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Dillon77

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Trying to figure out where the Irish are at the start of this year is like teaching neophyte dancing students the cha-cha: a few steps forward, a few steps back, maybe even a step or two sideways. Most of these not in any syncopated order.

- There's virtually no floor experience from last year, outside of Mik Vaughn and Abby Prohaska.
- Not a lot of rebounding options, compared to last year.
- Two of the guards expected to score -- Katlyn Gilbert and transfer Destinee Walker -- either just got cleared to practice and are certainly catching up on conditioning, team-building, etc.
- And five members of the team are walk-ons. Maybe senior guard Katie Cole (who earned a scholarship this year) will contribute some minutes, but not a lot.

Still, as Kara Lawson pointed out following the blow-out loss to Louisville in 2017, "there's talent there." It will just take awhile for it to get there and gel. Things I'm looking for:
- 6'3" center Mik Vaughn is another year removed from her ACL and is supposedly moving freely and with some burst speed again.
- Anaya Peoples. McGraw is already calling her the best defender on the team. Not suprising. How will she contribute offensively?
- Sam Brunelle will be counted on a lot; not only offensively, but in the lane on defense and rebounding.
- Gilbert and Walker. Gilbert showed glimpses before her shoulder injury. Walker's been out for years. Can both return and be effective?
- Prohaska is the prototypical pest, supplying energy and defense (see Brittany Mallory, Hannah Huffman). Can she score a bit like Mallory? The Irish will need it.
and
- Rebounding. In their championship year and last year, rebounding led directly into offense via the fast break. Without Jess Shepard, Bri Turner or Kat Westbeld, there are no established rebounders now, so the whole team will have to hit the boards. If Brunelle can approximate Kat Westbeld's peformance on the boards, that will be a plus. Vaughn will have to excel at wiping the windows and/or clogging up the middle on defense.

So, lots of cha-cha's. I'll see the first recital at Fordham next Tuesday. We'll see how it starts and progresses. Interstingly, as a former coach and the husband of a long-standing teacher, I'm looking forward to it. MM loves the practice floor...she'll need to!
 
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Dillon77

WBB Enthusiast; ND Alum, Fan
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ND is a year away from being a year away.
Well put. Even if the Class of 2020 fills out as Irish fans hope, those five, along with the alums of this season, will still be facing some tough challenges. BTW, I'm eyes wide open, but looking forward to the progress this season. ;)
 

vowelguy

Boneyard contrarian since 1998
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1. Oregon / 2. Baylor / 3. UConn / 4. Stanford
5. Maryland / 6. Oregon State / 7. Louisville / 8. South Carolina
9. Texas A&M / 10. Mississippi State / 11. Florida State / 12. UCLA
13. NC State / 14. Kentucky / 15. Texas / 16. Notre Dame
17. Minnesota / 18. Miami / 19. Arizona / 20. Arkansas
21. DePaul / 22. Drake / 23. Michigan / 24. Indiana
25. Tennessee
Btw, rankings like these are a committee nightmare. Tough to put together a balanced and attendance-grabbing bracket.
 

Plebe

La verdad no peca pero incomoda
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You've gotten a lot of mileage out of that. OSU was up by more when Hebard got hurt than the final margin ended up being. And just a couple days before they battled the Ducks close in Eugene (it was a 9 point loss but was 5 w/ 1:55 left).
It doesn't change the fact that Hebard was injured in the first half and their chances of fighting back in that game were hurt by her injury.
 

jonson

Oregonian
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You've gotten a lot of mileage out of that. OSU was up by more when Hebard got hurt than the final margin ended up being. And just a couple days before they battled the Ducks close in Eugene (it was a 9 point loss but was 5 w/ 1:55 left).
On the other hand, didn't it take overtime for OSU to win in Corvallis the previous year (2017-18), whereas they lost in Eugene by 12? I wouldn't be surprised the teams split once again this year, but I think that by any reasonable measure one team--my team--had a better season overall both years, and played a much tougher schedule as well.
 
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Trying to figure out where the Irish are at the start of this year is like teaching neophyte dancing students the cha-cha: a few steps forward, a few steps back, maybe even a step or two sideways. Most of these not in any syncopated order.

- There's virtually no floor experience from last year, outside of Mik Vaughn and Abby Prohaska.
- Not a lot of rebounding options, compared to last year.
- Two of the guards expected to score -- Katlyn Gilbert and transfer Destinee Walker -- either just got cleared to practice and are certainly catching up on conditioning, team-building, etc.
- And five members of the team are walk-ons. Maybe senior guard Katie Cole (who earned a scholarship this year) will contribute some minutes, but not a lot.

