Sunday, December 23, 2007

Rambling thoughts, part II

What is different this year from last year?

The schedule is much tougher this year. I addressed that in the prior post, so we'll consider that issue settled.

Steph was a bit (understatement) of a surprise last year. He's not a surprise this year.

Last year we had games where several other players went nuts and scored tons of points. It seemed that anybody on any given night could light up the other team. Maybe I'm wrong, but I just don't feel like we've got that this least, not so far.

Thomas Sander dropped 30 points on somebody last year. Thomas is averaging 8 points per game this year, as opposed to 13 PPG last year. He's also playing 6 minutes less per game. He's only scored in double figures twice this season.

I think Boris went crazy on a couple of teams last year. His scoring is down about 3 points per game, and he's only hit double figures in 3 games this year, one of which was D-III school Emory (so it doesn't really count in the analysis).

Jason scored 25 on Arizona State last year. I will say, though, that his average is about the same as last year, and he has dropped over 20 points on 2 different teams this year.

Lovedale is getting 2 less rebounds per game so far this year. His scoring and minutes are basically the same as last year.

Steph was scoring a little bit less last year than he is this year.

MPG was actually scoring some last year. He averaged 4.8 PPG last year. This year, it's only 2.3 PPG.

Big Willie, as we all know, has seen a drop in scoring. He averaged 8 PPG last year, and so far it's down to 4 PPG this year. However, aside from the ankle injury the other night, Will seems to be getting back on track.

Bryant "The Maine Lobstah" Barr is hitting his stride and scoring 5 PPG MORE than last year.

What does this mean?

I had not actually looked at the hard numbers before beginning this post, so it was interesting to see how the numbers matched up with my gut feelings. There were a few gut feelings that were wrong (thinking Jason was not scoring as much as last year, for example). However, many of my gut feelings were correct. My overall feeling was that we are depending way too much on Steph to score and that the rest of the team was not scoring enough. Well, between MPG, Big Willie, Boris & Thomas - they are scoring 14.5 less points per game this year. Steph is scoring 3 points per game more, and Bryant Barr is scoring 5 points more per game. More load is on Steph now, and luckily Barr is helping take up the slack more and more as the season has progressed. (Let's hope that Barr is an emerging star now that he appears to have found a comfort zone.) Maybe the interior scoring will go up as the team hits the SoCon schedule. It is obviously a little tougher to score inside against UNC, Duke, UCLA, etc. than the SoCon teams. Perhaps the comparison is unfair until more of the season is complete.

Any way you cut it, in my UN-expert opinion, we really need to see more evenly distributed scoring. Teams are going to figure out how to lock down Steph at some point, and we can't live and die by Steph's ability to hit 3 pointers from 30 feet. The other 4 players on the court need to start putting more points on the board.

As I said below in the prior post, all that matters at this point is the SoCon schedule and the tournament in March. As we work through the SoCon schedule, I think we'll see a great deal of improvement from our guys.

My hope has been that I will get to see Davidson win at least one game in the NCAA Tournament at some point. The early season losses -while they hurt - are helping get these guys ready for March. If we are fortunate enough to win the SoCon Tournament again, this team will be very well prepared to win an NCAA Tournament game. But there's a bunch of basketball to be played between now and then, so buckle up.

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