The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight


Robert
Jan 03, 2020
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43 Comments

I am limiting myself to one half hour of typing and then I'm going to bed. If I give myself more time than that, I'll start repeating myself. There's really no takeaways from this game other than "we can't shoot so we're probably screwed", so why keep typing beyond a half hour?

We can't shoot. So we're probably screwed.

I did some research during the game and tweeted these stats. Illini three point shooting in the games against high-major opponents:

Arizona 5-16
Miami 6-17
Maryland 3-14
Michigan 1-11
Missouri 2-14
Michigan State 3-28

If you're scoring at home that's 20 for 100 from three in the games that have mattered. Twenty for one hundred. 20%.

Narrow that down to just Big Ten games? 7 for 53. WE ARE SHOOTING 13.2% FROM THREE IN BIG TEN GAMES. How is this even possible? Aren't we in "pick someone from the crowd and they could make more than 7 out of 53" territory now? Seven for fifty-three?

Without any outside shooting, we're sunk. If it doesn't improve, the season is over. We already have to win at least 10 of the next 17 games just to be close to the good side of the bubble, and now we're going to try to do that with our shooting hand tied behind our back. We're totally sunk, right?

Look, this is a game we were going to lose. Michigan State was preseason #1, it's early January, we're on the road in the Big Ten - even if we were a solid tournament team, this is still probably a loss.

But to shoot 3-28 from deep (after we went 3-14 against Maryland, 1-11 against Michigan, and 2-14 against Missouri) just cements that this team will struggle from beyond the arc all season. With that fatal flaw, opponents not named Nebraska or Northwestern will take away everything else. They'll dare us to shoot, and we won't be able to do it.

Which is just so sad. I was so excited for this basketball season. And now the Tournament berth I was dreaming about seems impossible. If you can't, like, shoot the basketball very well, you're probably not going to be a very good basketball team. And a quick check of the stats shows me that we are... 331st out of 353 Division I basketball teams when it comes to three point shooting. One spot ahead of Texas Southern; one spot behind Merrimack.

OK I'm calling an audible and will finish this post in the morning. I just can't even right now.

~7 hours and 13 minutes later~

Yeah, still upset. Not even close to OK. When I say that I broke during the Missouri loss, I really think I broke. I've watched the last two games angry and more angry, and I never watch games angry. I'm perhaps the most patient fan on the planet, and I just can't handle the fact that we're going to go 16-15 this season.

After giving John Groce the injury excuses for the 2015/16 season, I swore I would never stray from my original statement. Because of the history of the programs, football coaches at Illinois should be given five full years to see what they can produce and, also because of the history of the program and the resources available, Illinois basketball coaches should be given 2.5 years. See what the third recruiting class looks like, see what the third team looks like mid-January of their third season.

It's January of the third season, we have Kofi, we have Ayo, we have Giorgi, we have Trent, we have Andres, and we have Alan Griffin.... and we're 9-5 and didn't win any of our important non-conference games. Teams that should be well below us given where they were last year and the players they lost - Minnesota, Iowa, Penn State, Indiana - look better than us so far. If we lose on Sunday, we'll be 9-6 and will probably need an 11-5 finish to dance. Half of those games will be on the road, and we only won once on the road last year and once on the road the year before, so... can you really see us winning 3-4 road games?

This is a crisis. We're in big, big trouble. We can't shoot - THREE HUNDRED THIRTY FIRST NATIONALLY - and if we don't start at least hitting an average number of threes, there's absolutely no chance we roll off 11 more Big Ten wins. Which means we will miss the Tournament for the seventh straight year.

I haven't checked KenPom's projections yet (his prediction for our record). Let's do that together, shall we? KenPom says we will finish the season... 17-14. I don't think that's even in the NIT. How is this even happening? We're really going to sit home in March again?

I guess there's always a chance for a Wisconsin moment. I said these same things after the Eastern Michigan loss for the football team. I went on the radio and talked about how I was like that guy pinning everything on the wall and running red strings from page to page, trying to figure out what he missed at training camp. I was certain there was 7-5 talent on that team, and I couldn't understand how that talent lost to Eastern Michigan. Well, that talent then went on a run, beat #6, drilled Purdue, thumped Rutgers, and put together the largest comeback in school history at Michigan State. So it's possible we'll see the basketball team do the same. The Illinois basketball equivalent of Illini football rolling off four consecutive Big Ten wins is something like 9 straight wins, right? Maybe this basketball team wins nine straight some time soon?

