Well, as everyone in Eagle Nation (and the entire Nation) could see, BC is not ready for the prime time when it comes to playing the elite. While yesterday's 85-60 blowout loss to Kansas yesterday was not surprising, it was a disappointment nonetheless. Disappointing in the sense that the Eagles looked passive and intimidated. They laid down.
The thing that really struck me was that the only guy who came to play was Tyrese Rice, the one BC guy who had both the mindset and the ability to run with the Jayhawks. Rice was on fire early and single-handedly kept BC in the game for a while, canning 18 first half points. But he simply could not carry the load alone, and when Kansas clamped down on him midway through the first half, the Jayhawks went on a 27-7 run while everyone on the BC side stood around waiting for Rice to make a play. The big culptis here were Tyler Roche, Shamari Spears and Rakim Sanders - these guys looked scared to death to take a shot or drive to the hoop. When Rice went to the pine with foul trouble early in the second half, I turned to my companion and said this might be just what they need to force someone to step up. Sure enough, Sanders started taking it to the hole, sparking a little BC run and ending up with 21 points.
These are the growing pains for Sanders. He might be the most talented guy on the roster, and absolutely, positively needs to be more assertive, particularly when the offense stalls. It's no secret that Rice has a bullseye on his back, he is one of the best guards in the country. Everyone will be designing their defenses around stopping him, and guys like Sanders have to step in and pick up the offense when they do. If that doesn't happen, BC is gonna get killed, and yesterday was Exhibit A.
1. Rice. I felt sorry for the guy, there was one occasion when the Jayhawks swarmed him with THREE guys at the top of the key, and no teammate made a cut to the basket. Unbelievable. His 20 points were all him, he was hot with the threeball and had a couple of spectacular drives, slicing through double coverage for his signature teardrop.
2. Oates. I run Oates down a lot, but he was absolutely a contributor yesterday, and I applaud him for it. He played with fire, grabbed some boards and chipped in some points (4-4 from the field). If Oates gives this kind of effort every game, he could be a big help in ACC play.
1. Tyler Roche. I should just cut and paste my comments from prior posts, because this is becoming a tired, recurring theme. NOTHING. The guy adds NOTHING to this team. He stands around and watches the offense, then runs down the floor and stands around and watches the defense. Another invisible line from Roche - no field goals, no points, no assists in 20 minutes. OK, he had 2 boards. Hooray. I think the rebounds bounced into his stomach as he was picking his nose at the top of the key. I'm getting angrier and angrier about having to watch this guy play so much. Al, 10 minutes a game, tops, off the bench to give someone else a breather, that's it for this stiff.
2. Tyrelle Blair. Kansas has 10 guards on their roster and only 2 big men, yet Blair had 0 field goals and only 5 rebounds. In contrast, the Jayhawks frontline (Arthur, Jackson) went a combined 19-25 from the floor with 16 rebounds. C'mon. I like Blair, but the inconsistency is infuriating sometimes.
3. Cory Raji and Biko Paris. I love Raji, but he looked scared and intimidated. Same goes for Paris. These guys have to realize they can play with the elite teams, cuz more are surely coming (Duke, UNC).
4. Rebounding. I played the game, and I know rebounding is all effort. Getting creamed on the glass to the tune of 33-21 says it all.
5. Free throw shooting. BC was 9-17 (53%), with guys not named Rice going 5-12. Horrible. Sanders was particulary bad, going 2-6. This is something Sanders really needs to work on if he's going to be a bigtime player, he's shooting under 50% on the season for crissakes. He has a nice stroke, so it's all repetition and concentration for him to improve.
6. Al Skinner. Kansas was killing BC with give and goes, and there were no defensive adjustments that I could see. I would have also gone with some kind of press to wake BC up a little, or packed it in with a tight zone to make them shoot from downtown. Also, I thought Al needed to play Paris with Rice more when Kansas went on it's big run, to give Rice a little break bringing up the ball if for nothing else. Al looked as asleep as his team.
All in all, not a good show for the Eagles, especially since it was a nationally televised game. I don't know what gives here, but it seems like BC gets clobbered every time the national cameras roll into town. Bad for PR and bad for self-esteem.
Going forward, BC has to regroup quickly with solid mid-major Robert Morris coming to Conte Monday. This thing has letdown/trap written all over it, coming off Kansas and right before ACC play resumes. Let's hope the Eagles have the maturity to put this ugly affair behind them and focus on a good rebound.