Your “What I Learned Today” Weekend Primer…

There is ugly and there is ugly. (Side note: we’re staying away from the St. Looie game. You know the score and the stats. Some things are best left at a headshake.)

With about 12 minutes to play in the VCU/Ga State game, the Rams led the Panthers 29-16. Ick. Egad. Yikes. The final turned out to be 49-47 VCU when a Trae Goldston three fell harmlessly short at the buzzer. Lots of people will call the game ugly but it wasn’t. It was a low possession game with few turnovers (18 total). A bricklayers convention? Yes. The clangathon included missed dunks (2), missed gimme layups (at least five), and missed free throws (VCU was 13-24; GSU 6-10).

Not artistic but not “ugly” in the true sense of ugly.

Credit to Rod Barnes, who is coaching his butt off. The Panthers started Kevin Lott and assigned him to Eric Maynor. Georgia State began in a triangle-and-two defense that VCU couldn’t solve. The 6’7″ Lott was giving Maynor fits. VCU was taking not bad shots, but shots they wouldn’t normally take.

Nice work by Barnes in crafting a game plan to keep his team in the game. And remember, he’s got four SEC transfers coming in next season.

Kudos to the dub. I need to make a couple of phone calls, so I’m not ducking its nice home win over Hofstra. I just need to get some info from someone who was close to the action.

***

Here’s what I learned today…

I was fortunate to get to sit in on Hofstra’s practice this afternoon prior to playing VCU tomorrow at noon. At one point Pride head coach Tom Pecora made a point about “spacing” on the floor. You hear talking heads use “spacing” as a really smart piece of analysis every Saturday. (I think it is in chapter five of the color commentary handbook.)

Here’s the thing. Pecora didn’t simply bark out that he wanted proper spacing on the floor. Odd, because it is a simple enough concept–keep enough space in between you and your teammates to open up passing lanes and make yourself harder to defend.

No, Pecora stopped practice, walked to the middle of the floor and talked his team through the concept of a hard cut. A lazy cut, he reasoned to his team, and you can’t get to the proper spot on the floor. He demonstrated, and then backed it up with something along the lines of: “if you don’t cut properly, you have no chance of spacing. It starts with the cut.”

Cut to team with heads nodding. It was a great teaching moment. Now, how many routine things in life that may go askew could be alleviated if you did the first thing properly?

***

THE SATURDAY SLATE

HU at VCU: Fatigue will be a factor for Hofstra. My guesstimate on timing: tough, physical game in Trask that ended round about 9:15 Thursday. Postgame and loading the bus, including players, completed about 10:30. Pull into Richmond’s west end: 3:00am Friday. Tipoff against a physical VCU team that pressures the ball relentlessly: High Noon Saturday. I don’t care that these are 20-year old athletes; that’s asking a lot.

Nor’easter at George Mason: Two words…Vinny Lima. He’s not there yet, obviously, but Lima is a big body that Bill Coen can use on Will Thomas. Lima may be ineffective tomorrow, but my spies tell me he could be very helpful by March. As for the January game at Mason, keep an eye on the backcourt. It seems foolish to say Nor’Easter has the advantage, but TODAY I’ll take Chase Allen and Cap’n Matt over Jordan Carter and Folarin Campbell. I still like Mason to win, primarily because of John Vaughan.

W&M at Ga State: As a nod to the good guys over at G: TB, the Tribe will lose this game. The big question is like looking in the mirror: the Tribe is playing well and hitting the road, playing a Georgia State team who has played well but lost its last two games, and is returning home. It’s a game that even if I had a gambling problem, I would pass on wagering and just enjoy a chess match intended for basketball purists.

Drexel at Towson: Two teams badly in need of a victory. They don’t even need to play well, just eke out a win. (And I suspect that will be part of the postgame comments of the winning coach.) Look for Drexel to try to establish something other than “throw it to Frank.” This, as well as having to defend multiple players, does not bode well for Bruiser Flint. Thornton? Hariston? P(OY)ease? Williams? Balance kills Drexel, and even if Towson’s balance isn’t the most talented, it is balance.

UNCW at JMU: Dean Keener whipped his fans into a frenzy after defeating VCU. We’ll see how that worked out for him, especially with this game being the CAA prime timer on teevee. I think we’re looking at a mirage. JMU is better than the team that has lost two straight, and UNCW isn’t that good. A defensive breakdown to allow a narrow victory at Trask against a struggling Hofstra team doesn’t prove anything to me. I like JMU here.

ODU at Delaware: The Bob Carpenter Center rocking? Eight weeks ago that would sound as implausible as Delaware being 4-0 in the conference coming into this game. Both are reality. I hate to write this, with my burgeoning crush on Monte Ross, but the Hens aren’t back. On their way, absolutely. But this isn’t a first place team. Emotion can only take you so far, and Brandon Johnson can handle a press as well as anyone in the conference. Blaine Taylor has his team’s attention and the Monarchs give Delaware its first conference loss.

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~ by mglitos on January 12, 2008.

One Response to “Your “What I Learned Today” Weekend Primer…”

  1. Does anyone know why Jordan Carter didn’t play against Nor’Easter? I’m not complaining. I prefer Cam Long. Just curious.

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