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Posts Tagged ‘The Ugly’

Post-Game: OSU @ UA

Posted by naterb on January 11, 2009

Highlight Video

The Good:

  • Chase Budinger gets his second 20+ point game this week, and has signs that his confidence is returning along with his 3-point shot.
  • The Wildcats nearly out-rebounded themselves offensively (16)versus defensively (17). I love to see that because it means the ‘Cats aren’t giving up when they’re having an off-shooting night. They’re playing hard on each possession, and exploiting their athleticism and height.
  • Coming off the bench, Zane Johnson provided a big boost for the ‘Cats in his second consecutive game. Against the Oregon schools Johnson averaged 8 points, 2.5 assists, and 4 rebounds in 21 minutes. As the season wears on, and the starters get worn out, the ‘Cats will need their bench to keep stepping up and Johnson’s performance is showing vast improvement and usefulness.
  • Putting up 64 points in a game that was essentially cut by 25% thanks to the slow-down Beavers’ offense. The ‘Cats could’ve controlled the tempo a lot more, but they didn’t need to. I believe they could’ve scored more, but to score only 10% less than your average when your opportunities are limited by a slowed-down game, I’ll take it.

The Bad:

  • Kyle Fogg continues to falter during the games. He continually passes up open looks at the basket, and we’ve seen an increase in the mental lapses which reveal him for the freshman that he is. At this rate, despite being one of the better defenders on the team, he’s going to find himself coming off the bench before another week is out.
  • Jamelle Horne was enough to make you pace because of his offensive decisions tonight. Horne took a lot of ill-advised shots tonight, and his 3-9 performance reflects it perfectly. Horne avoids the “ugly” section thanks to his hustle on the glass. Horned had 4 offensive rebounds and 3 defensive to go along with several other plays that forced dead-ball rebounds for Arizona. His efforts gave Arizona second and sometimes third opportunities, and essentially made up for his poor shot selection tonight.

The Ugly:

  • Nic Wise found it hard to score tonight, hitting only one shot in nine attempts. Largely because he lacked a lot of aggressiveness on the offensive end and was settling for jump shots all night long. I’m glad Wise was making an effort not to over-penetrate, but this isn’t what the ‘Cats need either. Wise needs to find that middle ground between over-aggressive and settling for the jumper.
  • The entire second half – Failed to score in the first five minutes. Shot 2-14 in the first 11 minutes of the second half. Shot 8-26 in the entire second half. Gave up 12 points in the paint to the Beavers… I think you get the point. Whether it’s lack of focus or exhaustion does make a difference, but that was still awful.

Jordan Hill

Jordan Hill

Player of the Game:

Jordan Hill – Yes, I know Budinger had more points and was everywhere tonight. But Hill carried the team as his 8 offensive rebounds helped direct the team to 17 second-chance points. His efforts kept the possessions alive and in turn the lead over the Beavers.

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Posted in Arizona Wildcats, Game Recap, NCAA Basketball, PAC-10 Basketball | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Oregon's Inexperience Leads to Cats Win

Posted by naterb on January 9, 2009

 

 

Budinger dunks over Michael Dunigan

Budinger dunks over Michael Dunigan

Michael Dunigan turning his back on Chase Budinger during a first-half in-bound play is the epitome of what is wrong with the Ducks this season. The Ducks aren’t a bad team with players who have no business competing in the PAC-10. By-and-large, however, they are a team filled with young players who have been thrust into key roles too early in their college careers. The Wildcats exploited this and despite their less-than-stellar performance rode it on their way to a 67-52 route of the Ducks at McKale Center.

The Good:

Russ Pennell and the Wildcats did a nice job of getting Chase Budinger good looks at the basket by having him along the baseline and making strong cuts towards the basket. The result was several dunks, lay-ups, and short-ranged jumpers. Budinger was also found in transition on numerous occasions. I’m not ready to declare Budinger out of his slump as of yet, especially in light of his 1-5 shooting from beyond the arc, but the quality looks he got against the Ducks is a great way to help him find his rhythm again. The mental lapses by Budinger, as well as the over-flow mentality onto the rest of the team seems to have dissipated as the ‘Cats regained some of that swagger and confidence back throughout the game.

The biggest indicator of the teams reaction to Budinger starting to come out of his slump is Jamelle Horne. Following one of his worst performance of the year (2 points, 5 fouls, 19 minutes), Horne returned to progressing as an offensive weapon and impact player with 15 points and 4 rebounds while playing 36 minutes. I believe the reason for this is because Horne was playing within himself and making good decisions rather than trying to do too much to compensate for Budinger’s slump.

A few other things I was impressed with was Arizona’s ability to counter the tempo and defensive changes that Ernie Kent and the Ducks threw at the ‘Cats. There were a few lapses and mistakes caused by these changes, but on the whole the Wildcats did a nice job of transitioning from one look to another. I was also impressed with Zane Johnson’s first-half performance off the bench. Johnson, who has seen inconsistent minutes for the ‘Cats, came in and grabbed 2 rebounds while posting 7 points over a stretch when the ‘Cats had begun to stagnate. With some more experience and progression I can see Johnson turning into a great role player like Michael Roll for UCLA.

