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Username Post: Wooden Legacy        (Topic#20748)
Posts: 77

Age: 59
Reg: 11-09-17
11-27-17 07:00 PM - Post#238139    

On way back to New York after a generally disappointing tournament that also had some positive moments.

Losing to an experienced St. Mary’s was texpected. Big halftime lead was the result of good execution by a senior laden team plus poor play by Harvard, with a dose of poor lineup combinations that have surfaced in 2016 and 2017. Team had 2 nice runs in second half. 8 turnovers was the highlight statistic for me.

Thought St Joseph’s played poorly on Friday. However, they were able to erase a big lead before Harvard did a nice job responding and opening up a nice working margin down the stretch. Thought the key was Aiken’s second half procession to the free throw line (including the belatedly awarded 3 shots). 11 turnovers was again a highlight, particular with freshmen accounting for over 30% of the minutes. A win without Corey and Seth has to be considered a step forward.

Happened to have dinner at the restaurant where the team was on Saturday. Seth and Corey were there, but Justin and Bryce were not due to illness. Dry likely explains some of the substandard performances on Sunday. Seth barely played and Welsh and Djuricic weren’t there on Sunday. Sure looked like Aiken and Bassey were under the weather (although Justin was able to hit a couple of his patented corner threes). Corey was able to have his best shooting game of the year. Expect that will continue. All in all, with Seth out Cal State was able to concentrate on Aiken with Princeton-like precision, particularly after Lewis got in foul trouble. I tend to agree that we didn’t learn too much from the game, one which I think we would have won at full strength. Biggest downside to game was the 16 turnovers, 11 from our two key ball handlers, a number of which were wild. Rio was a bit out of control at times (but he’s shown he will be a big contributor this year)

I was begging for Perez to play and still am despite the quick foul out. Still can’t explain his absence in 1st 6 games, but it looked to me that Amaker was at least pleased with his energy even if the performance showed a lot of rust. Hope he continues to get time even when team is at full strength. Still think he’s our best 8th man overall and will be very valuable in a whole bunch of scenarios.

Think Baker does look lost at times. If his role on offense can be clarified (beyond the 3 point shot which doesn’t utillize his obvious athleticism), he can open things up inside and out. A raw, but obvious, talent.

Need to get better and more consistent prrformance vs. Northeastern and Fordham. I’ll be at Kentucky and Fordham and hope the lineups are given an opportunity to crystallize in the Northeastern and Fordham tests. As for Kentucky, I’m primarily hoping that team at least shows some energy and, as Mike points out, makes an effort to work the 3 point line offensively.

Lots of potential here that the team isn’t living up to. Yet. It’s early folks. Very interesting month ahead. At that point, we’ll just need Mike’s invaluable usage rate analysis to ensure we have the right balance on the court for most of the 40 minutes.

PhD Student
Posts: 1315

Loc: New Jersey
Reg: 01-21-14
12-01-17 11:02 AM - Post#238658    
    In response to 84grad

Last season, it was my feeling that the 2016-17 squad would be far better than this year's version. Sure, the 2016 recruiting class would be young, but the leadership of an experienced true PG and an athletic rim protector gave the 'youngsters' possibly the best creator and rebounder/shot blocker in the league.

That team underachieved, in my view largely due to inconsistent long range shooting. Remember, the narrow (2 point) tournament loss to Yale occurred despite to 4-30 shooting by Siyani/Seth/Corey, including 2-19 from three. Harvard outplayed Yale that afternoon, the same way it had already done so twice during the season. Harvard has not regained its shooting touch.

This year's edition is unfortunately highlighting my concerns. Aiken and Lewis are talents, but there is no true PG, no PF, and no backup center. Overburdened and competitive, Bryce and Chris are prone to foul trouble, TO's and fatigue. Northeastern was double teaming the entry pass to Chris - and we were still trying to force the ball over/under two defenders, only to leave Chris out of position and double teamed.

Two weak recruiting years have left Harvard with virtually no contribution from upperclassmen, accentuated by injuries to McCarthy and Egi.

Yesterday, Chris was a beast (7-8 shooting, 20 points), and Bryce was spectacular as usual (26 points), but literally no one else contributed to the offense. Abysmal three point shooting is now the norm, not the exception. Other than Bryce (2-6), the squad was 1-11 from deep against Northeastern. Other than Bryce (9-18) and Chris (7-8), the squad (including Seth) made only 6 shots (6-27) and went 2-3 from the foul line.

