Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Heat-O-Meter: Attention, Coach Shulman! You are getting too close to the sun!

I've stated it before, but it's pretty simple- I am not a firm believer that changing coaches automatically makes things all better. That being said, even I am beginning to be a little disturbed the things that I am seeing.

The Mocs have been consistently hammered by the better teams on their schedule under John Shulman's watch. Take away the first year, when the Mocs beat Tennessee and hung close with Wake Forest in the NCAA Tournament, and there are very few even close games for Shulman to be proud of- particularly away from home.

There has been much debate about the talent on the roster. I'm going to say that I firmly believe that there IS talent on the roster. The recruiting has been good, I believe. Keegan Bell, Josh Odem, Omar Wattad, even guys like Phillip Jurick who never made it to school are all guys that could play on any mid-major in the country. This is a good roster.

But it is a good roster that rarely plays up to their talent level. And that is frustrating.

There is little offensive work. They shoot a lot of threes, which is OK, except for that too often, they are not moving to get the open look- they just move down the court and throw up the first shot that they can shoot over someone's hand. If they were moving and setting screens and working for the open shot and then shooting those threes, then it would be different. And that has happened. I remember watching the Austin Peay game, where there was movement to try to get a shot. Against Tennessee, and in many other games this year, that was not there.

Throw on top of that the defense is absolutely atrocious at times. How do you let Jackson State shoot over 56 percent from the floor? Unforgivable. And it has not been forgiven.

Shulman says that the record does not matter at this time of year- but it does. The Mocs poor start two years ago lead to their 16 seed in the NCAA Tournament. They need to get up to a 14 seed to have a realistic shot of winning a couple of games in the tournament. So you can't screw around at this time of year.

These are consistent problems for the Mocs under Shulman. We are in Year Seven. I'm beginning to think that things won't change.

HEAT-O-METER: I'm a very positive person and a very optimistic person. I'm beginnning to be agitated by some things surrounding Shulman. Go to MocFans. You'll see for yourself how frustrated everyone else is right now. It's reaching a fever pitch. Due to the contract (and the low amount of money that Shulman is being paid to begin with), the hot seat is a little less hot than it would be otherwise. But right now it is at a solid 9 on a scale of 1-10. Start getting blown out in SoCon games, and things will get even worse. Shulman could easily be gone by season's end if things don't turn around drastically. I'm less willing to get rid of him than most, but this score is based on the general feeling and how I feel the athletic department probably feels.


Sour November

November- it was not a good month for the Mocs.

Honestly, if they had managed to win the last two games against Jackson State and FIU (something that could have happened), then the Mocs would have been feeling pretty good at 4-3. And the cries that the Mocs were coming apart at the seams would be silenced.

Let's not forget, the Mocs had a very good win against Marshall, and another quality win against Kennesaw State (who beat Georgia Tech).

But the blowout loss to Louisville, followed by a blowout loss to FIU and an unbelievably disheartening home loss to Jackson State left a very bitter taste in the Mocs mouth.

Things were going so well when the Mocs were down seven late in the first half against Louisville. The Mocs were 2-2, and hanging in there against a Big East foe. Then the wheels came off. And they haven't been put back on yet.

There is plenty of time for a turnaround. The Mocs finally have a few days off to practice, and the conference schedule opens on Thursday at home. Win at home? Things start turning around.

On the other hand, get blown out, and things really start going south in a hurry.

November was not good to the Mocs. It was downright bad. It was damn ugly at times. Will the Mocs get back into the fans good graces in December?

All that's left is hope.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Global Sports Shootout Standings

1. Louisville 3-0
2. FIU 1-0
3. Marshall 1-2
4. Jackson State 1-2
5. Chattanooga 1-3


Saturday, November 27, 2010

FIU 80, Chattanooga 59

First the good- the Mocs outrebounded the Panthers. The Mocs shot just 26 three pointers.

But, of course, the Mocs got beat by 21. They gave up 49% shooting. They shot just 58% from the free throw line, and 33% from the field.

Yes, it was ugly. It was bad. It was another humiliation, in a lot of ways. Jefferson, after going 8 for 8 on Wednesday, went 0 for 3 tonight, and 2 for 6 from the free throw line. Odem had 13 points, Wattad 12, and Cage had 10. No one else touched double figures.

Bell had six assists and three turnovers, so I guess that is another positive.

But in the end, November ends with a 2-5 record. The Global Sports Shootout ends at 1-3.

And the Mocs are left with more questions that answers. Shulman pointed out before the game that they have played a lot of games and have not had many practices, which means that they have not had a lot of time to get better in those practices. Now, they get a few days off. The Mocs desperately need to get better.

Because, right now, things are bad. And not getting any better. Will things be better once SoCon play starts on Thursday? They need to be.



Global Sports Shootout- Louisville 80, Marshall 66

Marshall actually outrebounded Louisville, but turned the ball over 19 times, and shot just 38.7% from the field. Of course, the worst thing may be the free throw shooting. The Herd shot 44.8% from the free throw line. Kane blew up for 25 points in Yum! Arena.

Rakeem Buckles, Mike Marra, and Peyton Siva all had 12 for the Cardinals. Buckles also had seven rebounds.

To win the Global Sports Shootout, Louisville either needs to beat FIU at home, or have FIU lose two other games. Marshall must beat FIU to have any shot at second place.

The Mocs can still finish second if they can upset FIU tonight and if FIU beats Jackson State, and FIU suffers one more loss to either Marshall or Louisville. Then the Mocs would be potentially tied with either Marshall or FIU, both of whom they would have beaten, and ahead of Jackson State, a team they lost to.


Global Sports Shootout- Marshall at Louisville

Marshall and Louisville were the two favorites in the Global Sports Shootout and now they will battle as the current top two teams in the standings.

Louisville will rely heavily on their pressure defense and the play of Terrence Jennings and Preston Knowles. Jennings and Knowles are the two best players the Cardinals have and they can certainly take over a basketball game. They can rebound the ball well, and they sure shot well in their win over the Mocs on Monday night.

Can Marshall Tirrell Baines and DeAndre Kane come up with the answers? This team has not rebounded particularly well and they have not shot the ball well against D-1 opponents. The Herd can go into Louisville and be a force with these two players playing well.

The Herd will need to rebound with the Cardinals and not let the pressure defense get to them. If the defensive pressure gets to them, they have no chance at all. If it doesn't, then the Herd have an opportunity to make some noise.

Louisville 71, Marshall 60.

Global Sports Shootout Standings-Through 11/26

1) Louisville 2-0
2) Marshall 1-1
3) FIU 0-0
4) Jackson State 1-2
5) Chattanooga 1-2


Friday, November 26, 2010

FIU Preview- A Chance to Beat Isaiah Thompson

FIU is coached by Isaiah Thomas. He has upgraded the talent level, but not too dramatically yet. His team is getting better, though.

The Mocs are playing their last game of the Global Sports Shootout, while the Golden Panthers are playing their first.

Eric Frederick is leading the team in scoring with 15.5 points per game. He is shooting 55.1% from the field. He is also averaging 6.5 rebounds per game. DeJuan Wright is averaging 14.0 points per game and ten rebounds per game.

The Golden Panthers are being outrebounded by about 1.5 rebounds per game, but that is not too shabby. They are shooting under 30 percent from three point range. Of course, we've all heard that before.

They are shooting 44.2 percent from the floor. That is also fairly impressive. This is not a bad offensive team.

Of course, the Golden Panthers 3-1 record is a little deceiving. Florida Memorial, Barry, and Utah Valley are their three wins. Their one loss is to Florida State by 23 points.

So, where do the Mocs stand against this team?

It is actually fairly similar to the Marshall game. They are playing a team that has really not played a schedule that is difficult enough to figure out exactly who they are.

Can the Mocs possibly bounce back from this two game losing streak?

Yes, they can. But the defense has to change. I still have not been able to stomach watching the Jackson State game (likely to happen on Sunday night). But regardless, the defense obviously was HORRIFIC against Jackson State. Can the Mocs improve in this game?

The Mocs have to shoot better, and they have to not the turn the ball over, and they have to rebound. And they absolutely have to play defense. With the Panthers, who have forced nearly 19 turnovers a game, protecting the ball is going to be paramount for the Mocs.

Can Bell protect the ball? Can the team play defense? It's almost impossible to know for sure.

The Mocs are going for their third road win of the year, which would pass their total from a year ago. This would be a very nice one, considering what they have done over their past two games.

--Rebound. Please.
--Protect the ball. The Mocs have been doing an OK job of this this when they aren't playing Louisville or Tennessee. They need to do it again.
--Someone play some defense. Please.

--Celebrate their road win of the year.
--Forgive the loss to Austin Peay...but not the loss to Jackson State.
--Wonder how in the world the Mocs are 3-0 on the road against "Teams Their Own Size" and 0-2 at home.
--Wish that the conference tournament could be moved away from Chattanooga.

--Wish that that Isaiah Thompson guy had not become head coach at FIU.
--Hope the Mocs can get it together with a little bit of time off before getting into conference play next week.
--Sigh, go to bed, and realize that tomorrow is another day.

--Wattad will not shoot well...again.
--Jefferson will not play as well as he did against Jackson State (perfect night shooting, 18 points, seven rebounds).
--Bell will turn the ball over too many times.
--FIU 74, Chattanooga 64. The Mocs are playing awful right now. It is amazing that they beat Marshall just a week ago. It feels like a lifetime ago at the moment.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Jackson State 87, Chattanooga 75

I made it to my Thanksgiving destination and found out the result of the game before being able to watch it.

I found the result disgusting an upon looking at the boxscore, am more convinced than ever that something is terribly terribly wrong with our defense. It must be fixed...and fixed now.

Otherwise, it was not an awful game. Jefferson sounded like he played well. Bell had ten assists. Taylor played decently. Wattad didn't shoot well. The rebounding was lacking, but Early and Jefferson both rebounded well.

