A lot to like tonight vs. the Tide....
Giving a quality performance on national TV. Those haven't been too prevalent the last couple of seasons, but tonight the team put together an excellent performance under the lights.
Keeping a late lead. When the margin dwindled from 10 to three in a matter of 60 seconds, I had bad visions running through my head. But Russell Carter took the bull by the horns and hit that critical trey. That woke the team up and fueled the game-ending run.
Holding the #4 team in the nation to an A/TO ratio below 1.0 while keeping their ratio close to 2.0, giving up 42 percent shooting, and weathering 21 foul calls.
Most importantly, the minutes. Eight players in double figures. Yes, there were four of them over 34, but given the 81 points they scored, I'm willing to overlook it for now. MB stayed with the bench even though the opponent was tough, the game was close, and some of the guys didn't have eye-catching stat lines. Learning is a gradual process, and one hopes the bench usage is part of that process. Still need to work on the late-game slowdown, but one battle at a time.
Almost as importantly, in the words of Mr. Roarke, smiles everyone, smiles. It's been a couple seasons since I saw an ND basketball team enjoying itself on the court, and there was a lot of enthusiasm and energy tonight.
Speaking of energy, kudos to the student body and GA's for a strong turnout. How ... about ... a loud ... shout!
Going into the holiday lull, a good performance by everyone involved was critical to set a good tone for the NCAA resume. That tone has been set, and what will probably turn out to be a relatively weak SOS has been offset strongly by these two performances.
As I said in the preseason, if nothing else, this team is going to be interesting to watch. Color me interested.
Labels: nd basketball