Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Frustration Levels Boiling Over


You know what?  I had a whole rant up there outlining everything that was driving me crazy and basically being an angry fan.  But I'm not going to print it (at least not until the Director's Cut version of this blog comes out).  It's not really fair, and the team did hang with a top 10 team pretty much all the way until the end.  I'm still going to mention my frustrations, however, I'm going to do it in a kindler, gentler manner.

-  Defensive lapses.  The team is, no doubt about it, one of the overall best defensive teams in the entire country.  And that is precisely what makes things like Damian not showing on a screen, Westbrook turning his head and losing his man away from the ball, Ralph failing to get over and help on a penetrating guard, and Nolen getting lazy and getting blown by on the dribble (all of which happened last night and led to easy Spartan baskets) all the more frustrating.  Good teams don't lose focus like that.  And where was the press all game, especially the second half?  The Gophers create turnovers by pressing and MSU is a turnover prone team.  I just don't get it.

-  Offensive Stagnation.  How many possessions over the last two years have we watched where the ball is passed/dribbled around the perimeter for 30 seconds and then some poor guard has to heave a desperation jumper as the shot clock runs out?  Over and over and over again, and it seems like every time something is working they go away from it.  Case in point:  last night towards the end of the first half the Gophers were running a flex offense which resulted in back-to-back possessions in a Ralph dunk and another easy shot for someone I don't remember.  TV timeout, and suddenly they completely stopped running it.  Not just for the half, but for the rest of the game.  Baffling.

-  Dumb plays.  Everybody makes dumb plays from time to time, but it seems like the Gophers make more than your average team.  I can remember thinking, "my god what a stupid play" about a hundred times last night, loudest of which would have been following Westbrook's extremely lazy pass to DJ with about a minute left - inexcusable. 

The original post had a whole lot more than this in with a lot more anger and a lot worse language, including a pretty choice rant about a certain Gopher player and how he doesn't belong in the Big Ten, but I'm going to let all that go for now.  The only other thing I feel the need to write about right now is a little something about Ralph.

I ignored all the signs and what everybody else was saying and focused solely on his skill and his potential but it might be time to start examing the criticisms.  Watching him closely since I believed he was the key to the Gophers winning, I noticed a disturbing lack of effort at times.  Not just failing to blockout on a rebound (although this happened frequently) or passing the ball back out after getting it on the block with a shorter guy on him and no double-team (this happened a few times too), but just a full on failure to make a play at a ball.  It happened on Michigan State's offensive rebounds, it happened on loose balls on the floor, it happened catching passes, and it happened when Durrell Summers flat-out out-efforted him when he should have had an easy o-board and a dunk but failed to grab the ball.

I can no longer sit idly by and enable this behavior by my constant, blind praise as if I was a parent whose child just drew on the wall with a permanent marker or a woman beaten with a 2x4.  I have to take a stand like J-Lo in that one movie.  Ralph ->  Get your shit together.  If you don't really want to be a basketball player just go ahead and quit and go play the cello with Yo-Yo Ma or whatever you need to tap into the inner peace and happiness you desire because right now you are wasting your potential.

Remember that scene in Swingers where Trent and Sue are talking to Mikey about how he's a big bear with giant claws and big fangs and he doesn't know how to kill the bunny?  Or that scene in Superbad where Evan finally gets Becca all drunk and horny on the bed and she's all like "I'm going to give you the best blow J ever" and he's all like "Wait, stop, maybe we should talk about it" and stuff?  Combine the tentativeness of Evan with the failure to live up to his potentialness of Mikey and you've got Ralph. 

I sitll think he could be a Big 10 POY candidate by his senior year (assuming he doesn't drop out for the cello), but he's got to want it for himself as badly as I do.  I'm some drunken redneck texas hick dad who wants his kid to grow up and worship football and be awesome.  Who are you Ralph?  A dedicated trooper like Lance Harbor?  Or some soft, sissy kid like Mox?


Beyond the Arc said...

Ralph was far from the main issue last night.

Hoff has been exposed for what he is, a specialist. The guy can not defend anyone, he can't create his own shot, he is slow and can't play in big games.

