Saturday, January 19, 2013

Keeping the Faith

The Mount will tip off in Connecticut with Central Connecticut State in about an hour and a half and when they do, they will be trying to avoid their first 4 game losing streak of the season.

A season that started with so much promise, because the Mount won 5 of 11 non-conference games, has all of a sudden started to look a little differently. Because many assumed that since the Mount had played near 500 ball against non-conference opponents, it would have no difficulty doing that well or better in conference play.

But at least to start the conference season it hasn't gone that way. And you sort of sense that folks are starting to get a bit restless.

But let's all take a step back, a deep breath and realize where we are right now.

Just past the midway part of the season, the Mount has proven it can play with anyone the NEC has to offer. Thursday's heartbreaking overtime loss at Bryant further proved that point.

But the other factor that has been proven is that if the Mount doesn't play well for all 40 minutes of games opponents in the NEC are going to take advantage. Falling in early deficits in losses to Long Island, Fairleigh Dickinson, St Francis NY and having to rally to force overtime against Bryant has proven to be too large a hole to rally from.

But let's look positively, at where this team is different, than the team that won just 8 games last year.

  • Transfers Rashad Whack and Sam Prescott have both averaged in double figures in 5 NEC games. The duo had a combined 33 on Thursday at Bryant.
  • Kristijan Krajina has proven that if he is on the floor and not on the bench in foul trouble he can have a huge impact on the game inside. Not only does his post play bring points for the Mount, but it makes the defense defend inside which means the Mount perimeter players have a little more space outside.
  • The Mayhem style of defense is going to force turnovers against NEC opponents. League leading Bryant had 20 on Thursday night.
  • There are plenty of players who are going to contribute. With starting point guard Josh Castellanos ailing on Thursday night, Shivaughn Wiggins led the attack with 20 points. The freshman guard from Charlotte made 8-of-10 shots, including all 3 of his three-point attempts.
  • The field goal percentage keeps getting better. The Mount has made 46% of its shot in January, the best of any month this season. In the long run, that is going to pay dividends.
There is no doubt that the early part of the season was bringing better results. But it is impossible to ignore the fact that some areas of the Mount's play are improving over the last few weeks. However, the schedule has been murderous and isn't likely to get much better any time soon. After today, the Mount has played 4 straight games on the road, and plays one of two on the road next week. 

As the season wears on the schedule looks a bit friendlier with numerous home games at Knott Arena forthcoming. That could be setting the Mount up to play its best basketball in February and March as would be expected from a team under a new head coach with a lot of new faces.

The majority of the league schedule lies ahead of us. Today would be a good time to get a jump start on it.

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