Eventually, I'll get around to watching and listening to this game and giving more analysis. But it probably won't be tonight. And it probably won't be tomorrow. I need to let some of the shock and rage wear off before putting myself through that torturous event.

It may even have to wait until the Mocs win another game- which hopefully will happen Saturday.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Jackson State Game Updates

I just wanted to pass a note along about my post-game coverage of the Mocs game against Jackson State tomorrow night. The Mocs will be playing at the exact time that I will be travelling for Thanksgiving. So I will not be able to watch or listen to the game until later in the evening or the next morning. I will do that through Chattanooga All-Access once they post it On Demand, and I will give the post-game coverage after watching the game.


Jackson State Preview: Swanky SWAC Team Heads to McKenzie

The preseason favorite to win the SWAC, Jackson State, raids the Roundhouse on Wednesday night, and the Mocs need to be ready as both teams play their third game in the Global Sports Shootout.

Jackson State is 0-5 on the season, but over their last three games, they have played a ranked Baylor team close, a good Louisville team close, and a pretty good Marshall team close. Of course, that followed a 41 point thumping to TCU.

So, will the real Jackson State please stand up?

Based on the two previous games in the Shootout, Jackson State will try to slow the game down to a snail's pace and try to frustrate the Mocs into turnovers, and hope that they are in it at the end, with a couple of shots to win it.

Surprisingly, Jackson State has done a decent job in rebounding. They outrebounded Marshall, and were not just crushed on the boards by Louisville. That means that again, this will be a key point of contention for the Mocs. They will need to work hard to rebound well against these guys and prove that they can do it. They do rank highly nationally (321st out of 348 teams) in rebounding, but the Tigers have not been embarrassed against like opponents.

Jackson State also has not done an awful job of committing turnovers so far. So the Tigers are not beating themselves, is the basic point.

However, Jackson State is not a good shooting team at all. They rank 342nd in the country in points per game, and 339th in shooting percentage. Their percentage is an awful 32.8%. That is not just bad- it is putrid! The Mocs have made a lot of poor shooting teams look good over the last few years, though.

Tyrone Hanson now leads the Tigers in scoring at 11.4 points per game, and Jenniro Bush is averaging 11.2. Bush has been the team's leading scorer, until being held to three points against Marshall. Rod Melvin is shooting over 50 percent from three point range for the Tigers.

There is little doubt, even at 0-5, that this is going to be the SWAC's best team. They have the look and feel of the SWAC's best team. The schedule is tough, but the team is improving every time out.

The Mocs last year had a tendency to blow some home games that they shouldn't. *cough- Elon- cough, cough* We keep hearing that this year's team is different. Prove it. That's all I'm asking for. Prove it. Win this game. Don't need a last second shot to do it. Just win it. And win it by a reasonable margin.

For the Mocs to win it, they will need to control Bush. Bush is a match-up problem for almost any team. After all, he is listed at 6-8 as a guard. That is a TALL guard for any league. They are relatively tall, but the Mocs should be able to match their height.

This will be an interesting game to watch Keegan Bell. Bell has a tendency to not show up against the lesser opponents, but Bell could be a dominant force in a game like this.Bell needs to set the tone for the team. If he comes out with fire and energy, then the Mocs are likely to play that way. If he does not, then the rest of the Mocs may follow suit- and that would be a major problem. Also, the Tigers like to slow the game down. Bell likes to run. This may be a game that the Mocs need to really try to run. If Bell can get the game more uptempo, then the Tigers could have real problems keeping up. If Bell gets frustrated at the pace that the Tigers force him to play, then Bell could become liability and start turning the ball over.

Also, the Mocs need to start getting a little bit more out of the middle of the floor. Jefferson and Saffore have been fine, but they need just a little bit more for the Mocs to get where they want to go. I wouldn't mind seeing a little bit more from Early either.

Did Wattad finally get hot? Will the hot streak against Louisville carry over at home? Wattad needs to keep it going for sure. He could become a very valuable piece to the puzzle if he keeps on shooting well.

--I say it every game, but rebounding is paramount for the Mocs to have a shot to win this game.
--Bell's energy. Bring it, and the rest of the team should too.
--The tempo of the game. Sped up favors the Mocs. Slow it down favors the Tigers.
--Wattad's shooting. If he keeps on shooting lights out, Jackson State could have real problems.

--Start thinking about finishing over .500 for the month of November.
--Breathe a sigh of relief that the Mocs beat a team they should beat (these sorts of games always make me nervous).
--Wonder how the Mocs lost to Austin Peay at home.

--Not eat on Thanksgiving.
--Wonder how the Mocs beat Marshall on the road.
--Start thinking more seriously about the what the score will be for the next Heat-O-Meter.
--Sigh, go to bed, and remember that tomorrow is another day.

--The Mocs will shoot a little bit better at home than they did against Austin Peay.
--The Mocs will not be able to establish the tempo that they want consistently.
--Wattad will continue to shoot well.
--Bell will commit too many turnovers for my liking.
--Chattanooga will take a comfortable lead heading into the last five minutes, before folding a little bit down the stretch.
--Chattanooga 67, Jackson State 56. Mocs should come out with energy and enthusiasm, particularly if the crowd is behind them. They will win, but it won't always be pretty.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Global Sports Shootout Standings

Thru games as of November 22, 2010 (ties are broken by the head-to-head match-up):

1. Louisville 2-0
2. Chattanooga 1-1
3. Marshall 1-1
4. FIU 0-0
5. Jackson State 0-2

On Wednesday, the Mocs host Jackson State. On Saturday, Chattanooga visits FIU, while Marshall raids Louisville.

That will end the Mocs Shootout, but open FIU's Shootout. With a win over Marshall, Louisville will have eliminated everyone but FIU from winning it. If the Mocs can win their next two games, they will have locked up no worse than a second place finish.


On closer inspection.....

On closer inspection, I should say that the Mocs did not shoot too many threes. They shot 25 threes out of 55 shots. That is not a terrible percentage. The Mocs should expect to shoot in that range, and they hung around in rebounding. But Louisville shot lights out, and the Mocs turned the ball over 25 times. Can't do that against a good team and expect to win.

The Mocs really need to play better, and Odem's head was clearly not in the game.

Their game at home against Jackson State becomes very important before they head down to FIU to end the month of November and the Global Sports Shootout.


Global Sports Shootout- Marshall 66, Jackson State 60

So, maybe Jackson State is better than I want to give them credit for. That is two teams that they have played close in this round robin event so far, after playing Baylor close just before that.

Jackson State won the battle of the boards against Marshall by seven. Cane had ten points for the Thundering Herd, while Shaquille Johnson lead the way with 18. Tyrone Hanson had 20 for Jackson State, while De'Shaun Dixon had 14. Jenniro Bush was held to just three points.

It was a 55-40 lead for Marshall with six minutes left, but then Jackson State got going- though they were never able to trim the lead to one possession.

The Tigers like to slow the game down, and that seems to cause some problems for their opponents. They are also a decent defensive team.

Jackson State will go to Chattanooga on Wednesday night as the Global Sports Shooutout continues. Marshall will head to Louisville on Saturday night in the round robin event.

Louisville 106, Chattanooga 65

The Mocs shot too many threes.

Early in the game, the Mocs rebounded well, and they were the aggressor against Louisville. It was an impressive showing.

But then, Bell started turning the ball over, the whole team stopped being able to hold onto the ball, and Louisville got red hot shooting. And suddenly, the lead had exploded. They stopped being able to rebound, too.

It certainly didn't help things any that Louisville couldn't miss free throws either. A normally poor free throw shooting team suddenly started making them.

The good news for the Mocs is that if Louisville continues to play like that, they are going to give beat downs to a lot of teams. The Mocs will not be alone in the beat downs.

The Mocs needed Louisville to show up and play poorly, but the Jackson State game served as their wake up call.

The Mocs looked like they belonged on the floor with Louisville for the first 17 minutes of the first half. They were right in the game, and clearly looked like they belonged. Bell was playing well. They were rebounding well, and Wattad had finally found his stroke.

But the Mocs could not keep it up. It got ugly, and it is time to move on.

The Mocs will need to play better- but if they can beat Jackson State and FIU later on this week, they will lock up finishing no worse than second in the Global Sports Shootout. And that is something you can't really complain about, all things considered.


YUM! Basketball!

The Louisville Cardinals will be playing their third home regular season game in the KFC YUM! Center.

And we get to go in and hope they don't chew us up and spit us out.

As someone who has lived the past four years in this state of Kentucky, and listened to Kentucky and Louisville fans go back and forth, I can say, that I am excited about this game. Listening to the Cardinals radio network on my way from work, there was no mention of the game tonight. They were talking about the most painful moments in Louisville sports history (such as Michael Bush breaking his leg against Kentucky in the opening football game a few years ago).

WKRD- I wish you would have talked about the game some, but I guess I can understand. You guys don't know anything about the Mocs.

Hopefully, by the end of the night, they will know a whole lot more.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Game on ESPN3.com

The Mocs-Cardinals game will be on ESPN3.com. The game will begin at 7:00.

Click here for the link to all the basketball games on ESPN3.com.


Chattanooga at Louisville Preview: Is a Mocs Win in the Cards?

Chattanooga travels to Louisville to take on the Cardinals in the Global Sports Shootout. Both teams are 1-0 and the winner will likely become the favorite to win the round robin event, especially since if the Mocs win, they will be 2-0 against the two favorites of the tourney (Louisville and Marshall).

There are many problems for the Mocs. Louisville's has won the battle of the boards in both games, including their home opener against a very good Butler team. The Cardinals upset of Butler really showed just how good Louisville can be. Louisville's opponents have not shot the ball well at all either.

Terrence Jennings has been very good so far, with 13.5 points per game, and seven rebounds per game. Jennings is 6-9, 220 pounds. He will be a very difficult match-up for any Moc.

