The Mocs did not have the best out of conference performance in the history of college basketball. They went 6-8. With a new coaching staff and renewed optimism among the Mocs faithful, there is plenty to look at. Let's do some analysis of the out of conference portion of the schedule (ignoring of course the upcoming contest against Eastern Kentucky that won't take place until February).
November 22, Nevada 83, Chattanooga 81. It's hard to call a loss the best performance, but it's also hard to ignore. The Mocs lead in Reno virtually the entire game. They got beat on a last second, bank shot three pointer. The Mocs were not completely sure how to win at this point, and it showed late in the game with poor execution late. Now, the Mocs have learned a little bit more about how to win, and would probably have made enough plays at the end to win this one. The Mocs left it all out there on the floor in Reno. The loss seemed to leave them in a funk, as they had just one good performance in their next six games.
December 15, Northern Kentucky 87, Chattanooga 71. There was something that was just disappointing about this loss, but disheartening. UCLA was expected to be a blowout and it was. Georgia had potential to be a blowout, and it was. This game should have been very close. And it was for a half, but not in the second half. The Mocs played so poorly in this one, I questioned in my mind if the Mocs would win another game all year. They just did not look like a team that was going to win basketball games. Since this loss, they have played three solid games, winning two, and losing a third in respectable fashion to UAB. So that shows what I know.
Is 6-8 great? Of course not. It is disappointing to go 6-8, especially when three of the wins are over non-D1 teams. But on the whole, there are positives to build on. For example, the team plays with all the effort they have almost every night, and that's all you can ask for. They bring the energy. They don't always make shots. They are not the best on the ball defenders. But they play their hardest. Also, I have been intrigued to watch Will Wade coach and find out how he handles it. Having never coached before, I was afraid that he would be stubborn in his ways and not willing to change. On the contrary, I've seen a coach who is willing to put token pressure on and then play off to try to help out the defense. I've seen a coach who is making adjustments, such as playing zone, to help his team out. I've seen a coach that sees his team can't shoot well, and is trying to help them by getting the ball inside more consistently. He seems to know what he's doing. I'm not sure if Coach John Shulman would have had any different results than we've had so far, but watching Will Wade has given me confidence that he will get things going in the right direction- hopefully by March, possibly by next season, but definitely by 2015-16.