The Bad:

Jordan Hill did not record a double-double since December 14th against Gonzaga. Considering the defensive efforts of the Ducks and Michael Dunigan, I can’t blame Hill on this. Hill still had a solid game with 9 points and 12 rebounds, but expect more defensive focus on Jordan Hill for the rest of the season. The reason Hill’s failure to reach a double-double lands in the “Bad” category has nothing to do with the effort he made – after all he didn’t hurt the team by finding himself in foul trouble or missing open looks. The problem I have is that when teams focus on Hill defensively, the Cats need to run some set plays to get Hill the ball deep in the paint where even the best center in the nation can’t stop him.

Kyle Fogg’s performance, however, is a result of his own doing. Now, don’t get me wrong I’m not down on the kid, he had an off game which is to be expected from a freshman responsible for a big role. Fogg had several mental lapses leading to turnovers or fouls and failed to become an offensive threat against the Ducks.

The Ugly:

Nic Wise tops the charts of the ugly factor. The Wildcats were less than stellar in protecting the ball, and Wise was the core reason for this. Wise had 7 of Arizona’s 17 turnovers, and many of them were due to over-penetration and offensive fouls. Wise was also caught off guard by in-prompt-to traps across half court by the Ducks. As a veteran point guard, Wise needs to be prepared for these types of traps and be ready to hit the open man as he sees the trap coming at him. With such a sloppy performance by Wise, Arizona was fortunate that they weren’t facing a team clicking on all cylinders.

In conjunction with Wise’s 7 turnovers, the Wildcats committed 17 team turnovers. The Wildcats were fortunate that the Ducks weren’t able to capitalize on the turnovers the way that CAL or Stanford did. But the turnover situation has to be a major concern for the coaching staff. Since the Kansas game the Wildcats have seen their turnover rate rising as they’ve averaged 15.25 turnovers a game and have committed more turnovers than their opponent in the previous 3 games.

Back to the Ducks:

I was very impressed with the talent and glimpses of what the future holds for the Ducks. There were several points where the Ducks upped the defensive pressure resulting in nine steals and a few second-half mini-runs. A big concern for the Ducks has to be Tejuan Porter. Porter needs to be the leader on this team since Catron is completely unproven, but Porter is extremely inconsistent from game-to-game. With Porter being a focal point for the Ducks offense, they will see erratic scoring and inconsistent play from the entire team until he plays with consistency or another player steps up as the leader.

Despite foul trouble thanks to freshmen inexperience, Dunigan has the looks of a future stud for the Ducks. Ernie Kent would be wise to recruit complimentary players to Dunigan’s game as he will be one of the leading centers in the PAC-10 after the departures of Jordan Hill and Jon Brockman.

Game Highlights Video (Including the inbound play where Dunigan turns his back on Budinger)

Posted in Arizona Wildcats, Game Recap, NCAA Basketball, PAC-10 Basketball, Sports: General | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Are We Really This Bad?

Posted by naterb on January 3, 2009

Considering the fact that this is a post-game brief, you’d think I was talking about the Arizona Wildcats and their performance against CAL. You’d think I was talking about the fact the ‘Cats shot just over 21% from beyond the arc and turned the ball over twice as much as their opponent. You would think I was talking about how Russ Pennell couldn’t even come close to keeping up with the adjustments and tactical decisions by Mike Montgomery. You could think all of those things, but you’d be wrong.

Dear Band Wagon Fans...

What I’m talking about is the wishy-washy fans that have shown up. Fans that praise Pennell and want him to take over the program after the victories over Gonzaga and Kansas, but turnaround and want the guy gone when we lose to a prolific shooting team in CAL.

I’m talking about the fans that praise Jamelle Horne and Kyle Fogg and are ready to name them impact players after they post 23 points and 14 rebounds a game for three games, only to want them off the team or benched for the season following a bad performance.

I’m talking about the fans that before the season begins are proclaiming Chase Budinger first team PAC-10 and a Lottery Pick in the NBA draft, but have turned their backs on him when he’s lost his shooting stroke.

I am ashamed at some of the fans that are out there. It’s okay to be a skeptic it’s even okay to be a homer with rose-colored glasses. But it is completely ridiculously to be so spineless, so wishy-washy that the Wildcats are only as good as their last game. If you’re one of those fans, please, just jump ship now so the rest of us don’t have to listen to you any longer.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m in full agreement that Arizona’s performance last night was anything but stellar. Does one bad performance mean that this is a bad team? Certainly not, and I don’t believe it is fair to judge how good or bad these kids are based off of one game. After all, in two late December games, the ‘00-’01 Wildcats lost by 18 and the ‘92-’93 team lost by 15. You have to judge a team by their progression and performance over the course of a season (to be fully fair), or at the very least a month.

Think about it this way, how many of the tough games we’ve played this year do you think would turn out differently if there was a rematch? UAB and Gonzaga definitely would. Texas A&M most likely would. UNLV and Kansas probably would. At least with CAL we’ll get another chance. So chances are, Arizona isn’t really as good as they were when they beat Gonzaga and they certainly aren’t as bad as when they lost to UAB. They’re somewhere in the middle.

So, like I said, for all you wishy-washy fans, it’s time to grow a backbone or jump off the bandwagon because anytime you have as much inexperience as the Wildcats do, you are in for a bumpy ride.

UA @ CAL Recap:

The Good: Hill 18 points, 11 rebounds. Horne 10 points 7 rebounds.
The Bad: Kyle Fogg 0 points, 4 turnovers. Chase Budinger 4-16 shooting, 9 points.
The Ugly: 3-Point Shooting %’s : Arizona 23.1%, CAL46.7%. Turnover Differential: +6, A/TO ratio: 0.91

Posted in Arizona Wildcats, NCAA Basketball | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »