Saturday, November 15, 2014

Game One Reaction

It was great to have some quality basketball in our lives again last night.  It wasn't the blowout that some of us expected (and probably shouldn't have), but it was the first win of hopefully many this year.  When it comes to college basketball I could probably write a book about every game, week, season, and so forth but I'll try to keep this short as there is another game in just two days.  Here are a few thoughts from last night.

Georges Niang really could be an All-American this year.
I know the pre-season publications have touted him as someone that could be in the mix, but to be honest I didn't completely buy it.  I didn't think he would score enough or do anything else well enough to be first-team.  There are so many options on this team that his numbers might not get to where they need to be.  Well, after the first game it is pretty obvious he will be force fed the ball.  I didn't expect to be impressed with Niang after the first game.  I thought Niang would be Niang and we would leave it at that.  It is pretty clear that the weight loss has helped him in a couple of ways and to me his most impressive stat was the nine rebounds he had.  With the pre-season hype he had and as active as he was last night I think he certainly has a shot.

It is pretty clear Hoiberg is only planning on going eight deep in his rotation...again.
Why do people think every year that Hoiberg will all of a sudden roll out all of these guys?  It just isn't going to happen.  I said it before the season and I will continue to say that you lose your talent edge when you rotate more guys in the game.  Is it great to have some depth?  Yes, but it is like insurance.  Its great to have for peace of mind but you hope you don't have to use it.  Hoiberg essentially ran with a seven man rotation last night and I think when the three amigos return SDW and Edozie will fall to limited roles.

This team won't live by the three point shot.
People have said ISU has lived and died by the three point shot under Hoiberg and I don't think that is fair.  They have shot a lot of them, and made a lot of them under Hoiberg and they will do the same this year but I think this team is the best equipped to score without shooting from beyond the arc.  It was apparent last night that they are going to attack the basket and the rim.  When Nader and McKay return I think this will hold even more merit.  There were an awful lot of free throws shot last night.  Free throws aren't exciting and it was Paul Janssens crew calling every touch but being able to score from the line is a huge benefit when the shots aren't falling.  ISU hasn't shot many free throws under Hoiberg because of how perimeter oriented they were.  This could make a big difference at the end of games.

ISU needs McKay on the interior of the defense.
I have a hard time believing Oakland's big guy would have had the night he did had McKay been down there instead of Niang.  My hope is that the perimeter defense will improve when Nader and McKay return.  If it doesn't it looks like ISU won't be able to shake its Achilles heel from the past couple of seasons.

BDJ's shot selection is a work in progress.
There will be some times that he will force it this year but if Fred can get him to buy-in to the style of play they were playing last year this team could be really special.  The analytic side of me was wondering if he would eliminate the "long two" from his game when he came to Ames.  I noticed on all of his highlights from UNLV he had a tendency to settle for the long two.  Of course on the highlight reel they all went in.  Over the course of the year they won't.  BDJ needs to understand if he gives it up there is a good chance the ball will come right back to him if he's open.

Why the long (two) face?
The basketball analytics people would say the long two is the worst shot in basketball.  Under Fred the Cyclones have largely stayed away from it.  Last night I noticed several players take some long twos.  I'm hoping it gets looked at in film and corrected.  Maybe I will call in to the call-in show and suggest it.  Kidding....kind of.

Monte Morris is going to play a lot of minutes this year.
I wasn't surprised to see Hoiberg use a short bench.  I was surprised to see Custer have as limited of a role as he did.  I won't jump to any conclusions about Custer after last night because he has battled mono and the game was fairly close all the way through, but I fully expected Custer to spell Morris for a little more time and/or play together a little bit.

Hogue should be more assertive on the offensive end.  
There were glimpses last night of his performance against UConn where he scored 34 points.  He has a little extra giddy up in his step and for the most part finishes around the rim.  People may not think of him as an offensive weapon but his overall game as drastically improved since his arrival in Ames.

1 comment:

  1. Good takeaways from the game. I agree with all of it. A couple things I'd add.

    I thought before the game that the Niang as All-American hype was a bit premature. His points could be higher this year than last but I just didn't see him contributing enough in rebounds. If he averages 30/9/5 a game for the whole year, he should have a pretty good shot at AA.

    Niang looks like he might play even more matador defense this year, because he'll be so important late in games. When Nader and McKay play, they really won't have any excuse for being more physical defense down low.

    I was also surprised Custer didn't see more minutes. Maybe Fred is trying to get the older guys minutes here early in the season. In the post game comments, Fred did say "Monte has to be on the floor." Every time I remember thinking Custer could have been in instead of SDW, Naz was on the court too. Maybe they were worried about the lack of size.

    My favorite comment was Fred saying "93 with over 3 to play, couldn't find a basket at the end "to put the game away"". It seems like he was looking for 100 like everybody else. Impressive it was still in play at the end considering all the missed bunnies and threes in the first half.