I mean, it has to, right? For our sanity? We're all going to break soon, right? I think I'm going to break soon.

OK I'm probably past a half hour when you combine last night and this morning. I should stop now. I wanted to talk about The Worst Call In The History Of Organized Basketball but who cares? It's not like it mattered.

We can't shoot, and because of that, we're in big, big trouble.

Comments

Giovantischixstripz on January 03 @ 09:45 AM CST

hope lies in regression to the mean. we certainly aren't a good 3 point shouting team, but 13% in big 10 play is unsustainably bad. it won't continue. Trent has a track record that is better than 22%. Ayo is better than 17%. Alan is better than 12%. damonte and giorgi are better than 0% on 14 shots in B1G play. we will go on a run at some point because we will start hitting at least a not embarrassing percentage from 3, the question is will it be too late. Purdue is a must win to right the ship. it will probably be a brick fest, as they are a strong defensive team and worse than us offensively.

we missed our first 13 threes last night when it was still a game. 10 of those were good, open shots. we make just 30% of those 10 good shots and we are winning at half time, completely different game. still probably don't win, cassius Winston and Xavier tillman are really good, but it wouldn't have been this demoralizing blow out.

Groundhogday on January 03 @ 10:48 AM CST

Yes, we don't have enough shooting. None of Ayo, Feliz, Giorgi, Williams or Kofi were known for their shooting coming into Illinois. And we have a guy in Nichols who has gotten worse from the arc every year: 44.4, 37.9, 21.9, 8.3%. There are simply not enough shooters in the core rotation.

But there is something else going on. Over a full season last year, we attempted 22.8 3PT shots per game, hitting 34%. Our trio of 3pt shooters were Frazier (6.0 APG, 41%), Jordan (4.3 APG, 42%), and Ayo (4.3 APG, 35%).

Coming into the meat of the schedule this year, we have attempted 17.9 3pt shots per game, hitting 29%. Our top three shooters are Frazier (4.9 APG, 35%), Griffin (3.6 APG, 37%), and Ayo (3.6 APG, 28%). These stats are likely to get worse as we face quality defensive teams every night out.

Usually when a team attempts fewer outside shots they become more efficient, but we are going in the other direction. One would think that with defenses having to double Kofi down low, that would open up opportunities on the arc. That hasn't happened. This suggests to me that our shooting woes are connected to our inability to run a coherent offense that gets our shooters good looks in position and in rhythm to hit their shots.

Giovantischixstripz on January 03 @ 12:42 PM CST

This suggests to me that our shooting woes are connected to our inability to run a coherent offense that gets our shooters good looks in position and in rhythm to hit their shots.

I was curious about this going into the game so I tried to pay really close attention, and I don't think it was true. of those first 13 misses before our first make, 10 were really good looks. There was 1 end of clock heave from kipper, 1 end of clock heave from Frazier, and 1 rushed deep 3 from Ayo, but the rest were good, open looks. I think the team is just in a horrendous team wide shooting slump. Sometimes it just takes 1 game where things just start falling to get back on track. Specifically frazier had 3 good short corner looks that he missed that he nornally hits.

The deeper 3 point line certainly is playing a role in the lower percentages this year, but I think Frazier, Griffin, and Ayo will be able to maintain those season long averages they have so far, despite the step up in competitions, because they just are better shooters than they have been so far in B1G games.

orangejulius on January 03 @ 11:24 AM CST

It's the same problem we suffered from under John Groce. Poor roster construction, players who are not nearly skilled enough in the game of basketball, and one huge glaring weakness. We overrate our players based on what they accomplished the last 2 seasons on a bad team, just as we tend to with transfers who succeeded at the mid major level. In reality, no, this is not an NCAA tournament roster with 2 RSCI top 100 players. You give Coach K this roster, and you really think he's going to do better?

Joe Edge on January 03 @ 12:06 PM CST

I have to agree on a lot of levels... One thing is certain: This is a team where EVERY player goes on a shooting slump at the SAME TIME... After over 85+ years of living and 75 of those watching Illinois basketball, I still don't understand it... There must be something in the water that they drink....

Groundhogday on January 03 @ 12:07 PM CST

I'll agree with the poor roster construction, particularly with a glaring lack of athletic scoring wings so essential in today's game. But in terms of overall talent, both Trent and Tevian were not far outside the top 100. And Giorgi demonstrated last year that he was a real recruiting find.

