Monday, December 3, 2012

Perspective before the road trip

Hawaii v. UNLV

The Runnin' Rebels were what a pre-Khem Birch Rebels team should look like in the first half against Hawaii. Turnovers were forced, shots were blocked, defense was effective, and the Rebels worked the ball from the post to the three. It was fun basketball to watch, and I imagine the best basketball they have had the chance to play this season. Unfortunately, it could not be sustained for longer than a half.

Sitting comfortably on 49-27 half time lead the Rebels got lazy, selfish, and complacent about finishing off the Rainbow Warriors. Its understandable that a team could get that way -- this is a classic tortoise and the hare situation. Here's how things look not that bad, and then bad.

College Basketball

The Rainbow Warriors scored 8 more points than the Rebels in the second half, which it was critical the lead was 22 when the half started. If Coach Rice can get the guys to play with a reset button mentality - the score is mentally 0 to 0 after the half, then perhaps he can get a more focused effort out of them. This could apply in both really bad shooting nights in the first half, to really great ones as we saw on Saturday.

Injured Moser?

Late in Saturday's game Mike Moser re injured a groin injury that has been nagging him throughout the preseason. He is said to be a game time decision in Portland, a game in his home state. In general, the front line is playing well enough right now to not have a problem dispatching Portland, but this would be another disappointing chain of scheduling luck (previously, Canadian players couldn't participate in the Canada trip, and then the clearance came too late to prepare).

I am a huge fan of Coach Rice's recruiting tool of being able to say "If you join the Rebels, we'll schedule a road game in your hometown sometime during your career". And, I'm sure everyone hopes Mike Moser gets to play in front of all of the Mike Moser fans in Oregon who come see the Rebels. Good luck to Mike!

Tough Mountain

Thus far, the Mountain West has been a very strong conference in college basketball - maybe one of the strongest. This isn't going to be UNLV, SDSU, and  the rest of the teams. NO - There will likely be 4 tournament teams this year, and a strong argument for 5 if things continue the way they do.

Overall, the conference is 51-11 (W-L) and right now UNLV (24/20), SDSU( 23/21), and New Mexico (25/23) are ranked. Wyoming just beat our former tournament opponent, Colorado (19/19), by a score of 76-69 to stay an undefeated 8-0. Colorado State is undefeated as well at 6-0, but has yet to play a legit opponent. They'll get the chance next against Colorado - who will be angry from the Wyoming game.

So, while earlier events didn't lead me to want to revise predictions at all -- the toughness of the MWC may. Hopefully playing MWC foes helps the polls this time, not just the RPI. The only team in the MWC who doesn't have a winning record right now is Fresno State (3-3).

No comments:

Post a Comment