14.Nov.2010 Basketball Tip Off: Hope Springs Eternal

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The men's basketball season tips off this afternoon, and there's reason for optimism.  The team is athletic, long, focused,and more confident than past versions. Jared Cunningham went so far as to guarantee a spot in the field of 65. Coach Robinson subdued that talk, but he does sound confident going to battle with these guys.

I'm not buying it…yet. In the exhibition, the Beavers turned the ball over 25 times. That is very concerning. This is all hearsay, since the game wasn't broadcast anywhere, but from the sound of it Ahmad Starks was nervous, shaky, and made a lot of poor decisions. I understand it was his first game, and there will be jitters, so it's not time to condemn the guy. But it is cause for concern–maybe the pace at this level is significantly higher, and he'll need weeks to adjust?

Another cause for concern from that exhibition game were the number of blown 2ft layups. This has plagued the Beavers for some time. It's one of those things I can't understand, since I never see other squads blowing so many close layups. Again it seems like youth and jitters, but there are plenty of young teams that make those shots or even thrive on the inside game. Is it that the Beavers, since they are rebuilding, have had to take "raw" and unpolished talent? That's my guess. I really don't want to hear Mike Parker screaming, "He misses the two foot layup!" again, though. Jared Cunningham, for all his "hops", was notorious for driving to the hoop at 20mph and slamming the ball off the backboard at the same speed. Heck, I used to do that when I played basketball–it was due to a lack of body control while in motion.

Anyway, turnovers and low percentage inside game are my two biggest concerns. I think the defense should be good. Robinson has put a lot of focus on maintaining intensity, despite losing a key cog in Seth Tarver. And before this season kicks off, I might as well come out and say this I'll come right out and admit that I've got a huge of a man-crush on Craig Robinson, mainly for his recruiting prowess. I've been so impressed with his confidence and ability to get in the living room of national 4-star recruits. So, you probably won't hear me criticize the guy much, and maybe I'll even defend him. I truly feel we couldn't have a better basketball headman at this school right now.

Finally, I don't know anything about UT-Arlington, so I won't bother trying to analyze the matchup. Small mid major type schools usually play a quirky style of ball where they push the floor and bomb threes, but I'm not sure if these guys fit the bill. I know the Beavs aren't good enough to discount anyone, so they better come to play.

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  • Warren says:
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    They lost their best player Marquez Haynes and they are projected to finish last in their conference according to my pre-season mag. I say we win by 37.

    • JackBeav says:
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      Agreed. I think I read somewhere that a not very good team lost all but seven letter-winning years of experience.

  • mckalk mckalk says:
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    I hope it starts better this year. The rest of the P-10 seems to be taking care of business so far, even the Ducks are now 2-0.

  • angry angry says:
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    I love Robinson…”We’re recruiting better players, and they pick things up faster.”

    Amazingly refreshing when compared with Riley.

  • angry angry says:
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    Wow, Gill is empty.

  • Mud&Sticks Mud&Sticks says:
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    The thing that makes me a little nervous about Coach Rob is the performance of last year’s team versus the first year team. Except for one all players were the same but it looked like a different team.

    As I understand it he drove them pretty hard the first year. Did he let up on them too much during the 2nd year?

  • JackBeav says:
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    Your analysis is a little off. The 25 TO’s were mostly the vets making mistakes. Cunningham has stepped up his game, and he’s playing at a much faster pace this year. The upperclassmen just don’t have the talent to add another gear to their games, so they need to stop dropping the ball… literally.

    If not for a first three minutes with five TO’s and them shooting the lights out to gain a 14-2 lead out of the gate, we are winning this game handily.

    There is no way UTA keeps shooting 70% from the field. And there’s no way we disappear this half. In fact, expect UTA to disappear for quite a while at about the 16:00 mark. Hell, it looks like they’re doing it to start the half.

    Our guys are too athletic and big for UTA to handle. I like that Omari decided to finally show up.

  • angry angry says:
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    Beavs don’t take the ball to the rim enough.

  • angry angry says:
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    Omari missing the easy 2ft layup.

    I don’t know, JB, I see exactly what I wrote ringing true. Sure, they have the lead, but this is not exactly impressive.

    • JackBeav says:
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      The upperclassmen will be who they always have been. But they will have more good games than bad. We need a little more teambuilding in these early games.

  • JackBeav says:
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    Finally Calvin gets on the board.

    Turnover count isn’t bad at this point. We’ve had 4 TO’s in the last 22 minutes. Those 5 to start the game were killers.

    • angry angry says:
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      But they’ve missed a lot of close shots. Haynes just missed another transition layup.

