I would say it's clear Ed DeChellis has dirt on the Northwestern basketball program. More likely, he's just occasionally competent at his job. Every season, I assume NU will have a shot in these games against Penn State, and every season, that makes the inevitable actual losses more distressing and more of a sign that NU's season is slip-sliding even further away than previously thought possible.
¡Toma el salto para el discusión de baloncesto muy excelente!
Jim Burr is rapidly becoming one of my least favorite referees. First off, his head is perfectly cube-shaped. That's not healthy. He should get that checked out. Secondly, he has a nasty tendency to call lots of ticky-tack bumps 35 feet from the hoop, which is alright I guess, but annoying when your teams only hope is pressure 1-3-1 and contact is inevitable. Meanwhile, he completely ignored major contact around the hoop - not many shooting fouls at all, although there was certainly ample opportunity.
In the preview post, I said it would be unlikely NU would shoot 2-for-21 from downtown. I hope NU's performance repping Newark (BRICK CITAYYYYY!) from beyond the arc on a wide variety of open looks opens your eyes to how horrendous 2-for-21 really is. Cats were getting shots they wanted and they weren't falling. It was especially frustrating when they missed, by my count, five consecutive three-pointers down three points. After that you had to have a sinking feeling things wouldn't turn out.
1-3-1 worked well in the first half, but the quick whistles doomed it in the second - not to mention the fact that Tim Frazier was splitting the double at the top of the zone with ease, which basically sets up a 5-on-3 possession for Penn State. They extended the zone a lot higher than usual, going basically all the way out to the half-court line combined with a halfhearted 2-2-1 full court press. In the second half, the zone - which worked very well in the first causing turnovers - couldn't force those same turnovers, much less keep Penn State from finding an open shot in the midrange helping a hapless Juice one-on-one against a Penn State big. I've written about how well the 1-3-1 can work against bigs when the zone doesn't break down, but in the second half with NU unable to play pressure defense because of their fear of fouling. Frazier ended up killing the Cats by either draining free throws when the whistles did come or making simple decisions after breaking down the zone. If only that kid would hit a jumper.
This bullet-point is actually a missed Northwestern 3-pointer. CLANG.
Much like Dan Persa before him, Northwestern's basketball team does not deserve Juice Thompson. It pains me greatly to see him play so hard and want to win so badly with no results.
That said, Juice had the worst transition defense I've ever seen on one possession, and its not really his fault: facing a Penn State two-on-one, he started backpedaling, and just tripped, making it a two-on-none. That was indicative.
For the first time ever, I saw these sheets the Wildside passes out for every game with the names of opposing players and, uh, jokes. I have a funny feeling some of the people involved in making those sheets might read the site, so, I'll try to put this delicately: stop making those sheets. Please. I'm very worried fans of an opposing school will get their hands on them. Also, Northwestern did not control its own destiny to get into the NCAA tournament before last nights game, so, don't say that. I'll write them if you want!
A lot of people comment on John Shurna's line drive jumper, and how amazing it is that it works. Well, last night was the revenge of the front rim. I got really good at yelling "SHORT!" as it left his hand.
Mike Capocci did what Mike Capocci should do: play tight, aggressive, defense in the 1-3-1, and it worked. Hey! Capocci! Senior night is next week, everybody.
Alex Marcotullio: 26 minutes, 0-4 shooting (0-4 3-point shooting) zero rebounds, zero assists, zero steals, zero blocks, three turnovers, five fouls. Marco's had a good year. That line is impressively bad. Like, it's difficult to play that poorly. He was a victim of Jim Burr's whistle-happy tendency at the top of the 1-3-1, but, damn.
Talor Battle played crappily, we still lost.
I figured out one of Penn State's secrets: they're overwhelmingly nondescript, and I can never tell the difference between anybody. Talor Battle is pretty distinctive, but when you run out a lineup featuring Tim Frazier, David Jackson, Andrew Jones, Billy Oliver, and Jeff Brooks, I am blown away by how boring your team's players' names are. Jesus. Point being, I watch a lot of Big Ten basketball and still can't tell Jones, Brooks, and Jackson apart, nor do I know which one was smoking Northwestern with his mid-range after finding the ever-present seams in the 1-3-1. (I think it was Brooks. Could've been Jackson.)
I see you passing out of the post, Luka Mirkovic. Four assists. Quite a change from the Iowa game last week, when he couldn't find a war-torn Balkan nation from a joke about Luka Mirkovic being Serbian. (Trust me. I'd come up with real jokes about NU's opponents.)