Okay, we’re back to this. Oh well. Spit happens. It’s better to have our discussions on Wednesday because the rankings come out on Tuesday and generally speaking posts are written in the dark of the night prior, so… that’s that. Wednesday discussions are just better. Come up with a cool alliteration for posting random semi-basketball related stuff on Tuesday and we’ll do it.
This week’s discussions: WWU lost Jaamon Echols -what happens? Were we too hard on Cory Hutsen? Does SPU dropping two games at home mean anything? What are the implications of SMU keeping it close against CWU?
Western Oregon is back up to being ranked #18 nationally, so good for them. Congrats Wolves. Julian had a really scary fall, but recovered nicely. Always good to see.
Jaamon Echols, our thoughts? We haven’t liked Jaamon the whole year, to be perfectly honest. He took too many poorly advised shots and overall played too selfishly. It’s fine if you miss shots and are still productive in other ways -Riley Stockton is a great example, Julian Nichols another great example -those guys will miss shots and then they start dishing assists or picking up boards or both, and it’s great. Riley Carel could be in that convo because he tries to do the same thing and then guys miss the shots that would be assists, but Jaamon Echols didn’t have that problem. He had, not a bunch of options (considering WWU’s rotation is like six and a half this year) but plenty and he never used them. This should be a good thing for WWU.
Were we too harsh on Cory Hutsen? The percentage was right, but the original number posted was wrong: he went 4-15, not 4-19. It’s a little bit less concerning put in that light, but 26% is still 26%. The beat the monkey thing: it’s scientist shorthand for “you don’t need be perfect, simply answer more questions on a test correctly than if it had been filled out completely randomly.” Cory by all accounts had a great night elsewhere, going 12-15, so he did beat that monkey to infinity and beyond. Still, we’re not here to coddle players as it comes to fundamentals. There are few things this blog harps more on than MAKING YOUR DARN FREE THROWS, in any situation, so while the phrasing might’ve been unpalatable; it was well within the precedent that’s been set.
In a somewhat related discussion: SPU dropped two home games. There’s probably a cool statistic about how long ago the last time it happened was, but that’s largely a product of our conference; rarely do you play two difficult teams back-to-back at home without four or five days in between. It was projected pre-season that there wouldn’t really be a difficult road trip because one out of each pair is weak; with Cenazar around now, that’s not the case. Anyway -does the dropping of games matter? No. Had they beaten WOU, maybe. As it is -WOU will likely get a bid, regardless as to whether or not they win the conference tourney, and SPU’s bubble had already burst regarding an at-large. They need to get the auto-bid, period, like everyone else that’s going to be vying for it. What their odds are of that happening, I don’t know. It’ll be interesting to see what they do in Alaska.
There is a way for the GNAC to procure two bids, even if WOU gets the autobid, but that’s a different post for a different day, and it’ll give most fans in this conference far too much hope. Basically six to eight other teams between the Pac-West and CCAA would have to full on biff it to New York Knick levels of pathetic. Yes; we just went there.
The SMU/CWU game was interesting because both teams were shooting well. On the one hand it shows you what SMU can do when they’re actually functioning properly -something that’s been said all season. The Dixie State near loss wasn’t a fluke in terms of talent. Similarly, on the Wildcat schedule the Hawaii Pacific loss also wasn’t a fluke. The Wildcats are getting better, it speaks to the parity in the conference, but it shows how easily the season could’ve gone differently for both programs; CWU could be in the throes of agonizing play, SMU could be in the midst of a potentially promising conference tournament run. CWU’s convinced us that they’re a major threat in the conference tournament to procure the auto-bid, and while we’re 99% sure SMU isn’t even going to make it… Anything is possible.
WOU @ SMU Preview
So about that break that WOU isn’t getting until tomorrow… SMU is still gonna get smoked like a platter of smelt.
The rest of the game day previews’ll be up tomorrow morning.