Monday, September 12, 2011
MIA in Milwaukee
WOW! Last Saturday's 26 point blowout at Marquette was very painful to watch to say the least. 24 turnovers, 39.7% FG shooting, including a season low 21.1% 3pt. FG shooting, left a sour taste in many Irish fan's mouths. The only bright spot in this contest was the dominant play of Luke Harangody. Luke recorded his 11th double-double of the season with 29 points and 14 rebounds.
One of the more disturbing trends playing out this season is the play of Junior swingman Ryan Ayers. I hate throwing players under the bus, but Ayers' play has to be addressed. For two seasons now, we've heard how Ryan just lights it up in practice and is one of the best shooters on the team, period! I'm not denying that he isn't a good shooter. When he actually does shoot the rock, he generally makes it. On Saturday, he was non existent; not that it would have made a huge difference in the game because of the Irish's poor shooting, but, MAN, can't he penetrate or shoot the damn ball? 0-for-3 shooting, one assist, one steal, and two rebounds, is not going to cut it in the Big East. Ayers is supposed to be a leader on this team, so he better start playing like one soon. Good news for him is that Cincinnati comes to town tomorrow night. If you recall, Ayers had a career day hitting on four treys in a key conference road win for the Irish last season. Maybe this will be his breakout game to ignite his season.
Now for all the Brey, nay-sayers. Yes this was an awful loss. In fact it was Brey's worst loss as head coach for the Irish. The previous worst for Brey's boys was last season's 66-48 loss at Georgetown. Overall during his tenure here in South Bend, Brey has lost a total of 81 games, which roughly averages about 10 losses per season. Out of his 81 losses, 21 (25.9%) of them have been by 10 points or more,
6 (7%)of those losses were by 15 points or more, while 15 (18.5%) of those losses were between 14 and 10 points. 39 (48%) of Brey's losses have been by five points or less, and 21 (25.9%) losses were between nine points and six points. 25 (30.8%) of his losses have been at the JACC, 16 (19.7%) are at a neutral site, and 40 (49.3%) have been at visiting arenas. To sum it up, Brey's squad has been very competitive during losses and rarely lose at home, which could not be said during the John MacLeod years.
74 percent of Mike Brey's squad's losses were by 10 points or less. 74 PERCENT, people! I know that he doesn't have a lot to show for it, but in one of the best leagues, year-in and year-out, I do believe he deserves a little bit of slack too! He's the first coach in ND history to lead the Irish to three consecutive NCAA Tournaments, which includes a Sweet 16 appearance, and a Big East West Division Title. On a football first campus, men's hoops has basically been the red-headed stepchild of the athletic department. Playing in one of the worst facilities in the conference and amongst BCS confence schools, it would be very difficult to field a Top 25 program every single year.
What makes it even worse is the fact, that the athletic department and upper administration don't care about some of the Olympic sports, such as, men's and women's hoops, and the perennial Top 10 ice hockey program. So you mean to tell me, ND cannot build a new basketball arena, like Pittsburgh, and also build a separate ice hockey arena for a much deserving program? Don't tell me there isn't space on campus, because that's hogwash. I'll leave that debate for another day. But to get back to my original point, is that Mike Brey is a good coach and is the right man for this job.
I do post a question for all of Brey's critics,namely, Georgia Irish, you putz!. Name me someone (other than Bobby Knight, Coach K., Bill Self, Roy Williams, etc.) who can do better with what we have? I bet the list will be very short, to say the least.
Mike Brey and his squad are still on track to have a phenomenal year. I don't see anymore losses like the one that took place Saturday happening again anytime soon; and that's a fact!