Thursday, December 16, 2004

Jackets win big......Play poor

Look, I know we won by 25 points (72-47). But this had to be the worst played game of the season. UIC was close but you have to give a little on that since it was a road game. Tonight was just a poor performance by the Jackets (by their standards). I'll say this much - if we play like this against Gonzaga, we'll get run out of the building....period. The "experts" are right - we have not been put to a real test. But we will on Sunday in Vegas.

I'm going to be critical here, maybe overly so. I don't care that JMU only shot 31% from the field. Guess what - they missed a TON of wide open shots. They missed a bunch of lay-ups. The bottom-line is that they were intimidated coming into our house and it showed. But their poor FG% was NOT a result of the typically smothering Jacket D we've come to love. Only when JMU realized they could play in the 2nd half did they start to warm up from the field. We had missed assignments, players forgetting to pick up the weakside, silly fouls, etc, etc. A poor defensive performance tonight (by GT standards).

The team that leads the ACC in rebounding and rebounding margin gets outrebounded by James Madison. Yes, outrebounded 38-37 officially. What can you say? I don't want to hear about long boards. They out-boarded us on the inside too. How many 2nd...3rd chance points did they get? They had 16 offensive boards to our 13. Back to practice.

Sloppy with the ball - says it all...... Like my rhyme? I don't. It's one thing when there are turnovers because you are trying to be aggressive. It's another when nobody is around and somehow you cannot throw the ball to a guy and have him catch it in the backcourt. 17 to's on the night doesn't sound terrible, but it's the kind of turnovers that were frustrating....... J.Jack had 7 turnovers. Ouch. I think he had 5 last game.

How bad can we be from the line? How about 18-35. Isma'il leads the way with 4-12. Even J.Jack misses only his 2nd FT of the season. The irony - Bynum goes 4-4, and he has struggled big-time from the stripe. Broken record time. This is going to cost us some games.......cost us some games.......cost us some games.......cost us some games......

Ok, if you're having trouble shooting from the outside, what would you do? Would you just keep shooting from the outside? That's what we did. Just kept shooting. I'm ok with that if we would work the ball inside some also. Work it into the post, but we didn't do a great job here again. Luke didn't get enough touches. And some of our turnovers came on poor passes into the post when we did try. I tell you, passing to a guy trying throw his weight around with a defender ain't easy. It's not just about delivering the ball to a spot. It's about delivering the ball to a spot at the right time, when he weight shift is right. When he's focused on receiving the ball and not still jockying for position. Not easy.

A.Morrow got the most minutes of the frosh, but all three guys got between 9-12. I find A.Morrow an interesting kid, particularly how his minutes have developed. I get the feeling that he feels a high level of competition to prove himself and man does he launch quickly. He can definitely shoot........ and he does!!! I don't see him working the ball around on offense. It's almost like..... I better launch when I get it. That being said, he didn't take bad shots. But of course what do we always hear about - replacing the outside shooting of Marvin Lewis and C-Moore. So he's trying to do that........ Ra'Sean Dickey continues to impress with his ability to post-up with his back to the basket. I really like Dickey's game, and I am happy that Coach has taken the opportunities to work the young guys in. Dickey may end up being someone in the mold of Tommy Hammonds and may have more potential.

Called it a "weird night". Gave JMU credit for moving the ball and getting it inside. Said JMU kept themselves in this ballgame. Said he didn't have the team prepared for the triangle-and-two or box-and-one defense they used. Looking forward, said Gonzaga has a quality big-man (Turiaf) and Luke did play against him over the summer, which should help........... Bottom-line, Coach Hewitt was not going to rip his team and insinuate that his friend Dean Keener was overmatched. Coach was classy and gave all the credit to JMU for the Jacket frustrations........ But I'm not friends with Keener, so neener, neener, neener (another rhyme, I do it all the time).

This game was never in doubt. GT was never threatened. Maybe I am being too harsh, but I like what Coach Hewitt said about the Air Force game - it's not just about winning. It's about learning. It's about growing as a team every night. We didn't do it in the 2nd half against Air Force and I didn't see it tonight either. There were some good things tonight also, and some guys had nice stat-lines, but I focused on the team performance. Tonight's performance won't get us to the promise land. But as we know, the season is a marathon, not a sprint. Our biggest test will come Sunday against Gonzaga. The Jackets better be ready to play a full game.

One great line from the game on Bynum's laser-fast pass to Muhammad at the end of the game for a dunk - "He could throw that through a car wash and not get wet".

Another good line, when Isma'il grabbed an offensive board on a missed free throw, then launched upward for a 2-handed slam over a defender and was fouled on the play - "that was a Harrier jet taking off of an aircraft carrier..... without a runway!!".