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PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2005 2:04 pm 
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Seriously, I need help in dealing with something and you don't need to be a Tech fan to pitch in.

Last night GT lost to NCSU. GT, last year's national runner-up, with 6 returning contributors, lost at home to a team that scored only 10 points over the last 13:30 of the game. 18 turnovers. 51 total points. And that's not what hurts. This is:

Tech lost it's fourth game this season wherein they led or were close in the second half. As the game progressed their 3-point shooting failed, yet they continued shooting. As in without running any offense. As in with 28 seconds left on the shot clock. As in for periods of 6 posessions in a row and the bulk of 10 minute stretches.

Yesterday, 9 minutes to go, NCSU by 2 or 3 but with all five starters having 3 or 4 fouls each. Tech's done well from the line, they have slashing guards who should have the experience to know how/when to attack. Instead, they heave-hoed 3's like there were seconds left. PAUL HEWITT HAS NEVER CALLED A TIMEOUT TO RESET HIS OFFENSE IN THESE SITUATIONS! If you ask me either the kids aren't getting it during the game or their not getting it during practice in between games.

I can't stand it. I don't mind losing to better teams, there's nothing wrong in that. I can handle being in the middle of the pack if that's our lot in life, but this is unbearable. There's no way this is a collective meltdown without some top-down influence or lack there of. I haven't screamed and cursed like that since Tech lost the Peach Bowl to LSU years ago. And this is not good for me.

IMO Hewitt's political capital has expired now less than 1 year removed from the national championship game because we're thisclose to proving last year was a true aberration and that his coaching is in fact not that good. He's a great guy and this kills me to say this but as a fan I cannot go on rides like this. It is beyond frustrating.

What's the view like from the outside world, and has anyone encountered similar situations. I need to know how to cope, otherwise this is one Jackets and ACC hoops fan who will have to walk away.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2005 3:26 pm 
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Gunner, Even the best of teams have their ups and downs. It came so easy for GT last year and it seems so hard this year. I can sympathize with you.

I am a proud Illinois graduate, but more often than not in football, they disappoint. Illinois won the Big Ten (10-2) in 2001 and two years later with the same coach went (1-11). I don’t totally walk away from it, but I don’t let it get me down in those bad times by focusing my energy elsewhere.

Some people might characterize this as being a fair weather fan. I consider it being pragmatic. In this age of technology and never having enough time, I set the VCR for the games and then look at the box score and/or game summary to decide what parts of the game I want to watch, if any.

IMO, GT played above expectations last year and are playing well below them this year. I think that part of that has to do with catching other teams off guard one year and you being a targeted team the next.

As far as Hewitt goes, I think he is a good coach, but is in the same funk as the team. It also doesn't help that he maybe preoccupied with those Sebastian Telfair allegations.

Basketball is a momentum sport. GT doesn’t have it right now. Perhaps they can pull it together before the tournament. I wouldn’t want to play GT in the second round of the NCAA tournament like ESPN currently shows on their site (http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/bracketology ). Good luck to GT against all, but Illinois.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2005 12:56 pm 
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Gunner, you can't underestimate the disruptive effect of losing your best player for several weeks. The whole flow of the offense has to be reestablished. I think that Tech will get back on its feet after Elder gets back into the flow.

There are a few things that stike me about this team. I'm talking strictly on paper because I haven't seen them play yet this year. I remember that last year Hewitt used his bench a lot, and the numbers suggest that he is using it a lot this year as well. While this is a veteran team with 5 seniors, they also have 4 freshmen who are seeing significant playing time even though none of them are starting. That's a lot of freshment that are playing key roles, so the team may still be going through some adjustments.

This is one of the best rebounding teams in the country, but it is not a strong offensive rebounding team & its best scorers are on the perimeter. Despite the fact that they are also one of the best shot blocking teams in the country as well, they struck me as soft in the middle last year. Hewitt probably knows this better than anyone & there may be a method to his madness of taking quick 3's.

In the NC State game, in particular, Elder took the most 3's. Nothing wrong with that; he's a good 3-point shooter. Unfortunately, he missed them all. Live by the 3, die by the 3. They come in bunches & when you go cold, you look awful.

Tech did a lot of good things in this game & put themselves in a position to win, but clearly their horrendous 3-point shooting cost them the game. However, there were other little things that were a factor. They could have won the game even without the 3's, but they turned the ball over too much & State was very good on its limited free throw opportunities.

All coaches have their own philosophy & there are as many different philosphies as there are coaches. Furthermore, coaches tend to view the games more as part of a long movie, while wee fans tend to look at each game as a snapshot, or a microcosm all its own. I can't speak for Hewitt, but there may have been things that he is trying to accomplish with this team that were reflected in the game.

