In coach-speak, “losing” translates into “learning experience”. And while we all tire of hearing coaches publically announce loses as blessings while privately acting like BTI after a WOW raid wipe, the only good thing that can come out of one is to figure out what went wrong. Statistically, I can pick out three things that stick out:
Three for the price of one here, as they combined for a paltry 5 points, 2 assists, 2 turnovers, and 2 steals in 47 minutes of action. Miller had a particularly bad night after his career high on Saturday and Liggins had a -7 point impact during his time in the game.
If these three had simply hit their season average in points per minute played, we would have won by 11. But instead, they looked lost, missing 6 three pointers and a layup (Dodson) combined, that at times seemed forced and out of the flow of the offense. These are the three (along with Patterson) that I’ll be watching closely against Vandy to see if their sub-par performance spurs any of them to take smarter shots.
2. Missed shots
In all, the Cats missed 35 shots on Tuesday, shooting just 38% from the field, well below their 49% average. South Carolina shot an even lower percentage, though with more attempts (see rebounding below). Here is a breakdown of the misses (according to the box score on Ukathletics.com)
|Shot Type||# Missed||Most Missed|
Two main problems I see. First of all, Patterson taking just 4 shots the whole game is completely unacceptable, no matter who’s fault it is. Let’s move past assigning blame and just say that Patterson getting more touches (he’s averaging 10 attempts per game) is extremely important to this team’s success. Secondly, missing 9 lay-ups including 7 in the second half needs to be a wake-up call that we have got to be able to finish around the basket.
Removing the fact that the officials did a terrible job calling over-the-backs during rebounding situations on Tuesday night, the fact remains that there is no reason in the world that this team should be out-rebounded, least of all by a team we tower over by almost 3 inches.
The Gamecocks outrebounded us 40-44, with 20 of theirs coming on the offensive end of the court. There is absolutely no excuse for USC’s 22 second chance points, 16 of which came in the second half. While I’ve seen many attack Patterson on this point, he was actually 40% above his average for rebounds per minute while Cousins was 23% under his average. Another example of how the dreaded “eye ball” test isn’t always accurate.
Fixing any one of these things (preferably all three) is going what’s going to bring this team back up to the level we know they are capable of.
Coach Calipari is notorious for getting teams fired up after loses, and I have no doubt that he’s doing just that probably as we speak. In fact, he hasn’t lost back to back games since the Memphis ’04-’05 season, and during that period his teams have beaten their next opponent by an average of 23 points. Here’s to a Commodore blow out and a fired up team on Saturday.