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Super Sunday Conversation

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Leadership, defensive struggles, and the possibility of going on a run.

DOUBLE TECHNICAL!
DOUBLE TECHNICAL!
Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Joel
Going into the week I would have taken the split if you offered it to me. To be tied at the under-4 with possession and give it away like that was disappointing. Still, a split is realistically a good result from this week.

At least that's what I keep telling myself.

Brad
I'm completely with you. Maybe it's because I didn't get to see all of the second half, but I'm not too upset about this game. Seton Hall is tough, it's a conference road game, and the officiating was deplorable. It happens.

What has happened to our three point shooting? We were borderline elite in the non-conference. In conference we are shooting 27.5% after today's 1-19. That's awful.

Joel
And if we had been so lucky as to hit on 27.5% of our threes today, we would have won the game.

Another question might be why we shot so dang many threes when we were shooting 75% from inside the arc. Every two-point attempt was worth 1.5 points; every three-point attempt was worth .16 points. If we take those 19 threes and shoot from inside the arc instead, that's a boost of 25 points of value. Again, we win easily.

I know this is a simplistic reduction, but they could stop us inside the arc and we didn't make them pay. If you're going to give up 90 points, you're going to have to be smarter than that on offense.

Bryan
Honestly, we had good looks until we needed threes and they just weren't falling, but I am not sure how they got away with sitting Delgado so long in the second half and us not just pounding Anthony and Ajou the whole time. They never even looked like they were going to stop Jalen or Stainbrook and yet we didn't make it pay.

What about defense though? It seems like if a team has more than one face up player capable of scoring, zone is the best look for us, regardless of it they shoot well or not. What has been proven is that if we go man on a team with multiple perimeter scoring threats, they tear us apart. Is there really a lot to be lost by zoning on teams like Seton Hall and Providence?

Joel
We've already proven they'll beat us if we stick with the man; going zone isn't going to make that worse. It's also not going to hurt our rebounding, which is suddenly crappy. What is going on with our team?

As an aside, I just saw that Briante Weber blew up his knee and his season and thus career are over. I hate VCU's "they can't call them all" approach to defense, but that's a rough, rough way for it to end for a kid. He was and will remain 12 steals shy of the NCAA's all-time record.

Bryan
I am not sure if you saw Bluiett's comments after the game, but he seemed to think it came down to a lack of effort right at the end on the boards. While that is not encouraging, it is fixable I guess. This team has shown that when they want it, they can really make things happen. The second half comebacks and the last few weeks and blowing out Georgetown on the road show that there is a great team in there, they just don't always show up. Desire, focus, whatever you want to call it, I think that 90% of this team's troubles are caused by mental errors. They get that right, and it will be a good March.

Joel
Somebody who knows about coaching - I want to say it was Bill Self - said that playing hard is a skill. His thought is that some guys play hard and trying to get someone who doesn't to do so is like trying to turn a garbage shooter into a sniper or Brandon Randolph into a high major point guard. It's where all this talk of a guy's motor comes from. If we accept that as having at least a little bit of truth, our team full of languid players might be an issue. I think guys can be made to at least play harder though; having someone on the floor leading vocally would be a boost (I think). I'm not sure who that guy is though.

Brad
Myles. He's really becoming a clear vocal leader. He's also really making an obvious decision to be more aggressive and impact the game. He's limited (as in, he's not a good defender), but his effort has become top notch. I think JP will get there, but right now he's walking that fine line between being vocal and being a wanker.

Joel
I think that's an essential part of JP. Tell him to tone down the swagger and you risk losing the potential he has. He is hitting the freshman wall though.

Looking ahead at the schedule, it's setting up nicely. Am I crazy to think we could rip off four straight?

Bryan
I think there is a fine line, like Brad. Dante had undeniable swagger, but managed to avoid coming across as obnoxious. I think it is somewhat a part of JP's game, but it does him no favors when the actual basketball parts of his game are not clicking.

Joel
Okay, but what about my winning streak? Creighton, Providence, @Marquette, St. John's. Three of four at home, and Marquette is not the kind of team that we should be losing to even at their place if we want to be taken seriously. If we're going to make a move, now's the time.