Former John Thompson Jr. player "Bashful" strikes again with expert analysis on the Notre Dame loss:
ND 69, GU 55
Well, that was disappointing for sure but the Big East road game is a tough animal. Nonetheless the major disappointment comes from the fact that we could have won the game last night.
(More with Bashful After the Jump)
Notre Dame is a good team that has excellent ball movement, a future NBA player in Tim Abromaitis and had a sound defensive game plan. However Georgetown has a better team and will win if we face them in March in NYC.
- Like the Temple loss, Notre Dame fielded a taller team that focused on challenging outside shooters and blocking the back door cuts for easy baskets. The taller players clearly bothered both Austin Freeman and Jason Clark. Clark moved a couple of feet out to give himself space and it was outside his comfort zone. Austin seemed to respond by rushing his release and not getting his normal stroke on the ball. Both are normal responses to shooting against a defender with more height. What is needed is better shot decisions. If teams are going to employ this defense on us, there is a huge space of 12-18 foot jumpers that we should thrive on. One example was in the first half when Henry came to the high post and handed the ball off to Clark who drove to 12 feet and hit a nice jumper. Austin, Jason and Hollis can live off 15 foot elbow of the foul line jumpers set up by Chris or the high post big men. Hit a few of them and all of a sudden your threes and back cuts will reappear.
- The Princeton offense. Pete Carill said it is simply a combination of the old Celtics style from the 50s and 60s and the Knicks of the 1969-73 seasons. The Celts ran a disciplined fast break (good ball handlers and people running their lanes) and employed a fierce press. The Knicks focused on spacing, ball movement and hitting the open man. We have mostly resembled the Knicks until now with our patient offensive possessions. But we have dabbled with the Celtics M.O. in a few games this season and should morph into that personality when necessary. That personality also resembles the JTII teams (he was a Celt and God knows we had enough of his teammates at our practices). The beginning of the second half saw some real defensive pressure applied successfully. We just didn’t take advantage of the offensive opportunities that resulted. We have a 10-11 man rotation and they have a 7 man rotation. We can run teams like that out of the gym. I expect Syracuse and UConn to present the same problem.
- Toughness. If you are going to morph into the Boston Celtics mode, better grow a pair. When I read that Ben Hansbrough said the ND imposed their will on us, I could have puked. Georgetown imposes its will on people, not the other way around. The mindset of press and fast break is one of maximum exertion plus 10% at all times. You need to press, trap, steal the ball, create chaos and take them out of their rhythm. We have plenty of guys who are tough but we need to morph into this collective mindset as a team. It is a very different gear than our controlled 35 second sets. We didn’t last night, but there were many great examples of the mindset. Vee Sanford in man to man D in the second half was hellacious. Shutting off dribbling lanes, harassing guys away from the ball, boxing out guys 5 inches taller than him and going up for blocked shots. Nate Lubick going through a screen in the first half like it was nobody’s business. He embedded himself in that guy’s chest. Did you notice that there weren’t as many screens set outside in the second half? Lastly, I love Hollis Thompson’s growing confidence and skill set but time to become a Hoya. If Ben Hansbrough goes into that psycho act in your face over a jump ball/tie up it is time to employ the JT II maxim about basketball fights and throw two haymakers. As we used to say of such circumstances, "time to show him a little affection".
- Continued improvement. It is a long season and the team that learns and grows will be winning the big games in March. What I hoped for after the Missouri game has more or less come true. Sims, Lubick, Sanford and Starks have progressed to the point that they can be counted on to make real contributions in important games. Sims and Lubick are potential starters. Chris and Austin are showing real leadership and maturity. Keep focused on the long term goals, make your teammates better and bring the same intense effort every night.