The Mocs are winning. They have won six straight. They are 4-0 in SoCon play.
But one thing is clearly obvious so far. The Mocs are winning, but their margin for error is razor thin.
The Mocs play hard. They've been doing that all year long. That is not changing. It truly looks like Coach Will Wade has this team playing as hard as they can, which is something that the Mocs desperately needed to do. That alone does not lead to wins, but it leads to being in a lot of basketball games.
So how do you go from playing hard to winning games? Well- the easiest way is talent. The Mocs have some talent. Make no mistake, Rico White, Gee McGhee, Casey Jones and Z Mason all have talent. The rest of the Mocs are not untalented. But, the Mocs are not the most talented team in the SoCon. They really are probably more middle of the road in terms of talent. The Mocs talent will improve as Wade gets more time to recruit specifically to his style.
That was how it seems the early part of the season went. The Mocs lacked the talent necessary to come up with the hard fought wins. They were staying close, but couldn't close the deal.
If not talent, the Mocs need a schematic advantage. They did not go out and hire Charlie Weiss to coach basketball, though his schematic advantage may be more useful in basketball than football. It may be worth a try. Regardless, Wade's Chaos system has started to sink in and take hold. Then, Wade took a gamble on a faltering defense. He went zone out of the press. It started working. They have now gone back and forth between the two, creating some added confusion for opposing teams. The Mocs effort and energy, combined with their talent, and then throwing in the adjusting defense, and suddenly the Mocs are winning basketball games.
But they are winning the games by thin margins and they have a razor thin margin of error if they want to continue winning games. The margin of error is tiny. They will have to keep on fighting hard each and every possession. Wade and the staff will have to come up with the best possible gameplans to maximize their ability against each opponent.
I'm not sure how long the Mocs can stay unbeaten in SoCon play. But I do have confidence that Wade will have the team prepared on most nights. They will win some more games over the remainder of the year and may even get a bye in the tournament. They may even find a way to win the SoCon Tournament. But I can guarantee one thing- there will not be many nights where the Mocs win by 20 points. They simply are not enough better than most of their opponents to do it. Expect a lot of really tight games.
Expect it to continue this Thursday in Boone. No reason to expect anything but a close game.