LSU v Virginia: Another Loss

Discussion in 'The Tiger's Den' started by TGer'nLHornLand, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. TGer'nLHornLand

    TGer'nLHornLand Founding Member

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    Well, no thread on the Virginia game, and frankly that's probably appropo given that if this was a home game, there'd be likely little attendance. This was the first game I could watch on TV and I have to say, I studied the "film."

    First, as always, I'm trying to be objective, at the same time, positive. Second, UVA, despite having a similar record, plays in the ACC, has a good coach in Tony Bennett, and was a 6 point favorite at home. So, if you look at it as LSU was supposed to lose, well, we lost. We competed I thought, and although we lost by 14, it got that way towards the end on free throws by UVA (which we couldn't make, again)... sounds familiar. Throughout most of the game, we were down, but would find ways to cut the lead down. Actually had a brief lead midway in the second half.

    Here's the reality. Not only are we inexperienced and young, but frankly, there are just some little deficiencies all over the court. To be fair, Tony Bennett is a solid, fundamental defensive minded coach, and also to be fair to Trent, Trent has done very well against Tony in the past, beating him before at LSU, plus at Stanford. So, it's not like we were simply "out matched" coaching wise. But, UVA clearly wanted to jump out on our backcourt where they had a size and physicality advantage on Stringer. Neutralizing Stringer, aside from some points from Turner and a little life down low by Green and White, we really didn't have the guns. We shot poorly again, mid 30s in 2 point land and a pretty poor 25% from 3 land. There were some open shots that just didn't go down, to go with a lot of chippies missed down low, that Malcolm had. But, overall, UVA just did a little bit better in every way, more bounds, more assists, and more FTs.

    But, here are some of the things. And frankly, I'm also coming to the realization that personnel may also be a factor.

    1. Defense. I think in terms of the appearance of "hustle", LSU actually didn't play too bad of defense tonight. They started out aggressive, they jumped out on ball screens, and frankly forced UVa to take some tough shots. There were a few shots by UVA at the end of the shot clocks on pull-back 3s or long balls, that frankly, they haven't been hitting. So give some credit to UVA hitting some shots. So, overall, I see effort and the kids aren't losing interest. But, fundamentally, some of the Tigers are undisciplined, and also, frankly, just not physically there. Too much dribble penetration leads to fouls or easy buckets, and UVA with two pretty physically beefy, quick guards took it to Turner and Stringer, our shooters, but admittedly also our most inexperienced perimeter defenders. Even our "best" perimeter defender in Bass, let people get by him. So, is that coaching or talent? I think probably a little bit of both. Frankly, I think the subtleties of defense are positioning, hedging as well as just plain lateral quickness and foot speed. Right now, our guards are not physically there with some of the better guards out there, and if isolated, we'll see more of it. I think there was at times good help defense, but "undisciplined" at times where our bigs leave their feet way too often on drivers, trying to block shots on the far perimeter. I think that White/Green go for blocks a lot (on the one hand it's good to be aggressive) and hence they leave the floor a lot. When they do that, they're out of position and can't block out. Folks like Ludwig play better position d, but aren't complete enough with their strength or hops, to get the tougher rebounds. Note, that Warren did not play tonight. Stringer, Turner, Bass and Derenbecker struggled to keep the penetrators in front of them, and the flip side to this, UVA was able to keep Stringer from penetrating. This was probably a big part of the loss. For all of the folks crying for a zone, LSU did play some of that tonight and at times it was effective at cutting down penetration... at the same time, UVa hit some big threes that perhaps left Trent a little gunshy of staying in the zone too long.

    2. Offense. Well, as I said before, if Stringer isn't penetrating, who can? Dotson, Bass and Turner, probably in that order. Dotson again was a little bit of a mystery. He did get a little more involved in the second half, but essentially was missing much of the game. He hit a nice 3 pointer on a set play, and showed aggressiveness going to the hoop, but it was IMO far too little of it. With Stringer's 14 ppg missing much of the game, LSU had a hard time getting to the hoop and scoring. Turner was a little off, and well who else can create their own shot? Stringer didn't take too many shots, he only had 5 or so, and at times tried to get folks more involved, but at 5'8" ish, and not super quick, it's going to be hard for him to get by two defenders who jump out on him. He's either got to penetrate or pass quickly to the open man. At times, the screen and roll off of Bass, Turner and White and Green was a highlight. Green looked frankly better than White, hitting more cuts, but again, had some deficiencies (like taking an ill-advised 3 and not playing enough fundamental d). I think the big part of the recent slide has been teams are tightening up on Stringer and Turner and now the freshmen have to realize folks are not going to just leave them open. So? They have to get aggressive driving to the hoop, penetrating, getting fouled. Dotson needs to assert himself driving to the hoop (he's 4-4 from the charity stripe). The ability to get into the lane off of penetration usually leads to good things, and LSU doesn't do enough of it. Kudos to White for concentrating on his FTs (5-5), but Green and Turner both went 0-2 in chances to come back.