Still, as Kara Lawson pointed out following the blow-out loss to Louisville in 2017, "there's talent there." It will just take awhile for it to get there and gel. Things I'm looking for:
- 6'3" center Mik Vaughn is another year removed from her ACL and is supposedly moving freely and with some burst speed again.
- Anaya Peoples. McGraw is already calling her the best defender on the team. Not suprising. How will she contribute offensively?
- Sam Brunelle will be counted on a lot; not only offensively, but in the lane on defense and rebounding.
- Gilbert and Walker. Gilbert showed glimpses before her shoulder injury. Walker's been out for years. Can both return and be effective?
- Prohaska is the prototypical pest, supplying energy and defense (see Brittany Mallory, Hannah Huffman). Can she score a bit like Mallory? The Irish will need it.
and
- Rebounding. In their championship year and last year, rebounding led directly into offense off the fast break. No established monster rebounders now, so the whole team will have to hit the boards. If Brunelle can approximate Kat Westbeld's peformance on the boards, that will be a plus. Vaughn will have to excel.

So, lost of cha-cha's. I'll see the first recital at Fordham next Tuesday. We'll see how it starts and progresses. Interstingly, as a former coach and the husband of a long-standing teacher, I'm looking forward to it. MM loves the practice floor...she'll need to!
The rebounding was a huge part of their offense the past two years. Jess Shepard was a monster throwing hail mary’s to Arike on the fast break and creating extra offensive opportunities. Glad she’s gone. Now we don’t have to get past ND to get to the championship where we haven’t lost.
 
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For me, the thing that keeps me from being willing to put OSU on the top line is that Rueck doesn't seem to be able to coach his team in big March games unless they're playing Baylor. If you look at OSU's terminal loss each of the past four seasons, it's been something of a blowout against the top squads (minus two great wins against Baylor). Stanford has had a bit of the same problem but with Notre Dame as the team it's kryptonite for - other than wins over the Domers, we've had bad losses late in March against top teams each of the last six seasons. Since Chiney graduated, we have yet to beat any other Final Four-type teams in March but the Domers.

Probably for those reasons, I'm skeptical of putting either Stanford or OSU on the top line. However, after UConn, Baylor, and Oregon, someone has to grab the 4th 1 seed, and I think Stanford is probably the most plausible candidate aside from Maryland (which benefits from a much easier conference schedule).

Now, none of that matters for how I'm ranking teams in week 1 - that is who I think is the best team right now. But it keeps me wary of teams like OSU that have a tendency to fall short when it counts, and it's also why UConn was such a ludicrous two seed last season - as soon as they were granted a rematch with Louisville, I would have put all the money in the world on them winning, because Geno & Co. in March (and even more so in April) is a totally different team. I probably don't think UConn is the true #3 team in the country right now, but I am confident they will be by March.
Geno & Co. in March (and even more so in April) is a totally different team.
A great post except for that . If there is one trait that separates UConn from the rest is their play during the season.



Most years UConn comes out in November and plays smooth, efficient games that are very entertaining to watch (if you root for UConn) while other teams that will end up as top 10 look like crap in November. In 2008 Stanford looked weak when UConn dominated them in the Carribean (the final score didn't reflect the lack of competitiveness but was a much better team when they beat an undefeated UConn team in the FF semi.

Geno & Co. in March (and even more so in April) is a totally different team (from UConn playing in Maples) :rolleyes:
 

nwhoopfan

hopeless West Coast homer
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I wouldn't be surprised the teams split once again this year, but I think that by any reasonable measure one team--my team--had a better season overall both years, and played a much tougher schedule as well.
Agreed, I don't think I indicated otherwise.

Speaking of that OT win for OSU during '17-'18 season, the hero of that game (Tudor) missed both games against UO last year. So if we're gonna note Hebard missing about half of 1 game, might be worth mentioning a significant contributor who wasn't available.
 

nwhoopfan

hopeless West Coast homer
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For me, the thing that keeps me from being willing to put OSU on the top line is that Rueck doesn't seem to be able to coach his team in big March games unless they're playing Baylor. If you look at OSU's terminal loss each of the past four seasons, it's been something of a blowout against the top squads (minus two great wins against Baylor).
:oops: I'd kinda rather not see OSU have to play Louisville in the Tourney...ever again.
 
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For the Ducks at guard sport replacing Cazorla they have options and beyond Moore which I agree could be a chemistry fit, people are forgetting how good Taylor Chavez was as a Freshman until she got hurt late in the season. She fit in seamlessly subbing for Cazorla or Boley...she is strong on D and has a great 3 point shot. I think Moore adds another dimension. They also have 3 other guards, 1 from the England and 2 from down under. PG will not be the problem.

I worry more about bigs and agree the Ducks could use Prince to get the xfr waiver (ala Jess Shephard) and that will make them very strong, barring injury. Unless Giomi's game steps up, they will be very deepndent on Ruthie under the basket and Satou playing near the basket, which she doesn't like to do . But then Sabrina can go anywhere/do anything and I was surprised that Moore had 5.5 rpg last year so maybe, they won't need another big.

Moore may well be great but even though I pick Oregon to win the title it is still an unanswered question. A new pg is always a question mark. Oregon has fewer than any other contender but I'd be more confident if the younger Sabally was playing and there wasn't a new pg.
:oops: I'd kinda rather not see OSU have to play Louisville in the Tourney...ever again.
 
