Monday, January 12, 2009

Louisville 87, Notre Dame 73

I hate overtime game like that. So much buildup in regulation and then one team just rolls over in the extra five minutes. Props to the team for playing such a great first 40, though. They really deserved to win. A better last play in regulation or fresh legs and this is a happier post.

The last play in overtime is our base final possession play. Jackson holds until ten seconds and drives to the basket. It's not a terrible idea, just poorly executed. It has worked in the past, so no complaints about the plan. I would just like to see Coach Brey tell Tory to use the drive to setup a pass to Harangody. You need Luke to have the ball in his hands with the game on the line.

I know a lot of people want Brey to use his bench more. I don't buy that fatigue is a factor in tournament play between games (save the BET with 4 games in 4 days or something), but we clearly were dead at the end of this contest. It's a problem that you want to see fixed, but it most likely is not going to change. Still, you don't know if the team even gets to OT with Ty Nash or Carleton Scott on the floor for 5-10 minutes, so it goes both ways.

Kudos to the guys for a hard fought performance. It would have been our first win at Freedom Hall in 50 years. Now we go to the Carrier Dome where we have had some more recent success. All in all, you wish we could have pulled it out, but I am generally more confident about our future chances now than I was a few hours ago We should be solid favorites our second chance against the Cards.

Louisville shut us down with some great defense. This really played out like a second weekend tournament game and we were a basket away from winning. I am encouraged by our ability to hang with a defensive minded team on the road. Last season this game was ugly before Harangody made a couple threes to make the final score look a little more flattering. The biggest fear is that we will run into a Washington State-type squad in March. Seeing our first 40 minutes here and the game against Georgetown, I'm not so scared.

That was the #2 defense in the country today, so putting 71 on the board in regulation is an accomplishment.

Tory Jackson was wild all game. Maybe that last play was more Hillesland's fault than his, but he turned the ball over seven times in the game. A couple possessions he was out of control on the break and foolishly ruined some chances. He did rebound well and pass out six assists, but those mistakes possibly cost us the game.

Kyle McAlarney played very well. 19 points with the chances he got plus 5 assists and 5 rebounds. 7-12 from three point land.

Ryan Ayers gave us 9 points and 6 rebounds. A pretty solid game for him. Hillesland finished with 6 and 5 in 27 minutes. It's a little frustrating to see him with single figures in so many columns, but that's his game.

Luke Harangody did his best. 28 and 13 as he continues to build his case for National Player of the Year. Picking up his fourth on a touch foul hurt a bit. If he could have been more physical in the final couple minutes of regulation, who knows.

Zeller was good off the bench. 7 rebounds to help overcome a very poor shooting night. 1-8 overall. It would have been nice to see him make a couple of those threes, but it is a relief to see the guy finally produce as a rebounder and post defender. He has certainly improved over the course of the year. Peeps didn't show anything in two minutes. Two turnovers and he was yanked for the game.

Tough loss. As I said before, there are no bad wins or good defeats in Big East play. You just need to produce. If a couple things bounce our way, we could have had a very nice looking win. As it is, we're 12-4 going into Syracuse. Knock off the Orange and I'm very confident for our next home contest.


Anonymous said...

The short rotation: either it is a case of poor recruiting or poor development. In this game, you could also factor in the great defensive effort in the last ten minutes. The first two are systemic flaws in our program, and have been so for as long as Brey has been here. As to the last one, well, I hate to say that great defensive effort is a bad thing.

The last play: Brey runs it a lot; maybe too much. But the blame is squarely on Jackson. He penetrated too deeply, and too slowly, allowing the D to collapse on him and prevent a pass. McAlarney might have done better to go a bit farther out, but I think he thought Jackson would take the shot or dish to Harangody.

Pomeroy has us as a 9-9 Big East team. After failing to take a game that was ripe for the taking, you can see why.

Anonymous said...

If the team doesnt get to overtime and loses by four it is better than getting to overtime and getting blown out. They had no chance - they didn't score a basket in the last 9 minutes? complete basketball teams have a rotation of at least 10. Pitino used at least 11 players today. Spot minutes from your bench to provide legs at the end of the game is critical. tory doesnt lose the ball at the end and we dont miss every shot and will be able to defend.

Anonymous said...

Bad enough we only play seven, but when one of the seven is utterly worthless -- I'm looking at you Jonathan Peoples -- we are screwed.

He'll do better, but who's to say someone else won't lay an egg? Ayers? Zellar? McAlarney in a repeat of the St. John's game?

Oh, BTW-- Louisville wasn't whistled for a foul in the last 10:33 of regulation.

Anonymous said...

Someone on Rakes of Mallow referred to Bilas's comment -- Hillesland failed to move out on Jackson's drive, allowing his man to double Jackson. And Hillesland has a 3.9 GPA...

BlackandGreen said...

Good comments all. I think a big problem is not just the seven-man rotation, it's a lack of quality when you get to the bench. Tonight, only six guys played well enough to merit being on the floor.

I think it's a recruiting problem and I'm not blaming Brey for this. Entrance standards are higher in men's and women's basketball than they are in football (which I believe has four scholarships to give away regardless of academic standing). With only four four-star recruits on the current squad, you're going to have some depth trouble.

The last play has worked at times (Brey is something like 50-50 in one possession games), but I think both Jackson and Hillesland carry the blame for that failure. We took a timeout to set it up and never got a shot off.

Again on the depth thing, I agree with the third comment. Brey doesn't trust his bench because he thinks a tired McAlarney or Jackson at the end of the game is better than a fresh Jonathan Peoples in the middle. Peoples hasn't done anything to convince me otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Pitino beats Brey in OT every time. Not 9 out of 10 - 10 out of 10. You have to go zone when Harangody gets his 4th (a chicken#$&^ call). Peoples is not a Big East calibre player - plain and simple.

Our defense is at best mediocre. Our boys need to watch the film and see how defense is played. Louisville locked us down in the
2nd half.

Anonymous said...

Black and Green - I respect your knowledge and insight, however, Nash and Scott have to play. There is no reasonable reason for them not to. I have to believe that Nash and Scott would give you more production given the same minutes as Zeller - certainly they could equal 1 for 8 from the field and add length and athleticism. And while I'm at it, would it be a crime for Ayers - at 6"8" (probably taller thah Harangody) - to get under the boards and get a rebound or play just a lick of defense?

Anonymous said...

Well, if Brey can't trust Peoples in the middle of a game, whose fault is that? Brey's for recruiting him? Brey's for not developing him? Or Peoples's (sometimes, a player simply cannot bring his good practice performances to actual games, notwithstanding the effort put into coaching in practice)? Whoever's it is, it will kill us sooner AND later.

MJenks said...

I don't know if fatigue was the issue. They got to the end of the game, but they just took some stupid, sloppy shots down the final stretch. The last play, though, was so poorly executed, it looked like my daughter's 7-9 year old team was on the court.

Zeller's shot on the previous possession was also a very poor decision.

Anonymous said...

""Oh, BTW-- Louisville wasn't whistled for a foul in the last 10:33 of regulation.""

BTW Gody and McAlarney didnt score in the last 9 mins of regualtion either... Go To Players have to be gone to...