Look, it’s already old news at this point; the game was on Saturday at 1! Did they shoot too many 3’s? Of course they shot too many 3’s. Did they play piss-poor defense? Of COURSE they played piss-poor defense! I’ve never seen E.J. Singler so open in my life! Did we lose MBA for long stretches of game – in a game, mind you, where he was dominating when we found him? OF COURSE we lost MBA for long stretches of game! He could’ve easily had over 30 points against the Ducks, but for whatever reason this team isn’t capable of feeding the inside hot hand when they have it. Instead, MBA had a respectable 21 points on 10 for 16 shooting.
Whatever, we lost. This is our third loss in a row, officially knocking us out of the Top 25 for good, and maybe putting our season in jeopardy. I mean, let’s face it, we only have 15 wins now. We play Seattle U, so I guess that’s 16. We have to go to the Arizona schools for our last road trip, and they’re certainly no cakewalk (especially the way we’re playing right now). This weekend, we have the Bay Area schools, and look at how we struggled against Stanford earlier in the season. Then, there’s the Wazzu rematch, followed by the L.A. schools to close out conference play.
If this team looks like it has over the last three games in a 7-day period, I could see us going 2-5 against our remaining Pac-10 foes and missing the Tourney altogether.
That’s the most plausible Worst Case Scenario I can come up with. The unrealistic Worst Case Scenario deals with losing a buzzer-beater in back-to-back games vs. Seattle U and WSU, followed by me taking a sniper rifle and clipping anyone wearing crimson & gray who walks out of Hec-Ed on February 27th.
Forgetting all that for a moment, because at this point I don’t have a good word to say about anybody on this team, I would like to talk about the 7-foot tall elephant in the room.
I hate centers who bring nothing to the table. Essentially, they force you to play 4-on-5 basketball, and they NEVER do enough on the defensive end to make up for the fact that they’re essentially meaningless on offense. Unless you’re Dikembe Mutombo and you block EVERYTHING in the paint, all the while averaging 10+ rebounds a game, then I’m sorry, but I have no use for a no-offense center.
Of course, I’m not blaming our current woes on Aziz N’Diaye. I’m sure he’s a lovely human being and a stand-up teammate. But, that doesn’t change the fact that he has no offensive game, he commits too many fouls, he’s probably the worst foul shooter I’ve ever seen, he can’t jump, and for a guy who’s generally the tallest man on the floor, he doesn’t get all that many rebounds. Combine that with the fact that he’s only averaging 1.1 blocks per game (averaging about 17 minutes a game), when Blocking Shots is his only discernible skill … that’s a problem.
Does he bring other intangibles to the table? MAYBE he frees up MBA to not have to guard the other team’s biggest guy. But honestly, other than that, I don’t know what the point is of having a 7-foot center who can do nothing! Not to be an ass, but the team OBVIOUSLY plays better when he’s not on the floor!
If we weren’t so damned injured – what with Gant now joining Wilcox in the realm of the freaky aches and pains – I’d say you cut N’Diaye’s minutes down to around 10 per game (maybe the first five minutes of each half and that’s it) and run Small Ball for the duration of the schedule. Let’s really run and gun! Let’s get Ross and Suggs out there together more often! Let’s see what we can do when we have our best offensive players out on the court at the same time.
They’re going to play zone on us? We’re going to drain more shots from beyond the arc than you’ve ever SEEN! I’ll take the trade off: reduce N’Diaye’s role and I won’t bitch about threes, even if the Huskies shoot 40 per game! Let’s turn this shit around! Come on Dawgs!