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Billikenswin

Observations after returning from Dayton

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I had the good fortune to attend the game at Dayton and return with the following thoughts:

Our team may be better than anyone, including myself, really believed. We were dominant against a very good team on their home floor and we did not play our best game--and we had numerous calls go against us which could have been killers.

The turnovers, particularly the unforced ones, would really hamstring most teams on the road but our defense is just outstanding and it prevented Dayton from ever getting on a run.

The first thing that jumps out to me watching the game up close at Dayton--and I go to all home games--was that our team was not intimidated by the atmosphere or the moment. I think that comes from the fact we have a bunch of seniors who have been in a lot of big games and the fact that our defensive scheme is so effective and the players so well schooled and well coached that we have confidence we can play with anyone. When you watch up close it is truly amazing how much better on defense virtually all of our players are than when they arrived. JJ and Mike are obviously tremendous but they are light years ahead of where they were when they got here. Austin M is so much better from when the season started it is incredible. Jake gets a lot of heat on this board but his individual and team defensive effort is excellent and really the whole team understands the complex schemes and team defensive concepts better than any Billiken team I have ever seen. then you add to the mix the great positioning and shot blocking and shot altering defense of our two big centers, Rob and John and you have a team which is really solid in every defensive category. Rob is so much more athletic on defense than he has ever been and John is a real defensive presence in the middle--it is hard to score over him! Dwayne is tough on both ends and even Mike Crawford was clawing and pushing for defensive position against much bigger guys.

It is clear that Jordair is the "man" on this team. Dwayne also is a strong leader but the lead guard always is first if he is strong in play and in personality. JJ just exudes confidence and he is so strong and athletic that if effects every part of his game on the floor. I loved the fact that Dwayne figured out ways to score even when he was double and triple teams and for the most part he did not force things. Austin M is by far our best pure shooter from the 3 and from the free throw line. He will be invaluable down the stretch because he is now playing much better defense. Jake hit two huge 3s in the second half which really kept us in control when they were trying to rally. He is a valuable guy--but not perfect as everyone knows. Mike Crawford had no stats at all but I thought he played an excellent game off the bench. He is composed and intense as a frosh and those open shots will start falling--and he was playing his heart out on both ends. JJ made some incredible drives against tough defenders and really sees the floor well. MM is playing terrific on defense and he will be fine on offense. With Austin in the mix and JJ playing so impressively on the offensive end I suspect that Mike's offensive numbers will continue to be down but that does not mean he is not important for the stretch run. When he takes on a defensive assignment he makes life miserable for the opposing player and he is solid in every way--except a little off on his shooting.

Grandy needs to "adjust" his thinking and realize he is Dennis Rodman in all of the good ways that Rodman played when he was with Michael Jordan. He is there to defend, hustle, rebound ferociously and make a wide open layup when the opportunity arises. He will never be Dwayne and he has to give up the spin moves in the paint against two defenders which results in turnovers, missed shots or airballs. I thought Coach Crews was going to have a heart attack a couple of time when Grandy started to do his thing on offense.

Speaking of coaching, I think Coach Crews and the staff have done an absolutedly wonderful job in coaching this team. Obviously the individual and team defensive play is right at the top of college basketball but I also think Crews has developed a rotation which really works and keeps the players fresh. I was close to the bench yesterday and when players came off you could see they were very tired because they had played hard every minute they were on the court. That balancing of minutes lets everyone get a second wind and be ready to go hard again when they are back in the game.

Overall, a great win and a fun time in Dayton. Their coach was very complimentary in his post game show. As the Wiz says we may be better than we think!

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I agree with amost everything you wrote. Austin McBroom is interesting. He has speed and is quick and gives us an outside threat we didn't have earlier this year, since McCall and Barnett were not hitting those like they did last year. He is frustrating though, for a couple of reasons, and I am sure Crews and his coaching staff will work on his tendency to shoot threes off balance and also some bone-headed plays, like his foul with hardly any time left yesterday. He sometimes plays so hard that he forgets the mental part of the game-something Evans and Jett excell at--understanding the tempo. ( It took Jett a bit to learn that too.) Grandy has the same problem sometimes--forgets we are not at a Sunday over 40 league. Both have good upside and I can see McBroom, once he learns to pick his shots better and to think more--will be exceptional. As to Crawford, you can see his potential--he can be explosive to the rim. Give him time--he is a keeper.

