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Author Topic: Roughly 25% of the way  (Read 1609 times)

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Razorod

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Roughly 25% of the way
« on: December 07, 2017, 06:25:48 am »

into the season.

What are your thoughts? Strengths/weaknesses, updated projections? What needs to happen for this team to maximize its potential?

Eight games in and we're a bit better than I thought we'd be, especially since we don't have Garland to add to our guard rotation.

We should be in the tourney and we have a good chance to get out of the first weekend and into the Sweet 16. It would be very good for the program to at least make an appearance in the second weekend of the tournament, especially if 18-19 is a bit of a step back with the six seniors moving and the possibility of Gafford being a one-and-done (not predicting anything here).

Weakness--this team is still a little bit up-and-down, but we should start to even out. Suspensions hurt us a bit more than what some are willing to admit. Getting Thomas and Cook settled in and figuring out rotations and minutes for the top ten players is a crucial next step. Team chemistry will be very important.

Strengths--senior leadership and solid depth. Gafford in the middle is a huge plus as well. Decent length at the "three" spot when Jones or Hall are in the game (something that has been lacking since Qualls left early and Babb transferred). When we play with energy and poise, we're a pretty good team. When we don't play with intensity, we can look really bad.

I still think Day-Day Hall is the key to us being merely tourney good or possibly Sweet 16 good. If he keeps coming on, Anderson will be able to apply the kind of pressure and play at the pace he likes without wearing down the team as a whole.

Road--with only a poor showing in our one true road game and an apparently much improved SEC, conference road wins will be at a premium this year. 4-5 conference road record might be quite an accomplishment.

If that is the case, our performance at BWA will be extremely important. This would be a good year for an unblemished home record at the end of the regular season. Good crowds will help, beginning this Saturday.

I predicted 10-3 non-conference, 11-7 conference and 1-1 SEC tourney before the season for a 22-11 record before selection Sunday.

I'm going to go with a win this Saturday to up the Hogs non-conference record to 11-2 and keep the other pieces the same for a 23-10 finish prior to the NCAA's.

Other thoughts or projection?

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Dominicanhog

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Re: Roughly 25% of the way
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2017, 08:07:52 am »

Really tough in our face defense bothers us.. hopefully we get better as the season goes on..
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thehill1414

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Re: Roughly 25% of the way
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2017, 08:26:17 am »

Positives - I think everyone of our players has showed flashes of promise. Each one of them has had a solid if not great game (Cook not included since he just came back). When we run, we are really tough to stop. 

Negatives - Houston slowed us down to a half court game. So did UNC. We do not do well against athletic teams in the halfcourt. Sometimes our offense is absolutely stagnant. Too many fouls by both of our big men.

Overall - I had us at 10-3 in the non-con, and I think this is still correct. I think we go 12-6 in conference to get to 22 wins and then plug 1 in for the SEC tournament. I think 23-10 gets us a 6-7 seed in the ncaa this year. Beyond that it is all about match-ups, so I don't really understand how people can predict a sweet 16 (or say we aren't meeting expectations if we don't get there) without any idea who/where we will be playing. If we play ourselves into a top 7 seed we  have a decent shot at a run in March, and I think that's all you can ask.
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FineAsSwine

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Re: Roughly 25% of the way
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2017, 08:37:05 am »

At the beginning of games, guys try to start off shooting jumpers and they don't throw the ball into the post even though they know Trey will pass the ball back.

When those early jumpers fall, no problem. When they don't the offense gets stagnant. Need to start going inside out very early in the shot clock and let the offense flow from there. Gafford is a willing passer as well and that would open things up for the guards on the outside.

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gmarv

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Re: Roughly 25% of the way
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2017, 08:51:07 am »

I had us going 11-2 and 13-5.This game with the gophers is a big game for us win it and 11-2 looks very doable.
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dawn2tusk

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Re: Roughly 25% of the way
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2017, 10:51:43 am »

I think 1414 summed it up nicely.
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FineAsSwine

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Re: Roughly 25% of the way
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2017, 11:50:49 am »

I think 1414 summed it up nicely.

Except for the 10-3 in nonconference, which would likely only happen if we lose to Minnesota on Saturday. I think we beat the Gophers and go 11-2 in the noncon.
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Iwastherein1969

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Re: Roughly 25% of the way
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2017, 12:00:37 pm »

Really tough in our face defense bothers us.. hopefully we get better as the season goes on..
all they have to do is move when that happens...I promise you as a former player myself on a State Championship team, no player loves to "D up" a player who never stops....it may not get you open for the first 5 minutes, but if you move on offense like the great Hondo Havlicek, you'll get open, and plenty in the last 10 minutes of each half.
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thehill1414

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Re: Roughly 25% of the way
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2017, 01:22:55 pm »

Except for the 10-3 in nonconference, which would likely only happen if we lose to Minnesota on Saturday. I think we beat the Gophers and go 11-2 in the noncon.