    Overall, as we know, this is a work in progress. I really do like Turner now that I've seen him, and seen him move without the ball. He could be as good as Marcus Thornton one day (like him, a shooter first that has to learn how to play d)--he's got good size and decent athleticism, but like any freshman has to get stronger and more muscular. Stringer is good within his boundaries, but needs refinement. Matt Derenbecker just needs time to get quicker and stronger. We still have the issue of frankly (and hard to say this without sounding mean) relying on kids like Garrett Green, Eddie Ludwig and Chris Bass to do something for us, and well, that's not necessarily a good thing. We didn't have Storm tonight, nor did we have Dennis Harris. We are not a complete team, despite a good recruiting class. Malcolm White is also frankly, a little raw still. Afterall, he was largely a "garbage man" and modest shot blocker at Ole Miss. He's not going to be LSU's Kevin McHale with the post moves just yet. That said, reinforcements are coming in Justin Hamilton (a legit 6'11" and 260--we need more beef down low too, sometimes it's just good to have a space eater that commands attention) and Johnny O'Bryant. I also think an athletic, 6'3" versatile guard in John Isaac will also be more appreciated as time goes on.

    I do think we'll continue to struggle, but we have to be realistic. With SEC play looming, I'll be watching for how Trent develops adjustments to teams that will now try to neutralize Stringer and Turner, and see how he refines his defense. We'll also need Warren back asap, and see if LSU's bigs can begin to develop something down low to keep teams honest. It's about continual improvement and waiting for reinforcements to arrive.
    :geaux:
     
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  2. Bayou Bengal11

    Bayou Bengal11 ~Orlando Tiger Coonass~

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    Didnt we play WEST Virginia back in Sept ??? Im pretty sure we won that game!! Who is this Virginia team you speak of?? :grin:
     
  3. TGer'nLHornLand

    TGer'nLHornLand Founding Member

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    ha! Another football fan posing as a hoops fan... :grin:

    yes, there was a basketball game on... ACC hoops night in fact. Funny thing is I also watched Duke play Miami afterwards. Duke didn't look like a number 1 team in the country either in spots. But, you realize then that it's Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith and Seth Curry in the backcourt, and two 6'10" - 6'11" 250 pounders out there on the front line. Make no bones about it, LSU still has some ways to go on the pure talent meter....
     
  4. QBLuke

    QBLuke Hickey Da God

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    Gonna be a long year no matter how you slice it, it's best just to dig in and wait it out.
     
  5. Tigers Paw

    Tigers Paw Founding Member

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  6. TGer'nLHornLand

    TGer'nLHornLand Founding Member

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    The point of my post was more of a game analysis, but your point is well taken. When Trent first got the nod, the thing I identified on many posts was his ability to recruit. I think when LSU and Alleva made the call, they saw someone in Trent who had a reasonably good recruiting record. Folks forget that he was the primary recruiting assistant at various programs, including Washington, Utah and Stanford, and then certainly did ok at Nevada and Stanford as the HC. But, was he going to have a similar impact in the SEC?

    I think frankly it's still too early to tell what Trent's grade is over the long-haul, if you believe that the purpose of LSU's directive was to build a clean, consistent program that graduates its players and gets LSU's APR back into respectability. I was disappointed frankly in some of Trent's early recruiting calls, like Chris Bass and Eddie Ludwig, and misses like Demarcus Cousins and Noel Johnson. He was in the discussion though with some of these kids, and he signed Dotson, a top 75 recruit all the way from WA (remember that west coast kid that Brady signed, Ben Voogd?).

