Saturday, November 24, 2007

Men's Basketball vs Colorado St. 11/24/2007

Stanford 73 Colorado State 53 After the miserable football game, there's nothing like watching some basketball to cheer you up. The game was never really in doubt after the first 10 minutes or so when the second team came in and incited some scrappiness and defense, but it was nice to see only 5 turnovers and Robin do well against another 7-footer (#30 Stuart Creason). Brook and Daveed got a huge kick out of Robin's 3 pointer to get us on the board and the 6th Man Section loved his tenacious defense which included a couple of nasty swats of Stuart.

Speaking of Stuart, he apparently played on a 4th grade YMCA basketball team with a guy in the 6th Man Section. They exchanged greetings during warmups and Stuart told him that his dad, who coached the team, was behind the visitor's bench. 6th Man guy promptly went to say hi to his former coach and they had an extended chat. Meanwhile, we talked to Stuart and found out that he wore New Balance instead of Nikes because he had surgery on both his feet (which might explain why he was pretty slow) and New Balance provided greater support. He also said he wished he remembered 6th Man guy's name but definitely recognised him from elementary school. Seemed like a nice kid.

Back to the game, it was nice to see one where the referees weren't calling every single touch foul or bump as Pac-10 referees like to do. They might have slightly favoured Colorado State in the latter stages but that was only after the game was a blow out. In the opening few minutes, they were pretty consistent with the non-calls. I'm sure if Pac-10 refs were calling the game, Robin would have picked up some early fouls for his aggressive defense.

It also seems like we are going to be a team that lives and dies with the 3, especially when teams zone us and double Robin as Colorado State did. Even on fastbreaks, Goods was pulling up for 3 pointers instead of driving to the hole. He did break out of his slump but was still only 3-9 from 3 point land. We took less 3s in the second half, and I guess it's fine when we're hitting them, but there are days (especially on the road) when we won't and give up transition baskets off long rebounds. I also feel that we utilise the pull up jumper on fast breaks too much. Sure, there are times when the defender is clearly backing off but there are other times when the pass and maybe pass back results in an easy bucket. Finally, it seems to me that we'll always have trouble guarding the opposing point guard. #43 was quicker and stronger than Mitch and blew by him with ease. I was surprised that Colorado State didn't isolate him, let him create off the dribble and kick to open shooters when we collapsed. That's going to be our weak link come Pac-10 play and hopefully we have some sort of defensive scheme in mind.

At the end of the day, it was a win against a not very good team. But hey, I'll take it especially after the football debacle. There were also several entertaining moments like when Prowitt air-balled the ugliest looking free throw I've ever seen and neither the 6th Man Section nor Coach Robinson could contain their laughter; or when someone in the 6th Man Section started heckling Colorado State's #22 during a dead ball situation in the silent arena, causing several Colorado State players to laugh and promptly allow Taj to get the inbounds pass under the basket for an easy lay up; or when Taj had a crazy inadvertent tip of Drew Shiller's 2nd missed free throw (come on Drew, you got to make those).

Sacramento State on Tuesday should be another easy win and then it's off to Colorado for the Big 12 challenge, against a team that is probably better than people initially thought. They have Air Force's old coach who might run some version of the Princeton Offense that we've struggled with in the past. It'll be a good challenge and one that we need to overcome if we expect to compete on the road.
~ Zhihao

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