I hope you're right. I just think their front court is a tough matchup for us. Instead, I tried to beef up our conference wins in my prediction as I think we will improve dramatically over the next 2 months.
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hog golf

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Re: Roughly 25% of the way
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2017, 02:35:24 pm »

and I've already pumped my brakes once. cruising with my foot on them now.
I think we are double digit seed come March. good teams make us look awful. I want to be wrong as I think the talent is there- I just don't think we get the most out of that talent.
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HawgHoops

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Re: Roughly 25% of the way
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2017, 02:46:49 pm »

I agree that we have been better than expected. I didn't expect blowout losses to UNC or Houston obviously, but we've beaten some pretty good low and mid-majors to a pulp. We didn't do that last year. So I have been pleasantly surprised at how the team has played.

I'd say we are a bit ahead of schedule. As Gafford and Hall adjust to the college game and Jones continues to step into his own, I think we will continue to improve. I think flat out saying Sweet 16 is probably premature. Our ceiling is definitely Sweet 16 type good, but that is gonna require Gafford, Jones, and Hall to be pretty special all season.

Some SEC teams certainly haven't lived up to the SEC hype this year(Auburn, Missouri, and Kentucky). Right now, I'd say 6 or 7 seed would be GREAT!

Either way, there's no doubt the foundation is laid and we are building. I know it has taken longer than most wanted, but I am not sure we will ever understand just how deep down in the valley we were.

I know for some, we still aren't good enough. For those guys, just remember guys like me were in our mother's womb on Championship Night in 94. The MA Era is the best we have ever experienced!
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Dominicanhog

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Re: Roughly 25% of the way
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2017, 04:10:32 pm »

all they have to do is move when that happens...I promise you as a former player myself on a State Championship team, no player loves to "D up" a player who never stops....it may not get you open for the first 5 minutes, but if you move on offense like the great Hondo Havlicek, you'll get open, and plenty in the last 10 minutes of each half.

I agree, keep moving, that's what Mike was yelling all night in Houston... that's also why he changed lineups, imo...
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Youngsta71701

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Re: Roughly 25% of the way
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2017, 09:22:33 am »

Really tough in our face defense bothers us.. hopefully we get better as the season goes on..
Yep, we need to run plenty of back cuts ala "Princeton" when teams play us like that. Get a few easy layups and dunks they'll back off. Then start raining those 3's.
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niels_boar

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Re: Roughly 25% of the way
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2017, 04:12:25 pm »

Generally agree with the OP.

I would say the two overriding questions right now are surprisingly on offense, not that it's been a problem in general.  Defense was a bigger concern in the preseason.

1)  Can we score against aggressive man that excels at shutting down the inside in the halfcourt and prevents transition baskets?

Interestingly UNC and Houston allows the lowest number of deuces per possession on the season of all our opponents by a good margin.  Our results have been almost binary.  Only one other opponent has held us under 1.1 points per possession, OU at a still robust scoring rate of 1.07 ppp.  By contrast, UNC and Houston held us to under 0.9 ppp.  Our defense was good enough to win against UNC, and I believe the O contributed to the bad defense against Houston.  We were constantly on our heels.

2)  Will the offense balance out with less dependence on Macon and Barford to score?  We are already seeing signs that it is with the emergence of Gafford and Jones.  If we get increasingly more buckets from Thomas, Hall, Cook, and Bailey, we will be very difficult to hang with in the last 10 minutes.  I agree that Hall is critical.  As good as he is on defense, he doesn't have to score a lot to be a big plus on the court, but we can't have two or three positions that are little threat to score. We can actually get better on D when we sub.  If we don't lose much on O, Macon and Barford won't have to conserve energy and we can spot sub to optimize defensive matchups.
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Razorod

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Re: Roughly 25% of the way
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2017, 04:18:41 pm »

Generally agree with the OP.

I would say the two overriding questions right now are surprisingly on offense, not that it's been a problem in general.  Defense was a bigger concern in the preseason.

1)  Can we score against aggressive man that excels at shutting down the inside in the halfcourt and prevents transition baskets?