Rakeem Buckles is the leading rebounder with 9.5 boards per game. Buckles and Jennings are both awful free throw shooters, as Jennings is shooting 50 percent on the season and Buckles is under 43 percent.

Buckles is 6-8 and Jennings is 6-9. They are the two toughest match-ups for the Mocs. Preston Knowles is also a good player at guard, but the Mocs match-up reasonably well with him. Bell should be able to play OK against Knowles. We'll have to wait and see how that match-up works out for the Mocs.

The Mocs are shooting too many outside shots- but they are working a little bit better right now. They are working the ball patiently and if the outside shot is the best shot, then they need to take advantage of it.

Can Buckles or Jennings be slowed down? DeAntre Jefferson and Jeremy Saffore will have to play brilliantly to have any hope of containing them. Chris Early may have to play a near perfect game as well.

Marshall dominated the inside game against the Mocs. Louisville should be able to do more of the same. They can rebound well, and they can score it inside. The Mocs will need to shoot the ball well from outside to have any shot at all of winning.

--Mocs patience on getting good shots.
--The Mocs need to not get intimidated by the atmosphere like they were in Knoxville, but have not been since.
--Do the Mocs have enough fouls to give against Buckles and Jennings?

--Rub it in really good here in the state of Kentucky.
--Really wonder what happened against Austin Peay.
--Not sleep out of jubilation and be very tired at work.

--Wonder if the Mocs will ever win another game against a major conference team.
--Dismiss the Mocs chances of winning the Shootout.
--Sigh, and go to bed, knowing that tomorrow is another day.

--Several Mocs will foul out, including Jefferson, and possibly even Sam Watson.
--Louisville will not be as excited as they were against Butler, thus meaning that they will again show some signs that will make them tough to predict.
--Louisville will dominate the boards- but Chattanooga will be less intimidated than they were against the Vols, and keep the game closer.
--Louisville 75, Chattanooga 60. Louisville is just too big to think the Mocs can win. The Mocs will shoot well enough to hang around, but won't be able to get the job done in the end.


Global Sports Shootout- Battle of the Losers: Jackson State at Marshall

These two teams both lost on Saturday against Louisville and Chattanooga. However, they left with different feelings. Jackson State had to feel pretty good about how they performed against Louisville, while Marshall had to be disappointed to lose to the Mocs (in heartbreaking fashion).

DeAndre Kane and Tirrell Baines are the two leading scorers for the Thundering Herd and are both playing well so far this year. Kane had a tremendous game against the Mocs. However, Marshall is not a good three point shooting team. They were outrebounded by the Mocs.

Jenniro Bush is the leading scorer for the Tigers. He lead all scorers against Louisville the other night. At 0-4, the Tigers are in desperate need of a win, but they are not a good shooting team. They are shooting 32.1% from the field on the year, which is awful.

The Herd held the Mocs to under 37% shooting on Saturday night. If they can hold the Tigers down similarly, the Herd should be able to come up with their first win of the Shootout.

Marshall 71, Jackson State 54

Scanning the boxscore

Chris Early lead all Mocs with seven rebounds to go along with his team high 13 points.

The Mocs shot just 36.8% from the field, and took 32 of their 57 shots from three point range. They shot 25 free throws, and made 15. The 16 turnovers is not awful, and they outrebounded a team that scored the majority of their points from the paint. In other words, they outrebounded a team that is a bigger team than them.

That is huge for the Mocs.

One potential problem- the Mocs played a lot of players last night. They had ten players in double figures in minutes. Dontay Hampton played 12 minutes. Hampton has turned into one of the Mocs most valuable players. His game has really improved. When Bell leaves the game, the drop off is not as severe as it used to be. That is important. There's even the opportunity to move Bell to the two guard spot and keep Hampton at point- or the opposite.

Regardless, Hampton has played far better than I ever hoped he would.

Saffore played tremendously last night as well. His height gives him an advantage. Eight poins and seven boards for him.

The Mocs are clearly improving every game out. This was their best game yet. They'll need to be even better against Louisville tomorrow night!


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Global Sports Shootout Standings

The current Global Sports Shootout Standings:

1) Louisville 1-0
1) Chattanooga 1-0
3) FIU 0-0
4) Marshall 0-1
4) Jackson State 0-1


Global Sports Shootout- Louisville 62, Jackson State 45

With 7:30 minutes left, Louisville was leading Jackson State 47-39. That is too close for comfort for the Cardinals.

They outrebounded Jackson State 36-25. Terrence Jennings was the star, leading the Cardinals with 14 points. Rakeem Buckles came up with eight rebounds. But they shot just 27.3% from three point range. Jenniro Bush for the Tigers was the only player on Jackson State to score in double figures, leading all scorers with 16 points.

The Tigers only shot 31.5% from the field for the game, and Louisville's defense was really dominant. But Louisville didn't shoot well from three point range, and turned the ball over 19 times.

Louisville's next game in the Global Sports Shootout is against Chattanooga on Monday night. Jackson State's next game is at Marshall on Monday.


Chattanooga 69, Marshall 68

Charge this win to the Mocs.

The Mocs outrebounded Marshall by one. They also shot free throws reasonably well. However, in a game that sounded incredibly ugly with foul after foul called, the Mocs shot too many threes.

But none of that matters, because a charge was called on the final play of the game and instead of a game winning basket for Marshall, the Mocs came up with the stop, and the one point win. It was a controversial call, and I honestly can't say that I've ever seen a charge called on the games final play. Bell took the charge.

Marshall did not shoot threes well in this game- and they did not shoot free throws particularly well either. Marshall certainly dominated the paint, despite not winning the rebounds. The Mocs shot the ball just well enough, and played very good defense in stretches.

Don't just skate over the fact that the Mocs were 12.5 point underdogs. They were 22 point underdogs to Tennessee. The Mocs clearly are improving. This is a team that is supposed to be in contend for an upper echelon finish in Conference USA, which often gets multiple teams in the NCAA. And the Mocs just went on the road and delivered.

Marshall was capable of beating them throughout the night. The Herd kept on trying to pull away, including a 16-0 run in the first half that left the Mocs down ten. But they fought back and hung around- in the first half due to Chris Early's hot shooting. He scored 13 in the first half, which matched his career high in his homecoming.

The Mocs showed a great deal of resilience in this one. They just kept on fighting back and fighting back. And they hung tough. Bell, Saffore, Early, and Wattad came up with huge plays throughout the night and wound up winning. Bell scored 12, and Wattad 11.

The complaint that I had about them shooting too many threes (32 for the game) is partially downgraded a bit. The Mocs were much more patient on offense, and they calmed themselves down. This was huge for the Mocs. If they are shooting threes, that's fine, if they are playing within themselves and not just throwing up shots. And the Mocs did that in this one. They turned the ball over sixteen times, which sounds like a few more than they would like, but only had six in the second half.

The Mocs are clearly an improving team. It is really unfortunate that the Mocs could not come up with the win against Austin Peay at home at this point, because with how they have played over the last couple of games, they deserve to be 3-1.

The Mocs are now 1-0 in the Global Sports Shootout, and Marshall (the clear favorite to finish second behind Louisville) is 0-1. The Mocs now get a shot at Louisville to really make their mark on the Global Sports Shootout on Monday night.

The Mocs are definitely starting to come together. Amazingly, they are 2-1 on the road. Shulman has struggled on the road over the course of his career, but he has it going on right now.

More to follow once I get some looks at the final stats.


Mocs Lose To Wofford- Time To Take It Out on Marshall!

Wofford beat thee Mocs in football today, likely eliminating them from the playoff chase. It was not a good way to end the year for the Mocs football team.

That being said, it is time for the Mocs to take out all their anger on Marshall. Let's show the world what the Mocs are made of!

It's time to beat Marshall!

Let's Thunder To Huntington!

The Mocs need this win badly. A win over a pretty good Conference USA team would do wonders for the Mocs confidence heading into Louisville.

A win would get them out of this early season hold that they dug for themselves. It would help the Mocs potential NCAA seeding down the road. Can the Mocs pull off the upset? They are 12.5 point underdogs to the Thundering Herd. That is a lot of points.

The Mocs can certainly pull off the upset. Marshall is not invincible. They have not faced a team anywhere near as good as the Mocs yet. This is a golden oppportunity for the Mocs to get a road upset in the Global Sports Shootout.

Everyone is excited about the football game today, and rightfully so. The Moc fans hopefully will be equally excited about this critical basketball game, that could be the difference in a 12 or 13 seed and a 15 seed in the NCAA Tournament (if the Mocs get that far).

Huge Saturday for Mocs Sports

For those that follow football (which most of you probably do), the Mocs football team has a big game today.

The Mocs head to Wofford to take on the Terriers at 3:00 on SportSouth. A Mocs win likely puts them in the playoffs (possibly even hosting a first round game). A Mocs loss likely puts them out of the playoffs. Great opportunity for the football program to come up with the second playoff berth in their history. It would be completely remiss of me to not to mention this on this blog, even though this is primarily a Men's basketball blog.

The basketball Mocs will follow up the football game with the trip to Marshall!


Friday, November 19, 2010

Marshall Preview- Renewing the Rivalry

The Mocs and the Herd was one of the great rivalries in the SoCon in the 80s and into the 90s. Marshall's last game in the SoCon might be one that you remember. It's certainly one that this guy remembers. And it's also one that I remember very well.

The Mocs Sweet Sixteen run never happens if they can't escape that overtime Southern Conference Championship Game. And then, Marshall was gone. Gone to bigger and better things. Their basketball program has never been the same, but things are starting to turn around.

The Herd currently have five guys averaging in double figures in points (Tirrell Baines, Johnny Thomas, Dago Pena, DeAndre Kane, and Shaquille Johnson). Eladio Espinosa leads the team with six rebounds a game. Johnny Higgins is averaging seven assists a game, 5.5 rebounds, and nine points per game. They are shooting 54.3% from the field, while just 27.8% from three point range and 63.6% from the free throw line.