I think a lot of woes could be solved if we gave up on the notion that Kofi and Giorgi can play together. That doesn't work with a team that lacks perimeter shooting generally. Rotate those two at the 5, and surround them with 4 perimeter players. That change alone would substantially improve our outside shooting as a team, and likely give the big men more room to operate in the post.

At the 1-4 rotate 6 guys: Ayo, Frazier, Feliz, Williams, Griffin and Nichols (maybe Tevian if he gets it together)

Robert on January 03 @ 12:15 PM CST

I think I agree with that. 20 minutes for Kofi, 20 minutes for Giorgi, a ton more Griffin and Jones. Run last year's offense and see what happens.

Groundhogday on January 03 @ 12:30 PM CST

I might play Kofi 25 mpg, Giorgi 15 mpg, but regardless both would stay fresh and out of foul trouble. We would always have a terrific low post threat in the game.

Relative to last season:

  • 5: Giorgi + De La Rosa --> Kofi + Giorgi
  • 4: Jordan --> Griffin

Everyone else essentially plays the same role as last year with an additional year of experience. We are MUCH stronger/deeper in the post. Griffin doesn't defend as well as Jordan, but is more athletic, rebounds better and could hit 40% from the arc in the right scheme.

Giovantischixstripz on January 03 @ 12:48 PM CST

they need to overlap at least a little. Maybe start 1 on the bench. But 20 minutes per game isn't enough for either of them, and 15 certainly isn't enough for Giorgi. they are too important players for us. Also, Griffin is a fine option when we go small at 4 for stretches, but playing more Tevian and Kipper in place of Giorgi isn't going to be the solution, they both are generally net negatives when on the court.

Its an uncomfortable fit, but it is better than the alternatives at 4. Underwood should post Giorgi up more WHILE Kofi is on the court. He seems to only post up when Kofi is sitting, which is a mistake, he should be able to punish smaller defenders with jump hooks when he is playing 4. Set up Kofi at the opposite pinch post on those possessions ready to dive to the rim if a double comes or to attack the rebound.

Groundhogday on January 03 @ 01:15 PM CST

The problem is that when Giorgi and Kofi are in together, who stretches the floor to give Giorgi room to operate in the post? Griffin at the 3 isn't great in that lineup because now we have problems defending the perimeter and Griffin's rebounding ability is wasted. Williams can't shoot. So maybe you have 1.5 shooters with Frazier and Ayo/Feliz? Even Ayo and Feliz are better with the floor spread so they can get down hill.

This isn't a question of whether Giorgi is a good player. The question is that with the composition of this roster, does the Giorgi + Kofi combo make the rest of the team better? I don't think so.

Giovantischixstripz on January 03 @ 01:31 PM CST

I'm not worried above Griffin's ability to defend the perimeter. He does that better than defend 4s. And he can still provide spacing when he is on the strong side, and crash the offensive boards when he is on the weakside, the 3 always crashes the boards hard under BU.

The problem is we only have 6 good players. And 2 of them (Trent and Giorgi) are really struggling right now. Even if Brad bumps Griffin up to 28 minutes per game from here on out, and Trent, Ayo, and Andres stay about the same, dropping Kofi/Giorgi down to a combined 40 minutes per game means we need to get 46 minutes between Damonte, Tevian, and Kipper. Thats not ideal either. I'd rather make Giorgi and Kofi work for 10 minutes a game (with more Giorgi post ups) and deal with just 36 minutes from those 3 limited players.

Groundhogday on January 03 @ 02:47 PM CST

With Kofi, Giorgi and Griffin in the game together we struggle to defend the perimeter. Keep in mind that most 4s these days play extensively on the perimeter and most 3s are large guards.

And regarding Trent and Giorgi both struggling, I'd suggest that Trent would struggle less in more of a spread offense and aggressive transition game. That is the big picture: Giorgi and Kofi playing together, and attempting to adapt to that lineup, has made most of our other players worse.

Giovantischixstripz on January 03 @ 02:59 PM CST

I agree Trent is better in a transition game, but that is much harder to play this year with Kofi. you can't pressure ball screens with him because he doesn't have the foot speed, so you aren't going to be able to create the turnovers required to run. Trent still can be effective in half court, there is just something off with him this year, he doesn't have the confidence to hunt his shot.

