I polled several people, some allegedly experts in something, including my beautiful wife and Wonder Rex, and all of us agreed that the first thing that someone better have said in that closed-door meeting was either, "You guys need to shower before we have this meeting," or "We need to make some $#%^&^%$!@ bunnies! That is the $#%@*&^ problem!"
But I am not going to panic. For one, panicking is a waste of time. Besides, once I was done yelling and throwing things at Bill Walton on television -- for even when he is right he let's you know he's right again -- I checked the schedule and it turns out we have more games. So the world remains round, and Voldemort is still dead, and our main problem continues to be making easy, point-blank, crippled bunnies
We can wrangle the issue of what offense we should run until the cows come home to the Farm, but system be damned, I have a hard time caring when what we are running results in a lot of bunnies and we just keep lobbing holy hand grenades. It is really hard to win when you shoot 26.7 percent for 40 minutes on the road, which is what we did in the second half of the USC game and the first half of the UCLA game.
Chasson Randle needs to make his bunnies. He blew (deliberate understatement) a lemming migration of bunnies against USC, and then started doing the same thing against UCLA. Our law firm of Shiller & Platz have surmised for several broadcasts that Chasson has struggled with the mental aspect of the game since his unfortunate foul at the end of the Minnesota game. I bet they are right, though I don't really know. Axioms about mental toughness and competitiveness are easy, but those types of situations can be brutal on earnest young men. And if the initial infection hits the psychological bloodstream (as it might have with Chasson), the secondary infections – spin this one on out yourselves. We won't even discuss the interim, except to say that his missed bunnies at USC were amongst the worst shots ever missed by a very good player in the history of the world. Thankfully, Chasson snapped out of it late in the UCLA game and found brain-dead attack mode, and closed with nine quick points on threes, frees and a sweet left-handed finish. In fact, he had two very nice off-hand finishes in traffic in the second half. Hopefully, the fog stays lifted.
Contrastingly, against USC, Aaron Bright did some good things. Just not enough of them. Maybe I am starting to be old school, but Aaron needs to stop being beaten to his left by the USC guards. Pressure defense is terrific, except when it results in too many Blue Bayou moments by guys that frankly couldn't scrape together two decent D-1 schollie offers. It is not just Aaron either. Aaron does get a lot of credit though for shouldering a big offensive burden against USC, for being forced to take a lot of late-clock shots in that game, and for coming away with 12 points, five assists and zero turnovers. He was also excellent getting fouled in that game, initiating some awkward contact so he could get to the line.
Robbie Lemons and Gabe Harris have both had their moments this season. And Christian Sanders, where have you gone? But our lack of consistent "whole package" play off the bench or by the starters or by our rotating wheel of third guard really reared its head in L.A. We can all say what we want about Coach Dawkins, but effort alone right now is not going to keep you in the starting lineup. So Andy Brown goes off for 17 against USC and he gets the off-guard start against UCLA because he earned it. But then he goes only 1-of-8, including missing some bunnies, and we are right back where we started with this fifth starter spot. Who wants it?
Final Thought: Nothing cures like home games. And historically, when things aren't going well, few teams have provided a nice home-cooked panacea like the Cougars of Wazzou. Woohoo.
Final Final Thought: In lieu of another negative, I was happy to see that once again John Gage stepped up and earned a starting spot and then did something with it. John averaged 9 and 4.5 over the weekend, so his slump is busted, and with Brock Motum coming to town, look for him to remain in the starting lineup.
Final Final Final Thought: Speaking of slump-busting, we shot 42 percent from deep in L.A., which is conservatively speaking, a huge improvement. Now if we could only shoot that well inside the paint, we would be on to something. Make the bunnies and away we go.
Seriously the Last Thought: I hope Maples isn't a morgue on Wednesday night. This is a big game for us. I hope the fossils remember where they put their season tickets!
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