Yet, none of that really matters, because we know nothing about this team, yet. They have beaten West Virginia Tech and Glenville State- not exactly a "Who's Who" of any level of basketball. This will be their first game against a Division 1 team.

Compare that to the Mocs, who have played three D-1 teams already that have lost a total of two games (Austin Peay lost one, and Kennesaw State lost to the Mocs). The Mocs have played teams that have beaten an A-10 team, a Missouri Valley team, and an ACC team.

Will the Mocs schedule be an advantage in a game like this one? It's just hard to know for sure. Sometimes playing your first tough game can be an advantage. Sometimes it can be a shock to the system.

Also, something else is familiar about Marshall. Tom Herrion, the former College of Charleston coach, is now the head man at Marshall. Mocs fans love to pick on him, because he reminds them of a furry creature.

Johnson is a returning starter. Higgins may be the most talented newcomer though for the Herd.

Marshall shot 69% from the floor against Glenville State, which was a new program record.

The biggest question is how the Mocs will play. Obviously the Mocs are not a good rebounding team, and Marshall has been rebounding well, albeit against weaker competition. So, can the Mocs rebound? That will determine a lot of the answer to the question of whether or not the Mocs win.

Orlando Allen could be a nightmare match-up for the Mocs. He transferred from Oklahoma, and is 6-10. However, he is yet to score on the year, and has just four total rebounds in 32 minutes. That is not a good start for the big man.

The Thundering Herd are a little bit bigger than the Mocs, but they are not a huge team that will provide massive match-up problems for the Mocs. They will be a bigger team, but not so much so that the Mocs can't hope to match-up.

Keegan Bell will need to play well, but more importantly, someone will need to shoot well. Will that be Taylor? Or Odem? Or Wattad? Or Bell? Doesn't matter. The Mocs need to shoot better so that the inside loosens up for Jefferson and Saffore to operate.

Shulman has said that Jefferson will not start despite the fact that he will get starter minutes. Shulman believes that Jefferson plays better coming off the bench than as a starter. I'm not sure that I buy it considering how well Jefferson played against Kennesaw State, but I do believe that Shulman knows what he is doing and is trying to motivate his players.

--Rebounding. Probably will be on this list for most of the year at this point.
--Free throw shooting. The Mocs need to shoot 70% to stay in this game.
--Be the aggressor. The Mocs need to be the aggressor early in the game, since Marshall is not used to playing D-1 teams. The Mocs can jump out early if they play the role of aggressor.

--Regret the Austin Peay loss even more, because the Mocs could have been 3-1.
--Start plotting the best way to cook a Cardinal.

--Console myself by remembering- "Chris Mims with the putback...YES!! MOCS WIN!"
--Probably throw something.
--Take a deep breath, sigh, go to sleep, and remember that there still are more games to be played.

--Wattad won't be able to resist shooting for a second straight game. Over/under- 14.5. (I'll take over.)
--Bell won't be able to resist shooting threes in this environment. Over/under-8.5. (I'll take over.)
--The Mocs will shoot the best they have all year and play with the most confidence they have had all year.
--Rebounding will still be a major problem. The Mocs will come up woefully short in that department.
--Marshall 78, Chattanooga 71. The Mocs can't win another road game like this, can they? Until they rebound more consistently well, it is going to be hard to pick them in situations like this.


Global Sports Shootout- Jackson State at Louisville

Jackson State is 0-3 after a 24 point loss to TCU, a 41 point loss to UCF, and a 14 point loss to Baylor. Strangely, they were very competitive against Baylor, who also happens to be the best team on the schedule so far.

They rank 336th in the country in shooting percentage, and are averaging 50 points per game. However, they forced 26 turnovers against Baylor. Rod Melvin put home 22 points in that one- but no one else had more than 8. He is shooting nearly 64 percent from three point range on the season. Jenirro Bush is the leading scorer, with 12.3 points per game.

Can this Tigers team hang close and upset Louisville?

Louisville has played just one game, and that was an upset win over Butler. The Cardinals played very emotionally with the opening of their new building, and this game will not be played with as much enthusiasm. This team is expected to be a middle of the pack Big East team, as they lack depth in a big way.

Rakeem Buckles scored 17 against Butler and had 11 rebounds, while the fan favorite, Preston Knowles scored 12, and Terrence Jennings scored 13.

This is the opening game of the Global Sports Shootout- tipping off at the same time as the Mocs-Thundering Herd game on Saturday night (7:30 PM Eastern).

This is also probably the biggest mismatch of the round robin event, as Louisville is the favorite in the five team evetn and Jackson State is expected to finish fifth.

The SWAC favorites are not likely to be able to match up in any way with Louisville. But the Cardinals may come out a little flat after such an emotional win over Butler earlier this week. The crowd will be dead, and the team may be a bit lifeless. All that said, Louisville should still win easily. They haven't played since Tuesday, and Jackson State played on Thursday night. Just one more thing going against the Tigers. Louisville wins, handily.

Louisville 81, Jackson State 55.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

TFP: Mocs get Illinois center

Huge news on the Mocs front...

And by huge, we mean HUGE!

The Mocs signed Emmanuel Ochenje, a 6-9 center from Illinois, is a major deal. He is a 4 star recruit, that scored a 93 out of 100 on ESPN.com's recruiting service. That is one of the highest rated recruits coming out of high school that the Mocs have ever signed, and certainly the best one Shulman has ever signed.

The Mocs will need him. DeAntre Jefferson and Jeremy Saffore both are leaving after this year, so the size will be a major plus on the roster next year.

A true freshman of this caliber is as good of news as the Mocs could get. I have no idea if he will qualify, but there is no reason to think he would not. Assuming he qualifies, and the Mocs have him and Bell on the floor next year, along with Drazen Zlovaric (a transfer who is sitting out this year from Georgia who is also 6-9), Odem, Taylor, Early, Wattad and Burroughs, and suddenly next year is shaping up pretty well.

The height on next year's team if Zlovaric and Ochenje can play at the same time would be a huge advantage over anyone in the SoCon, and maybe taller than most teams in the country. Who knows if either of them are good enough to start next year, but a person can dream, right?


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Global Sports Shootout

The Global Sports Shootout features five teams playing a round robin format. The winner will be the team that has the best record in the format. Of course, it is slightly tilted, because Louisville and Marshall play an inordinate number of home games compared to everyone else.

Here is the schedule for the whole tourney as we look ahead:

November 20
Chattanooga at Marshall
Jackson State at Louisville

November 22
Chattanooga at Louisville
Jackson State at Marshall

November 24
Jackson State at Chattanooga

November 27
Marshall at Louisville
Chattanooga at FIU

November 29
FIU at Marshall

December 1
FIU at Louisville

December 4
FIU at Jackson State

So Chattanooga will be playing their last game in the Shootout when FIU is playing their first game. A little odd to be sure. But this is not an absolutely awful way for the Mocs to play in their "preseason exempt tournament."

The favorite? Louisville. Second favorite? Marshall. Third and fourth? Chattanooga or FIU, probably. Fifth should be Jackson State, more than likely. That being said, third through fifth is pretty much up in the air. And who knows? If the Mocs could upset Marshall, maybe they can jump into second.

This blog will probably have some of the most in-depth coverage anywhere of this Shootout, as I will attempt to focus not just on the Mocs games, but on every teams showdowns.

It all starts Saturday!

Bad Officiating

I forgot to mention that the officials appeared to be HORRID in the game. JR commented on it. The KSU announcers mentioned it. Both coaches complained constantly...and got the officials to change their call...then complained more...and got the officials to change the call back.

Um??? Really???

This was bad officiating at its finest. At least, that was how I heard it, and by the accounts from people who were at the game, the officiating was absolutely awful. That's not good.

Nothing more to say about it. After all, I didn't get to watch it, so I can't really say how good or bad it was. Just thought the game shouldn't go by without mentioning it.

Chattanooga 73, Kennesaw State 69

Check the stats. It's easy to see why the Mocs won.

Rebounding? Mocs 35, Owls 33.

Free throws? Mocs 73.3%.

Turnovers? Mocs commit 10.

Three point shots? Mocs take 16 out of 58 total shots (27.6%).

I said before the game that the Mocs don't win a close game because they weren't rebounding well, and weren't shooting free throws well. Kennesaw State was also struggling with rebounding, so I was hoping maybe that would balance out.

And it did.

I was hoping the Mocs free throw shooting against Tennessee was more what we should expect than how they shot against Austin Peay.

And for tonight, it was.

The three point shots and turnovers were just an added bonus.

The player that I said before the season would be the Most Important Player on the team was DeAntre Jefferson, and tonight, Jefferson had 16 points and ten rebounds. The double-double that Jefferson accounted for makes him the key player in this game. Jefferson double-double made all the difference in this team's performance.

Odem scored 14 off the bench again. He made 6 of 6 from the free throw line, including two huge ones that put the game away with under five seconds left. Odem stunk it up against Tennessee, but seems to be playing much better now. Maybe he got a fire lit under him with that performance.

Very confused by the minutes stats currently listed on GoMocs.com. It only adds up to 192 mninutes. If accurate (and honestly I don't remember), then Shulman has really shut down the rotation. Only six played double digit minutes. The five starters played the vast majority, with Odem playing 14 minutes and scoring 14 points, and Cage playing four minutes and scoring seven points.

Dontay Hampton may have been the key to the game tonight. He made some defensive plays that really helped win the game with Bell in foul trouble and eventually fouling out. Wattad also fouled out, and took just seven shots. He had six assists tonight- maybe changeing the shoot first attitude that he has had so far this year. He looked very good tonight.

Taylor also made some big shots.

This was an all-around good team performance. Do the Mocs need to play better than this? Absolutely. The Mocs can not settle on this. Kennesaw State had just beaten Georgia Tech by 17 at home. The Mocs play at Georgia Tech later on in the year. So the Owls are playing very well, and Chattanooga had been 0-2 on the season. Getting a win (any win) right now was really important.