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I’m sincerely hoping OSU can live up to their hype. They’ve had a few season where they could’ve been a FF team, but fell short in puzzling ways (2017 sweet 16 performance anyone?). Last year the injury bug got them so hopefully it doesn’t come back for a long time (if ever). They have the talent. I don’t want to see them waste that talent like Texas or Maryland has in recent years.
 

vowelguy

Boneyard contrarian since 1998
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Btw, rankings like these are a committee nightmare. Tough to put together a balanced and attendance-grabbing bracket.
To elaborate, that top 16 requires each region to have 1 ACC, 1 PAC, 1 SEC, and 1 "other", where other is Bay/Tex/Md/UConn. That does not give much flexibility.
 
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I’m sincerely hoping OSU can live up to their hype. They’ve had a few season where they could’ve been a FF team, but fell short in puzzling ways (2017 sweet 16 performance anyone?). Last year the injury bug got them so hopefully it doesn’t come back for a long time (if ever). They have the talent. I don’t want to see them waste that talent like Texas or Maryland has in recent years.
Sadly, OSU already has 4 players sitting out, including both 6'9" gals, as of the first exhibition game.
Andrea Aquino - out indefinitely. Undisclosed heart condition.
Jelena Mitrovic - out (for a while yet?). Recovering from knee injury/scoped.
Taya Corosdale - starter. out (undisclosed illness, assumed, did not dress)
Kat Tudor - probable/possible starter. out (for a few more weeks?). Still recovering from ACL surgery in January.
 
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My working memory is shorter, but since Stewwie came on board and I became a UConn fan, UConn has lost 7 matches prior to the Tournament and 3 in it (the past three years). In two of the three years where they've lost to a team during the regular season, they've beaten at least one of those same teams in March/April - Notre Dame in 2012-13 and Louisville in 2018-19 (they didn't have the chance for a rematch against Baylor losses in either of those years).

The only exception, as you mention, is the Stanford loss at Maples in 2014-15 - but again, they lost in December, and won in April. And a major reason was because that was Saniya Chong's last game as starter: after that, Geno replaced her with Kia Nurse, even though Chong put 20 on Stanford and went 8-13 in one of her strongest offensive showings of her career. So just the kind of December to March adjustment I'm talking about - not immediately obvious, but clearly the right call in retrospect, the kind that Geno is so good at.

I'm not even sure I can always say who is most polished in November - that largely depends on returning personnel. All I know is that as a Stanford fan, I would always rather see Geno on the other side of the court in November or December than in April. Always.
Maya Moore's senior year. UConn beat N Dame 3 times during the season and lost in the FF semis, in OT. Ever motice how many of UConn's losses come in OT? There are some who use that to say that Geno can't win a close game. I say it shows that even when they lose a game UConn is often beaten by an eyelash. (UConn returned that favor in Stewart's freshman year, losing to the Irish 3 times and then winning the 4th game.)

As far as playing Stanford I'm confident as long as the game isn't in Maples. UConn is famous for not fouling except when they play there. And I'll leave it there too. :rolleyes:
 

MilfordHusky

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Sadly, OSU already has 4 players sitting out, including both 6'9" gals, as of the first exhibition game.
Andrea Aquino - out indefinitely. Undisclosed heart condition.
Jelena Mitrovic - out (for a while yet?). Recovering from knee injury/scoped.
Taya Corosdale - starter. out (undisclosed illness, assumed, did not dress)
Kat Tudor - probable/possible starter. out (for a few more weeks?). Still recovering from ACL surgery in January.
Best wishes to the Beavers, especially Andrea. Heart conditions can be very serious.
 
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Sadly, OSU already has 4 players sitting out, including both 6'9" gals, as of the first exhibition game.
Andrea Aquino - out indefinitely. Undisclosed heart condition.
Jelena Mitrovic - out (for a while yet?). Recovering from knee injury/scoped.
Taya Corosdale - starter. out (undisclosed illness, assumed, did not dress)
Kat Tudor - probable/possible starter. out (for a few more weeks?). Still recovering from ACL surgery in January.
Hoping they all can recover and play. Kat Tudor is as tough as they come and she’s been a major asset to OSU.
 
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Hoping they all can recover and play. Kat Tudor is as tough as they come and she’s been a major asset to OSU.
Kat is due back according to Rueck, sometime in November. I can't wait to see the reception Kat gets when she enters the first game at Gill: BEAVERNATION will go crazy. We think Taya Corosdale was just sick (not injured). Jelena will play this year (again, according to Rueck). Andrea Acquino is still out indefinitely.
 
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I’m sincerely hoping OSU can live up to their hype. They’ve had a few season where they could’ve been a FF team, but fell short in puzzling ways (2017 sweet 16 performance anyone?). Last year the injury bug got them so hopefully it doesn’t come back for a long time (if ever). They have the talent. I don’t want to see them waste that talent like Texas or Maryland has in recent years.
Most talent, best freshman class ever that will contribute immediately, and best junior/senior class ever. It's a new year, and OSU has extreme depth, and Rueck has never been so outwardly positive about any OSU Team than he is about this team. And after seeing the 1st game (exhibition) I can see why.
 

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