Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Hoops - Jackets Drop 4th in a row

Is it me, or is it a coincidence that NCST, Wake Forest, Clemson and now Maryland played "their best 40 minutes" of basketball against the Jackets? The Jackets drop another home contest to the Maryland Terps tonight in yet another game that wasn't really close, losing 86-74.

Not really sure what to say. To be honest, I've lost my hard edge when it comes to judging this team's play. I said it would be a roller-coaster and I warned you not to get your hopes up too quickly. However, it's what we all wanted more than anything. But alas, the coaster must come down.

Youth and inexperience is not an excuse, but here's what it is - FACT. They play like a group that is very disjointed on the offensive side of the ball for long stretches. It is obvious they are learning how to play together as team. There is some outstanding individual talent here. Possibly the best group in terms of potential in a long time. They are very active on defense but often undisciplined. They go through stretches losing their fire and drive and lately the pattern is to turn up the heat once their goose has already been cooked. They just don't understand yet the intensity required to play night-in and night-out in the ACC. Patience my friends.

There's another side to this that needs to be said. I have not been overly impressed with coaching staff's ability to make in-game adjustments. Clemson switches up their defense, we go stale and never adjust. Clemson decides - heck - we'll keep playing the zone and overplaying the passers. The in-game adjustments have not been impressive of late. Even games where we were leading we let teams get back in it.

So there's work to do. The NCAA tourney looks like a distant galaxy right now. Tech is the only ACC team without double figure victories, as we're stuck on 9. We're 2-4 in the conference with 2 home losses and no road victories. There's still plenty of basketball to play, and there's plenty of room for improvement. You can see the talent. It's there - individually. More coaching, more practice and I think we'll see progress.

Honestly, I'm not down on these guys at all. We all tended to agree that .500 in the conference was a stretch. So that's playing out. Stick with'em. Keep cheering them on and let's see what this group can pull out their hat.