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Sunday Conversation: What a Mess

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The defense is bad, the refs are bad, the in game adjustments are bad, the holiday schedule is bad...

Foul! Foul, I say!
Foul! Foul, I say!
John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Joel: When you do a lot of things well, you can be valuable on a night when something isn't working for you. When all you do well is rebound, you're James Farr tonight. How long until we have to start exploring the idea that he isn't very good at basketball?

Brad: Two games ago? I'm not sure why he's been starting all year, to be honest. Hard to blame this one solely on him, the defense was at its very worst.

Joel: Side note: we really missed JP. Not just his production, but I enjoy watching him play.

Brad: Read Bry's recap this morning and it just made me mad again. We shouldn't lose games like that to one of the worst offenses in D1. I'll grant Mason has changed their look, but they are still a bad team. That's going to look bad all season. Just a bad way to go into Christmas.

Joel: It is. I hate the schedule around the festive season for that reason; this one gets to fester for a week. I don't think the defense was extra horrible in this one, but I think Bluiett got a little exposed as an on-ball defender. His man ran past him way too often, which led to our bigs having to step up, which in turn led to Auburn's big men getting a lot of easy looks. Our big men had trouble scoring, but a lot of that is down to the officiating. Bowers and Reed definitely had the benefit of the whistle at both ends. Our large fellas looked bad on the stat lines, but there were some mitigating factors.

Brad: Why was Abell handling the ball so much late? Does Coach Mack have so little trust in Randolph that our off guard had to initiate the offense? I wish I'd seen this game, because everyone is talking about the refs.

Bryan: To be fair, Reynolds got away with a couple himself, but Stainbrook was probably aggrieved with the way his game ended. What do we make of a non-foul trouble Reynolds only getting 7 second half minutes when he seemed to be the answer down low last night? Bad man management or simply picking his spots? I know my answer, but I want to see if there is a devil's advocate here.

Joel: Stainbrook and Dee really have reason to feel hard done by. You anticipate bad officiating on the road, and I thought our guys by and large did a good job fighting through it.

A couple of points on Coach Mack's decisions. I didn't think Auburn had an answer for Reynolds. I have no idea why he didn't get more run unless he was doing something on defense that wasn't obvious to the layman observer. It's not like Stainbrook and Farr were lighting the world on fire such that Reynolds was just the odd man out.

In a game that got so unapologetically physical, I didn't mind seeing Abell on the ball at the end of the game. He had the beating of his defender for large stretches of crunch time, which made his pullup three at the end all the more disappointing. That was a bad possession in terms of both timing and shot selection for him. I would have rather seen him drive, but I think he was running out of gas a bit.

Brad: Out of gas? He'd only played 45 minutes of a complete street fight. Man up! I'm kidding, but you know someone said that. I think Reynolds didn't play because Mack got outmanuvered in a game again. How many times have we said that?

Joel: I'm not sure how he could have gotten outmaneuvered into not playing Jalen, since Jalen was dominating. There has to be something else in play here. I can't believe Mack was duped into not playing one of his guys who was playing really well.

Bryan: Maybe not duped, but Pearl definitely fed the hot hand, and Mack definitely did not. That much is sure. Why he didn't and whether it was a good idea is the only thing up for debate.

Brad: Either way, he failed to adjust to, as Bry says, feed the hot hand. That's not a new failing.

Joel: He's not a great in-game coach at this level right now. Is that something that you think he can change, or is it part and parcel of who he is?