Can the Mocs build on this? Possibly. They need to play better if they want to beat Marshall or Louisville on the remainder of this road trip, obviously. Is it possible? Sure it is.

But this is the start. And an important one for the Mocs.


Kennesaw State Preview: No Truth To The Rumors

There is absolutely, positively ZERO truth to the rumor that the stomach bug that has engulfed my life since about half an hour after my previous post on this blog was due to the Mocs performance so far this year.

I think it is far more likely that I picked it up from one of my equally sick kids.

Regardless, the Mocs take the floor again tonight, and I don't have the time to do a full preview, but let's give some quick facts.

The Mocs must rebound to win. They have lacked rebounding so far, in a HUGE way. The good news for the Mocs- the Owls have not been a tremendous rebounding team either. They were outrebounded by Georgia Tech by three, and were outrebounded by Georgia Southwestern by six. So this is not a huge advantage for the Owls as it might be.

They shot over 50 percent from the field against Georgia Southwestern, despite shooting under 25 percent from three point range. Against Georgia Tech, they shot just 47 percent, but shot 44 percent from three point range.

Georgia Southwestern shot 43 percent from the floor, while Georgia Tech shot 35 percent from the floor. Georgia Southwestern actually lead by seven early in the game, but Georgia Tech never lead.

Markeith Cummings has been very good so far, and Spencer Dixon scored 27 against the Yellow Jackets.

Really, this has been a tale of two teams. Against Georgia Southwestern, the Owls were average at best. Against Georgia Tech, they played unbelievable. Which team shows up tonight?

The Mocs have to rebound better and shoot free throws better if they expect to win. They did those things much worse against the Governors on Monday than they did against Tennessee. But Bell, Jefferson, and Wattad have to become better scorers. If Wattad is the scorer that everyone seems to think he is, he needs to start showing it- TONIGHT!

In the end, the Mocs just aren't a team that can win a close game right now- can't shoot free throws and can't rebound. Without going into more detail, let's jump right to...

--The Mocs will jump out to an early lead because Kennesaw State will be emotionally drained from their big win the other night against Georgia Tech.
--The Owls will start to turn things around with about eight minutes left in the first half and be even by halftime.
--The second half will be back and forth.
--Wattad will shoot approximately 16 shots again.
--Kennesaw State 71, Chattanooga 67. Can't make free throws. Can't rebound. Can't win a close game.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Austin Peay 70, Chattanooga 67

Well, that was...tremendous...and painful.

Or tremendously painful.

Getting outrebounded by 12 (46-34) is how you lose a game like this one. We can all point at the last second three by Caleb Brown and say that is how we lost. To be honest, I don't really blame that. Bell had a hand in his face. The defense was solid, but just did not work out. Brown had made 1 of 7 shots so far.

Hard to complain about him hitting a shot with a hand in his face.

They also shot a much better percentage of their shots from the three point range. They shot just 25 of their 60 shots from three point range. Of course, they made only 32% of their three pointers. So that is not good.

The Mocs only made 7 of 12 from the free throw line, and the Governors made 14 of 24. All those extra trips to the free throw line really cost the Mocs. The Mocs turned the ball over just fourteen times, and forced sixteen turnovers. The Governors shot under forty percent from the field.

All the signs (other than rebounding and free throws) point to the Mocs winning this game.

But you can't give up fourteen offensive rebounds and get outrebounded by twelve and expect to win a close basketball game. That's the problem.

The offense looked much better- much more like they had a purpose and a plan when they were playing. The defense was aggressive and challenging.

People may say that Bell didn't play well, but he played much more like I would expect him to play. He came up with eight assists. He did have four turnovers and only three points, but he played like a point guard. He was not bad.

The biggest problem was that Omar Wattad shot sixteen shots- double the number of the next highest Moc. He only made 25 percent of those, including just 1 of 7 from three point range. That being said, the three he made was clutch at the end. It is beginning to look like he is the offensive weapon that the Mocs expect to use, and he just is in a shooting slump right now. He needs to heat up in a hurry to get the Mocs back on track.

Wattad in the postgame says that it is going to come. He says that he is going to eventually start making the shots. He needs to. The Mocs need him desperately to get going.

Wattad is also agreed that the rebounding was the biggest problem. Stating that the boxing out was not there.

Jefferson also needs to get hot. He scored just four points. The Mocs need his offense inside for sure. He did get some touches tonight. He just couldn't get the job done.

The Mocs looked a lot better. If Wattad starts shooting better, and the rebounding gets turned around, the Mocs will be a lot better very soon.


Final Thoughts- The Height Stuff

Austin Peay has one player on the roster over 6-8, and that is a 6-9 freshman that did not play against Saint Louis.

Edmondson is a 6-4 guard, so he has the ability to be a tough guard to cover with a little bit of height.

The Mocs are not a really tall team. However they have height at the guard position. They are not tall on the interior, particularly, but neither is Austin Peay. There is virtually not difference in height between these two teams.

25 Hours of Basketball Tip-Off on ESPN

For those of us that do not go to sleep immediately at 9:00 PM after the Mocs game tonight, there will be plenty of basketball on through the night and into tomorrow. ESPN is running their 25 hours of basketball- below is their schedule for the day. Only one future Mocs opponent- Louisville- is on this schedule.

7:00 PM Hampton at Wake Forest, ESPNU
9:00 PM Siena at Minnesota, ESPNU
11:00 PM Pepperdine at UCLA, ESPNU
12:00 AM Miami, FL at Memphis, ESPN
2:00 AM St. John's at Saint Mary's, ESPN
4:00 AM Central Michigan at Hawaii, ESPN
6:00 AM Stony Brook at Monmout, ESPN
8:00 AM Robert Morris at Kent State, ESPN
10:00 AM Northeastern at Southern Illinois, ESPN
12:00 PM Oral Roberts at Tulsa, ESPN
2:00 PM LaSalle at Baylor, ESPN
4:00 PM Virginia Tech at Kansas State, ESPN
5:30 PM Marist at Villanova, ESPNU
6:00 PM Ohio State at Florida, ESPN
7:30 PM Miami, OH at Duke, ESPNU
8:00 PM Butler at Louisville, ESPN
9:30 PM Belmont at Tennessee, ESPNU
10:00 PM South Carolina at Michigan State, ESPN
11:00 PM San Diego State at Gonzaga, ESPN2

So, if you've missed college basketball a lot, and you wake up and get ready to go to work, be sure to tune in to the thrilling Robert Morris-Kent State game!

Regardless, catch some college basketball sometime tonight and tomorrow on the tube. It should be good.

It will be much easier to enjoy if the Mocs win tonight!


It's Better To Be Peay'd Off Than Peay'd On

The Mocs are angry. At least, according to quotes and interviews, they appear to be. They sound like a team that was shockingly disappointed in how they played, and expected better against Tennessee on Friday night.

They expected to compete. They expected to win.

So now, they seem to be little ticked off. Enter Austin Peay.

They need to come out and play with that anger and that frustration and take it out on a solid (but not spectacular) Austin Peay team. They need to be the aggressor on the boards, and in the action. They need to take the game right at Austin Peay, instead of having it come at them.

If the Mocs can bottle up their apparent rage and anger and frustration and let it all hang out tonight, then they will not end the night Peay'd on. They need to play a little Peay'd off.

GO MOCS! Five hours to tip time....

Expect Tightness

Expect this game to be tight the whole way.

Why? It's pretty simple- more history lessons.

Chattanooga has won four straight against Austin Peay, is 7-0 all-time against them in Chattanooga, leads the all-time series 10-6, and it is 6-1 since the Mocs moved to D1.

However, despite all that, in their seven meetings as D1 programs, the largest margin of victory was fifteen, in McKenzie Arena when the Mocs won 77-62 in 2000.

These two teams have a history of playing close games that the Mocs find a way to win. That's basically how I picked this game to go. The Mocs are more than good enough to win this game. They just need to go out and prove it. But don't expect a blowout on either side. They just don't happen in this series.

Who is Austin Peay?

Click the link above to go to the Wikipedia article on Austin Peay.

Click this link to go to the Tennessee Encyclopedia article on him.

Maybe I am a bad Tennessean for not knowing much of anything about Austin Peay. But in the name of continous improvement, I did a little research on Austin Peay and figured that the readers of this blog may also desire to be improved in such a fashion.

Austin Peay was a governor back in the 1920's of the state of Tennessee. He was a major backer of education and believed in providing a lot of support for the education system in Tennessee. He also helped change the tax system to get more revenus into the state government so that they could provide more roads and education, and other things of that nature.

He died while in office in 1927. They named a bridge after him, and a newly purchased university in Clarksville, that the Mocs will take on on the basketball floor tonight.

Click on the links- do more research on your own.

Cue the music...The More You Know.


TFP- Mocs ready to host Austin Peay

Click the link above to go to the Times Free Press article.

The Mocs seem excited to be home. Shulman really wants the Mocs to show up and play well. He needs them too. It will help his job security immensely.

Of course, Bell also mentions the team wants to mark their territory. Like a dog marks their territory. Or pee on it. Or Peay on it. Given tonight's oppponent, maybe no one should mention marking their territory.

Regardless, this game is a big one, and if I were in Chattanooga, I would be making it a point to be there. Hope everyone gets out to the game. Should be a great one, and a big one for how this season goes.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Austin Peay Preview- Prove It!

The Mocs were beaten handily by Tennessee on Friday night, losing by twenty in the end. However, it was probably not really that close.

The answer from Moc fans: Let's wait and see what happens Monday night against Austin Peay, a team more our own size.

Well, it's time to prove it.

Austin Peay is picked to finish fourth in the Ohio Valley Conference. However, on Friday night, they beat Saint Louis 64-62, who was picked to finish sixth in the tough Atlantic 10. So maybe, just maybe, this Austin Peay team is better than fourth in the OVC.