As far as defending the perimeter with the 3 of them in the game, I'd argue Giorgi defends the perimeter just as well as either Kipper or Tevian do (both have bad tendencies of missing rotations), which gets us back to our problem: we just don't have a good solution at the 4. It is shocking how much we miss Aaron Jordan. Playing Giorgi only 15 minutes per game only at 5 isn't going to fix it, it is just going to force us to rely on unreliable players. 15 minutes per game each for Damonte, Tev, and Kipper is way too much.

Groundhogday on January 03 @ 03:38 PM CST

160 mpg at the 1-4 positions.

30 mpg from Ayo, Feliz, Frazier, Griffin and Williams. In reality, Ayo and Frazier play a bit more, others a bit less, but this is a good approximation of rotating 5 effective starters through four positions.

That leaves 10 mpg to share between Nichols, Jones, Giorgi. Less for competitive games where Ayo and Frazier are playing 35+ minutes.

Giovantischixstripz on January 03 @ 03:52 PM CST

I would rather play Giorgi more time at 4 than play Williams 30 minutes. He clogs up the offense much more than Giorgi at the 4 does. Can't beat anyone on the dribble, can't shoot, poor passer. I want him down around 10-12 minutes a game. Can play a little more if we are struggling with defensive effort and need a spark, but generally should just be a guy who fills a few minutes, just like Kipper. Frazier can't play 35+ minutes until he finds his shot again.

Groundhogday on January 04 @ 10:34 AM CST

Question is GIorgi vs Williams. If you want less Williams, play more Feliz. Giorgi's minutes at the 4 go primarily to Griffin.

Giovantischixstripz on January 04 @ 10:45 AM CST

primarily they go to Griffin. But you need him at 4 somewhere between 5-12 minutes per game still. Feliz is already at 26 minutes, there is room for him to maybe play 4 more minutes a game, but that involves more line ups with Frazier-Ayo-and Feliz together which doesnt work great either offensively either, it ends with Feliz standing in the corner where he isn't a threat.

The closing line up should probably be Ayo-Trent-Alan-either Giorgi or Kofi, and then whoever is playing best between the wings that game. But throughout the game it is always going to be necessary to change pace with both Giorgi and Kofi together or we are wasting too much time on unproductive players

Giovantischixstripz on January 03 @ 12:55 PM CST

I am officially out on Tevian. I think many of us (myself included) took his fatastic Maryland game last year as a sign of things to come, but I think it was more of an outlier. In his career he is only a 27% 3 point shooter on 48 attempts, so he isn't the shooter we need. And then despite his athleticism, he is unable to use it because he just looks hesitant or lost on both ends of the court. I know its small sample size, but he also has a worse rebounding rate then everyone on the team besides Trent. He just seems to me to be one of those guys who is an athlete, but not a D1 level basketball player.

Groundhogday on January 03 @ 01:11 PM CST

Tevian is a good athlete from a running and jumping perspective, but his lateral quickness is really poor. If we want to think of the opposite, Deron Williams wasn't a great leaper or the fastest guy down the court, but his lateral quickness was elite. I'd say that in basketball, lateral quickness might be more important than leaping or straight line foot speed.

Tevian has great form on a high release jumper, and with development he could be a good shooter. But even if that potential is realized (no sure thing) I have doubts about his all around game.

Giovantischixstripz on January 03 @ 01:19 PM CST

I'm not sure if its just really poor lateral quickness, but on top of that slow processing of the situation. I think his basketball IQ might not be incredibly high. Or maybe his lack of playing time and he still doesn't feel comofrtable on the court. Or maybe he doesn't respond well to a drill sargeant coach like BU and he is thinking too much. Or a combination of all the above, but he looks lost out there.

Groundhogday on January 03 @ 01:23 PM CST

Yes, I suppose there could be other explanations for his play. But regardless, Tevian is incredibly flat footed and therefore a terrible college basketball player at this point.

mmyers74 on January 03 @ 02:41 PM CST

@Robert - specifically to your point, if the plan is the spread (or even if the plan remains this year's weave) 20 for Kofi and 20 for Giorgi (with maybe a 5-7 minute little overlap for a unique look, and more on nights when it is clearly working) makes a lot of sense.

Giorgi is borderline wasted (currently) when Kofi is on the floor, and he's essentially Tate, up top, from a "let him shoot" standpoint.

