities for the Toppers to work out their offensive kinks. Yea, we won both by BIG margins but we were so much better than them that we could do almost anything, and still pull away. I fear it reinforced the bad things we saw in the loss to NDC and the narrow poorly played win over Daemen.
    I don't disagree with any of what you wrote, Boat. I, too, am lacking some confidence going into tonight's game with UC. And the offensive discombobulation was on full display against D&E (especially in the second half--there was just no flow whatsoever). You can get away with that against D&E, but if they're not clicking tonight, McManus, Williams, & Co. will make them pay. I'd like to think they'll dial it up for the home crowd tonight, but count me among the nervous as well.

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    • Some positives:
      • Malik, Bryce and Cmont have significantly elevated their game
      • Ben is maturing very rapidly and has a non stop motor
      • Zach improving defense and contributing beyond scoring
      • Viktor and Marlon have given us strong post defense
      • May be the best half court defense we have had in many years
      • Also forcing 20 turnovers to offset poor shooting
      Areas for improvement
      • Younger players need to continue to grow.
      • we went from 3 all region level players to one, losing Will and Dalton leaving only Patrick. Impressive coaching that we are 7-1.with 40% new players
      • we have to reduce wide swings in shooting %.
      Keys to UC game IMHO
      • dominate their guards
      • Run, run, run
      • Avoid foul trouble for our bigs
      • Shoot at least an average %

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      • Originally posted by Columbuseer View Post
        Some positives:[*]we went from 3 all region level players to one, losing Will and Dalton leaving only Patrick. Impressive coaching that we are 7-1.with 40% new players
        This is an underrated point that hasn't gotten much play. There's been much discussion on the IUP board (and deservedly so) about the loss of their All-Region / All-American player. That's a terrible blow at this, or any, point in the season. There's just no replacing a 25 ppg average after a team has settled in to its groove.

        But WLU has been playing without it's All-Region player--Yoakum--all season long. It'll be interesting to see when (if?) he returns how he'll mix in and impact the WLU game.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Scrub View Post

          I don't disagree with any of what you wrote, Boat. I, too, am lacking some confidence going into tonight's game with UC. And the offensive discombobulation was on full display against D&E (especially in the second half--there was just no flow whatsoever). You can get away with that against D&E, but if they're not clicking tonight, McManus, Williams, & Co. will make them pay. I'd like to think they'll dial it up for the home crowd tonight, but count me among the nervous as well.
          Over the years, WLU has always seemed like a team who's first goal in their half court sets is to find the open 3 and if that isn't available, to get a 2 either by pinpoint passing or by stepping inside for a short range jumper. This year they seem completely backward (driving for the 2 seems to be the #1 priority and they work out to 3 if the 2 is not available.) and it's showing in a less effective, herky jerky sort of offense. I think I've seen more reverse layup, eurostep and up and under tries in 8 games this year than I've seen the last 4 years from WLU.

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          • Originally posted by Scrub View Post

            This is an underrated point that hasn't gotten much play. There's been much discussion on the IUP board (and deservedly so) about the loss of their All-Region / All-American player. That's a terrible blow at this, or any, point in the season. There's just no replacing a 25 ppg average after a team has settled in to its groove.

            But WLU has been playing without it's All-Region player--Yoakum--all season long. It'll be interesting to see when (if?) he returns how he'll mix in and impact the WLU game.
            Replacing really good players, whether they have moved on or due to injury, is never easy. The replacement for Yoakum last year and again this is Bryce Butler. Bryce performed very well as a starter last year and has stepped-up further this year.

            I think the player WLU is missing most is Luke Dyer. As the PG, he was responsible for getting WLU into their half court offense. He was completely selfless as an offensive player even though he had the chops to put up 20 a game. He almost never called his own number. This year we seem to be doing PG by committee and whoever brings the ball up seems to be more than willing to try and take it to the hole by himself.

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            • Someone has to be brutally honest with these Charleston cats that they can’t dunk. I’ve never seen so many missed dunks in warmup in my life

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              • Well that was more like it. WLU 89 UC 78. Pretty much a heavy weight slug fest. Both teams absorbed the best their opponent could give then punched their way off the ropes. Key move was going to a zone to take McManus out of the game and WLU getting hot from 3. Also, can WLU PLEASE hit the front end of a 1 and 1????

