Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Hoops Template - Jackets Lose to (insert opponent here)

Well, the Jackets started off strong tonight against (insert opponent here). They went up by double digits through hot shooting and activity on defense as the (insert opponent mascot name here) seem to be cold from everywhere. However, in the 2nd half the Jackets seemed to go through a cold stretch at a critical time as (insert opponent name here) just took advantage of a stale offensive halfcourt game, turnovers and poor ball movement. In the end the Jackets lost in a fairly close game to (insert opponent mascot here), and just couldn't do the small things at the end to make the win happen. It was the big man (insert opponents center here) who really made the difference tonight for (insert abbreviated opponent mascot name here).

Ok, so maybe I'm a little hard on the guys because this did happen to be the #1 in the nation. But regardless of the fact that this was Duke, the loss was a blueprint, carbon-copy in so many ways of how this team loses. Thirty minutes of brilliance and 10 minutes of utter helplessness. All this proves is that this team has the ability to play WITH any team in the nation, but that's the problem - they're only learning how to play WITH their opponent (well, for most of the game), instead of living up to their potential.

The final was 73-64, but I'm proud of the group. They did NOT embarrass themselves at all. They just showed the impact of youth and lack of leadership. Same old, same old.

When our opponent decides to lockdown the perimeter, it usually works. Not only do we miss shots or not take them, we forget how to pass the ball. The Jackets were 1-4 from 3pt range tonight. Let me type that again - 1-for-4. Duke played terrible D in the first half and we really exploited that down low. The 2nd half was a different story as Duke just did the same thing the Tarheels did -with similar results.

Man, Jeremis. No, I mean Jeremis is a man. That guy is tough and boy does he work hard. He told Wes in the post-game show that he was doing fine. He said when he got hurt, as long as there was no broken bones you have to go back in the game. Smith ends the game with 18 points and 12 boards and a couple of blocks. Here's to you for yet another blue-color tough-man effort.

Sean Dickey has really shown us something that past 10 or so games. It's interesting - we knew what he had in the post........... but he's got a dang good jump shot - even close to 3pt range. When Chris Bosh was here he would take about 1 or 2 long range shots per game, but he hit over 40% of them if I remember. But it was almost not right when he took them - like it didn't fit into a Paul Hewitt offense. What if Dickey could develop and take a consistent shot from about 10 - 15 feet out? What if he took a handful of those each game? Could it open up the inside even more? Could it change the dynamic of the game?

Key coaching question of the game - why didn't we design some better plays to get the ball down low to Dickey once Sheldon Williiams had 3 fouls? We tried the old "throw it into the post" a few times and had some key turnovers. Why didn't we go after him with something to get him the ball more effectively? What happened there? Dickey disappeared a bit in the 2nd half once the Dukies decided to play tough perimeter D.

Zam ends the night with 9 assists. Wow.......... Uuuhhhhhh........... 9 turnovers to go with that. Ouch.

A-Mo thigh bruise.......... Rio cramps............. J-Smith back spasms............... Hard enough to win when everyone is healthy. A-Mo was MIA as he struggled with that thigh bruise.

Look at the bright side - the kids played hard. The fought. They don't give up. They just don't know how to close it out yet. They'll get there. The games might be ending in losses, but every game has offered hope. It's not like these guys are getting the floor wiped with them. They are close. They might not figure out how to get over the hump, but man they're close.

If that doesn't do it for you then how about this - we had some timeouts left at the end of the game. Well, I tried.