We're gonna keep giving Kriener minutes because holy shit whyyyyy noooooot.
Happy to see your byliine, ML!
I get the concerns over roster construction. Undoubtedly we have too many 4s and at least one-to-few 1s. That said, I really believe this team is just way underperforming. We were right to be positive this year: 1) we returned a ton of minutes, 2) we lost one player who although a great, great shooter, but had holes in his game elsewhere including being a sieve on defense, and 3) we brought in a true center, which filled a position of need from last year. And that team played well last year without Jok on the floor -- at one point we were even debating if we were a BETTER team without Jok than with.
We have been a bit sideways on offense. The transition offense we are used to under Fran is non-existent. The early-season experiments with heavy doses of Nunge and Wagner at the three were a disaster. And we have no backup point guard -- I believe losing Connor is a huge, huge deal for this team. We have clearly regressed on offense -- kenpom AdjO has dropped from 43rd to 65th in the country.
But it's the defense with this team as it always is when Fran's teams struggled (like in our February collapses). Our AdjD has dropped from 123rd to 129th in the country since last year. Given points (2) and (3) from above for why we were optimistic coming into the year, how does this happen? We have looked absolutely foolish on defense against quality competition. It has been just disorganized scrambling these last two games, as the ball whips around the court to open shooters. And no one gets back on defense. It's pretty damn frustrating watching three-on-Bohannon fast breaks time after time. I think Crean had an excellent point -- we overhelp. But I'll one-up that observation and point out that our on-ball defenders play defense like they expect help. We need guys to own up to that responsibility of stopping their man. I know we lack quickness on the perimeter, but I promise you that it does not have to be this bad.
I try to keep things chill and optimistic. (I am already tired of the fire Fran debates.) But my current assessment is that this team is not being coached well on defense. And consequently, a slight downturn on offense has me feeling, perhaps for the first time in the Fran era, that the program seems to be taking a step backward. Let's see what happens. Maybe we can flip the script and make a late-season run?