CBSSports.com Midseason Awards and Predictions | The Boneyard

CBSSports.com Midseason Awards and Predictions

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Man, I'm no fan of Syracuse, but they have been the best team in the country, along with UK, hands down.

Not only did two pick uconn, but two also picked Florida (the same Florida that Cuse beat handily and the one that got sucked up by Rutgers).
 
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Cuse has what allows teams to win. Good guard play, can all shoot the 3 well. Only questions are the guys in the middle. Presumably, Keita, Melo and Christmas can give you fouls at the very least, but they don't exactly inspire confidence.

For UConn to be good, Oriakhi and Drummond need to seriously improve. They need to establish their dominance in the lane. So far, UConn's troubles are all about Drummond and Oriakhi on D. Once they get the hang of it, UConn will be formidable.

Man, I'm no fan of Syracuse, but they have been the best team in the country, along with UK, hands down.

Not only did two pick uconn, but two also picked Florida (the same Florida that Cuse beat handily and the one that got sucked up by Rutgers).
 
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Goodman and Parrish seem to be banking on the same things that we Uconn fans are:

1) Our considerably talented freshmen will only get better between now and March.
2) Oriakhi couldn't possibly have regressed this much and he'll figure it out by the end of the year.
 
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Man, I'm no fan of Syracuse, but they have been the best team in the country, along with UK, hands down.

Not only did two pick uconn, but two also picked Florida (the same Florida that Cuse beat handily and the one that got sucked up by Rutgers).
I'm kinda surprised by this too. SU has looked -4 part all season long. They are deep, experienced and play that crazy zone that can cause all kinds of fits for teams that haven't seen it and not had much time to prepare for it, such as in a 6 game 3 week tournament.

As for picking UConn, you can pretty much assume they're betting on JC. At least a few of the yahoo analysts out there have taken notice how JC has a history of developing young talented teams that make a deep run into March.

With just 3 BE games under their belt, not to mention w/out JC on the side line, I'm not quite sure what to think as far as JC getting this collection of talent to play at an F-4 level by the time it's needed. I said before the season began, that I liked our chances of getting there. There's just not enough data to say they can or can't. The raw talent is there. All the pieces seem to be there. Just not sure if all those pieces will mature enough and work well enough together to win 4 to 6 March/April games in a row.

This begs the question, what would you need to see to give you some warm and fuzzys that their chances of making it that far are very good?

1. Improved floor general (PG) play from Bazz & Boatright - I'd like to see a string of some tough minded, gutted out wins where these two PGs lead with confidence where the other guys on the floor follow, playing with little fear of failure. If you PG and/or coach looks worried, guess what happens with the other 4 guys on the floor? Bazz has looked the part most of the time, but every once-in-a-while he looks beat up. He can't afford that come March. No matter how many times Kemba hit the floor or how badly he was banged up, he looked unbeatable. I'm not expecting anyone on this team to be Kemba, but we need Kemba-lite from Bazz and Boat when called upon. I think they have the right make-up, but will they be ready to show it when it counts most?

2. Efficiency in the Post - I don't expect, nor do we need, a dominating front court. Heck, we won the NC last year with one of the most inefficient front-courts we've ever had. If you have a strong stomach go take a look at the shooting percentages of our front court before their 11 game season ending run. I'm sure it got better during those 11 games, but my guess the front-court shooting percentages still didn't look all that great. Part of my pre-season confidence stemmed from the idea that Alex and Roscoe would build on what they did last spring. Right now, I'll settle for anything close to it. Lots of ball to be played, but this team needs Alex, Andre, Roscoe, Tyler and whoever else they play at the 4 or 5 to do a much better job of not turning it over in traffic and converting close to the basket. We've seen what can happen to this team when defenses don't need to worry about our 4s & 5s all that much. I think they'll come around, but it will be a necessity they do so. I don't see this team making -4 unless our front-court plays a little better...not all world, but at least Big East caliber post play.

3. Cast that has learned their parts - What won us NC #3 was not only having world class leading man in Kemba, but a solid cast of players who knew their role and played them with confidence. Right now many seem to be struggling with their role. As they begin to play a lot of games where the outcome is in doubt before the ball is thrown up, all the players need to be ready to execute what is expected. DD needs to catch and let it fly with confidence from 3. He needs to know when to let it go, when to trust his abilities and drive it to the basket and when to kick it back to the guards. Tyler, who's shown confidence in his J most of the season needs to keep shooting it but shooting it w/ a tad more consistency. Lamb needs to continue to be Lamb and his fellow actors need to get him the ball. All our bigs need to go after rebounds like they their lives depend on it. They need to take offense to anyone who thinks our defensive glass is theirs for the taking. I could go on, but you get the picture.

4. Second nature defense - This team has yet to develop it's defensive chemistry, where whatever combination JC puts out on the floor, they all know how to work together to contest every shot from every spot on the floor. Even though they've looked very tough at times, there's been far too many breakdowns, especially when teams quickly get down the floor on them. I've noticed they tend to have early and late breakdowns. We need a full 35 seconds of defense. Once that begins to look like second nature to this team, my faith will rise to new heights!
 
