Like every Horns fan here, I am disappointed in our team's third loss in the last 4 games, against unranked teams. Perhaps our expectations grew too high for such a young team, but is there something this team can fix. I'm no basketball expert, and I haven't watched that many games this season, so I'd like to ask some of you who have more acumen if you think it is a glaring flaw that we rank 126th in assists and 60th in FG completion percentage (34% in the KS State game). (If this has been discussed already, please let me know with a link).
Those Assist and FG% stats don't sound right for a team who was ranked #2 overall just two weeks ago, but good defense helped us get there. #2 Kansas currently ranks 1st in assists and 1st in FG%. #1 OhioSt ranks 3rd in FG%. #5 Pitt ranks 3rd in assists. Most of the best teams in history had not only a lead scorer, but also a sidekick with top assisting ability. Jordan had Pippen, Lakers had Magic Johnson, Malone had Stockton… Kobe got better with Gasol there, Paul Pierce has Rondo, KD has Westbrook, Spurs have Parker, etc.
I know that stats are just one dimension, and the numbers tend to be close in men's NCAA BB such that rankings can mislead, but how do these offense parameters pass your eyeball test when watching our team? Do we settle too often for suboptimal shots outside, as opposed to inside, the paint? Do we execute enough pick and roll... successfully??
I'm wondering if our low shooting efficiency is partly a result of the lack of assists (yes, the effect can be vice versa also, as poor FG% makes assists low)... Instead of passing when players should, they are taking less than optimal shots. And hand-in-hand with that is the lack of a skilled and consistent Point Guard. Okay, Joseph is only a freshman, and JCB a sophomore, so I have hope, if we can coach them properly. But perhaps the weak teamwork, floor moves/rotation, and sets also suggests we need smarter scheming in the coaching, as well as better recruiting of point guards. Or is the main problem a lack of shooting efficiency, depth, bench, hustle, defense lapsing, Hamilton's inexplicable slump currently, etc.... all of the above? At least the poor FT shooting has improved some.
Endurance/energy (lack of) is clearly another problem, as some on BON have commented: the players seem tired and flat in attitude lately, with a hint of deja-vu coming. We need Coach Barnes somehow to motivate this team to have more passion and fun... not only until we rank high enough to qualify for the tourney, but through the stretch, to get a top seed, and ideally all the way to the Final one day.