Rather than tell you a tale about how the Pilgrims, Indians, Abraham Lincoln, RCN Cable, gainful employment and a flat tire have all conspired to keep me from posting, I’ll just apologize for my tardiness, and promise to do better.
So, we played Cornell on Sunday. I’m getting the feeling that I’m going to view every game as an important indicator of our overall health (I was going to compare it to a yearly prostrate exam, but I feared I would skew too old, so I gave that a pass). That being said, this was an important win for us.
Bob Knight used to look at each game and slot it into one of three categories (and I’m paraphrasing here) 1.) Games we should win 2.) Games we can win if we play our game and 3.) Games that are going to be hard for us to win.
I think our first two wins were games we should have won. Notre Dame was a game that was going to be hard for us to win. St. Joe’s was, I thought, a Type 2, but it turned into a Type 3. Chaminade was a Type 1.
All of wins have been against Type 1 opponents, and we got our asses handed to us against a Type 2 and a Type 3. Cornell was a Type 2. There were a lot of people picking us to lose that game and we handled them pretty well. Our rebounding looked better. Our defense was tougher. We moved the ball better on offense. Nick Williams came alive, thanks in large part to Tom Crean reading what I wrote about the need for Williams to take mid-range jump shots.
Let’s take a break here to talk about the mid-range jump shot. Basketball has become a game of post play and three point shooting. The 15 foot jump shot has largely fallen by the wayside. It’s not as exciting or high percentage as a dunk, and it’s not worth as many points as stepping back five feet. But we’ve not shot very well from outside. We got no head-toppers, everyone we’re going to play, a bunch of mights. With the exception of Pritchard, who is the best freshman big man we’ve had since Alan Henderson, we can’t pass it into the post and expect to score.
Our offense must rely on our ability to drive and dish, but if we don’t show a willingness to pull up from 12-15 feet and hit jump shots, the threat of the drive diminishes considerably. For us to be a successful offensive team we have to move the ball well, shot fake, drive and pull up for mid-range jump shots. People also don’t defend them that well. No one expects them. Them, or the Spanish Inquisition.
So, why else was this win important? Our next two games are Type 3’s and pretty high profile. Getting a confidence boost heading into this week is important, but more important than that, going through a seven game stretch at this point in the season and only having a two point win over Chaminade to show for it would just about crush this team. I think a win against Cornell increased our chances to win one of the next two games roughly 6 fold. (That number was arrived at using the Packer Method, which in short is making up a number to help prove your point. It’s named after Billy Packer, for very good reasons that I’ll have to get into later. Just remember. Packer Method.)
On to other observations. Now that we know he’s alright, I feel it’s safe to say, “YOU GOT KNOCKED THE F*#K OUT, MAN!!!
Verdell Jones (I know he’s VJIII, but as I don’t see much chance you’ll think I was talking about Verdell Jones, Sr. or Jr. I think the III is just unnecessary) got his bell rung. I saw my brother do that to a kid from Madison Shaw High School once. He received roughly the same reaction our fans gave to the Cornell kid. I understand that reaction, but it’s wrong. There was not one thing wrong with that play, except Verdell didn’t see it coming. Keep that in mind the next time you feel like booing a kid in a similar situation. That was just a great screen.
And while we’re talking about cheers. Koudos again for refraining from the Four and Five cheer. I appreciate it. I would like to caution you, however, that when there is a player on the other team who has hit about 75% from three point range and posted a career high on you, chanting airball when he badly misses his 9th attempt of the game just looks stupid. It reminds me of the kid I once coached who made a lay up when we were down by about 45 points and promptly did a cartwheel. It’s just completely situationally unaware.
And lastly, as I feel this post has gotten a bit long, the was no sighting of the Harbaugh Effect on Sunday. I expect a full return as we head back to ESPN, but I think there’s a very simple explanation for this omission.
It’s not as interesting that Tom Crean is married into the Harbaugh’s when every player on the other team is related to someone who once played at IU. I don’t think anyone would bring up the Kennedy’s to Arnold, if everyone in the room was related to the cast of Terminator.
Tonight’s game has no theme song, but this is always worth seeing, especially since I referenced it earlier.