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Old 01-08-2023, 09:27 AM   #1
Queens_NYC
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Houston

Sunday, January 8th, 2023
3:00 PM
Fifth Third Arena
ESPN

The Bearcats (10-5, [2-1 AAC], KenPom #72, NET #102) welcome Houston (15-1, [3-0 AAC], KenPom #1, NET #1) to town today in an attempt to snap a 6-game losing streak against the Cougars and earn one of the biggest wins in recent program history.

This year's Houston team may be the best of Kelvin Sampson's 9-year tenure. They currently rank #2 in KenPom's Adjusted Defense (their highest ranking ever under Sampson) and hold opponents to just 51 points/game on 33.1% shooting from the field.

They're led by 4th-year 6'1 guard Marcus Sasser (15.8 ppg, 3.0 apg, 2.7 rpg), 3rd-year 6'5 wing Tramon Mark (10.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.8 apg), and a 6'8 5-star freshman forward Jarace Walker (9.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.9 apg).

The Cougars are coming off a 87-53 win over SMU that saw them lead 34-6 after 10 minutes. While they have been utterly dominant more often than not this season, their closest games have been a 71-65 home loss to KenPom #6 Alabama, a 49-44 home win over #73 Kent State, a 53-48 neutral site win over #10 St Mary's, and a recent 71-65 home win over #49 UCF.

The Bearcats are 9.5-point underdogs.

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Old 01-08-2023, 11:21 AM   #2
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9.5 seems a little low. Torvik has Houston by 12.5.

Houston does almost everything well, but they give up a ton of threes and they don't get to the rim or the free throw line. Of course we also don't get to the rim or the free throw line. Although Houston is elite on the offensive glass, they're worse than us on the defensive glass. Might well chuck up threes and hope for the best.
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Old 01-08-2023, 04:09 PM   #3
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We did a lot right and are still going to go into the locker room trailing by 7. More or less matched them on the boards (Skillings went to work on the offensive glass), defense wasn't terrible and we mostly got good shots. Nolley and MAW carried the offense (6-6 from three, the rest of the team is 0-11 from three).

DDJ and Davenport really stand out as simply not being athletically gifted enough to play with Houston. DDJ has struggled on both ends against Houston's size. Houston has also gone after Davenport when they are on offense and coupled with Davenport missing (mostly good) shots, he's had a bad day. Skillings has also been attacked by Houston when he's defending.

We haven't really gotten anything on the interior. It seems like more than anything, Houston's size has prevented us from getting good entry passes, even when Lakhin/Ody gets open.

Houston is very good at finding and exploiting the mismatch when they are on offense and we don't have enough good defensive players, there's always a mismatch.

There are some issues that can be corrected, but it's hard to see us winning this.
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Old 01-08-2023, 04:34 PM   #4
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5 minutes into the second half and now the game is essentially over. Houston started really pushing us off the 3-point line on defense and went on a run.

Now we are starting to see old habits creep back in. Ball not moving, not getting back on defense. We managed to match Houston's energy for the first half, but it's hard o keep up for an entire game when your not in the habit of doing so. Houston off course never takes a play off and we are starting to take plays off.
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Old 01-08-2023, 05:11 PM   #5
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We discovered that we could feed the ball to Lakhin, but it was too little too late as we were down 20 points by that point.

Nolley for as good as he was in the first half, has been equally bad in the second. No points, poor defense, no rebounds and quite a few TO's.
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Old 01-08-2023, 05:18 PM   #6
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If you want to know who on this team is a liability on defense, ask Kelvin Sampson by looking at who they went after in mismatches. The answers are not surprising; DDJ and Davenport, with a fair amount of Nolley and Skillings thrown in as well.
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Old 01-08-2023, 05:40 PM   #7
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I haven't looked at the stats yet, but what really stood out to me were turnovers. Way too many lazy live ball giveaways leading to transition buckets.

I thought we fought hard on the boards and forced them into a lot of tough midrange shots. Overall I was happy with the defense. The offense was good when we got it to Lakhin or found guards coming off down screens. We're not very good in iso or ball screens.
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Old 01-08-2023, 05:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sedziobs View Post
I haven't looked at the stats yet, but what really stood out to me were turnovers. Way too many lazy live ball giveaways leading to transition buckets.

I thought we fought hard on the boards and forced them into a lot of tough midrange shots. Overall I was happy with the defense. The offense was good when we got it to Lakhin or found guards coming off down screens. We're not very good in iso or ball screens.
Yeah quite a few bad TO's. Houston doesn't take a second off, they were on every lazy pass we threw. They took 11 more shots than us and most of that was because they were +10 in TO's.

One other note is it seemed like Ody really struggled. He's not really built for physicality and getting pushed around got into his head. He had two wide open layup/dunk opportunities and both times tried to pump fake ghosts and gave the defense time to recover.
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Old 01-08-2023, 05:59 PM   #9
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Absolutely criminal how many minutes Davenport got in the 2nd half compared to Skillings. Wes needs to answer to that. Unreal.

The lazy passes against a very good defense is also criminal. My grade school teams don't do that and MAW and DDJ did it several times. I like DDJ but he has laid some monster eggs when needed and today was one of them. Lazy defense, lazy passes, missed wide open looks.

Also can't believe the lack of effort to get the ball to Vik in the 1st half and the inability to get Nolley any looks in the 2nd.

Very frustrating. Talent and coaching level need to improve significantly, and quick.
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Old 01-08-2023, 06:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheLongHaul View Post
Absolutely criminal how many minutes Davenport got in the 2nd half compared to Skillings. Wes needs to answer to that. Unreal.

The lazy passes against a very good defense is also criminal. My grade school teams don't do that and MAW and DDJ did it several times. I like DDJ but he has laid some monster eggs when needed and today was one of them. Lazy defense, lazy passes, missed wide open looks.

Also can't believe the lack of effort to get the ball to Vik in the 1st half and the inability to get Nolley any looks in the 2nd.

Very frustrating. Talent and coaching level need to improve significantly, and quick.
DDJ just doesn't match up in size or athleticism with top teams. It's why I didn't really want him back this year. He's got a great mindset, but his body limits him. Hw was perhaps the best of our guys at feeding it inside to Lakhin in the second half.

Skillings stuggled on defense, Houston went after him (granted they also went after Davenport).

I think Houston started treating Nolley like a shooter (like Davenport), run him off the line and dare him to beat you some other way.

MAW showed his ability to get to the basket isn't a fluke. He was our only player who showed up scoring wise in both halves. He was our only player who was able to get to the rim and score. Plus he was pretty good on defense. One of the bright spots in the game, despite a few bad TO's (DDJ and Nolley each had 4, MAW had 3).
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