EXACTLY. We got a little better. The first 8 minutes were very, very bad and they almost looked asleep, but they did what they needed to do on D and played smart, controlled offense and just picked USF apart. Omar's confidence is clearly helping a ton, which not only helps the scoreboard, but takes pressure off boat/purv/dham who have an extra outlet.
One thing I am starting to notice about the team is how different they play D than last year. Without having the boat/bazz combination to get under guards and prevent them from even getting into their offense we are using our athletic advantage at the 1-3 to smother any potential open looks. As amazing as it was to watch the Harrison's/Wilbekien/Harris/Valentine come up the floor and be halted 10 feet outside the 3-point line unable to advance and see countless possessions end in either a steal from boat/bazz, a long/contested jumper or a poor decision forced because a non-ball handler had to do something, this years might be more smothering when its "on". Boat cannot obviously play 36 minutes, be the leading scorer and play lock down D (at least not without some serious performance enhancers), but the athleticism we have 1-5 means absolutely no open looks. Brimah's presence means guys can be ultra-aggressive on the outside. If they get past the guards which is a chore in itself, they're either going at an eraser or are forced to throw it back outside, by which time we have already recovered and the offense starts over. A lot of things have to go right for it to get to that level, but if that type of D becomes the norm, look out.
I know this is far from revolutionary, but it is interesting to see how the defense has evolved in response to the changes in personnel.