The Governors shot 47.7% for the game against the Billikens, lead by Josh Terry's 18 points and Tyshwan Edmondson's 17 points. No one else was in double digits. The Governors made just three three pointers on six attempts. They shot 70.4% from the free throw line. They outrebounded the Billikens 32-23, allowing just six offensive rebounds. John Fraley had seven rebounds, while Edmondson had six. Edmondson made two free throws with under five seconds left to give them the two point lead, and Terry intercepted the inbounds pass to seal the win.

They committed sixteen turnovers with eleven assists, while forcing thirteen turnovers. The Billikens shot nearly 47% from the field, while making 4 of 18 threes.

So, what does all that mean?

The Mocs struggled to get offensive rebounds against Tennessee. Will they be able to get offensive rebounds against the Governors? They did not shoot the ball well, and took an inordinate amount of threes against Tennessee. The Governors did a good job defending the three point line- meaning more poor shooting could be in order. They committed 19 turnovers, while forcing 11. That is actually not bad against Tennessee's pressure defense, but they need to not commit a lot of turnovers if they are going to shoot a lot of threes and not get offensive rebounds, because there are not many points to be had if they turn the ball over on top of that.

The Mocs defense was good against the Vols three point shooters. Of course, Shulman said after the game that he did not like that. If the Governors do not like to shoot threes, what in the world is going to happen with "FIRE!!!!" in this game? Will Austin Peay be willing to put up the shots that they want to from three point range?

DeAntre Jefferson and Chris Early did not look good on the offensive end on Friday night. Will they look better at home? Shulman sure thought that we should expect them to. What about Burroughs? Will he bring it at home? Will Bell press too much in front of the home crowd as he sometimes seems to do? Or will he be in the flow like he was against Tennessee when he scored 20 without really forcing it?

The Mocs offense certainly needs to look more like they want to work it a little than coming down and firing up a three every time down the floor. They need to work it on offense. We'll see if they are able to.

--Mocs ability to offensive rebound.
--Number of shots that Austin Peay takes from three point range, as they should hit a good percentage and they should be relatively open.
--Omar Wattad's three point shooting (not previously mentioned 1 for 11 against Tennessee)
--Percentage of shots from three point range for the Mocs.

--Breathe a huge sigh of relief.
--Believe that the Mocs can win the SoCon on the same floor in March.
--Get even more excited about Wednesday's game against Kennesaw State.

--Throw things.
--Wonder if this blog wasn't such a good idea.
--Wonder if spending money to watch the Mocs on Chattanooga All-Access was money well spent.
--Take a deep breath, realize that the world is not ending, and the Mocs can still have a nice season...and go to sleep.

--The Mocs will shoot more than 50 percent of their shots from three point range, causing me to actually start premature balding.
--The Governors will not shoot nearly enough threes given the FIRE!!!! defense prompting Shulman to say, "We didn't give up nearly enough points from three point range- that's just not the John Shulman way."
--Wattad will better than 1 of 11 from three point range- I'm looking for 2 for 9.
--The Mocs find a way to gut out a home win, reminding me why despite some of the things that I question sometimes about Shulman, I always wind up behind him in the end. Chattanooga 67, Austin Peay 63.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Tennessee 82, Chattanooga 62

The Mocs were no match for the Vols on this night.

I was unable to watch this game do to travel outside of the coverage area of SportSouth.

But I listened to the majority of the game. And the game went somewhat as expected. The biggest problem to me was the rebounding. The Mocs could not get any second chances. And if they can not get second chances, that does not bode well. Teams that don't shoot well need to rebound well on the offensive end, and the Mocs did not.

Too many long shots. Not enough offensive rebounding...and a few too many turnovers.
For the rest of it, it would be better to not reflect on this game for too long. The Mocs were not likely to win this game. They need to play better against Austin Peay on Monday night at home.

The Mocs are not a great team- yet. There were too many long shots and not enough rebounding. I really don't know what else to say...except that tomorrow is another day.

It's Go Time!!!

Let's get this season tipped off!

We'll see how it goes....

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tennessee Preview- "FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!" Could Mocs win BECAUSE of Fire?

The Mocs and Vols are playing a basketball game on Friday night at 9:00 on SportSouth, as many of you know.

Nothing frustrates Moc fans more than the "Fire" defense that Shulman employs. It doubles the post, leaving open perimeter shooters. If these players are making shots, then they continue to be left open, and they pour points home. Many teams have set records for three pointers made in a game for their school against the Mocs since Shulman has become the head coach. This drives Moc fans crazy, in many cases.

However, the Vols shot under 25 percent from three point range against Indianapolis. The inside game was not productive either, and more than 50 percent of their shots were from three point range.

So if the Vols aren't shooting well, "Fire" might just be the perfect strategy to contain this offense. It's a strange theory, but one that might just work.

Scotty Hopson is the key to the Vols. He is the most important player. He will be their emotional and physical leader. He played just nine minutes against Indianapolis and fouled out. That could easily be why he played so poorly. He has not yet embraced his role as a leader on this team, and until he does, this team will be capable of getting beaten on any given night. Inconsistency could easily plague this team until Hopson learns some cinsistency.

Tobias Harris is going to be a stud, and he played better than anyone else against Indianapolis. But Harris will be playing in his first non-exhibition game. He could cetainly hammer away at the Mocs inside- unless of course, FIRE actually works!

What an amazing concept! Could FIRE actually lead the Mocs to victory over the Vols? Could FIRE be the difference? It could!

Then again, the Vols could shoot 75 percent from three point range and score 140 points because of FIRE. But that's the beauty of FIRE! You never know what you're going to get!

The Mocs offense could have real problems against the Vols defense, regardless. Keegan Bell needs to play like a point guard and control the game. If he can keep from committing turnovers and control the pace of the game against the Vols pressure defense, then the Mocs have a shot in the halfcourt setting.

Athletic players like Omar Wattad and Troy Cage are going to have to play very well, Jefferson, Burroughs, and Early will have to hold their own inside. It wouldn't hurt if Taylor and Odem shot the ball well, either. But those things have to happen for the Mocs to score against the Vols.

And that's where the Mocs are going to have problems. They are going to have a lot of problems scoring points against this defense.

The Mocs strugggled shooting against Tennessee Wesleyan in their exhibition game. They will have to shoot the ball better against the Vols.

Both teams did an adequate but not great job rebounding in their exhibition games. That could be a key battle for both teams.

--The Vols shooting percentage from long range.
--The percentage of three pointers that the Vols take compared to their overall number of shots.
--Number of turnovers by the Mocs.

--Run around yelling, "GO MOCS!"
--Visit MocFans.com so that I can celebrate with all the Moc fans out there!
--Visit InsideTennessee.com so that I can watch it meltdown.

--Avoid MocFans.com, because there will be calls for Shulman's head on a platter (regardless of the final score).
--Sigh and go to sleep.

--The Vols will not put 13 players on the floor. Probably.
--Bruce Pearl will accidentally tell his players not to tell the NCAA they are playing at this "barbecue...er...basketball game."
--Neither team will shoot free throws well. Bank on it.
--Both offenses will struggle.
--There will be a time in the second half that I think, "The Mocs are going to pull this thing out!"
--The Mocs will just not shoot well enough to be able to pull off an upset like this. The Mocs will wind up losing, but put up a good fight. Tennessee 77, Chattanooga 59.

TFP- Seasoned Mocs ready to face UT

The Times Free Press article is linked above.

This is why the Mocs have a chance. They have experience playing in big games. Not a ton of experience- but enough.

Talent enough to be recruited at major universities. Experience playing in some big moments at those major universities.

The Mocs may or may not win on Friday night. But it won't be because they lack the experience necessary to pull it off. Or at least, it shouldn't be.

The Mocs are capable of winning this game, unless the Vols come out and play very well.

The very interesting quote is from Shulman saying that Early belonged in the game with UConn. Having tried to block that game from my memory, I had to go back and really search my memory back. The way I remembered it, Early did look good. And he was the only one out there that did not seem intimidated. I had hoped at the time that he would be able to build on that- but he didn't really seem to last year. We'll have to see if he can this year or not.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pomeroy Not High On Mocs

Ken Pomeroy is not high on the Mocs. Not that it matters what he thinks. But he also does a good job as basketball analyst...at least mathematically.

His predictions of us being 213 in the rankings, with just a 3% chance of upsetting Tennessee on Friday night, and a 13-17 (8-10 in the SoCon) record is very disheartening. At least, from a purely basketball perspective, it is disheartening. Hopefully, the Mocs can perform better than that.

The question is, how? He has us beating Austin Peay, Kennesaw State, and Jackson Satte in the first month, which puts us at 3-4, which is probably about right. He has us losing at Elon, and at home to Murray State and Appalachian State, but winning the remainder of our December games, and then it is into SoCon play. As sad as this sounds, that seems fairly realistic.

Basically, our shot is outperform in the SoCon. If we do that, we have a shot to drastically outperform his marks. Also winning at FIU, or beating a Tennessee or Louisville would be a nice start.

In other words, some breaks need to go our way. Maybe they will. Who knows? Here's hoping that the Mocs get everything going their way- starting Friday night!


So Close...Yet So Far Away...

Anyone that just watched College of Charleston lose to Maryland by a single point knows how close the Cougars got to cashing in on a key SoCon early season win. They just couldn't quite get it done.

Here's the deal: Goudelock is good. Very good. The rest of the Cougars are OK. CofC was very lucky to be in the game- because the Cougars turned the ball over a ton, and Maryland was pathetic from the free throw line. If the Terps had made some free throws, then this game would have been a much bigger difference. If the Cougars had been able to avoid turnovers on the offensive end, the would never have blown their late lead.

The Cougars are good. They may be the best in the SoCon. But they are turnover prone. And they are still CofC- the team that can look brilliant out of conference, and then not find a way to win the tournament once it is here.

TFP- Mocs dismiss Vols' loss

Read the Times-Free Press story by clicking the above link.

The Mocs seem to be having the proper response to the Vols loss to Indianapolis.