Interestingly UNC and Houston allows the lowest number of deuces per possession on the season of all our opponents by a good margin.  Our results have been almost binary.  Only one other opponent has held us under 1.1 points per possession, OU at a still robust scoring rate of 1.07 ppp.  By contrast, UNC and Houston held us to under 0.9 ppp.  Our defense was good enough to win against UNC, and I believe the O contributed to the bad defense against Houston.  We were constantly on our heels.

2)  Will the offense balance out with less dependence on Macon and Barford to score?  We are already seeing signs that it is with the emergence of Gafford and Jones.  If we get increasingly more buckets from Thomas, Hall, Cook, and Bailey, we will be very difficult to hang with in the last 10 minutes.  I agree that Hall is critical.  As good as he is on defense, he doesn't have to score a lot to be a big plus on the court, but we can't have two or three positions that are little threat to score. We can actually get better on D when we sub.  If we don't lose much on O, Macon and Barford won't have to conserve energy and we can spot sub to optimize defensive matchups.
Great stuff. Always enjoy your insight and numbers you bring to the discussion!

How do the stats you provide here project to tomorrow's game with Minnesota? Do we match-up well?

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Smalltownhog95

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Re: Roughly 25% of the way
« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2017, 08:02:42 pm »

Agree with most of everything said except for I wouldn't call the UNC game a blowout. We were in that game until i got home from work and started watching with 3 minutes left(my fault guys sorry). Houston blew the doors off us but how we respond against another quality top 25 team will tell a better story of how the rest of this season plays out.
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niels_boar

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Re: Roughly 25% of the way
« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2017, 12:02:44 am »

Great stuff. Always enjoy your insight and numbers you bring to the discussion!

How do the stats you provide here project to tomorrow's game with Minnesota? Do we match-up well?

Minnesota has some characteristics that have given us trouble.  On the deuces per possession they are good but a notch below Houston and UNC.  Houston and UNC are also the only two teams that we have played that hold teams to under 0.95 ppp on D.  Minny is close at 0.96 on D.  The other characteristic that Houston and UNC share is being elite in assists per possession on O.  The Gophers are as good as either.  In short teams that shut down the inside and share the ball at elite levels have given us problems.  Minny falls into that category.  They have had holes in their perimeter defense, however. 

In personnel matchups I'm worried about Murphy.  He's similar to Maye and Davis, though maybe more of an interior player and less a perimeter shooter.  Mobile, combo forwards have given us problems.  Plus, he's paired with a strong post and surrounded by very good shooters.  As noted, their ball handling is good, and Mason dishes at a high rate without TOs.  I'll be impressed if we defend them well.
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Razorod

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Re: Roughly 25% of the way
« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2017, 06:15:37 am »

Thanks. Hopefully having a full front court will help in this game. Maybe rotating Bailey, Thomas and Cook will give us the energy and depth to handle Murphy. Just keep throwing bodies at him and wear him down over the course of 40 minutes.

Hall and Jones will be important today as well. Need to provide quality minutes so we can rotate liberally at the 1-3 positions and defend as aggressively as we possibly can.

Pace and energy will be critical today. We need a full forty minute effort.
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Nickle-Pig

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Re: Roughly 25% of the way
« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2017, 06:19:13 am »

will find out a lot from this game today
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Dominicanhog

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Re: Roughly 25% of the way
« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2017, 06:49:16 am »

will find out a lot from this game today

Agree.. their a T15 team... the Hawgs have a chance for national recognition.. gotta make the most of these opportunities... and I think they will with a packed BUD... get LOUD and be PROUD..wps..

BTW.. that 7-1 OU team looks pretty good,  anybody know who beat them?
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thehill1414

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Re: Roughly 25% of the way
« Reply #20 on: December 10, 2017, 07:57:49 am »

I hope you're right. I just think their front court is a tough matchup for us. Instead, I tried to beef up our conference wins in my prediction as I think we will improve dramatically over the next 2 months.

Well I'm an idiot for doubting we'd not only win, but blow them out at home. Great team win!
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incHOGnito

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Re: Roughly 25% of the way
« Reply #21 on: December 10, 2017, 08:07:18 am »


Negatives - Houston slowed us down to a half court game. So did UNC. We do not do well against athletic teams in the halfcourt. Sometimes our offense is absolutely stagnant. Too many fouls by both of our big men.


We actually have an answer for this and it is one word: Gafford. For a three minute last night he dominated his defender in he half court. I think he scored o. The low block on three unique post moves. If we can trust him  and get him the ball inside consistently, we go from being a very good team, to a Top 10 team.

Look at the box score from the first half last night. We were dominating the No. 14 team in the nation and neither Macon nor Barford were much of a factor in the scoring column. We donít need to be raining threes this year to win. We have a real inside threat.
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