First, I noteced that Tech's 3-point attempts are down since the conference season began. This may simply be a reflection of tougher opposition & fewer field goal attempts overall. Or it may be a reflectio of the fact that one of their better 3-point shooters has been out for most of the conference season so far. However, It may be that Hewitt is trying to establish something with this team & that he wants them to take more 3's; he may be actively encouraging them to do so if they have gone away from one of their strengths.

Some of your criticisms seem to indicate that you simply have a different approach to the game than Hewitt. It soesn't make either of you right; I'm sure you can both find others to agree with you.

Most coaches encourage good shooters to continue shooting when the shots aren't falling, believing that they will come. As far as not running any offense & shooting with 28 seconds left, that may be their offense. You'd know better than I. Yousee this approach with Pitino-coached teams all the time, but never with a Bob Knight-coached team. Different philosophies.

Why should Hewitt call time out to reset his offense if the kids are running the offense that he's asked them to run? I'm making a big assumption here, but that's my guess. If the coach doesn't call time out, it's because he likes what he's seeing & he wants to encourage the kids to keep running the offense - even if that means quick 3's & even if they've been missing so far. Some teams apply pressure with their defense, others apply pressure with their offense. They want to force teams to run back down the floor after they've been on offense because they know that a quick scoring attempt is coming. The offense also has a better opportunity for offensive rebounds if the defense hasn't had time to get set & since, Tech doesn't rebound well off the offensive boards, this may be calculted. Paul Westhead did the same thing with his 7-second offense at Loyola-Marymount &other teams had the tongues hanging out from all the running. Coaches are willing to live with missed shots if they feel that the overall effect is to wear the other team out.

Coaches that press in the first quarter don't do it to because of the benefits in the first quarter; the benefits come in the fourth quarter when you have tired the other team out. The most interesting number I see in Tech's season stats is turnovers. Tech averages 15+ turnovers per game. That's a lot of turnovers for a good team to make. However, they also force 16 TOs per game from their opponents. So, both teams are turning the ball over a lot. That suggests that a frenetic style of play is by design.

Tech's strengths are defensive rebounding & shot blocking. If that were my team & my players weren't especially strong in offensive rebounding & I had a deep bench, I know what I'd do: I'd run a quick strike offense. Tech plays excellent defense & shoots a pretty high percent, so it looks to me that this is what they're doing. Against, State, they actually shot less than their usual # of 3's, which suggests that the misses did eventually effect their approach.

Hewitt's approach may look sloppy at times, but I think that the goal is winning ugly. I'd hang in there. He is a good coach & I think that this team will come around, given the # of seniors & their tournament experience. A loss to State may feel bad, but there are no bad teams in the ACC - okay, Miami & VA Tech. The point is that you lost a 2-point game to a good team. It happens. You also don't know what the kids are going through in their lives off the court & what minor injuries they may be playing with.

Patience, my friend. :)


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2005 1:23 pm 
Thanks for the comments, folks. Friar, I understand much of what you're saying and can accept that if the players are doing what he's told them then so bit. My issue is then I don't see where his approach is going with regard to this season. A few points:

- Yes, there are typically a lot of turnovers in a Tech game. I believe in Sunday's game with NCSU the Wolfpack had 14 to's in the 1st half. Tech's points off those turnovers? 0! Tech also has a nasty habit of giving the ball up at the top of the perimeter, endemic of a team that would take a lot of 3-point shots but also, in Tech's case, the result of too many (IMO) rushed guards trying to force the pace on a breakaway where they didn't truly have numbers.

- While Miami and VT are ironically contributing to the depth of the conference, NCSU isn't as good as expected. Coming into Sunday their RPI was 121, IIRC. Playing them at home, having already played them once this season and knowing what they do, Tech failed to break the mold in how we played against them. In fact, we played exactly the way NCSU wanted.

- With respect to the shooter's mentality and the 3's, there's a fine line between riding the law of averages and doing the samething over and over while expecting different results, otherwise known as insanity. My issue is that Tech has other strengths that proved effective on select plays but were otherwise not utilized. I'll be calling Coach Hewitt about this one on Thursday's show.


It's been some time since a team has appeared in the national championship game one season and failed to make the NCAA's the next season. I don't recall when it was but someone on the radio said it was Syracuse, and that team had an overall better record and a better conference record than the Jackets will likely have. Losing one game is nothing, but a pattern has been established and now last year's national runner-up is facing a losing conference record, maybe 5 wins over top 50 clubs and ultimately no ticket to the big dance. I can think of fewer flops than that scenario.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2005 2:37 pm 
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Gunner, just to offer a different perspective . . .

Mike Greenfield is one of the more reliable handicappers on line IMO. He ranks Tech 35th & State 55th. He ranks VA Tech 99th & Miami 50th. I knew Miami was respectable, but I don't have a lot of respect for their program & don't expect them to hold up. Greenfiels ranks Tech 3 points better than State. With the home court advantage, they should have won that game, but it doesn't take much to throw a game off a little bit between 2 teams this close. 1 for 14 from 3 will certainly dl it.


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