Who cares? It just means nothing in the whole scheme of things. The Vols could play completely differently.

"They were sloppy," said Cage. And that's true. They were sloppy, and it showed. But so were the Mocs.

On Friday night, none of that will matter. All that will matter is what happens on that floor for those two hours starting at about 9:00 Eastern. The team that has improved the most since their exhibition games will probably win. We'll find out on Friday.

Around the SoCon

This week the SoCon gets their schedule underway. College of Charleston, Wofford, Appalachian State, and Western Carolina are considered the favorites in the conference, as they are the top two teams in both preseason rankings.

So let's look at this week's schedule:

Nov 10
Coaches vs. Cancer- College of Charleston at Maryland 7:00, ESPNU

Nov 12
Samford at Youngstown State 7:00
North Greenville College at Furman 7:00
The Citadel at Richmond 7:00
UNC-Greensboro at VCU 7:30
Wofford at Minnesota 8:00
Appalachian State at Tulsa 8:00
Western Carolina at Clemson 8:00
Georgia Southern at Notre Dame 8:30
Elon at South Carolina 9:00 (EDIT: Just spotted this game on Fox SportsSouth Friday night)
Chattanooga at Tennessee 9:00, SportSouth

Nov 13
Davidson at Penn 7:00
College of Charleston at Holy Cross 7:00

Nov 14
Florida State at UNC-Greensboro 3:30, SportSouth

Nov 15
College of New Jerset at Elon 7:00
Carver Bible College at Georgia Southern 7:00
Wofford at Clemson 7:00
Austin Peay at Chattanooga 7:00
Tennessee-Wesleyan at Samford 8:00

Nov 16
Montreat at Appalachian State 7:00
Coastal Carolina at College of Charleston 7:00
UNC-Asheville at Furman 7:00
The Citadel at Charleston Southern 7:30
Western Carolina at DePaul 8:30

Nov 17
Chattanooga at Kennesaw State 7:30

Nov 18
Puerto Rico Tip Off- Davidson vs. West Virginia 11:30 AM, ESPNU
Charleston Classic- USC Upstate vs. Wofford 2:30
Reinhardt College at Georgia Southern 7:30

Nov 19
Puerto Rico Tip Off- Davidson vs. TBA ESPNU
Charleston Classic- Wofford vs. TBA
Coaches vs. Cancer- College of Charleston vs. Rhode Island 4:30
Furman at Kent State 7:00
Appalachian State at Mississippi State 8:00
Global Sports Hoops Showcase- Samford at Auburn 8:00

All in all, this is a good schedule this week for the SoCon- lots of challenging games, but not so tough that they can't steal a game or two against bigger powers. And that is what it will take for the SoCon to earn the respect they want to earn nationally.

We'll find out a lot obout Davidson and Wofford in their tournaments at the end of next week.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Do Your Duty- Support the SoCon

This one hurts a little bit though.

It will help the SoCon tremendously to come up with an early season win over an ACC opponent on the road. However, couldn't someone other than College of Charleston provide it for me?

I do not like CofC. Not one bit. They are the team I view as our biggest rival. And they go to Maryland tomorrow night. On ESPNU. 7:00. You can watch it. You can root for the SoCon and the help to our overall profile. Or you can root for the Cougars to fall on their face- because that's always fun.

I'll be rooting for the Cougars. It's what needs to happen for the SoCon, which the Mocs need desperately. It should be a pretty good game, as one of the conference favorites hits the road.

I'll also be watching just to get a view of what the Cougars look like this year. And to watch some basketball for the first time this year!

OOC Opponents

We'll try to take a weekly look at the Mocs Out of Conference Opponents and what they have coming up schedule-wise. That means, that the nine known D-1 out of conference opponents and the other two teams from the Dr Pepper Classic will be examined.

Let's look at the schedules:

Nov 12 Chattanooga
November 16 Vs. Belmont in the Preseason NIT
November 17 Vs. Arkansas State/Missouri State in Preseason NIT

Austin Peay
Nov 12 at Saint Louis
Nov 15 at Chattanooga
Nov 18 at Lipscomb

Kennesaw State
Nov 12 GEO Southwestern
Nov 15 Georgia Tech
Nov 17 Chattanooga

Nov 12 West Virginia Tech
Nov 15 Glenville State

Nov 16 Butler

Jackson State
Nov 12 at TCU
Nov 15 at UCF
Nov 18 at Baylor

Nov 12 Florida Memorial
Nov 15 Barry
Nov 18 Florida State

Murray State
Nov 15 ETSU
Nov 17 at Ole Miss

Georgia State
Nov 16 at McNeese State
Nov 19 Troy

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Nov 13 Northeastern State
Nov 15 Texas A&M
Nov 17 at Oklahoma State

Georgia Tech
Nov 12 Charleston Southern
Nov 15 at Kennesaw State
Nov 17 Albany
Nov 19 Niagara

These are all the games that happen between now and November 19.

Austin Peay is a team that the Mocs play twice. The Mocs will only play one of Georgia State and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the Dr Pepper Classic (hopefully the winner of the game, unless the Mocs lose to Montreat).

Montreat and Reinhardt are the two non-D1s that the Mocs are playing. I will not be keeping track of their results and schedule- at least not on a weekly basis.

Two of our future opponents play each other this week, when Georgia Tech heads to Kennesaw State, in a big game for the Owls. Given that the Mocs play the Owls in a week, this is an interesting game to keep an eye on. The Yellow Jackets will have played them just two days before.

It is also interesting to keep an eye on ESPN2 when Louisville hosts Butler. That will be the opener of the new arena in Louisville. The Cardinals are not a great team, apparently. But if they could take out Butler, that may change my opinion.


TFP- Ex-manager redshirts as UTC player

Click on the title for the link to the story.

Drew Baker is going to redshirt. Shulman seems to think that with an extra year of seasoning and adding muscle that he will be capable of playing a big role for the Mocs.

Admittedly, I have not seen Baker much, but in reading this article, the way they were describing his game reminded me some of Brandon Born. By the way, that's a compliment, because Born is one of my all-time favorite Mocs. I have a basketball signed by him that I got when I was an impressionable teenager. It is still what I clutch during every Mocs game that I watch on TV or listen to on the radio. Baker probably isn't quite that talented, but we'll have to wait and see.

Maybe Watson could use a redshirt year too. I have no idea what all goes into these decisions beyond need, but maybe a redshirt year for Watson would help him grow into a little bit stronger and better player. Not sure that he can redshirt though, now that he has played in the exhibition game.

Sweet November

Wait! Did I really just allude to a chick flick starring Keanu Reeves? In a basketball blog? What's wrong with me?

Clearly, I am in desperate need of some basketball (and maybe some football, too, but I certainly have had plenty of that over the last two plus months...but it has been a long time since Saturday).

The season is almost here. Let's look at the Mocs schedule for this month.

Nov 12 at Tennessee
Nov 15 Austin Peay
Nov 17 at Kennesaw State
Nov 20 at Marshall
Nov 22 at Louisville
Nov 24 Jackson State
Nov 27 at Florida International

Toughest Game- at Tennessee. After the Vols loss to Indianapolis last night, maybe this isn't the toughest game. But this is a team that is projected by everyone to be in the Tournament, and I have seen no lower than an 8 seed. Considering that no other team is projected to be that high of a seed, the Vols are still the toughest task. Playing on the road against all those athletes, coming off a loss that should have them focused, and desperate to get the real season started will be incredibly difficult. The Mocs will need to play their best game to win.

Easiest Game- Jackson State. Don't get carried away- this is not an easy game. Jackson State is the SWAC favorites. The Tigers are a good team and are far from a guaranteed victory. But given Shulman's road record, it is almost impossible to count any road game as the easiest game. The other home game is against Austin Peay, and that could hardly be counted as the easiest game. Yes, the Tigers are good- and that just shows how daunting of a schedule this November schedule really is.

Most Important Game- at Kennesaw State. This team is picked to finish fifth in the Atlantic Sun, which is not a perfect position. That's why this game is so important to the Mocs. Yes, Kennesaw lost an exhibition game to LaGrange as well. The Owls view the Mocs as a game they need to win as well. That's part of what makes this important. If the Mocs can come up with a split against Tennessee and Austin Peay in their first two games, then a win here would put them over .500 heading into the tough road games against Marshall and Louisville. That will be critical to confidence for the Mocs in the next two games.

Setting the Bar- What should the Mocs record be this month? It's tough to know for sure. Louisville is beatable as they are a middle of the pack Big East team. Austin Peay is one of the better teams in the Ohio Valley Conference, but that one is at home. Jackson State is a very winnable home game. Isiah Thompson, er..., Thomas will have his FIU team ready to play, if he can get his mind off the Knicks for a few hours, but they are not unbeatable by any stretch of the imagination. Tennessee seems vulnerable after losing to D-II Indianapolis on Monday. Kennesaw State is not great. Marshall is good, but not top level good. So, every game is winnable. But every game is capable of being lost too. Set the bar at 3-4, with two home wins and a win over Kennesaw State. The Mocs could also use not getting hammered by Tennessee or Louisville to create some buzz in the city. A 5-2 mark with relativley close losses to Tennessee and Louisville would leave the Mocs feeling like it was a Sweet November...ouch. Alluding to that blasted chick flick again!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Final Thought on the Night- GET TO TBA!

Thompson Boiling Arena still has tickets available for only $11 for the Mocs trip to Knoxville on Friday night at 9:00. Get there if you can! The Mocs can use the support. I'll be at a wedding in Maryland- but I'll be there in spirit! GO MOCS!

One More Note on the Vols

Did anyone else forget? Syracuse got beaten last year by LeMoyne at home in an exhibition game.

Syracuse wound up a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament- and got beaten by Butler in the Sweet Sixteen. So, don't overreact to one game. The Vols could still be plenty good. Actually, the Orange were ranked in the low 20s last year in the preseason as well. It is kind of eery actually.

That being said, hope Shulman saw the zone that was used and may even give it a try.


