Crazy how little we know this late in the year (once again)

What you believe about this season so far and the future comes down to two things: (1) whether you believe in the coaches and current players, and (2) what you make of the losses to NJIT and Eastern.

If had told you before the year that in the following games, Oregon (n), Nova (n), Cuse, @Zona, SMU, Illinois, @PU, @PSU, Minny, the team would be 5-4, you’d probably thought we were having a pretty good season, be sitting at 12-4, where even finishing up 7-7 would get us to 19 wins before the B1G started and twenty wins was looking quite likely by that juncture. If I had told you this was the record even though Caris had a wrap around his hand for some games, Walton had a toe injury, Wilson was out for the year, Spike had been suffering a “lower-body” injury, you’d be feeling pretty good, especially if at least some of those issues were improving or resolved. So we have to ask what to make, at this juncture, of the two losses to NJIT and EMU.

Similarly, looking at brief kenpom stats, the team is at 76th on defense, in the range of a lot of previous years and what was reasonable to predict, although some were predicting a lot worse. But the offense is at 101, below just about any reasonable prediction. So you could look at the team and think the defense is going to be worse, and thus our conference record will plummet. Or you could think that the offense is likely to move up, and the decent defense means we’re likely to continue to have a better conference record. How you assess the likelihood of these matters comes down to how you feel about the coaches and the players. How good do you think JB & Co are? How good are LeVert, Walton, Irvin and Doyle?

I’m inclined to see the two losses as somewhat fluky – I’d be surprised if NJIT shot 65% from 3 again – and not as bad as might’ve appeared – NJIT, at 201, has a higher kenpom rating than a bunch of AAC, CUSA, A10, MWC, MVC, and MAC teams, and Eastern has a higher KP ranking than 3 B1G teams. I’m also inclined to believe that with Walton looking better, Doyle looking more consistent, etc. - our offense is pretty likely to improve. On the other hand, the team did lose those games, of course, and has looked a little fragile at times. It’s pretty late in the year but once again we don’t really know what we have.

The B1G seemingly being a bit down is an interesting twist – it may allow for more conference wins, but may make it harder to get “signature wins” for the March resume. Should be an interesting next 5 games - @OSU, NU, @Rut, WI, Neb. You’d think we’ll know more by then, but we’ll see.

I actually think I have a handle on this team at this point. I do not like what I have found. I really thought we were going to be sleeper this year, but did not see certain developments. I expected more from Walton and I believe his toe really must be holding him back. He got to the rim better last year and finished more consistently, I have seen him miss a lot of shots around the rim he can make. I also believed Irving would develop a more all around game/play a tweener four roll grabbing rebounds like Robinson did. That I was way off on.
Were just not a very good team all around. I’m fairly worried about this week at Rutgers. Its another must win game if were trying to sneak in the tourney. I wish Rahkman and Dawkins got more work early in the year because we desperately need one more person who can be relied on to give us some points off the bench.

role* didn’t mean to send that post yet wasn’t finished. You guys guys catch my drift though. We are a middling big ten team. I still hold out future for the young guys though and believe next year we can be a very solid team again. Would love if we could get a big body to play d and rebound next year though.
Really sucks Horford left. Believe it or not that kid is exactly what we needed this year. We are a top 25 team with just his presence alone. At least when we dumped it inside someone could finish above the rim, and obviously his rebounding and defense would be huge.

That last comment that Boogie made is all too true - Jon H would have really helped this team! All my basketball life I have seen big, burly, OL-ish 5’s get “turned-out” by quicker, more athletic centers.

Do you sense some PC commenting going on? Well, I don’t want to get banned. HEHE

Be that as it may - perhaps we do have a fatal flaw inside this year - Beilien has usually been more than capable of overcoming such a weakness. How? With good shooting. Or sometimes with exemplary guard play - remember #3, #11, & #4 (Morris’ #, right? I cannot remember for certain ***“I’m old, have Maize and Blue spots in front of my eyes”***)

Walton looked ready to be “da man” like Morris or Burke or even Stauskas, but it just hasn’t happened. Yet.

And the shooting? Let’s not talk aboot it. But it MIGHT improve. SHOULD improve. Scary to depend on that though, eh?

I’m mostly disappointed with Chatman’s struggle to contribute much and Donnal’s inconsistency.

Wished to see more from Walton but if it’s due to the injury, tough break.

We’ve had some tough breaks in games but we have to finish January strong because February is looking to be a brutal stretch. Get healthy, get shots falling, get the freshmen acclimated and pray for some upsets.