If you are like me you were pretty mystified by the results of the game against Oklahoma State yesterday. I never expected to go undefeated so losing does not concern me. I am, however, a little concerned about the lack of effort and leadership displayed in the game or another way to put it is I am concerned about the lack of effort by our leadership. So the question becomes, was it a bad game or will it be a consistent problem?
As the often wrong but never in doubt announcer, Dan Dakich, told us over and over and over again, Brown did not play well. Brown has not shot well this year but yesterday he did not do much of anything well, he had too many turnovers (more TOs than points), was torched on defense by Smart and did not lead the team very well. I believe/hope this is an aberration and Brown will turn things around. He was very impressive last year and I see no reason to think he has regressed. Hopefully this is a wake up call and he gets back to last year’s high level of play and reminds everyone why he was placed on the Wooden player of the year watch list.
There are a few key things I think we can take away from this game. We have to rebound better. As a team, OK ST hit the boards hard and we did not box out or match their intensity. Rebounding is about two things, technique and effort. We need to improve on both or we will struggle against big physical teams (see FSU and UMd). Also, if Brown does not play better we will struggle against good scoring guards. Smart was able to score at will last night. Our guards have the size and athletic ability to stop players like Smart so the inability to do so was puzzling.
There were some good things to come from the weekend games. Purvis is a much better shooter than most thought he was. After seeing him play in high school I argued that his shot was very good despite what the “experts” said and it appears the “experts” were wrong. Purvis is an excellent all around player with strong leadership qualities who I really enjoy watching. And what can you say about TJ “Buckets” Warren. The guy simply knows how to score. His shot is not the prettiest thing I have ever seen but it goes in with shocking regularity. He has an uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time to score. He brings instant offense off of the bench and that is a sorely needed skill set. Both of those two are better than advertised. If we can get the upper class man to play as well as those two we will have a very good team.
Overall, this game gives the team some things to work on and to think about. As a fan I wish we had won but realize some missteps are inevitable and I believe Gottfried will refocus the team so they come back better than ever.