Vols Fall to D-II Indianapolis Ahead of Friday's Opener

Ummm...25 turnovers. Click on the link if you really want to know the horrors that the Vols faced.

The Vols committed 25 turnovers, and despite leading by eight at halftime, lost. They gave up fifteen straight points to start the second half, where the Vols missed five shots and committed six turnovers. Ouch.

Scotty Hopson played just nine minutes (partly due to foul trouble), and Brian Williams took just one shot. In other words, the odds are that this team looks very different on Friday night.

The good news for the Mocs- some of the things that won't change. The Vols shot just 50 percent from the free throw line. With a team that should have dominated the boards, they won that battle by only eight. Plus, those 25 turnovers compared to 15 assists. Also, the Vols shot only 24 percent from three point range.

What does all that mean? The Vols could easily struggle to shoot from outside, and from the free throw line. They seem to have a tendency towards committing turnovers. The question against the Mocs will be if they can pound the ball inside and if they can attack the boards with a vengeance.

It's good and bad for the Mocs. The Vols could be more focused- but their confidence could also be shaken. Or they may just not be that good. We'll have to wait until Friday to see.

Of course, maybe Bruce Pearl thought this was a barbecue and he told the players not to tell anyone that they were playing, so they kept on trying to hide every time one of the fans looked at them. That would explain the turnovers and why Hopson liked to hide on the bench.

The 2010-2011 Most Important Player

Who is the Mocs Most Important Player as they head into this year? It's a little bit of a complex question.

You could easily go with Keegan Bell and his 3 of 13 three point shooting in an exhibition game. Bell is a point guard and needs to make plays as a point guard. His eagerness to shoot sometimes bothers me a bit. But Bell is probably the most talented player on the floor.

Omar Wattad and Troy Cage might be the two most athletic players. Ricky Taylor and Josh Odem might be the two best potential "scorers." When they are on, they can fill up the basket. Chris Early has as much potential as anyone. Jahmal Burroughs had as good of a night as anyone in the exhibition game.

But at this point, there is one player who seems to stand above the others. DeAntre Jefferson is apparently going to be the man in the middle for the Mocs. He needs to BE the man in the middle. If he could consistently get a double-double, then that would be golden for the Mocs. If he gets a double-double, the Mocs should be able to win that game. If he doesn't, the Mocs could be in real trouble.

The Mocs need that presence in the middle. It could be Jeremy Saffore, but based on the Tennessee Wesleyan game, he will not be playing nearly as much as Jefferson. That makes Jefferson all the more important to this team. Watch and see how the Mocs do when he collects a double-double. That will probably be the most important individual statistic to watch.

Without Ridge McKeither and the other Mocs that left, hopefully the team will play more as a team. THAT is the real key to making the whole difference in winning and losing this year. THAT is the most important thing. The players need to stop caring about themselves, and care more about the team. If that doesn't happen, the Mocs will struggle to win the games necessary to advance to the NCAA Tournament this year and Shulman may be done. If they come together and play as a real team, they could have a surprisingly good season- maybe even winning 20+ games.


TFP- Shulman Stiill Solid With UTC

Click on the title to go to a link for the story. The most telling line of the story:

AD Rick Hart: "Coach Shulman does a great job and has been a great ambassador for UTC athletics, and I expect that to continue.”

If Hart likes Shulman, then there is little chance of him going anywhere. Then again, sometimes this is known as "The Vote of Confidence of Death." Sometimes guys get a vote of confidence right before they get canned. So who knows?

Shulman: "Let's Sit Here- OUCH! THAT'S HOT!!!"

Not that Coach John Shulman ever sits down- which is a good thing, because if he did, he would burn his rear end. That's how hot his seat is.

This could easily be a recurring theme on this blog throughout the year, so I want to state my position from the beginning and where I am coming from.

I have liked Shulman from the beginning. I think he's a good man, who does a lot for the community and genuinely cares about the young men he is trying to raise up. I also believe that he has taken us to two NCAA Tournament appearances, something his two predecessors can not claim.

The grass is always greener, though. People always think finding a new coach is the answer to all the ills. Look at Bruce Pearl at UTK and how he has made a difference in their team. That's true. Pearl has turned it around- and he is also now working without a contract and hoping there are not any more barbecues that he hosted where he told people not to talk about it.

The similarities with UTK are striking. After all, Huesman has really gotten people excited about Mocs football, and people think the same thing could happen for the basketball program. So let's look at UTK. When Pearl entered, the Vols turned it around, and instantly people started hollering for Phil Fulmer's head roll as football coach, thinking a new coach could make a difference. Despite the fact that they went to the SEC Championship Game just the year before, and no team had been to more SEC Championship Games from the East since the "slump" began in 2001, Fulmer was let go. They hired the hot young coach- who left the program with some recruiting scandal, and off to date the hot blonde in southern California. Now, the Vols are suffering through one of their worst football seasons ever. That may not have worked out so well for the Vols.

And another program I have grown familar with is Kentucky, since I live in Lexington. They ran off (not fired, but ran off) a good man in Tubby Smith thinking they could do better, despite going to the Elite Eight many many times in his tenure. They hired (allegedly) a drunken buffoon who (again allegedly) enjoyed the company of co-eds. After missing the NCAA Tournament and losing to Gardner-Webb and VMI, the Wildcats had to fire him, which prompted him to go to a golf course at 3:00 AM. Now they have Calipari, who has done well, but has not taken them any further than Tubby was taking them, and gotten them in some potential trouble with the NCAA.

So things do not always work out for the better for teams that fire coaches. The grass is not always greener. It doesn't always make the most sense.

That being said, Shulman could definitely be in trouble in Chattanooga if this season is not at least mildly successful. The two losing seasons have not sat well with the fans. The football team has not drawn less than 10,000 to a home game this year. The basketball team draws that over three home games. Yes, football is more popular and has larger attendances generally, but for this proud program, that is not a good standard.

The feeling around Chattanooga is that he subs too frequently, plays too many players, and the team gets beaten in road games, and gets blown out by the best teams on the schedule.

For Shulman, it is advised that he not get blown out by Tennessee right off the bat. A nice 15 point loss would do the trick. Or a win. A blowout loss would really get the vultures swirling. Can the Mocs prevent that? Shulman better hope so.

He doesn't sit down much during the games, but his seat is hot. But it is nothing a couple of wins can't fix.

HEAT-O-METER (on a scale of 1-10): 7.5 It's more than warm, but it is not red hot. Have a great month and it goes down under 5. Have an awful 0-7 start in November, and it jumps to a 10. It's unclear how this all plays out yet. We'll start to find out this week.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Postgame Quotes

Most telling quotes:


"Typical exhibition game, we did not play very well. We will find our identities 8-for-38 three-point shooting is not our identity. We weren't very prepared playing against the zone defense."

"We have practiced since October 15th and that was maybe our third time in the arena, that is not an excuse because we are much better shooters than that."


"It helps us realize where we are as a team. We just turned it over too much. These problems let us know what we need to do in practice."

Love the quotes- let's see some results next Friday in TBA at 9:00 PM!


Mocs 82, Tennessee Wesleyan 52

It is very difficult to judge a game that you don't watch or listen to. Having access to neither one, it's hard for me to make any real judgements about this game.

But looking at the boxscore, I think it is safe to make a few assumptions.

Because, you know what happens when you assume. And I don't care if you call me that.

The win is nice, 82-52. Here are the gripes, looking at the boxscore. First of all, turnovers. Seriously, 16 turnovers and only 17 assists? Against Tennessee Wesleyan? When are the Mocs going to get control of this? The Mocs always seem to turn the ball over too much. And it annoys me. To no end. STOP TURNING THE BALL OVER! Troy Cage lead the way with five turnovers and Josh Odem had three coming off the bench. The good news, Keegan Bell had only one in 28 minutes. It's good when your point guard doesn't turn the ball over at least.

Another thing that frustrates me is shooting a ton of threes. I like to see an inside presence. I know that in the SoCon, the game is guard dominated. I know that the Mocs need to live with guard domination. But I just don't understand when a team shoots 69 shots and 38 of them are threes. That's 55.1% of the shots the Mocs took last night. That is a ton of threes. The bigger problem? They only made eight, or 21.1% of their threes. Not good. Bell lead the way, going just 3 of 13.

Finally, WILL SOMEONE PLEASE PRACTICE FREE THROWS!?!?!?!?! Nothing annoys me more than teams that miss free throws. Shooting 14 of 27 is unacceptable. What in the name of Chad Copeland is going on here? I'm not in on the practices, but I have to ask, do the Mocs practice free throws consistently under Shulman? Because it seems like we are never a great free throw shooting team under Shulman. Maybe a little practice will go a long way in that regard. I can only hope.

Now onto more positive things. The Mocs outrebounded TWC, but not total domination. They won the battle on the boards 51-39. DeAntre Jefferson lead the way with 12 rebounds and twelve points. Omar Wattad lead the team with 14 points. Jahmal Burroughs was a pleasant surprise with 13 points.

Many Moc fans complain about the number of players that Shulman plays. Well, this box score should please them. Only eight guys played double digit minutes in an exhibition blowout. Jeremy Saffore (considered one of the more important players that will come off the bench) played just eight minutes. The eternally frustrated Mocs fans were annoyed by how much Sam Watson played last year. He too played just eight minutes. Jeff Smith and Dontay Hampton each played just six.

The starting lineup was Bell, Cage, Wattad, Early, and Jefferson. It looks to me (by looking at the stats) that this is going to be the starting five. Throw Taylor, Odem, and Burroughs in there- and that looks like the eight man rotation. And it looks strong. Probably Hampton and Saffore sneak in minutes too, but those may be the ten players that see playing time, and Hampton's and Saffore's could be limited. That is if Shulman sticks with the minute distribution that he had in this game.

We now have to wait until next Friday to see what the Mocs bring to the table against a big time foe in Knoxville against the Vols.