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Observation from my couch at 8 AM yesterday. A great win in a tough place and time to win. We were in control the whole game it seemed and the announcers kept saying because we didn't put them away the odds were 90% the home team would come back and win in the end. We beat those odds and the 3 point underdog role we were given before the game by the smart guys in Las Vegas.

The only thing that kept my stomach in knots was the amount of second and third chances Dayton kept getting all game long. Some were long rebounds from 3 point bricks they threw up, but a lot were us just getting beat on the boards. I checked the box score and total rebounds were even but they got 15 offensive rebounds to our 6. It seemed worse than that while watching.

I like this team a lot and think we will go a long way this year. We have to work a bit more on boxing out is all.

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I agree with amost everything you wrote. Austin McBroom is interesting. He has speed and is quick and gives us an outside threat we didn't have earlier this year, since McCall and Barnett were not hitting those like they did last year. He is frustrating though, for a couple of reasons, and I am sure Crews and his coaching staff will work on his tendency to shoot threes off balance and also some bone-headed plays, like his foul with hardly any time left yesterday. He sometimes plays so hard that he forgets the mental part of the game-something Evans and Jett excell at--understanding the tempo. ( It took Jett a bit to learn that too.) Grandy has the same problem sometimes--forgets we are not at a Sunday over 40 league. Both have good upside and I can see McBroom, once he learns to pick his shots better and to think more--will be exceptional. As to Crawford, you can see his potential--he can be explosive to the rim. Give him time--he is a keeper.

Replace Austin McBroom's name with Jett, and we have the exact same thing that this board was saying about Jett since his freshman year. McBroom will be absolute clutch for us moving forward (just as Jett is clutch for us this year). Seriously, his boneheaded plays will be less and less as he gets more experience. We should not be discouraging McBroom from being an aggressive scorer even if sometimes we see a bone headed play out of it.

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Observation from my couch at 8 AM yesterday. A great win in a tough place and time to win. We were in control the whole game it seemed and the announcers kept saying because we didn't put them away the odds were 90% the home team would come back and win in the end. We beat those odds and the 3 point underdog role we were given before the game by the smart guys in Las Vegas.

The only thing that kept my stomach in knots was the amount of second and third chances Dayton kept getting all game long. Some were long rebounds from 3 point bricks they threw up, but a lot were us just getting beat on the boards. I checked the box score and total rebounds were even but they got 15 offensive rebounds to our 6. It seemed worse than that while watching.

I like this team a lot and think we will go a long way this year. We have to work a bit more on boxing out is all.

To be fair, the announcers said that 90% of the time the home team would come back and make it a very nervous game (not win the game). While it never got super nervous (Dayton never had possession of the ball when it was a 2 possession game), it was still closer than it had to be. I was definitely having flashbacks of RI and Valpo where we had 10+ point leads and blew it only to win in the final seconds.

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To be fair, the announcers said that 90% of the time the home team would come back and make it a very nervous game (not win the game). While it never got super nervous (Dayton never had possession of the ball when it was a 2 possession game), it was still closer than it had to be. I was definitely having flashbacks of RI and Valpo where we had 10+ point leads and blew it only to win in the final seconds.

Speaking of announcers, at the end, didn't they say "And Akron calls a timeout?"

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Great observations, Billikenswin, and thanks. I think I agree with everything you said. The coaching staff is doing a great job, even if some of us MBM don't understand the substitution patterns. The coaches know what they are doing. Next job : we fans have to pack the place vs. the Bonawelders, show our appreciation to the players and loudly help to defend our home court. Can't wait ! :ph34r:

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The announcer did say Akron and not Dayton. They really don't give a damn about flyover schools like SLU and UD, but did say Jett will be remembered. I think we will get more and more press.

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The announcer did say Akron and not Dayton. They really don't give a damn about flyover schools like SLU and UD, but did say Jett will be remembered. I think we will get more and more press.