He needs straight room to operate on the block, more often.

And in games he is hot, let him carry you.

mmyers74 on January 03 @ 12:14 PM CST

I've attempted to point this out, going so far as to tweet at Robert, last night, as we sat 0-14 and finally hit a shot, but it is understandable that I have not built the credentials with this group to land my argument. I speak as someone who played organized ball for 10 years, and slightly less organized for another 15. But the key is that I had some tremendous coaches along the way, that were amazing at laying out principles.

Here are my top-level arguments as it pertains to this issue, with Illinois. I won't go deeply into them, as this post would be very long, so top-line.

  • Not all 3-pointers are created equal. (and we take less of the better kind.)
  • The % of a shot, is largely determined before a shot is even taken. (and our style creates the lower %)
  • Teams with high 3pt %'s do the things PRE shot, which create the greatest chance of making the shot. And yes, there is an art to this. (and our offense is not set up to create this way.)

For example. Not a complete list, but: A 3 on the run is < a 3 off a dribble screen, which is typically < a 3 from a pass while in motion, < a 3 from a pass while standing still < a 3 while standing still and receiving a pass in the shooting pocket, knowing that the nearest defender is off balance and/or out of sorts and has no chance of getting near you.

(and there are variations that apply based on "when" the shooter receives the pass... "as he is coming open" (best)... "after he has been open for a second" (not as good as it allows for the close out).

The above is not to say that with enough skill, someone can't be more proficient at "3 off a dribble screen" than someone else is at a 3 while standing still... but generally, your %'s go down, the earlier you are in the paragraph.

We actually have a team filled with people that I believe could be far more proficient (and you see it vs. lesser talent, b/c time is more plentiful), if: a: we had an offense that was set up to create these optimal shots. b: we had an understanding of the principles of creating these shots.

Already too long. I'll stop.

Groundhogday on January 03 @ 12:36 PM CST

Agree with all of this. The offense doesn't consistently get our perimeter guys quality shot opportunities. Frazier, Griffin and Ayo could all shoot better with better opportunities. And guys like Feliz and Nichols have proven in the past that they can knock down the set 3 point shot if left open.

Giovantischixstripz on January 03 @ 12:59 PM CST

Good post. But rewatch the first half film of what type of shots we had against MSU. There were a lot of stand still, catch and shoot 3s. And we missed them all. I do believe a regression to player averages is coming soon.

In exchange, in the Mizzou I think there were a lot more forced, out of rhythm 3s from stagnant offense.

Dr. Chim Richalds on January 03 @ 01:00 PM CST

I agree with this, and I think it's something that has been missing from a lot of the Illini basketball analysis I read. Three point shooting ability isn't as simple as just looking at %s (although they're a good general indication). Our offenses under both Groce and Underwood have generated very few wide open threes for good shooters. Don't get me wrong, this team is still shooting a shockingly (and probably unluckily) low % even considering quality of looks, but it's not as simple as just saying we lack any shooting ability on the team.

There's evidence for this in the facts Robert mentioned about how much worse the team's shooting is against high-major competition. Looking at the other side of that breakdown, three-point % against mid-major opponents this season: 26%, 31%, 42%, 17%, 44%, 44%, 35%, 42%. When the quality of opponents drops, Illinois is able to generate better looks, and while those numbers aren't outrageously impressive, the team has shot below 25% only once.

Last year we finished 166th in three-point percentage, and the year before we were 253rd. At a certain point that's not all on the players' pure shooting ability...

Groundhogday on January 03 @ 01:17 PM CST

Agree. The numbers against mid-majors certainly suggest that we can hit outside shots when there are better opportunities. But we struggle to generate those opportunities consistently against high majors.

mmyers74 on January 03 @ 02:35 PM CST

@ Groundhog - agreed wholeheartedly. Against weaker opponents, opportunities like that sort of create themselves. The measure of a good (3 pt) offense lies in whether it creates them vs. greater competition. (also falls on players to understand the concepts and execute.)

@Giovantis - agree as well. There were a few in that first half that were just missed. (I eliminate the Giorgi ones, b/c if he had 100 amazing looks, he'd make 30. It's just not his game.) I counted maybe 3 that would be in the top 2/3 categories. But I recall, one by Ayo, that SHOULD have been in rhythm, but he rushed it (Jason Williams hop-style) because, I think he's used to not being able to take them in rhythm. :/

I would argue that our players have even adjusted what "open" means, as a necessity, which is a killer.

