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10 THINGS - The Sky Is Not Falling....

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  • 10 THINGS - The Sky Is Not Falling....

    I just finished watching the game and there is enough blame to go around for this one. We played an average game as a team. The refs did not help us out. Coach had trouble adapting to a few things.

    Big picture - we're 13-1 with less pressure. We'll still be in the AP top 12... and we're healthy.

    Here's my abbreviated version of 20 THINGS called (of course):

    1. - DEFENSE - Give the Cardinal credit - they hit some quick hitting 3's all game long and defended us well. Our 3pt shooting (28.6%), lack of 3PT Defense and FTs were the clear 3 differences in the game.
    2. - HARRISON Ingram is special and is going to be a beast. I'm predicting that once he hits the NBA, we will consider him the best player on this court - as I thought he was tonight.
    3. - THANK God we had Isaiah today. We might have lost by 25 without him. I'd like to see him in the low post for some high/low action, but he was very solid tonight. The NBA awaits.
    4. - BOOGIE goes through spurts when he's not assertive enough. He's too good not to become an alpha-dog on this team. How he handles leadership will determine his NBA opportunity at EOS.
    5. - MAX did some nice things, but 3PT% (24.4%) on 3rd most 3PA continues to be a problem, but he's DEFINITELY turning a corner with defensive awareness/positioning. Plz Get Max to the rim more, CAE.
    6. - FREE THROWS: Can't state this enough, but teams that want to win in the tournament need exceptional guard play/presence, and you've got to shoot 75% or better as a team. We shot 65.6%. Eeesh.
    7. - DOUBLE BONUS - CAE is doing a great job, but I couldn't help but notice the lack of inside out and cutters in the final 12:30, when we had double-bonus to our advantage. Can't be afraid of FTs.
    8. - STANFORD literally left our weakest outside shooter alone for much of the second half, choosing doubles on Boogie and company. Watching it happen on a late O-sub with a minute left was on coach.
    9. - WHO is going to close out games for us. We've got great balance, and great defensive focus and intensity. Who is going to take the ball and make it happen? ..and what is our offense going to look like in those all-important big game moments? Looking forward to finding out.
    10. - MEDIOCRITY - Drew, Chevez, Max, Joshua, Boogie and Ethan all had up-and-down games and nobody else stepped up to fill in and help Isaiah finish the team business tonight. The PAC-12 is just too tough to win on the road without at least 2 of our top 3 (Mobley/Ellis/Peterson) having good games....especially without a big game from anybody else. I thought Drew and Boogie, in particular, were too passive.

    These moments are precious, but there's no need for a panic button. Stanford played well enough to beat a lot of teams - unfortunately it was us tonight. (We knew it would come.) Chin up. We've got 2 more games in the next 4 days. Life is good. Learn and be better.

    We Fight On!


  • #2
    Good post but a couple of things. One, Max shooting 3's when he can't shoot very well is not a good thing. Max is below 30% on 3 pointers throughout his career and despite what we heard about him changing his form and improving, his numbers are the same. IMO, I don't know what the health status of White is but IF he is healthy I think its time for him to play more. This is a player who started almost all of last season and was HUGE when the games counted most. He adds the energy that was definitely lacking today. Also, I'd like to see what we have in Waters. I like what I see in the all too few minutes he receives. Where do we find the minutes for these two players? IMO, from Ethan and Max.
    It appears as Drew goes, so does our team. We need MUCH better play from him then we saw today because he is a MUCH better player then we saw today. Fight On!


    • SC MOJO
      SC MOJO commented
      Editing a comment
      Marty46r - I've been critical of Max's development, but not today. Developmentally speaking, his anticipatory skills are improving, as is his coordination, awareness, ball handling and confidence. I think Max can be a nice contributor but not as a weak-side static wing shooter where CAE often wants him to be. Opponents know. Stanford's plan was to leave him alone outside tonight down the stretch and that put pressure on everybody else. He's going to have nice games now and then from outside - and hit a HUGE 3 in our last game vs Cal - but Max shot 23.8% LY from 3 on 63 shots, and is sitting at 24.4% this season at around the mid-way point on the 3rd most attempts. 2.5 years into his career at USC is enough to get a real good feel for his scoring capabilities. These moments as a program are precious.

      His teammates love him and I think there's definitely a role for this kid. I don't know why we can't run some pick and roll sets with him rim/running off of weak-side screens. Maybe a few more buckets at the rim will help his confidence...?

