I'm so tired.
Akron played tough defense and had a great opportunity to join the likes of Princeton, Detroit Mercy, and St. Bonaventure in upsetting UCLA in NCAA tournament play. The Bruins are very fortunate to get away with such an ugly win. They definitely need to shoot and coach much better going forward. Go Bruins!
Our group tends to struggle against two types of teams. One type has athletic bigs that protect the rim, like Gonzaga, Arizona, USC and Oregon. The other type is a smaller, quicker squad that swarms and doubles. Arizona State has given us several close games. Akron played some serious defense, took our post scoring away and forced us to hit threes, which we didn’t do…..until Tyger at the end.
I gotta disagree a little bit about the empty possessions being Juzang's fault. I actually think he isn't shooting enough. I don't know if the funk he is in is making him gun shy, but there were several times where he would make a drive and instead of finishing or finding someone down low he'd pass out to someone beyond the 3 point line. Or several times where he was a bit outside with the defender a bit off him, and instead of shooting like he's done in the past he would pass out.
Now Bernard I agree with. He has no problems ripping off a shot ill advised or not (but man when he's on it's fire!)
The frustrating thing for us this year is that our Bruins have a very high ceiling, but worse, they also have a very low floor (see ASU). When we shoot a reasonable percentage, we are fine against almost any team, and we typically have enough guys so that if one or two are having an off night, someone else will pick up the slack. We had a deep run last year in large part becase Juzang was fire every night. Last night basically all of our guys were clanking pretty open shots for the first 35 minutes. That doesn't happen often (see ASU), but without a reliable low post game that can ease the reliance on our outside shooting, it remains an ominous possibility.
I'm surprised Dimitri didn't highlight Tyger more in this post. Tyger won us the game with so clutch shots.
OK. It was an ugly win. Move the frack, on. Really. We could have suffered Kentucky or Iowa's fate. The delta between 4/13 and 5/12 isn't as big as people think. By all metrics, UCLA shouldn't have had any trouble with this team - but Akron had literally nothing to lose. And UCLA had everything to lose. It took our team almost 35 minutes to figure it out. Thankfully, they figured it out.
I think had to adjust to three things
1. They were the favorite and not the underdog.
2. To not look past the game in front of you. Getting smacked around by a team like Akron will humble you pretty quickly. Humility is needed.
3. Refs - actually the delta in how things were called last night (lots and lots of contact) and how things are called in Pac-12 (where I think sneezing is Technical or a flagrant-1!). Our team was genuinely confused why some (many fouls) weren't being called. All of our team didn't suddenly get the fumbles. Fortunately, these are smart kids from the country's #1 public Uni. They will quickly adjust.
And finally, a shout out to Tyger. Who decided with 6 or 7 minutes left - "I'm not fucking losing this game" And 8-0 run all by himself.
Nervous for tomorrow, but cautiously optimistic
By the way, so much for $C…
UNC looks ridiculously good today…