@Chim - I could not agree more. Spot on.


I should add that even with a poor offense, a group of people that understand the theory, should STILL be able to create these shots, occasionally. ie. the "pick and drift", which came 2nd-nature to the 2005 team. or the "screen away" also naturally occurring with that same 2005 team.

There is an adage in ball, when you play with a new group of players, that if you "screen away", meaning "screen away from the ball", you will make a positive influence on play. We are a screen to the ball team, which leaves the onus on either the ball-handler to get open, or "runners" to get open.

This team is not stocked with that type of shooter.

Giovantischixstripz on January 03 @ 02:51 PM CST

Giorgi making 3 of 10 of those when he is completely ignored will at least make the defense think about gaurding him out there. That's his average on the season, but he is just 1 for his last 11 which is killing his ability to hit those high lows to Kofi because his defender is just sitting on the pass.

If we had shooters, I think this offense would be at its best as a drive and kick, pick and roll team. Both Ayo and Andres are very good going downhill, but the driving lanes are clogged now because teams will just leave anyone that isn't Trent or Alan alone in the corners.

uofi08 on January 03 @ 12:24 PM CST

I just don't know what is going on with this program. Very little makes sense:

In recruiting, BU has landed 2 of the highest ranked recruits in recent Illinois history, but has filled in his roster with mostly unranked filler.

In scheme, BU was going to bring an uptempo scheme on both sides, with aggressive turnover-forcing defense, and efficient ball movement offense. We basically do the opposite of that now. BU has installed 2 completely different defensive philosophies in just 3 seasons and built a team with very limited length, athleticism, and shooting.

In preparedness, this team consistently under performs as if they are not motivated.

This just makes so little sense. Maybe Walkon has an explanation?

On a separate note, I'm glad you mentioned the 5 year and 2.5 year thing. At what point do we stop moving the goal posts? And really this goes for both programs. At some point you have to judge programs based on expectations, but we seem to constantly be adjusting our expectations down to make sense of the "progress" of these programs. We're coming to the point in both coaches' tenures, where we have to start holding them responsible for the poor products on the field/court. I can expand on this, but that would result is way too many argumentative comments.

Bear8287 on January 03 @ 03:23 PM CST

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ATOillini on January 03 @ 02:06 PM CST

If this trend continues it won’t be long before someone cues up the Dean Wormer quote from the midterm grades scene in Animal House.....”Zero point zero”

Groundhogday on January 03 @ 04:13 PM CST

2018-19 MPG for BIG & bragging rights:

  • 31.6 Ayo
  • 31.0 Frazier
  • 27.3 Giorgi
  • 25.9 Jordan
  • 22.3 Feliz
  • 21.2 Williams
  • 17.3 Nichols
  • 8.8 DLR

14.6 MPG for guys lnot in the regular rotation like Underwood, Kane, Jones, Griffin.

So we could swap Jordan for Griffin in the rotation, then give DLR + most of Nichols + 5mpg from Giorgi to Kofi. The minutes work. Trading DLR + Nichols + some Giorgi for Kofi should be a substantial net improvement.

uofi08 on January 03 @ 04:33 PM CST

I like the way you think. Maybe something along the lines of:

  • 32 Ayo
  • 32 Frazier
  • 30 Kofi
  • 25 Griffin
  • 25 Feliz
  • 22 Giorgi
  • 12 Williams
  • 12 Kipper
  • 10 Tevian

Giovantischixstripz on January 03 @ 04:40 PM CST

I agree with this rotation, assuming Frazier finds his shot again. Maybe like 2 less for Kofi and 2 more for Giorgi. This still entails 12 mpg with Giorgi at the 4. Game to game, if any one of Williams, Kipper or Tevian is being effective they will balloon up to 20 minutes at the expense of the other 2, but their overall averages should be around what you got.

Groundhogday on January 03 @ 06:43 PM CST

I don't like Kofi playing 30 mpg. Big guys need more rest, particularly when playing tough competition. Play him 25 mpg and keep his legs fresh through the season. Even 27 mpg was too much for Giorgi last season.

HiggsBoson on January 03 @ 09:59 PM CST

Prior to the MSU debacle, I thought this team would win two more B1G games than last year, which would still likely put them on the wrong side of the bubble. Now I'm expecting to win 2-4 less than last year. Which probably puts them out of the NIT, too. I have seen nothing that makes me think they can go on a run like 8 wins in a row and squeak in.

