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24 percent

January 3, 2013

My goodness, wasn’t that terrible.

That was the only thing I could think last night, as I left Rupp Arena.

There were a lot of terrible things about that game, and last night they were all just tumbling through my mind, willy-nilly. Allowing an opponent to make 52% of their shots. 19 turnovers. Being out-rebounded 52-27. Only drawing 9 fouls (though on the bright side, EMU was 4-4 on free throws).

I want to focus, however, on one specific issue that has a lot of EMU basketball fans concerned. 24% shooting.

Just looking at this aspect of the box score from last night makes me depressed. Austin Harper went 3-5, including 1-1 beyond the arc. Jalen Ross was 2-4, including 1-2 outside the arc. From there it goes downhill. Fast. Jamell Harris was 2-5. Glenn Bryant was 4-13. Derek Thompson was 2-10. Daylen Harrison was 2-14. Da’Shonte Riley was 0-3. J.R. Sims was 0-6.

24%. That’s the bad news.

Here’s the good news. EMU is not really a 24% shooting team. They’re not great, but they’re not that bad. For the season, they’re at 38.6%. Before last night, their worst shooting game of the season was at Syracuse, where they shot 29.5%. At Michigan, arguably the best team the Eagles have faced, they shot 35.5%. Not great, but not so terrible either.

NCAA Basketball Stats

Here’s the other good news. None of their game results to date matter.

This was never a team that was going to get an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. From the start of the season, the only way they’d realistically get in is by winning the MAC. Neither the win over Purdue, nor the loss at Kentucky, nor anything else that’s happened so far has any impact on the MAC race, except one thing.

After playing at the Carrier Dome, after playing at the Crisler  Center, after playing at Rupp Arena, do you think this team is going to be even the slightest bit intimidated when they go to Bowling Green on January 12, or Ohio on January 30, or any other MAC road game? After facing Nerlens Noel and Willie Cauley-Stein, do you think Riley and Balkema will find Zeke Marshall intimidating? Not a chance.

The one thing that matters so far this season — the only thing that matters so far — is what the team has learned. How they’ve grown. We won’t know for sure for a few more weeks, but my sense is still that this team is entirely capable of getting the job done in the MAC.

From here on out, there are three goals: repeat as MAC West Division champions, finish in the top four overall in the MAC, and then win the MAC tournament. If the team manages that, yesterday’s 90-38 drubbing, yesterday’s 24% shooting, yesterday’s 19 turnovers, all will be forgotten.

The real season starts January 9.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Rob Kull permalink
    January 3, 2013 2:41 pm

    I agree with you 100% that’s why I like the playing these tough opponents out of conference. I hope they learned a lot for the up coming Mac schedule.

  2. Kenneth Barna permalink
    January 3, 2013 7:51 pm

    Dear cmadler,
    Your initial point is spot on, and is what I have complained about most of this season. My fear is that the poor shooting will continue. My complaints about poor shooting is the missing of lay-ups, put-backs, and short jumpers. If, we are missing those after fifteen games, we will continue to miss them all season long.
    If, intimidation is a factor, what about losses to Illinois-Chicago, and Oakland? Was Eastern intimidated then, too? I just think this is a bad team, and they will continue to play badly.

    • Bobby Wicks permalink
      January 3, 2013 10:16 pm

      I agree, this team is horrendous. I don’t care who you are playing, if you lose 90-38, what is the point of your season? Even when this team eeks out boring, low scoring wins against bad teams, it is impossible to enjoy the victory. I find it interesting how so many people jumped all over Ken Karcher for his football offense, yet people here are perfectly fine with coach Murphy’s unbelievably inept offense. I’m done with this team.

      Btw, nice 0 point effort out of Da’Shonte Riley. Way to step up and be a man. That guy is the biggest stiff in the history of EMU basketball.

      • cmadler permalink*
        January 4, 2013 11:36 am

        The key difference between Karcher and Murphy is that the offense is Karcher’s only responsibility. He was the offensive coordinator. When the offense was bad he was completely failing in his job. Murphy is responsible for both the offense, which is bad, but not 24% bad, and the defense, which is actually fairly good. You can’t fire Murphy for the bad offense but still keep him for the good defense.

        Also, there’s a truism that says that you recruit offense and coach defense. Murphy is doing a fine job of the latter, and in the off-season we all thought he was doing a pretty good job of the former. They certainly haven’t lived up to that pre-season expectation (most notably Glenn Bryant), but I still think they’ve got enough offense to win the MAC West on the strength of their defense.

  3. Bobby Wicks permalink
    January 4, 2013 8:14 pm

    Cmadler, I could not disagree more. First off, this proposterous notion that Murphy’s defense is good is just plain WRONG. What is EMU giving up vs “good” teams? He runs a zone defense no matter the situation, no matter the opponent. He does not adjust based on the opposition’s personnel, because he only knows ONE defense and that is the matchup zone. Great! he learned that a Syracuse. What else does he bring to the table? His lame zone is ALWAYS going to get lit up vs a decent shooting opponent.

    As for Ken Karcher (John Elway’s former backup in Denver) where were the accolades when his offenses went on offensive explosions? The Toledo game immediately comes to mind and it was nothing but crickets here. All the credit went to the players instead of the scheme. Tell me when Rob Murphy had ONE great offensive showing in his time here. Just give me one game against a legitimate DI basketball team….thought so.

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