I agree that our defense has not improved. It probably won’t improve because all the focus seems to be on the offense.
We’re .500 in the ACC now, but with 6 of our final 10 games on the road, it’s highly unlikely we’ll finish at or better than 9-9 overall. We might win a couple of the road games, but we’ll likely lose at least one if not two of our remaining home games. That leaves a likely ACC mark of 8-10, or maybe even worse. There’s no bubble in that number.
This expanded, “new and improved ACC” just sucks for teams like us. We’ll likely enter the ACCT needing wins, and while there will be plenty of chances, most will come against the lower half of the league. If we make it to Saturday with a chance to take out a quality RPI opponent, there won’t be a lot left in the tank.
So then the NIT will come to the rescue, and we’ll be back in the post-season, but maybe on the road somewhere, just another target of yet another small school looking to send us to March obscurity. Rather than repeat this scenario again, what we SHOULD do, just ONCE, would be to turn down the NIT and sit home. Choose NOT to be a part of this second-rate tournament. They probably need us a lot worse than we need them, anyhow. Let the players, coaches and administrators stew in the fact that this program can and should do better, and that our goals are no longer going to be associated with mediocrity. This team is young, but is way better than it has achieved on the floor so far. It is a deep team with real talent (Lacey and Turner) and genuine promise (Washington, Abu and the Martin twins).
With the amount of money and number of fans this program has behind it, at a school which historically has its sports roots in basketball, our goals should be higher than achieving just mediocrity. When it comes to basketball, we’re not Virginia Tech or even Florida State; we’re the “other” Tobacco Road team that also has multiple NCAA Champions basketball banners hanging in our arena.
I can’t think of one instance, with the possible exception of HWSNBM’s first post-season team, where the NIT actually helped our program. And going there in Gottfried’s fourth season will be about as useful to us as a screen door is to a submarine.