clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Sunday Conversation: Crosstown Shootout Edition

What just happened was awesome; what comes next might be pivotal.

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Joel
Where to start? How about here: we killed them on the boards. We held the to and OReb% of 20.6% compared to their 43.4% on the season coming into the game. That was, it goes without saying, our most comprehensive performance on the year. It was so satisfying.

If you find yourself bored, Google any UC blog and watch them go from 7-1 and debating the margin of victory to 7-2 and despairing about the NIT. It's great.

Brad
That game was the perfect thing to listen to last night. I was worried when they cut it at 10 but we finish that thing cold bloodedly. That run that they tried I really thought would shake us, but I didn't. They just couldn't get anything going against our defense despite all the whining. I guess Maj was more than cramped up and ready to go. Thanks Down the Drive; we'll catch you guys on ESPN in March.

Joel
Much will be made of our three-point shooting, and rightly so, but that game was about defense to me. Holding them to .8 points per possession and choking the life out of the game when they just seemed to be growing into it was brilliant. For four years of talk, it was great to see Sean Kilpatrick distinctly smaller than the moment in his last Shootout. What a game.

How about Brandon Randolph? I thought his work against the press was incredible, and he distinctly had the stones to take charge with Dee and Semaj on the bench. That first three he stuck about ended my life.

Brad
Who's Kilpatrick? I loved hearing our crowd chant at him as he killed his team by missing early free throws. He tried to take the game over, but he's just not good enough.

Randolph was stellar last night. If he sticks shots he's impossible to guard with that dribble he's got.

Joel
Stainbrook was everywhere on defense and the glass. He definitely wanted the big occasion, too. For all their tough talk, Cinci's bigs simply didn't want any. I think he set the tone on the glass and the rest of the team followed suit. I could go on for days, but you can cover what we missed on Monday. What a win, though.

Anyway, the season goes on. Alabama up next, and we absolutely have to ride this wave into conference play, right?

Brad
I think Alabama is a tougher game than this one was. The cupcake portion is over, this is a real game.
It carries over to conference play if we come out with that same intensity that we did last night. I don't know where that came from.

Joel
A cursory look at Alabama shows them to be a lot like UC. They're not great on offense, but they hit the glass at that end and play smothering defense. They've played a tougher schedule than UC, but they can be had. Picking up that win on the road would be a great resume boost. How many conference wins did I say we need? I think it ten. Pick up Alabama and we're sitting at 18-13 going into the conference tournament. That's tenuous but not entirely hateful. We could use to keep playing like we did last night.

Brad

I think ten would do it. DePaul and Seton Hall should be wins, but it's tough sledding after that. Kind of makes you wish for Rhode Island or Fordham.

You said at first that you liked the new calls as a way to clean the game up. After yet another abomination last night, do you still think that? It's driving me crazy to see every touch get called something.

Joel
I think the idea is a good one, but the execution of it still needs work. The officiating has been incredibly inconsistent on the new calls; Semaj is exhibit 1a of this. One game he could drive through the entire other team in his car and still be heading to the line for two, then on a night like last night he can't breathe near someone without getting called for an offensive foul. It doesn't make any sense, If they executed it right, it would be a good thing. If they can't execute it, they shouldn't be trying to. I'm starting to wonder if they're going to be able to get it right.

Brad
I tend to agree that the game had gotten too physical, but this is just a massive overreaction. For the most part, the rules changes favor the offense and the defense is left trying to figure out what to do. (Jalen Reynolds excepted, my goodness man). You just cannot defend on the perimeter without something being called right now. That game was very exciting, but the flow just kept getting chopped out of it.

Joel
I think our depth is finally starting to come together. A year ago, Dee and Semaj in foul trouble and Philmore playing poorly in the first half would have sunk us. Yesterday, it just gave Myles and Farr a chance to shine and Reynolds a chance to foul. To see that happen in the biggest non-conference game of the year gave me real hope that we have waves of talent to carry us in the Big East.

It should also be noted that last night officiating crew was really bad.


Brad
Waves of talent sounds like waves of arms, and that ended rather poorly. I'm really interested to see how the conference games are officiated. If games keep being called like this, our depth may actually help us.
On that note: with five minutes left in a tie game who would you rather have on the floor, Dee or Randolph?

Joel
Depends on who else is on the floor. If Semaj is on the floor, give me Dee. Randolph and Christon would necessitate a second ball. Dee is steady; I like him out there in the clutch. Among our four guards, if Semaj is out there, I'll take Dee, Myles, then Randolph. Semaj can handle and slash; beside him we need a distributor or a shooter. Dee gives us the best balance of those things. Of course, this is contingent on what bigs are in and what the opponent is trying to do.

Brad
We must've watched different games yesterday. Randolph was cool under pressure, held the ball incredibly well against a good press, and banged two threes. I'll take that.

Joel
Me too, but it should be noted that he came into the game 1-17 from beyond the arc and has had trouble with his shot selection at times. Dee sauntered onto the court in the NCAA tournament as a freshman and buried two huge first-half threes that kept us close in a game where we ultimately needed just about every point. Either of them is a defensible selection, but I don't think we should throw out Dee's track record just yet.