Saunders and Dakich really talked up the Bills. Dakich has talked us up on both TV and his radio show for a couple of years now.

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Observation from my couch at 8 AM yesterday. A great win in a tough place and time to win. We were in control the whole game it seemed and the announcers kept saying because we didn't put them away the odds were 90% the home team would come back and win in the end. We beat those odds and the 3 point underdog role we were given before the game by the smart guys in Las Vegas.

The only thing that kept my stomach in knots was the amount of second and third chances Dayton kept getting all game long. Some were long rebounds from 3 point bricks they threw up, but a lot were us just getting beat on the boards. I checked the box score and total rebounds were even but they got 15 offensive rebounds to our 6. It seemed worse than that while watching.

I like this team a lot and think we will go a long way this year. We have to work a bit more on boxing out is all.

The thing to remember about the offensive rebounding numbers is that Dayton missed a ton of shots. That gives them that many more chances to get an offensive rebound. We need to improve on that, but the number of misses skews those numbers.

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The announcers were much more complimentary of SLU than the NBCSN announcers have been. Some of these previous games, like RI, the announcers were basically cheering for the upset.

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Speaking of announcers, at the end, didn't they say "And Akron calls a timeout?"

Speaking of announcers: I watched the first installment of espn's game day and they were going thought the conference changes. When talking about the big east, digger phelps explained to the audience that creighton, butler and Dayton were now members of the big east. No corrections by bilas or anyone else.

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Speaking of Dakish and Saunders, I thought they were terrible. I never heard them talk about substitutions. They talked about unrelated stuff for too much of the time. At least Dakish showed his Hoosier colors talking about Coach Crews as I expected.

By the way I recently read BK & Bob Hammel's book "Knight: My Story. BK said he wanted JC to replace him at IU, but his departure did not leave him the opportunity to have any input. He thought JC was doing a great job at Evansville and could recruit the state as well as IL and OH very well. We are seeing that with Billiken signees.

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Disagree on the announcers. I thought they were great,so must better than what we normally get. I think Dakish is the best color man in the game. He doesn't take himself too seriously.

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Disagree on the announcers. I thought they were great,so must better than what we normally get. I think Dakish is the best color man in the game. He doesn't take himself too seriously.

I totally agree with this. These announcers blew away any of our previous "national" guys. They were great.

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I totally agree with this. These announcers blew away any of our previous "national" guys. They were great.

I thought announcers were solid as well. Dakich's inside jokes had me laughing out loud a couple times (the one about the cows coming home around 6?) Plus they talked about all of SLU's accomplishments last year with the record, conference titles, and NCAA appearance which was good for us in front of a national audience.

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Nice write-up, OP. My individual player thoughts, moved here from the GDT:

-Evans had one of the most efficient games a player can have. 9-11, and I think 7 of those field goals were at the basket. 9 rebounds, too. He was frustrated a few times (thus the 4 TO) at some of the calls and the way plays developed, but he had the kind of game he can have every night in the A10 if he wants. He's just so poised around the basket. He's quietly an excellent defender, too.

-Jett is playing at an extremely high level right now. He made a handful of bad decisions (also 4 TO) but looks virtually unstoppable going to the basket. I wish he'd do it more often, to be honest. He has incredible body control, which is frightening with that frame. Both of his three-pointers were either ill-advised or due to the shot clock expiring, but otherwise he's doing amazing things on both ends of the floor these days.

-McBroom is another one who made a handful of bad decisions (shooting early in the shot clock late in the second half, some of his turnovers in traffic after doing too much), but he's clearly our best shooter. His defense needs work, but also keep in mind that the guys we compare him to are seniors and one of the best defensive groups in the nation.

-Great minutes from Crawford. It doesn't show up in the box score, as mentioned above. Both of his attempts from deep were great shots, just a few inches off. He also went to the basket with confidence but drew an unfortunate charge. I wouldn't mind seeing more and more of him, and less of Barnett. Speaking of Barnett, this is exactly the kind of game I'd like to see from him- minutes in the teens, hit both of his three-pointers (great looks, great shots), grabbed a few rebounds.