      I agree and would like to see Reese get another 5.5 MPG (9.5 now) to see what he can do, but he's obviously not meeting CAEs defensive criteria or he'd play more. Reese is shooting 40% from 3, and could be a really nice asset to get going down the stretch. He could end up being a great court spacer and does average about .6 TO less per game on equal minutes. Also, Isaiah White is just not 100% and in rhythm yet. He'll get there.
      Last edited by SC MOJO; 01-13-2022, 09:17 AM.

  • #3
    My takeaways that I've scattered across a couple of posts:

    1. Max can't be taking 5 3s per game at his rate. He has a nice all around game, scoring in the lane and on inbounds, and is formidable on defense, but teams will start leaving him open.

    2. Peterson was 1-3 FG, that's the game right there. Peterson needs to take more than 3 shots for us. I don't know how Stanford shut him down but they did.

    3. I'd also like to see Waters play more, he has looked good in his minutes.

    4. I don't think free throws are worth talking about. Everyone would love to shoot FT better. The fact is that we are a poor FT shooting team, and this was one of our better games. However, we also are a top 25 team on KP adjO and adjD, and if we play to our potential in THAT area (which we did not, yesterday), our FTs won't matter in games against Stanford.

    5. We aren't gonna win a lot of games letting teams shoot 40% from 3 against us. This was the first time I noticed an opponent get open 3 looks consistently against us - either they had a good offensive scout, or we had a poor defense scout. Curious as to how this happened.


    • #4
      Nice post and I've yet to see the sky is falling sentiment, maybe because I was annoyed with the loss, took a break and haven't read too much what others are saying.

      I actually don't have a problem with Max having a green light, he's playing the most efficient basketball of his time at USC and his mid range game yesterday was great. He's obviously out there first and foremost for his length on D. Maybe Enfield should have had Max switch roles a bit with Mobley so Mobley was more on the perimeter and Max was helping Goodwin rebound. Mobley was on fire from deep and wish he had a few more plays giving him more opportunities to cash in.

      I think USC struggled a bit more than usual with its transition O off turnovers, should have had more easy points with the athleticism advantage.


      • #5
        It was good to get the loss out of the way.
        The team except for Mobley played tight and not as loose as usual.
        Even Baylor lost.
        The two trips to the Bay Area was probably tiring.
        The 3 games a week schedule is a problem


        • #6
          Originally posted by Trojan2021 View Post
          1. Max can't be taking 5 3s per game at his rate.
          Yup. That's for sure.


          • #7
            Originally posted by Eeks2284 View Post
            I actually don't have a problem with Max having a green light
            Games should always start out "green," but after a few misses, it needs to turn "yellow." There are other positive ways Max can impact a game.

            When a good outside shooter misses, it's usually close. rims out....bounces off the back of the rim, etc. When Max misses, it's often a deflating front-of-the-rim clank or airball. Good shooters don't often miss open shots by the entire width of the ball. Basketball players know. That's not who you want taking too may outside shots.

            If Max misses his first few outside shots, he just needs to attack the rim and/or find other ways to contribute. It's not that complicated. He's doing other nice things out there, but his defense comes at a cost. Our offensive is limited when he's out there shooting 3.2 3P shots at 24.4%. Despite how mediocre the team played, yesterday's end-of-game circumstances would have had a very different look if Max had just hit his percentage and made even one of those 5 outside shots.

            I'm a coach. There is a saying in basketball for those who don't shoot it well from outside, miss badly often enough, and still want to take more than a few 3's without a make during games:

            "Please don't practice your jump-shot on company time."
            Last edited by SC MOJO; 01-12-2022, 10:20 PM.


            • Rockazar
              Rockazar commented
              Editing a comment
              “Please don't practice your jump-shot on company time."

              I’m sending that to a newish hoops coach I know.

              Nice analysis.

          • #8
            It seems that Isaiah Mobley is finally getting close to the player projected.
            He was a 5 star and think he played in McDonalds game.
            But in his first two seasons he was overshadowed by the Big O and Evan.
            And his FT shooting was bad. And he did not have a 3 point shot.
            Now he is looking like a true 5 star player.
            His FT shooting has improved greatly.
            And he has a good 3 point shot.
            His signature really is he can do all things well.
            And his defense is his calling card.
            The portrait of an Enfield team