Much good stuff in the comments above. Bottom line for me is adjusting to having Kofi has disrupted everyone's game, not just Giorgi's. Which smells suspiciously like coaching to me. If a change is needed, I don't see Whitman having the stones to do it or the acumen to hire someone better. Which is pretty depressing.

Groundhogday on January 04 @ 10:37 AM CST

FWIW, quite a few folks noted when we signed Kofi that he didn't really seem to fit Underwood's system. As it turns out, he is a HECK of a player, but the adjustment to take advantage of his abilities hasn't been seemless. That said, we didn't make the tournament last year without Kofi, and I'm not sure we make it this year without Kofi. So if you have a chance to sign a guy that good, you do it and try to make it work.

Still some time for the coach to get this figured out.

LosAngellini on January 04 @ 11:45 PM CST

Just an awesome comments section. Thanks for the insights.

Agree that GB should post up even when Kofi is in the game. Archibald, Damir, and Marcus could play together and be effective offensively. Should be the same for GB and Kofi.

Agree that scheme is hurting perimeter shooting. But I blame part of the shooting woes and lack of the aforementioned lateral quickness on strength and conditioning. Fletch bulks up guys. That works for players like Malcolm because it adds more post presence for him. But take a look a Trent’s lift in his shot during his freshman year compared to now. Or kipper’s lift. Guys get consistently bigger, but less hoppy and less explosive as they progress through the system. That’s why we’ve been at an athletic disadvantage over the last decade. And why mid-majors can still run the break on us.

What’s going on with Feliz? Last four games 6, 0, 11, and 4 points on 7-24 shooting. Dude was our best offensive weapon to start the season.

Groundhogday on January 05 @ 08:27 AM CST

Feliz is best going down hill to the basket. That is always tougher for a guard against high major competition, but it is also true that lane is really clogged most of the time so he doesn't get as many opportunities. Doesn't know his role and has become very tentative.

Giovantischixstripz on January 05 @ 10:07 AM CST

I've seen the Fletch theory a few times and it is interesting. The most compelling example is certainly Kipper, who has shot worse each season as he has gotten bigger. He also embarasses himself consistently on slow lift dunk attempts. Trent isn't much bulkier than he was as a freshman, I don't see lift as his problem, I really think its confidence. Also, I don't see a one-body-type-for-all approach by Fletch. Giorgi has slimmed down to play the 4. Aaron Jordan did not become a worse shooter as he went through the system. I would assume he will continue working on making Kofi slimmed down and chiseled to improve his stamina and lateral quickness.

Agree with Groundhog on Feliz, better competition is clogging the lane and making us shoot, making life difficult for Feliz. He has missed a few floaters he normally hits, but I think he'll get back on track.

orangejulius on January 05 @ 12:46 PM CST

I don't buy it. Players can have career, or off-years, shooting the basketball just like baseball players fluctuate in their batting averages or home run totals on a season to season basis. Take JCL's 2019 season at DePaul. Shot under 30% from 3. But he's a good shooter and is doing much better this season. He was great his freshman year and good his sophomore year. Kipper was never a good shooter. He got lucky and had one good season doing it. What wouldn't I give to have JCL on this team.

Next season we will go from the worst shooting team in the conference to one of the better ones, assuming we can keep Adam Miller. You add the 2 transfers, both of whom can shoot, you add a great shooter in Miller, and a very good shooter in Curbelo.

Speaking of Miller, does BU's job hinge on whether he can get him to sign? I mean, 95% he's not sniffing the tourney this year, so he better have a great recruiting class.

Giovantischixstripz on January 05 @ 01:08 PM CST

I'd say if we lose him, Ayo goes pro, and we miss the tournament should signal doom for BU.

I don't buy Fletch's routine as a general problem, but Kipper is interesting. I don't think his body transformation is all that happened, but his regression is incredible. The shooting is just the start. He wasn't just lucky 1 season. He was a very good shooter as a freshman in limited opportunities. Then very good on a much bigger sample size as a sophomore. 86% from the free throw line on almost 100 shots. And then falls off the cliff his junior year. Also have never seen anyone either miss or get blocked on more dunk attempts than him. Body transformation might be part of it, but mentally something happened to him as well, and the ball doesn't rotate off his hand like it did as an under classman.

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