Finally Home, And First Things First…

Northeastern defeated VCU last night in the last first battle royale. Let’s be clear about what is important and shove aside the drama for one moment. Poor Bill’s team executed on defense, adjusted to the flow of the game, and made shots. Oh boy, did they make shots.

This game was won, not lost or handed, and that fact should not be missed in what is sure to be a pile of drama unfolding today.

Here’s the other key point: this should also lay to rest the “shut down Janning and Nor’easter is average, or Nor’easter can be beaten” theory. Janning made one free throw in the second half. The Huskies were playing one of the conference’s best teams, on the road, against a loud crowd on national teevee, and they prevailed with their leading scorer and best player not making a field goal. This is not trivial in the grand scheme.

Finally, in the Huskies’s three-game streak–impressively vs. Mason, at ODU, and at VCU–they have adjusted very well to different tempo, different attacks, and differently-called basketball games. Poor Bill’s ability to circle his troops and calmly make minor adjustments is huge.

Hint: the past two paragraphs are prime examples of………..say it with me now…………..shoveling.

So now we are forced to deal with “the incident.” For those that didn’t see it, late in the game Eric Maynor drove the hoop and was fouled by Matt Janning. The two points (and resulting free throw) would allow VCU to claw back to a one-possession game.

Maynor stood over top Janning, pumping his fist and preening. We see this every night on all levels, and in the postgame even Janning wasn’t bothered by it. Nor’easter’s Manny Adako flew in to his teammate’s aid, pushing Maynor out of the way and to the ground. Defending his teammate, VCUs Bradford Burgess then pushed Adako.

Chaos.

My opinion, gleaned late at night: Karl Hess weenied out, calling the basketball equivalent of offsetting penalties. I believe Adako should’ve received a “plus one” penalty. Whether it is was personal foul and nothing on Burgess or double foul and technical on Adako doesn’t matter. Remember we are illustrating here.

The odd part was Hess chasing down Maynor, requiring VCU assistant John Brannen to step in. Very odd.

All you need to know about it was summed up by Poor Bill, in postgame to Tim Pearrell: “I think it was just two teams competing. A lot of emotion out there. Both teams have a lot of pride. It was all done in the nature of competition.”

Bullseye. The incident will be much-discussed, but in reality it just needs to go away and not tarnish a great basketball game. (Except maybe figuring out what the heck Hess was doing.)

Which leads me to this: back out of any fandom and consider this: hard fought game, big crowd, excitement, controversy, great basketball, national teevee.

Isn’t that what we all want?

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~ by mglitos on January 28, 2009.

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