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Our defense might be bad, our offense is probably good, and our big men might be a problem

But how about those soccer guys?

What a conversation might look like.
What a conversation might look like.
Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Joel
Let's start with a simple question: at what point do we become concerned about the defense?

Brad
I'm not sure last night really impacts my feelings about the defense one way or the other. I didn't think it was great coming in, but what we saw last night wasn't an offense we are going to see again. What I find mildly alarming is how frequently our guards get beaten off the dribble.

Joel
Are we okay with that? The communication our back line has been less than encouraging so far. If someone gets beaten, I'm not convinced help is coming. Murray State's point guard is Cam Payne, who has some skills. He'll be a good litmus test of where we are in terms of perimeter defense on ball handlers. If we can't defend a strong point guard, we're going to struggle in this conference.

Brad
I know it's hard for you to hear, but your boy Dee has been getting torched this year. Not sure if it's the ribs or what, but he needs to lock it up. (You lock it up). Didn't he have this issue near the start of last year as well? You're right, the back line looks bad. Farr is just consistently lost and Jalen gets there in time to commit fouls or misdemeanors. On the other hand, our offense looks unstoppable sometimes.

Joel
My guy koryp123 pointed out Dee's shortcomings in the game thread on Friday (everyone come join in Monday), and I had to concede that he had a point. Dee was also initiating the offense too far from the basket for most of the game, making his passes too long to be safe in more than a few instances. I'm still hoping it's the ribs, because we could use him to be playing well.

That offense... man do we ever look balanced. Maybe I didn't fully realize just how much watching Semaj dribble we did last year, or maybe we've actually got seven guys capable of going for double digits on any given night against a D1 opponent. Am I getting ahead of myself here?

Bryan
I don't know if you are, but if the defense can't get stops, we will need 7 guys to go for double digits EVERY night once we reach conference play. It has been disturbing at times to watch the defensive lapses, but it is a group that has had very little time on the floor together. I am excited with the way they have gelled so quickly on offense, so I am not convinced that this team does not have a much higher ceiling defensively than what they have shown so far. I think offense has clicked and defense just hasn't for some reason.

A large part of it will be if Reynolds can keep out of foul trouble and Farr can hire a midget who knows how to play defense to carry around like Yoda until he gets it. Honestly, we did look better with Randolph initiating the offense from 25 and in than with Dee just Brett Favre-ing passes all over the place against SFA. I think he must be avoiding contact because of the ribs, but Randolph did a fine job of taking care of the ball without trying too much of the spectacular.

Joel
I hope that's was what it was with Dee. A couple of possessions late on he pushed his man down inside the arc to initiate and Stainbrook scored on both, so he had it in him.

We're forcing a lot more turnovers than we have in the past; is that a strategic change or just a function of the schedule?

Brad
Hard to say until we play someone decent. We aren't playing defense well in general, so it's hard to imagine this much more than NAU, LBSU, and SFU being poor to mediocre. Our non conference isn't exactly loaded early. Alabama is really the first test (depending on the Wooden) where we will see what this team really is. I don't think we're going to average nearly 90 a game.

Bryan
Probably not, but by the same token, I also don't see us getting locked down like against Seton Hall last year. I am also hoping as the rotation becomes more set, guards realize they can afford to be a bit more physical defensively, knowing that the depth at that position means that no one has to play 30-35 minutes a night.

Joel
This is going to be the time to figure it out, because we've got four games this week. Our guards worry me about 4% as much as our big men. We have the best center in the league and a bunch of question marks.

Bryan
Right, so what I was trying to convey is that my hope is to see our depth at guard be able to take some pressure off the interior until a couple of our other bigs get up to speed on the defensive end. When do you think Macura will come out of his shell and be willing to fire up some shots?

Joel
I love that kid; he's unabashed. He's Brad Redford 2.0. He hit that little double-clutch leaner after catching contact Friday even though he didn't get the call. I think he'll be fine in the Big East.

Brad
I loved Redford, but he didn't have the all around offensive game Macura seems to. The kid can just flat score.

Joel
Also, shoutout to our soccer guys for going into Bloomington and leaving with the #roadkill. That's a huge win, and now they're heading to Creighton next Sunday for a Sweet Sixteen game. Hopefully the basketball guys can follow suit in March.