Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Friday Night: What I saw

Lots of folks have been asking me what I saw when I ventured to Morgantown on Friday Night. I could tell them about the Texas football fans in their burnt orange at the restaurant before the game. But that isn't really what they want to know about. Folks want to know about the Mount, and should we be concerned? Concerned that the Mount didn't shoot well, and confused that the turnovers they got in bunches a year ago were limited to just 8 on Friday night.

Well, I'm not worried about this team offensively. I actually think that despite the fact that Rashad Whack and Sam Prescott combined for only 11 points, the offensive performance was more efficient than it was against BCS schools last year. And in fact, the kenpom offensive efficiency rating for 2013-2014 exceeds what it was for 2012-2013. That is a good sign. Coupled with the fact that it came when Whack and Prescott had rough nights and it really looks better.

Because I'm really not concerned if Whack and Prescott can score. If the open shots that they had on Friday night will go in. Those questions are already answered. Whack and Prescott are going to make their shots and get their points. It just didn't happen Friday.

The positives were this. Julian Norfleet is ready to have his best season as a Mountaineer. He had 19 points and 7 assists. He is in total control and command of the offense. He is going to have a huge year.

Greg Graves got 9 rebounds in his first collegiate start. The added muscle is apparent but it hasn't taken away any of the athleticism. He's going to be a real factor.

Will Miller rotated with Graves and proved that he can flat out shoot the ball. He made 3 trifectas on his debut. He's got a lot to get better at, but he's going to be an important part of this team because of the his shot making ability, and the fact that other teams are going to have to concern themselves with the other other offensive threats. Plus the cheering section from Texas adds something.

Kristijan Krajina also had 9, used his size well inside and again proved that if you get the ball to him on the low block good things are going to happen.

Taylor Danaher had a dunk and a three-pointer and didn't seem to get pushed around as much underneath.
He's put on some weight, and is very nimble at his size.

The fact that the Mount only forced 8 turnovers could be a bit concerning. However, I don't think it had much to do with the new defensive rules or any change. I think there were 2 factors.

1) West Virginia had all preseason to get ready for the traps. And even if they didn't start specifically on handling the pressure until after their last preseason game, they still had extended time.
2) The Mountaineers had multiple ballhandlers. It seems like the presses don't get as many turnovers when teams have a sort of rotation at the lead guard slot. I thought there were times last year, when teams like Wagner, weren't bothered as much. Thought that was the case on Friday.

West Virginia isn't a great team. The Mount will play 2 better teams the next two times out. But it seemed like what needed to go well for WVU on Friday night did. I think they made some shots they might not normally make, and I already mentioned the fact that there were open shots for the Mount that are going to go in more often than not that didn't on Friday.

So it was a little of a disappointment. But upon reflection, I think it bodes well for the season. This team is going to do a lot of real good things.

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