-The box score doesn't do any justice to Loe or Manning. They played fantastic defense, both of them. They disrupted so, so many shots (and blocked over 10% of Dayton's attempts), didn't let UD get it into the post easily, fronted everything. Like I said in the GDT, Dayton wound up with a troubling amount of offensive boards, but a lot of that has to come with SLU's defensive method of overplaying every pass and shot. Obviously I would have liked a couple more of Loe's shots to fall, but I can't say enough about what these two did defensively.

-Glad it was said above: Glaze needs to admit he's Dennis Rodman. Rebounds, second chance points, energy, toughness, loose balls, smart passes - when he is a few steps from the basket and tries to do it himself, bad things normally happen. He'll have plenty of nights in the league that are better matchups for him, but he's going to see the bench if he keeps making dumb decisions offensively.

-As for McCall, there's clearly a confidence issue on offense, as we've been discussing. The one strong, assertive move he made to the basket, he held on to the ball too long and got blocked by two guys at once. He's not even looking for an open shot on the perimeter- really troubling, given how good a shooter he's been the past few seasons. I used to complain he didn't shoot enough, now he can't be forced to shoot (not to mention 1 assist, 0 turnovers- he's just not looking for anything). He's as solid as ever defensively, but I don't get why he's lost it on the other end.

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This was also probably Crews' best game in terms of substitutions.

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Observations from section 223, Row B, seat 12 ........................ total domination! Some years we don't tally nine blocks all season and we got nine against them. Senior Devin Oliver,shut down shooting 0-for-12. Never really were threatened past what I will call the first quarter. I think it was 22 to 15 at that point. A total asswhooping and in their home court.

Went after and was lucky enough to enjoy the company of their team doctor. He said Kavanaugh had a concussion, no return. He also said we caught them on a poor shooting day. I asked if our defense did all that. He said to a degree,but they missed a lot of bunnies. Oh well, I like to believe it was our defense a lot too. I always feel we can beat Dayton --- they don't shoot well, they are bad at the free throw line, and they have always seemed undercoached, whether it was O'brien, Purnell, Gregory and now Miller.

It was a most enjoyable beat down. We play like that all the time and we will be hard to beat. BUT --- McBroom and Barnett made threes. Can't wait to find Mike McCall again.

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Observations from section 223, Row B, seat 12 ........................ total domination! Some years we don't tally nine blocks all season and we got nine against them. Senior Devin Oliver,shut down shooting 0-for-12. Never really were threatened past what I will call the first quarter. I think it was 22 to 15 at that point. A total asswhooping and in their home court.

Went after and was lucky enough to enjoy the company of their team doctor. He said Kavanaugh had a concussion, no return. He also said we caught them on a poor shooting day. I asked if our defense did all that. He said to a degree,but they missed a lot of bunnies. Oh well, I like to believe it was our defense a lot too. I always feel we can beat Dayton --- they don't shoot well, they are bad at the free throw line, and they have always seemed undercoached, whether it was O'brien, Purnell, Gregory and now Miller.

It was a most enjoyable beat down. We play like that all the time and we will be hard to beat. BUT --- McBroom and Barnett made threes. Can't wait to find Mike McCall again.

Actually, Dayton is normally a very good shooting team with a top offense in the A10.

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Actually, Dayton is normally a very good shooting team with a top offense in the A10.

I think he meant more traditionally

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Got back from Dayton a little while ago. As well as people have said we played, we definitely could've played better. It was never close enough to be worrisome, but this could've been a borderline laugher with a few fewer turnovers.

UD Arena is an interesting arena. Older and larger than Chaifetz, the areas closer to the court where Taj was looked to be great spots to watch a game. There is a club level in each end zone that looked like it would be pretty nice as well. In the upper levels of the arena, the lights are turned off during play, and turned back on at halftime and once the game was over. It was like being in a movie theater.

One more observation: the UD sweater vest phenomenon seems to have either subsided or is limited to the fans who come to games in St. Louis. Didn't see many in the arena yesterday.

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Forgot to give a s/o to DesmetBilliken before. Always a class act, makes a lot of road games. Nice seeing you again!

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