Wednesday, February 20, 2008

PMM's post-UNCG thoughts

Following last night's nationally televised game against UNC-Greensboro, there's plenty of press on the Wildcats' fine outing. Here are a few notes and observations I made re-watching a recording of the game.

Angry Swarm of Canadian Bees

Max Paulhus-Gosselin is a defense artist whose hard work is rarely glorified by big stats. Last night was an exception. Max recorded 1 block and 7 steals; the entire UNC-G team had 6 steals.

There is so much that MPG does, though, that can't be represented by numbers. Fighting with big Kendall Toney for a missed Lovedale shot, Max's physical pressure and big leap forced Toney out of bounds and thus a UNCG turnover.

As several commentators have regularly noted this season, MPG defends inbounds passes like a lunatic. He jumps, he waves, he stretches forth. There is no individual stat for what he did at the start of the second half when Davidson went up 43-29 and UNC-G couldn't get the ball back in play before the 5 second whistle sounded.

There's also no stat for the number of times a player goes down hard on the court, but surely MPG lead that category as well. He was diving in a number of his steals and in breaking up UNC-G transitions. At those moments, there always seemed to be an ESPN microphone nearby to capture the crash. After attempting a Vince Carter-esque leap with Hines as the hurdle, MPG almost broke through the floor and into the basement.

Meanwhile, The Microwave, though not posting the hot kind of numbers he had against Furman, was nevertheless electromagnetic in going after loose balls and playing fervidly. He pulled the trigger on some good looks, but was often just a hair short.

In addition to Max and the'Waves efforts, many turnovers were caused by effective double teams. Davidson uses its comparatively small size well to neutralize taller, bigger opponents.

Sweet Nothings

The FCC is still investigating any potential lascivious intent or behavior by Doug Gottlieb who provided color commentary for ESPN2 last night. At least a dozen times during Wildcat possessions, the 8th All Time NCAA assist record holder could be heard soothingly saying in a hushed tone: "Niiiice paaaaaasssssss."

Along with a mesmerized "Kha, kha...khe…He bounced it…off his back!" following the Curry-Hines Back Bounce, Gottlieb did a pretty nice job commentating.

Among other manna, we learned Coach McKillop calls MPG "The Connector."

Unfortunately, He's Penciled In on the'Cats Charleston Dance Card

Kyle Hines doesn't miss many when he's under the basket. He does a very admirable job of controlling his large frame to push into players and draw a foul. He created a number of old fashioned three point plays in Greensboro's brief surge back from a 20 point deficit in the second half. Hines was fouled one in every five times he went at the basket last night. For Davidson, that was actually an improvement over last week's game when the 'Cats fouled him on 7 of 13 attempts.

House of Clown

Daniel Oliver is an angry young man who made the Davidson players show they retaliate with classy scoring rather than questionable physical play. Less than ten minutes into the game, Oliver gave a shiver perhaps not unfamiliar to MPG on the ice hockey rink in Quebec, but uncalled for on the hard court. The refs missed it, busy watching Richards blow by the fracas and make a nice pass to Archambault in the corner.

Oliver wasn't done though. He got a nasty fist on a driving Richards; the refs did catch it this time. That was at the 8:34 mark in the game, and Stephen Curry went to inbound the ball from underneath the Wildcats basket. Reminding the Spartans who truly is the best player in the Conference, Stephen Curry clowned on Kyle Hines by bouncing a pass off the big man's back, catching the ball, turning to the basket, and banking in a shot. It was a nice, early reminder that these 'Cats are staying focused amidst less-than-classy play, and vindicate with points.

After a nice mid-range jumper bounced in for Richards a few moments later, the ESPN camera panned to Oliver on the bench. Number 10 looked like a sad, wet puppy. As for when Oliver had the ball, his body spasms earned him 4 points and two charging calls.

Planting a Seed

In his interview on ESPN's "First Take," Coach McKillop portended himself yesterday more like a lobbyist than the usual senatorial-self. The smooth orator made a point to impress upon host Dana Jacobson that the Wildcats lost to UNC by just four points when the'Heels were playing with Ty Lawson, when they were fielding their "best team."


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