I saw my barber leaving the game last night. He said he felt like he had just been pickpocketed.
There was definitely a certain sense of disgust after the loss last night. It definitely didn't feel right.
So when I sat down in the chair this morning, to get my final haircut of the Aughts, he asked me, "So what did you think of the game last night?"
I paused, I wanted to be sure that my disgust didn't show through entirely. Because in the 10 or 11 hours since I had last seen him, my feelings toward the game had changed a little bit, but I was still sick of losing. And last night still stung a little bit.
So I replied, in as optimistic tone as I could gather, "I still think they can be better than that. But it is a lot better than what we've been seeing."
I think in a nutshell that describes where this team is right now. And to some extent where they are going. There were positives last night, and enough to be encouraged. But there is a three-game road trip that is looming, that the Mount figures to be the underdog in all three games. And at some point they have to have a performance that gets a W. Getting close isn't enough.
Some more observations from last night.....
....Vermont is a good team. I think Boston U is better and should win the America East. It comes down to do you like the marquee player or the balance. The Terriers have the balance, I like that. And the ability to score from more places on the floor, which in the long run should be enough.
....The commenter liked the approach on Blakely. I didn't. Actually, I wasn't disappointed by it. But when it didn't work as well as it could have, I would have liked to see some adjustment or variation. Of course, he did turn the ball over eight times, so maybe it was better than I thought. Vermont scored 71 points on 74 possessions (.959) which is ok defensively. But can still, and needs to be a little bit better. .9 is always my goal. .9 of 74 is 67 points and the Mount would have won by 2. Of course, if the Mount offense would have been at the 1 point per possession that I like to see, they'd have won 74-71. Anyways, I thought we let him get the ball too easily. Maybe make him work a little bit harder to get it. Because it seemed once he had it, good things happened.
....When Blakely picked up his second foul with nine minutes left in the first half, I was hoping there could be some sort of seperation before the intermission. With four minutes left in the half the game was tied and it was obvious the Catamounts were trying to nurse the game to the break. The Mount made a late push and led by 9 right before the break. Then a foul and a Blakely tip in made it six. Six was comfortable, but when the Catamounts made a couple of treys at the start of the second half it was a game.
....The game was tied with seven minutes left. Vermont pushed the lead to 7. And I thought the Mount was done. Great guts and courage to get back in it and make it exciting at the end. Big tip of the cap to Sleepy Thompson. He didn't do anything spectacular, he made two free throws and two layups. But he came through when he was asked to with Jackson and Atupem out with fouls.
....Minus the final call, I thought the game was poorly officiated. Chris Boehm was working his second Division I game of the year, Jim Bruno just his seventh, and Tom Fahey (his third Mount game) only his eighth. So it wasn't the most experienced crew. All of them average more than 40 fouls called in game, which seems like a lot. It puts them in the top 75% of fouls called. And there they were all three together in Emmitsburg on a Wednesday night. Two good teams that had to deal with three officials who had combined to ref 17 games during the first two months of the season. Mike Eades has called 41 games himself. So there you go. You take it for what it is worth.
....That Blakely tip in was the biggest play of the game.
....2009 is over as far as the Mount is concerned. 2010 is a new year - hopefully with a little better luck and breaks. Maybe its just me...but it seems like every loose ball goes to the other team. And I get flashbacks of Dallas Green. This team's best basketball is in front of it. I am certain of that.
Happy New Year Everyone. Thanks for reading and supporting The Fan Blog. We look forward to a prosperous 2010 for all.