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                • There are several plausible reasons why we are going for twos more frequently than 3s, compared to the past.
                  • opponents are spreading out to stop the open look three. This leaves an empty lane, which invites a rim run for a possible and one.
                  • More than past years, we have guys that are capable of breaking down their opponent and getting bigs in foul trouble
                  • We need an alternative , when we are not hitting threes.
                  However, tonight we attempted more difficult finishes at the rim than was prudent, resulting in empty possessions, when we should have kicked it out for an open three. Our defense and some clutch shooting in the last 3 minutes saved us. Might not be so fortunate next time.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by boatcapt View Post
                    Well that was more like it. WLU 89 UC 78. Pretty much a heavy weight slug fest. Both teams absorbed the best their opponent could give then punched their way off the ropes. Key move was going to a zone to take McManus out of the game and WLU getting hot from 3. Also, can WLU PLEASE hit the front end of a 1 and 1????
                    It was so interesting: the zone was so effective at minimizing McManus (UC didn't score in any of the 5 possessions in which they faced the zone, if I recall correctly). Then Osborne promptly took out McManus. As soon as Heatherington came back in, WLU matched up in man again (with Moore on Heatherington). And Osborne just chose to leave McManus on the bench for fear that WLU would go back to the zone and neutralize him anyway. In other words, rather than solve the zone, Osborne chose to play the final 5 minutes of a tight, regional-implications game with his All-Region player on the pine. What an interesting turn of events.

                    And your heavyweight bout analogy certainly seems apropos. In this case, Howlett's roundhouse zone sent Osborne to the ropes without an answer for getting back off the ropes. Osborne will be ready for him next time. I expect another all-out battle down in Charleston in the next meeting.

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                    • Originally posted by Columbuseer View Post
                      There are several plausible reasons why we are going for twos more frequently than 3s, compared to the past.
                      • opponents are spreading out to stop the open look three. This leaves an empty lane, which invites a rim run for a possible and one.
                      • More than past years, we have guys that are capable of breaking down their opponent and getting bigs in foul trouble
                      • We need an alternative , when we are not hitting threes.
                      However, tonight we attempted more difficult finishes at the rim than was prudent, resulting in empty possessions, when we should have kicked it out for an open three. Our defense and some clutch shooting in the last 3 minutes saved us. Might not be so fortunate next time.
                      I'm not against having the drive and kick as part of our offense. Heck, with Cedric Harris as our PG, it was probably the biggest part of our offensive. But even under Harris, it wasn't the largest by a mile...more like 51% as opposed to what seems like 75%+. Also Harris' drives were so controlled and purposeful. He finished many of those drives with an uncontested finger roll lay-up but he was equally willing and able to kick the ball out to an open shooter behind the 3 line. On our current team, it seems like we have 5 people who not only believe they can drive, but that WANT to drive when they get the ball...And when they do take that first step and commit to driving, they are going all the way come he11 or high water.

                      I understand that we are in love with "positionless" basketball, but this team appears to be in need of a true PG who brings the ball up most of the time AND get's them in a coherent offensive set.

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                      • Originally posted by boatcapt View Post

                        I understand that we are in love with "positionless" basketball, but this team appears to be in need of a true PG who brings the ball up most of the time AND get's them in a coherent offensive set.
                        From your fingertips to Ben's ears, Boat! Seriously, though. This kid's supposed to be the real deal.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by timbertopper View Post

                          From your fingertips to Ben's ears, Boat! Seriously, though. This kid's supposed to be the real deal.
                          He is really talented. Deadly shooter. He can play pg or sg, just like Dante Spadafora or Cmont Montague ( 2nd team gmac as a pg). They all can break down defenses and then dish to a teammate. Congrats to coaches!

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                          • He's a good get, but that's next season. Need a PG1 for this season!

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                            • Unlike many teams (like Univ. of Charleston), WLU does not run many set plays. Their preference, ideally, is to never have to call a set play. The term offensive set has more meaning to the more traditional offenses that are based on set plays (like Charleston). However, no argument that Luke Dyer was a special player.

                              If we were having significant problems at the PG position, we should have a pedestrian assist to turnover ratio. However, to date, WLU is #9 nationally at 1.69 assist to turnover ratio.
                              Our points per possession as of dec 6 had climbed to 1.20, which is encouraging given our couple of horrendous shooting games, which is not far off from our typical 1.25.
                              Another factor affecting the PPP is that we have played really tough teams so far this season with quite a few new players.

                              IMHO, what we need is better movement without the ball with screens, back door cuts, etc. among all the players. But the movement has to be timed correctly and toward an opening in the defense. It does not help to be moving if one is too early or late to receive a pass. I am confident that it will continue to improve as they continue to play together.

                              Somehow, we also need to reduce the variation in shooting %, including FT, FG and 3FG. No real data, but it just seems to be abnormally wide swings in shooting %.


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                              • I really like Butler’s game, he’s going to win a lot of accolades before he leaves.

                                I bet Yoakum plays after break

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