      If you watch any team in the top 50, they don’t miss many layups. Great finishers are a key component to a great team. Beavs get in the lane and can’t finish the play. It might not hurt them versus this opponent, but definitely as play improves. It’s killed them last year.

  • Mud&Sticks Mud&Sticks says:
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    Fwiw: In today’s game was more impressed with some of the subs than with the starters. I thought it was the subs who got things going.

  • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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    I don’t think anybody should worry I think they will finish better as the season goes on it’s just 1 game

  • JackBeav says:
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    Except for Omari, the upperclassmen haven’t shown up yet. Lathen and Calvin are just way off today.

    I like that McShane has upped his game as well.

  • JackBeav says:
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    Angus with some hook shot action!

    Coach Rob has played a good rotation in the second half.

  • JackBeav says:
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    Collier!

  • Mud&Sticks Mud&Sticks says:
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    I’m hoping I’ll get to see Rhys today. Is he injured or healthy?

  • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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    Free throw shooting has got to be better

    • angry angry says:
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      +1

      Decision making, too. Starks making bad ones–jacking up 3’s like Iverson.

  • Max says:
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    I wish all basketball games were broadcast like this, with Mike Parker’s audio. The production quality is pretty good.

  • mckalk mckalk says:
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    Haynes has been in a shooting slump for ages now. It has to be a concern. Was it in 2009 when he came in cool as ice after having to sitting out the start of the season and won the Nebraska game by himself? He used to be so smooth on the pull up.

    • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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      Yeah, even when he was hot at times last season it wasn’t anything like when he got hot his sophomore season. He was smooth since then he’s been shaky a lot of times

      • mckalk mckalk says:
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        I kind of think last year messed him up. How many times did the Beavers pass the ball around for 30 seconds and leave him to go one on one? He got into some bad habits. He is a rhythm player.

        • JackBeav says:
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          That’s a good observation, and I’ve been trying to convince Beaver fans of this for a couple years now. But all people see is the points on the stat line.

          I’ve got news people. 12.5 ppg is not what you expect from your leading scorer. I know we had some bad years, so some fans have no idea what Beav hoops used to be. But 12.5 ppg should be your third or fourth option depending on the pace of the scheme used.

          We should be getting a solid 45 ppg from the top three players, and the five or six role players should contribute about 25-30 ppg. We’re not going to see it until Roberto steps on the floor, but most other options are looking pretty good at the moment.

          • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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            I think Calvin of all the upperclassmen this year will benefit the most of the upgrade in talent. They won’t just dribble and hold it and throw it to him with under 10 on the clock and tell him to make it happen. He will be more in rhythm and will score in the flow of the offense.

          • mckalk mckalk says:
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            Fans have to look at how many shots it took him to get to 12.5 also. Not impressive. Looks like Starks and Cunningham can get their own shots through sheer athleticism. That may help this year.

  • Mud&Sticks Mud&Sticks says:
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    Should Brandt be starting? Kinda looks like it to me.

  • Warren says:
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    Up next, Seattle! I’m curious to see how this game will go. They lost their best player Charles Garcia and have gotten blown out twice this season, but they still have some talent with guys like Clarence Trent and Mark McLaughlin on their roster.

    • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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      I think Oregon State will beat Seattle U by double digits. It will be close for awhile and in the last 5-8 minutes the Beavers will pull away.

    • mckalk mckalk says:
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      As I remember, Garcia was not really a factor in the game last year. Foul trouble, right? That 51 pt loss had to be the most bizarre result in college hoops last year. Hopefully, Wednesday offers some redemption!

  • JackBeav says:
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    So we had four guys in double digits and Jared had nine.

    Lathen better make his shots, or he’s going to shoot himself a pine seat.

  • mckalk mckalk says:
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    Who loses playing time when Roberto Nelson becomes eligible? I assume he gets decent minutes right away given his talent and the fact that he has been practicing.

    • angry angry says:
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      Probably Haynes since Starks will play the point. I think it would be good for Haynes–less pressure and fresh legs.

      • mckalk mckalk says:
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        That was my thought also. Might explain Haynes pre-season talk about being a stopper on defense this year. I loved his willingness to be the man on offense when the Beavs did not have any other options, but he needs to find his shot soon or others (including Nelson) need those opportunities.

  • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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    Riley quote…

    “…we’re in a dang slump.”

    Ya think?

  • beavskis says:
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    What’s the latest with Nelson? Is he still slated to play this year? He’s starting to sound mythical, not unlike Simi Kuli.

    • mckalk mckalk says:
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      That is a funny comparison, but supposedly he will be good to go on December 12th (healed from his thumb injury and with even credits). I want visual evidence when he takes his first shot.

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