Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Chief is on Fire - 11 and 1, top 25?

I know it's only December, the heart of bowl season. But don't look now, the basketball tribe is 11 and 1 on the young season, just a few seconds and one shot away from being undefeated. It was a great Busch-Braggin' Rights performance tonight in the Scottrade Center (St. Louis). Anytime you can make an athleteic team like Mizzou look average, slow, and confused you've done your job. Until tonight, the TIGER's lowest point total was 71. They were in the top-5 in the nation in several categories coming into this one. Mizzou had their worst game of the season tonight at the hands of the CHIEF, by far!

And how about the big 10 this year, combined 96-22 versus the other BCS conferences this year. No question in my mind that the conference is marching in the right direction, with the possible exception of Indiana. Purdue, Michigan State, and Wisconsin are clearly at the head of the class. But Minnesota, Ohio State, and Illinois are right there. With the BIG EAST, we're one of the two top conferences in the land this year followed by the ACC and BIG-12. The SEC and PAC-10 are down this year.

McCamey is a controlled beast for us this year. He can do it all with the rock from shooting, passing, and coming up with the tough rebound. Frazier has become a field general in his senior year. I hope he becomes a head coach some day. When he's on the floor, it's like having Coach Weber right there with us. Davis can score with the best in the nation, down low or from the outside. Meachem and Tisdale round - out a good starting five. We're shooting and distributing the rock well these days, while minimizing turnovers. It hasn't always been easy for us this year, but I like the direction of the 2008/9 edition.

What I see / what I like. We're making teams play our game each night out. The opposition is playing outside of its comfort level on most occasions. As in most things, that's the key to winning consistently in college basketball. Make them do things they don't do well or do very often. On the flipside, we're executing well on offense in the following ways:

  • We're organized against the press (able to break it down most times).
  • We're executing to tempo, stop and pop or pulling it back out for the offensive reset.
  • We're making free throws these days, all starters at least 70%.
  • We're making precision interior passes.
  • We're knocking down three-pointers in rhythem, opportunistically.

Until the next set of AP / Coaches' polls are released next week, I'll have to be satisfied with #25 in the ESPN Power Rankings. We open up at Purdue and at Michigan in BIG-10 play next week, brutal. But, that's five BIG-10 squads in the TOP-25. Clearly, this is one of the best conferences in the land this year. We'll see how league play unfolds starting next week.

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