Westbrook was an abortion last night. I don't care how many points he scored. He gave just as many points back, plus some. I will be glad when this dude is done. He is a smug, arrogant, prick who is an average big team player at best. Paul Carter would gut him like a pig in a fight.

Why don't we ever see Ralph and Colton on the court together, especially against teams that get to the rim? We can't defend athletic teams on the perimeter so why not have some size at the rim?

Our backup point guard plays is awful. Joseph is not a point guard. The guy can fill it up but isn't given the chance. Cobb looks the part, at times, but just doesn't get it yet. Nolen should be playing 32 minutes per game. He just needs to stop shooting like L. Whalen.

Tubby should have gone with his gut and red shirted Rodney Williams. The kid is less of a threat than Iverson at the offensive end. He wanted nothing to do with the ball last night. He seems to have a touch of the Hoff and only play against teams that suck.

WWWWWW said...

This is more like what I had written earlier.

Anonymous said...

Let me see if I have this correct. You edit out a nasty, but probably true, and even funny post, so you can make cello jokes? What a fucking priss! Are you looking for a job at SI? Live a little, let the emotion fly, your readers might enjoy the humor and raw emotion that left this blog a long time ago. Why do you think the hockey posts are always so successful? God knows it is the clever writing.

Dawg said...

The Hoff isn't going to beat anybody off the dribble and needs to get his shots within the flow of the offense. Did you see how Allen was getting his 3 point attempts? It was by Lucas getting into the lane, his defender requiring help, Allen finding the open spot and Lucas delivering the pass. Hoff was also had 5 rebounds which was more then Ralphy and Colton.

I think Westbrook was on the take. He airballed on a crucial 3 when he had been hitting everything. He threw an errant pass to nobody which resulted in a TO. He got the ball on the wing and DJ had his man sealed off on the block, Westy waited for 2 seconds until the defender had taken away the passing lane, which is when Westy decided to make the pass. It was blatant. These mistakes were all within the last 4 minutes of the game. The point spread was 6.5 and MSU won by 7.

I would also say that Devoe is in one of the worst stretches of basketball that I have ever witnessed. Devoe right now is the equivilant of Nick Punto in 2007.

Rodney should have red-shirted??? He is having an above average freshmen year and is still adjusting. He is in the top 10 in block shots with his limited minutes.

rghrbek said...

I also feel bad about liking the effort, but being utterly disappointed.

There was at least 5 different opportunities for RW to have back door alley-ooops.

When the terrible 2nd unit is in, why are they not looking for that constantly?

A reminder, a dunk is a high % shot, on a team, that always settles for bad 3 point shots.

I would also like to see RW try to drive with the ball more. He is so athletic. Maybe he can't dribble.

Westbrook is a classic chucker (love that term, made popular in Seinfield). Not like the dude from Morgan State (I think it is that school). Westie is more traditional, and not to that extreme, but he is in this game for himself. He plays average to below average defense, and pouts visibly when he does not get the ball.

Nolan can penetrate, but does a poor job of kicking it back out. Also, it feels like Iverson is never ready for a pass.

This whole offense is Hoffarber and since he is slow and can't get his own shot, they should be running screen after screen after screen. Instead we run a half court offense that would make Dan Monson blush. Dribble, pass, dribble, pass, shoot a 3. Or somebody drives the lane and tries to finish on a 6'10" dude, and gets their shot blocked.

First half officiating was brutal, but s/b expected on the road. I didn't think that was a charge on Westie, nor an intentional foul on Cobb.

Unfortunately, from last year to this year, there just seems to be no improvement offensively. 0.

snacks said...

I had the gophers at +7.5. I never saw a spread that was lower than 7.

It seems that when Nolen gets into the lane, which he can do pretty much at will, he only knows how to shoot or dish it inside. He never seems to look to kick it out unless he gets stuck and stands there for a few seconds, allowing the defense to recover.

The charge on westbrook was one of the worst charge calls I've seen in a long time.

Dawg said...

The spread I saw was on Yahoo Sports so who knows how accurate it was but I checked it at like 3pm.

Nolen should definitely consider getting that pass into his repetoire.