I know there aren't a huge number of big CU hoop fans here (and I can certainly understand that, trust me), but I was just reading the recap of last night's loss over on the DC site and I thought I would share my thoughts and ask you all for yours.
Sure, we all knew this would be a really tough year for a really young team, but I think most people (myself included) thought there would be significant improvement next year as the team matured. I'm not seeing that "light at the end of the tunnel" right now. Bzdelik said after the game that "we're just a soft team." OK, no argument there, but we are a "soft team" because Bzdelik is recruiting "soft players." We've got all these white euro-style big men who can't rebound, defend, or score down low and they aren't gonna suddenly transform into different types of players next year just because they're a year older. Next year's incoming class appears to me to be more of the same.
I've always liked Bzdelik and you certainly can't argue with his basketball credentials, but our game plan just doesn't make any sense to me. First of all on offense, what the heck are we doing? I've seen lots of teams run Princeton-style offenses, but never as bad as we do. I remember watching Princeton play Duke a few years ago. Obviously Duke was way more talented and won fairly easily, but Princeton at least looked like they "had a plan" and scored multiple times on back-door cuts. When was the last time we actually HAD a successful back-door lay-up? I can't even remember. We just bring the ball down, pass it around forever and then either Higgins bails us out by creating his own shot or something really ugly happens (much more often the later). On to the D: I HATE the zone defense we run. First of all it doesn't work (teams get way too many open shots against us) but even more importantly it kills our defensive rebounding, which is probably the #1 weakness of this team. I can't even count how many times this year I've seen an opponent put up a shot and we'll have 2 guys running at the shooter, 2 guys up at the top of the key (or somewhere else way out of rebounding position) and Tomlinson (or some other rebounding-challenged player) down low to crash the boards.
I was encouraged by some of our close losses to good teams but I'm starting to wonder if I really should be. I don't think any of the teams in the Big 12 really take us seriously and give us an "A" effort. I also think our games have been relatively close because we play such a "grind-it-out" style of ball and we don't give the opponent enough possessions to really blow us out. When a team gets up like 18-9 or something against us it's pretty much game over. They can just coast to victory because there is no way we can make a big comeback with our offense. I think this has been a monumentally horrible season when you factor in our strength of schedule. What are our best wins of the year? They've got to be against a banged-up CSU team and our lone Big 12 win against ISU (who then annihilated us the next game, which I think kind of proves my point about other Big 12 teams sleep-walking against us). This is the worst CU b-ball team that I can remember in my time as a fan. I hate to say it, but Patton never had a team that looked this bad and as completely rudderless out on the court.
For those of you who are interested, tell me why I should have hope for next year being any better. Cory Higgins is a great player, but he is the only guy on our roster who would start for another Big 12 team. Who's gonna help him out with the scoring? JJW is certainly not a "talented" basketball player but he is our only tough inside presence and he'll be gone. Would anyone here bet the over on say, 3 conference wins next year?
Alright... don't know why I wrote this and sorry it's so negative, it's just that I love college basketball and I would like nothing more than to see CU field a competitive team and have good fan support year in and year out. I'm just kind of concerned right now.