In the first 11 minutes, a mediocre NE team jumped out to a 32-11 lead, making 6-8 from deep. What we have been dismissing as anomaly has now repeated itself far too often.

Time to panic? No. There is likely not even an 11 win team in this year's Ivy League - thanks only to the bad fortune that has befallen the Eli's. On the other hand, numerous prognosticators have Penn finishing ahead of Harvard and at least one (TeamRankings), has Columbia in a virtual dead heat with the Crimson for the 4th slot.

The regular season crown is certainly up for grabs, and the tournament always will be, as long as you qualify to play in it. I'm sure Tommy and his staff are spending long days and sleepless nights trying to figure out what buttons to push.

Posts: 305

Age: 70
Reg: 12-04-15
12-01-17 11:57 AM - Post#238665    
    In response to HARVARDDADGRAD

I usually enjoy and appreciate your posts. As a Tiger fan, especially after the bad start we are having, I must say the scramble to get in to the tournament should make for some high drama and excitement. I agree that 11 wins is unlikely at this point and a second bid out of the question. Cornell can't be left out of the discussion especially if they stay healthy. Keep your tiebreaker rules handy!!

PhD Student
Posts: 1315

Loc: New Jersey
Reg: 01-21-14
Wooden Legacy
12-01-17 12:10 PM - Post#238667    
    In response to JadwinGeorge

Thanks JG.
Very funky year for our respective heroes!
Every team this year can be dangerous, and I wonder if any team would even qualify for the NIT on an at large basis.

2017-18 Motto: "On any given day ....." (except Saturday, when Harvard visits Lexington, KY)

Edited by HARVARDDADGRAD on 12-01-17 12:10 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

Posts: 3661

Reg: 02-04-06
12-01-17 03:17 PM - Post#238693    
    In response to HARVARDDADGRAD

I think Towns will eventually get going. They might try running a few set plays for him to Prime the pump.

PhD Student
Posts: 1315

Loc: New Jersey
Reg: 01-21-14
12-01-17 03:45 PM - Post#238696    
    In response to SRP

Absolutely. Seth is a great player. Wonder if he's still recovering from illness. He certainly hasn't been himself these last three outings. Before that, you could see the strides he's been making on defense.

Still, I feel this team is limited because of the lack of rim protection, poor 3 point shooting, and the need for a PG so Bryce doesn't have to go 90 feet and create.

Otherwise, Bryce, Chris and Seth among the most talented triumvirates in the league - and they are only sophomores. Now is when I wistfully pine over the spector of Wendell Carter and Mohamed Bamba, the graduation of Zena and Siyani, and even the (hopefully temporary) absences of Tommy McCarthy and Chris Egi.

Posts: 5341

Loc: Montclair, NJ
Reg: 11-21-04
12-01-17 04:28 PM - Post#238709    
    In response to HARVARDDADGRAD

I'm at a complete and utter loss right now. This team is in utter disarray but at the same time could go on a huge run at any moment.

Harvard is now getting 1.06 points per possessions on three-point shots, roughly 0.3 ppp worse than last year. It is currently yielding 1.34 ppp on opponent 3pt shots. That is nearly 0.2 ppp worse than last year. Combined, Harvard is losing 0.45ppp over last year every time it and its opponents take a three.

Harvard has been marginally worse on 2PT Js offensively, but equal on layups and FTs. Defensively, they've been a bit worse on layup D, but pretty equal on 2PT Js.

Obviously, Harvard's been turning the ball over a bit more and sending oppts to the line a bit more, but that 3PT shot efficiency differential is murderous. You can see that in Harvard having the league's signature win right now, in one of the few games where it hasn't been significantly outshot from three.

That 0.45 ppp differential turning around would change this team tomorrow. Until then, though, this team has REAL problems that go beyond the three-point shooting. While I still want to wait to see how this team looks when it doesn't get destroyed from deep, that alone changing won't make this team better defensively on the interior or turn all the talent into a true, defined rotation with clear leaders. These problems go beyond the 3PT efficiency differentials, but those regressing would help a lot.

PhD Student
Posts: 1315

Loc: New Jersey
Reg: 01-21-14
12-01-17 09:45 PM - Post#238722    
    In response to mrjames

Mike, my solution is a pitcher of Mojitos at Cuban Pete’s. Gotta bring your own booze though.

If you time it correctly (lunch), Kentucky will be entertaining

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