Do You Think I’m Pretty?

I may or may not have written this earlier in the season, but I know I thunked it. The better you shoot, the better you look. Good shooting can mask poor play, and vice versa. You can do everything right but if you end the possession with a missed shot suddenly Your Team stinks on offense. They likely don’t, but they also aren’t going to shoot 65% every night either.

Old Dominion looked unbeatable last night. Truth be told, if they play like they did in beating Georgia State they probably are. The Monarchs avoided their early-hole troubles, making something like 9-10 shots to open the game, five of them from three. It’s exactly what Blaine Taylor (and the fickle ODU faithful) wanted, and I wonder what the coach did to inspire the troops.

Full report from Rich Radford, including the correct note that Taylor looked like the  St. Joe’s mascot at times on the bench. More accurately, all over the ODU bench area.

In the end, ODU shot better from the field (29-47, 62%) and from three (10-16, 63%) than from the line (5-9, 56%). Who’da thunk–Blaine Taylor playing a pretty game.

Of note: eight Monarchs took at least four shots but nobody took more than eight. Marsharee Neely looked awfully good and awfully inspired and actually pretended to play defense. Gerald Lee showed some dribble skills we knew he had, but we didn’t know he had in abundance. There was a dribble drive in the second half that impressed–to the right, towards the hoop, and a 15-foot swish. Finally, Trian Illiadis–Taylor’s latest Aussie–looked comfy shooting from a long way from the basket.

As for the Panthers, they look very YMCA-ish. A lot of one-on-one, hard defense for a few passes and then nothing, and a handful of eyebrow-raising shots. They seem, right now, to be one of those teams that looks phenomenal in the airport, during warmups, and on paper, but when the tip occurs something happens.

***

Wednesday action. All are 7:00 games and no teevee until tomorrow’s Nor’easter/YouDee game on ESPNU:

Hofstra at Drexel

This is another January 3 rematch game. In that one, the Dragons strolled onto the  Island and whipped the Pride in a game that was the only one since December 10 Charles Jenkins has shot 50% from the field. This was also before Greg Johnson figured out what a point guard is supposed to do.

These two teams are near mirror-images of each other. Both struggle to score but play hard, defend and rebound, and try to keep it close. I want to give the advantage to Drexel, because Bruiser will make life uncomfortable for Corny Vines and Hofstra doesn’t yet have it together on offense. However I’ll take Hofstra, because the game hinges on Evan Neisler’s inability to maneuver through Dane Johnson or over Greg Washington. Plus, I don’t know if the Dragons have an answer for Rico Suave.

Free throws always seem to decide these games, too. Hofstra is first in the five conference games (79%). Drexel is seventh at 67%.

Besides, when you look in a mirror, the road team wins. Hofstra 58, Drexel 55.

VCU at Towson

You know when you are headed to the grocery store on a Sunday afternoon and it is ridiculously crowded? Your hopes are already low, because while you’re there for about six items, they are key, and there’s no avoiding the trip. You see a parking spot right up next to the front door open up, then close again as somebody’s grandmother pulls in the Taurus wagon.

So you park closer to the bank than the grocery store, and as you walk to the front of the store another spot up close opens up, and nobody parks there.

You curse being in the wrong place at the wrong time. You are Pat Kennedy.

VCU 74, Towson 63.

George Mason at William & Mary

It’s only when Howie Mandell takes off the disguise that you realize this isn’t really a “rematch of the CAA championship game” or any other bogus metaphorical story line. It isn’t a trap game. There’s no revenge. These teams don’t hate each other and really, you need to avoid throwing out the record book. In fact, keep it close by.

Here’s what this game is about: Mason is second in the CAA in offensive points per possession and first in defensive points per possession. Their turnover rate is tops in the conference and the Patriots force more turnovers than anyone.

All Mason can do is shoot it, keep you from scoring, and they take care of the ball while making you cough it up. Their biggest weakness? Dandruff.

The Tribe is bad in only two areas: offense and defense.

Mason 69, W&M 57.

UNCW at James Madison

MNFC (new acronym, My New Favorite Coach) is scared to death of this game and I believe him. UNCW has four guards, each with different skill sets to prepare to defend. The Hawks have the confidence of a hard-fought win. Brady knows his kids can see the standings so there is the possibility of letting down. After all, Mason awaits on Saturday.

That is why Brady is MNFC. He looks at those things and has no issue talking openly about them. Here’s what I look at: JMU is first or second in the conference in almost every major offensive category. The Dukes have made more than 58% of their two-point shots in conference play (more than 52% overall). They are first in free throw percentage. We all know The Dub’s defensive struggles.

JMU might not miss a shot. Okay, hyperbole aside, The JYDs line could be about 11-15 from the field, and Dazz Thronton 4-6. The Seahawk’s have a great story in Daniel Mercer and Kevon Moore is my pick (so far) for freshman of the year, but UNCW is going to need Worthy and Perkins for this one. Brady’s worried, I’m not.

Bonus note: I don’t actually bet because it is stupid, but I do look at the Vegas lines. JMU is a mid-teens favorite over UNCW. Has that sentence EVER been written? (Side note for clarity: I do wager and lose lunch or dinner to friends. Often.)

JMU 79, UNCW 65.

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~ by mglitos on January 14, 2009.

5 Responses to “Do You Think I’m Pretty?”

  1. on the one hand, my only quibble with the mason/w&m prediction is the margin – sadly, it may be higher than 12. on the other hand, gtb likes this return to picking against the tribe. on still the third hand, it may not have the karmic value it did last year.

  2. I’m all about the karmic value, but not yet. I want to see NU and GMU go at it as undefeateds. So karma has to wait one game for the Tribe.

    And I like 12. Blather aside, Mason will have to adjust on the road in that gym. Plus, W&M makes you play patiently. That will (should?) keep it closer than folks would like to think. I think.

  3. ODU 20 assists. GSU 8 assists. Proves your point. ’nuff said.

  4. Coach: how about this one…Darius James nine assists; GSU 8 assists; Me 1 assist.

  5. Very true…very true.

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