Saturday, January 24, 2009


Tough, tough, tough, tough loss for the Cougs today as we lost an 8 point lead down the stretch and fell to Troy 46-44.

Couple of gloomy notes:

1) Tony was badly out-coached today by Floyd down the stretch. You could see the preparation that USC had as those baseline passes of ours were jumped by at least two guys each time. In addition, after Baynes fouled out, where in the hell was Casto? While it is understandable why Tony wanted to have shooters on the floor, you have to get a rebound first. Instead, Gibson gets position over Forrest, we knock the ball out of bounds, and its a virtual ball game from that point on.

2) What happened to our line-up? Wanna know why the losing stretch felt like earlier in the year? Because we had the same losing line-up on the court as we did earlier in the year. Capers, though he can't hit the broad side of a barn, continued to be wonderfully disruptive on defense and helped create two big buckets around the 8:00 mark on offense. Alas, he never played again. And then there's Casto, who still hasn't learned to control the basketball when he can't get to the hoop. But even with that limitation, the guy does not give up second chance points on the defensive end. And, when you're winning and holding a team to 31% from the field, that's what you need.

Instead, we get Forrest, Baynes, Harmeling, Rochestie, and Thompson. It looks good on paper, but we know by now that it really is not good for either offense or defense.

3) Taylor, Taylor, Taylor. Worst night possible for him to have his worst game as a Coug. He was TERRIBLE down the stretch. The worst part about it is that Thompson was hot and Baynes was at least somewhat effective at getting to the line. So, its one thing to try to be Taylor Terrific when you're on, but when you're not, why try to put the whole world on your shoulders? Tonight, he played like a freshmen. And not a very good one.

So, is the season over?

Sure looks like it. But you can't put the nail in the coffin until after Thursday night. Win there and things look different all of a sudden--which would be aided by a much needed road win against a ranked team.

Bottom line: we needed to win 3 of 6. But, now at 0-2 in that stretch, we HAVE to SWEEP one of the next two road trips.

But I like our chances to pull off a shocker on Thursday.

Stay tuned.


Nuss said...

Really? You like our chances to beat a zone team given the way we've shot all year?

I would love to hear your theory, because I simply don't see it. We had plenty of chances to put this game away with wide open shots, and nobody other than Klay could throw the ball in the ocean. We've had one game where we've shot the way you need to in order to beat ASU's zone. That was against Sacramento State. In November.

I couldn't disagree more -- I'm leaning toward Thursday being really, really ugly.

BH said...


You're killing me. Totally killing me.

To be sure, ASU could come out on Thursday and shoot 65% from three land while we shoot 28%. If that happens, it will be a blow-out as it would against any team.

We also could be totally down from this week and never recover. And that could lead to a blow out.

But I just don't think that's gonna happen.

So, later in the week, I will answer your question. In the meantime, I encourage you to answer these questions:

Does ASU provide the type of ball pressure that bothers us?

Is their style going to deprive our playmakers from getting to their spots?

Does their offensive style make you think that we won't keep the score down?

What happens to ASU when Harden is forced to take a whole bunch of really difficult and contested shots?

That all said, I HATE our chances against AZ. So if we don't get Thursday when we're fresh and angry, then you can kiss the season.

Sedihawk said...

I will weigh in - not in the stats and graphs and efficiency ratings via Nuss, and not in the pure genius x's and o's of BH.

But I will say in my lame eyes, they look like a team still searching. I know they pulled out the Stanford and Oregon State games, but even to someone like myself who isn't a total hoops junkie like you guys, I can see that in crunch time against the better teams, they don't appear confident in what to do.

Klay is too young to lead them right now. Taylor is good, but not an MVP, get-the-f-outta-the-way type. And Baynes is a double-double every night, yet they still don't seem to go to him enough for my liking? Casto is still a pup and doesn't play enough, Forrest is inconsistent...and don't get me started on Harmeling....

Maybe this is just the breaking in of the new kids and the lumps that go with it in the Bennett system? After two winning seasons in a row we have lost sight of what it takes to make this thing tick? Maybe it is showing how big a loss the Low/Weaver/Cowgill trio really was for this group....but even last year those guys lost some games in crunch time, so that isn't the whole story.

I think back to what Tony said prior to the 07-08 season. He said, amongst all the hype and lofty predictions before the year, that he thought the team would actually have a worse record than the year before, but in the end they will probably be a better team. He was 100% right. This year, I remember he asked Grippi, before the season, what he thought the fans and students would do if they lose more games than normal this year? I don't remember the exact quote, something about "how would they handle it?" But I remember Grippi passing that on in one of his posts and it caught me a little off-guard. Almost like he knew something nobody else did? I believe Tony this coming.

What I can't believe is that we just went 1-4 in our conference home games in the first half of the year. That is NOT the way to contend. I know things looked a little bleak last year when we were swept at home by the bay area schools, but this feels 10x worse.

Don't forget though, there is still a LOT of season to go, plus the Pac-10 tourney. Before the season started everyone counted Oregon State as an automatic win, and they have already beaten USC and ASU this year. So anything can happen!

BH said...

Good take, Hawk.

Ask yourselves this: if this team had ANY production from the 3 spot, where would we be.

As an example, imagine what this team would be like if Harmeling was actually hitting his shot.

Imagine what this team would be like if Capers had any type of offensive game.

If we could count on 10 points from our small forward even every other game we'd be there.

In the end, we may still have enough to get back to the dance.

In the end, though, I think we'll find that we were one offensive weapon short.

Should we start calling this team the Mariners?

Nuss said...

I totally agree that we should be able to contain ASU's offense as well as anyone has all year, as long as we can keep Kuksiks and Glasser from hitting 3s while we're trying to contest Harden.

But you ask a number of questions about what ASU will do to bother us. ASU doesn't just play a zone, a la OSU, they play a good zone. The gaps that we exploited against OSU for easy buckets to Baynes just won't be there consistently, and our zone-busting shooters (Low and Harmeling) and high post wizard (Weaver) are either graduated or stink. Maybe Capers can be that high post guy -- he made a few really nice passes yesterday -- but it's tough to be effective from that high post without the threat of a jumper.

So, the simple answer to your questions is that it probably doesn't matter -- there will be open 3's, just like there were yesterday, and we'll probably miss them, just like we did yesterday. Maybe our shooters come alive. But there is so much evidence to the contrary that I've just gotten to a point where I expect that it's never going to happen. And without shooters against a good zone, you're pretty much toast.

PS: I'm not trying to "kill you," I'm just always looking for different perspectives. I love talking about this stuff with people who look at it differently than I do. So thanks for indulging me.

Anonymous said...

I would love to hear your theory, because I simply don't see it. We had plenty of chances to put this game away with wide open shots, and nobody other than Klay could throw the ball in the ocean. We've had one game where we've shot the way you need to in order to beat ASU's zone. That was against Sacramento State. In November.

I couldn't disagree more -- I'm leaning toward Thursday being really, really ugly.

Good "call" Nussr. Want to tell us who wins the super bowl now? Because I need the money and will bet against anything you say.

Nuss said...

Anyone else who saw this coming -- in this fashion -- raise your hand. (I suppose Brinkhater can put his hand up, given what he said). That was awesome, and totally unexpected. We needed a huge performance from someone, and we got it. Haven't seen that since last year.

In fairness, though, I did say on my site that I would have taken the Cougars and the points. But then again, I also said I'd take UW minus-1, so maybe I really don't know anything.

Oh, and I'd take the Cardinals plus the 7.