    If you're a fair critic, you have to see what was truly available to Trent when he landed. People don't seem to get that in Trent's first "full" class, 2009, Eddie Ludwig was actually like the second best or top 3 or so recruit in LA. That tells you something about how down LA talent was. In that year, Kourtney Roberson was the best player and he has had a winded path to nowhere land. The next best player (and someone who LSU probably could use) was a Mitchell kid who couldn't didn't have the grades. Also remember before that, Brady hadn't signed a kid from MS in forever b/c Kennedy and Stansbury had started to outrecruit him, so MS was closed to LSU and Trent needed some time to come back. GA closed down when we lost our assistants from there. Trent probably needed some time to get further along with the AAU programs in TX. There were likely some consequences to naming a Pac-10 coach as the head guy, and remember Butch Pierre didn't want to stay around. Trent likely got a slower jump on recruiting than a plug and play guy familiar with the South/SEC might have been.

    That said, I think a fair recruiting assessment is that he signed a good, solid top 20 class in 2010. I'm not passing judgement on the 2010 class just yet, when they're 1/2 way through their first season. When I compared Turner to Thornton, I was making the comparison of what Turner might become as a Senior. He's taller than Thornton, but perhaps a little less athletic--that said, he's got a good shot and is great off the curl and pop. He can also take it to the hoop reasonably well. He's got to get stronger, more quick, and learn to defend, but he's a freshman, for goodness sake. When Thornton was a freshman, he was a second team LA all-stater at a JUCO against lesser competition. Stringer, despite his faults, is a kid with a good shot and has held up reasonably well. Derenbecker was a top 75 recruit, so I'm not going to write him off just yet. You also have to remember that KC Ross Miller was a decent recruit too. Also, I think a fair assessment on Dotson would be, considering his play last year, has made strides this year, and he'll have to make more.

    So, I think at this stage, you would have liked Trent to land more impactful guys earlier, but recruiting momentum has picked up more recently (I think it's important to note that a basic recruiting bell weather should be whether the best LA players are taking LSU more seriously---I'd say yes). Showing what he can now do with his recruits is obviously key to recruiting for 2012. I also wouldn't be surprised if Trent is keeping his eyes open for a 2011 spring signing, if some of these kids are not progressing.
     
  7. JayB

    JayB Never Forget 31

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    baseball's coming up! :grin:
     
  8. Tigers Paw

    Tigers Paw Founding Member

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    Tiger'nHornland. What if anything do you know about Hamilton other than his size? I have never seen him play but I do know he started 49 games at Iowa State and his numbers were far from eye opening. Really don't want to get my hopes up for this kid and he dissappoints like White.
     
  9. lsudolemite

    lsudolemite CodeJockey Extraordinaire

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    We don't find some healthy pitchers and it's gonna be a long 9 months.
     
  10. TGer'nLHornLand

    TGer'nLHornLand Founding Member

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    i just know what I've read, what I've seen from stats against big 12 competition, and what little video there is on the net (there's a Youtube video of an actually surprisingly athletic dunk by him). So, I'd be cautiously optimistic about how much of an "impact" he'll have (I'd like to see maybe 10 ppg + 7 or 8 rpg with about a 1.5 blks pg). I want to say that he averaged around 8 ppg and 6 rpg playing in the Big 12 for Iowa State which was more of a guard led team in a league with a lot of big centers. He also had some of his best games against Kansas, playing against Cole Aldrich, the 7 footer who was drafted. So, while he wasn't all Big 12, I'd say he was certainly was a decent player and more of a true center than anyone we have now.

    But, what I'll say is this--he's a true 6'11" and 260 lbs and sometimes you just can't teach size. The frustrating thing with our frontline is that while we've got some height, you really don't have a lot of girth out there. Garrett's about 230, and White, as physical as he is, is really only around 225 lbs, and as we saw a few years ago even with Brady's later teams, really tall lanky 6'10" guys don't fare well against SEC centers who run about 6'9" and 260. So, at a minimum, Hamilton is a bigger body that's a little harder to push out of the paint. What's neat about next year is you also add a 6'9" 240 ish PF in O'Bryant who will play opposite Hamilton.

    While we get lost in the losses, I've actually seen some improvement from Garrett this season (frankly stuff I wouldn't have expected), and give White some time. He's shown moments of playing well, he's just been inconsistent, and has to play a little bit under control.
     

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