Wow. That game was so frustrating. I was in attendance along with Smeargle and his wife-to-be, and I hated it. In fact, I hated it so much that when we were down by only four with five minutes left, I exited the coliseum. Around that time, Ivory Tower called me. Our conversation is paraphrased below.
IT: Hey. Are you still at the game?
JA: No. I just left.
IT: That bad, huh?
JA: Actually, we're only down by four with five minutes left.
IT: Well we could come back.
JA: Yeah, but if we do, it will only be due to luck and chance. I'm sick of caring about this team. We do the same exact thing every game and hope it works out differently than the game before. I'm not going to quit watching their games or quit caring, but I just couldn't take seeing us pass the ball around the perimeter on offense, only to try to make something happen with 13 seconds left on the playclock anymore. I also couldn't handle watching us have trouble stopping the ball down the court or collapsing the entirety of our defense on one player only to see him get hacked on his way up or kick it out to a wide open guard who hits a clutch three pointer. For today, I'm done.
I don't know how many of you reacted like I did. It didn't matter to me whether we found some way to win that game. I had finally realized that we just weren't that good. I look back at my pre-season prediction that suggested we would win 24 regular season games and laugh.
Further thoughts after the jump.
First, I'll address this particular game.
Terrance Henry had a good night offensively, scoring 17 points on 6-8 from the floor and 4-4 from the free throw line. He needs to play a ton. He only played for 22 minutes despite only one foul.
DeAundre Cranston, on the other hand, played for 25 minutes despite his four fouls. 0 points. He did, however, snag eight rebounds, which was helpful. Of course, Terrance Henry, who played fewer minutes, had six board of his own, one steal, and one block. Cranston had neither of those, as well as two turnovers to Henry's zero.
Eniel Polynice's drives just weren't working for him. Vanderbilt did a really good job of collapsing their defense to stop him but still blocking the passing lanes so that Eniel looked foolish whenever he drove. Polynice registered seven turnovers, but you know what? At least he was getting into the lane.
Murphy Holloway continued to hustle for the whole game and added nine points and eight rebounds despite not having any offensive possessions drawn up for himself.
Terrico was 3-14. His three makes came from beyond the arc, where he went 3-8. Terrico is not a player that needs to take over half of his shots from three point land. He needs to attack the basket and be physical. During the large percentage of the game that I witnessed, I never saw White do anything that impressed me.
Chris Warren had a typical Chris Warren day. He shot five threes, making one. He put 14 points on the board. He turned the ball over as many times as he got an assist. This is what he does. He also allowed countless offenders to drive around him and get fouled by DeAundre Cranston.
Now for the season as a whole.
3 things I've learned this basketball season:
1. Terrico White is just not as good as we all hoped he would be. It's not just his inability to get involved in the offense. He's just not as good. His pull-up jumper that was "going to make him millions in the NBA" isn't falling. He's playing sub-par on defense, and he lacks any sense of aggression.
2. If Chris Warren isn't personally making shots, he's not worth much to our team. I know this is heresy, but... he's really just an undersized 2 guard. He's, offensively, a very good undersized 2 guard, but he's a 2 guard none the less. Considering that we have a few shooting guards who can actually defend, I'm not sure exactly what his role should be on the team.
3. Andy Kennedy's gameplan only works if we have freaks of nature playing basketball for us. Sometimes, our players show up like said freaks (see: Terrance Henry's big games), and other times they don't.
We've lost five of our last six, and we don't have a game remaining on our schedule that would give us a signature win. We're not going to the NCAA tournament unless we make the championship of the SEC tourney, and based on our hot/cold play, that's not going to happen.