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I still don't understand why everyone is saying AO has "regressed". That's a lazy mislabeling of the truth, which is the following:

He is the same guy he has always been. The only difference is that this year he's having to share his position and share his minutes. He was never this consistently dominating force; he had some outstanding games and some no-show games. With limited minutes, it's easier to be a no-show than to dominate.
 
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I still don't understand why everyone is saying AO has "regressed". That's a lazy mislabeling of the truth, which is the following:

He is the same guy he has always been. The only difference is that this year he's having to share his position and share his minutes. He was never this consistently dominating force; he had some outstanding games and some no-show games. With limited minutes, it's easier to be a no-show than to dominate.
Don't agree with that. Even with limited minutes, he should be showing more for it. He's clearly struggling, but that doesn't mean I've lost hope that he'll turn it around.
 
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I'm kinda surprised by this too. SU has looked -4 part all season long. They are deep, experienced and play that crazy zone that can cause all kinds of fits for teams that haven't seen it and not had much time to prepare for it, such as in a 6 game 3 week tournament.

As for picking UConn, you can pretty much assume they're betting on JC. At least a few of the yahoo analysts out there have taken notice how JC has a history of developing young talented teams that make a deep run into March.

With just 3 BE games under their belt, not to mention w/out JC on the side line, I'm not quite sure what to think as far as JC getting this collection of talent to play at an F-4 level by the time it's needed. I said before the season began, that I liked our chances of getting there. There's just not enough data to say they can or can't. The raw talent is there. All the pieces seem to be there. Just not sure if all those pieces will mature enough and work well enough together to win 4 to 6 March/April games in a row.

This begs the question, what would you need to see to give you some warm and fuzzys that their chances of making it that far are very good?

1. Improved floor general (PG) play from Bazz & Boatright - I'd like to see a string of some tough minded, gutted out wins where these two PGs lead with confidence where the other guys on the floor follow, playing with little fear of failure. If you PG and/or coach looks worried, guess what happens with the other 4 guys on the floor? Bazz has looked the part most of the time, but every once-in-a-while he looks beat up. He can't afford that come March. No matter how many times Kemba hit the floor or how badly he was banged up, he looked unbeatable. I'm not expecting anyone on this team to be Kemba, but we need Kemba-lite from Bazz and Boat when called upon. I think they have the right make-up, but will they be ready to show it when it counts most?

2. Efficiency in the Post - I don't expect, nor do we need, a dominating front court. Heck, we won the NC last year with one of the most inefficient front-courts we've ever had. If you have a strong stomach go take a look at the shooting percentages of our front court before their 11 game season ending run. I'm sure it got better during those 11 games, but my guess the front-court shooting percentages still didn't look all that great. Part of my pre-season confidence stemmed from the idea that Alex and Roscoe would build on what they did last spring. Right now, I'll settle for anything close to it. Lots of ball to be played, but this team needs Alex, Andre, Roscoe, Tyler and whoever else they play at the 4 or 5 to do a much better job of not turning it over in traffic and converting close to the basket. We've seen what can happen to this team when defenses don't need to worry about our 4s & 5s all that much. I think they'll come around, but it will be a necessity they do so. I don't see this team making -4 unless our front-court plays a little better...not all world, but at least Big East caliber post play.

3. Cast that has learned their parts - What won us NC #3 was not only having world class leading man in Kemba, but a solid cast of players who knew their role and played them with confidence. Right now many seem to be struggling with their role. As they begin to play a lot of games where the outcome is in doubt before the ball is thrown up, all the players need to be ready to execute what is expected. DD needs to catch and let it fly with confidence from 3. He needs to know when to let it go, when to trust his abilities and drive it to the basket and when to kick it back to the guards. Tyler, who's shown confidence in his J most of the season needs to keep shooting it but shooting it w/ a tad more consistency. Lamb needs to continue to be Lamb and his fellow actors need to get him the ball. All our bigs need to go after rebounds like they their lives depend on it. They need to take offense to anyone who thinks our defensive glass is theirs for the taking. I could go on, but you get the picture.

4. Second nature defense - This team has yet to develop it's defensive chemistry, where whatever combination JC puts out on the floor, they all know how to work together to contest every shot from every spot on the floor. Even though they've looked very tough at times, there's been far too many breakdowns, especially when teams quickly get down the floor on them. I've noticed they tend to have early and late breakdowns. We need a full 35 seconds of defense. Once that begins to look like second nature to this team, my faith will rise to new heights!

Nail hit on the head with much of what this team needs to improve on to get to a point where they have any type of chance of making a run in the post season. It's a lot to ask. It's hard to swallow a paper tiger possibility on this season, but winning it last year makes it a little easier. But I can't agree much more that what's point out above. They certainly need better PG play in a PG context - not scoring as much as smart decisions, collecting the offense. It would be nice to see Bazz the defensive pest that he was last year. He would seem to frustrate a lot of the opposing guards to a point where he completely broke their rythm.

Without question the blocks is where the team has just stunk the most. As much promise as AD has, the combo of him and AO has been a blip of what we thought it could be when AD committed. I've seen very little dominance from the rebounding/defensive perspective. Something is seriously not clicking there.
 
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