Well the season certainly hasn’t gotten off to the start that we all wanted, that much I think we can all agree on.
The Indiana game was a tough one, if Mathis doesn’t get that flagrant AND get kicked, I think we come out of Bloomington with a win. Asking for a huge upset win against Kansas is just too much to ask for as a fan, I mean it’s Kansas basketball coming off an upset loss… no one in their right mind wants to face that.
Honestly we had played just about how we were expected to until the Pitt game. And yes, you can put the blame on COVID and Julian as it literally happened right before the game and gave us no time to prepare… but a team that wants to go far needs to be able to beat a HORRIBLE team like Pitt. Someone else NEEDS to step up when Julian is absent or is being clamped like we saw this Saturday in Providence.
We need a reliable second scorer from outside. Posh and Dylan have done their best so far, Dylan putting up career highs in points his last two games and Posh has been holding it down as always. Aaron Wheeler came out of his shell a bit in Providence this weekend hitting 3 corner 3’s. But there’s more capable guys who need to show up. Stef Smith, known for his 3 point shooting ability has got to take more shots and make the defense expand in a game like Saturday’s when Providence is all over Julian the entire game. Credit to the Friars they’re much more talented than anyone thought coming into the season but that was not our best effort by any means. Missing Pinzon also hurt us this weekend, we haven’t seen much of him but he’s looked promising with good defense and a smooth shot.
There was so much promise coming into the season that we had finally added the size that we needed. We stole the big man from Fordham and added four near seven footers, not including Drissa Traore who chose to redshirt. Joel Soriano has not looked like what we were promised from Fordham to say the least. He has got to come into his own, finishing easy putbacks and boxing out on defense. He had a tough game in Providence with some shit calls from the refs giving him four falls 30 seconds into the second half. Either way though we need to see him put the rocky start behind him and be the backbone of our team down low and be the workhorse we saw him as at Fordham. Omar Stanley played very well from what I saw in the PC game early in the second half when Joel came out and did a good job holding off Nate Watson down low, I thought he should have gotten more minutes based on the way the rest of the team was defending him. Nyiwe also only saw 3 minutes in that game which is another problem I saw. With Wheeler and Soriano getting into foul trouble you would think it would make sense to rotate our bigs instead of having them play with foul trouble for most of the second half.
The things I saw Saturday and basically go for the whole season are:
- Our big men need to start acting like they’re the 6’10 monsters they really are and not rely on Julian, Posh and Dylan’s help. If we can get them out in transition early and running that’s when and how our team is going to thrive.
- We need someone other than Julian to hit threes. It was obvious Saturday the only player they were worried about guarding from three was Julian and if we can’t space the floor even a little more for him it’s going to be a long season
- My third improvement is one we’ve been going over incessantly for the last few years fo the Johnnies… hit your free throws. Way too many points being left at the line again. 8/17 is a terrible clip and when the final score is 83-73… well you do the math. It’s a lot different game.
- My final critique is one that I think really summarizes the teams struggles thus far into the season. Our last two games we are 39-81 within 5 feet… unacceptable. We’re missing the gimmes! It’s honestly a promising stat to me because that’s something hard to do. A fluke I hope.
This team is far from done. These are simple fixes that really just come with time and to panic like I may or may not have just did is silly. We’ve beaten the teams we should have and have lost to very talented teams. Two games into the Big East and we took a tough loss to the best defensive team in the league in our star player’s worst game in a long time. We can do this and what better time to turn things around than giving the Huskies another rude welcome back to the Big East.
Now it’s time for our boys to go up to farm country and trample those stupid fucking mutts.