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Author Topic: Western Michigan - Postgame Thread  (Read 4703 times)

Offline Ciepierball

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Western Michigan - Postgame Thread
« on: November 15, 2015, 03:10:15 AM »
Because of the shoutbox, we barely have a real thread now after a game, but I wanted to put one out there so that we can start discussing the team, because finally, after ten years, there is something to discuss.  There is a coach that actually has a strategy out there, and we are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

I wouldn't think of a better win than today for the first game of the season.  Western Michigan is actually a very good team, and will probably win 17-20 games this season, and be strong in the MAC.  If we would have led the entire game and won, people wouldn't have been that impressed.  However, the fact that we struggled, made adjustments, played outstanding defense, I think many people see what this team can be this year, and in the years to come.  Want to go over a few points...

I'm sure you guys are loving the packline defense...before coaching with the Illinois Stars, I didn't know much about it.  I knew it was something that Dick Bennett would use at Wisconsin, knew it's basic principles, but never appreciated it until I actually ran it and saw how it works.  How are you guys liking it now that you saw it first hand today?  Notice the drives to the basket are few and far between?  Notice that rebounding is much easier?  Notice the help comes that much quicker?  And notice that for a team to really get big on you, they need to get hot from the outside?  For Game #1, with a team that for years hasn't played crap for defense, I thought they did an extremely good job and bought into what the coaches are teaching the players.  I even though Hamilton and Henry, two horrible defenders, looked pretty good at times on that side of the court.  The fact that we have a few perimeter players that are really long and aggressive make this defense even more effective.  Defense won the game today, held a team to 37% shooting, and forced 14 turnovers.

DePaul now knows how to create offensive opportunities...how many times over the past 10 years have we seen just 1-on-1 basketball without any sort of offensive movement?  Today I think you saw a ton of sets out there with multiple options.  Lots of DC screens, Horns, double-screens, and even using the post to screen defenders for baseline drives.  I saw someone mention in the shoutbox that Billy was doing too much 1-on-1 with the shot clock winding down, however did you look at the other 4 guys, and what they were doing?  There were options...they just weren't watching.  I always said that I thought Leitao was impressive on how everyone in the gym knew Drake was getting the ball, and somehow he always got it to him and got him free.  He's very clever on the offensive side of the ball, and I love how he's using the post and midrange to get alot of opportunities for this team.

Seems like everyone knows their role...what I loved about today is that it was a "team" win.  There was no selfish play, no pouting, and everyone seemed to buy into what Leitao is trying to do.  Last year if Hamilton just got 5 shots you would have seen him pouting on the bench.  Did you notice that even with just 5 shots, he had a great game, and he was engaged?  Wood last year was selfish, and never seemed happy on the bench.  Notice how he seemed to embrace his role and gave 100% out there?  When was the last time we saw someone pour their heart out in the post like Stimage, going after every loss ball?  Leitao seemed to have found a niche for Henry in the midrange, and Henry seemed to love being out there.  The bench is shorter than with previous coaches, however I think it helps us in terms of everyone knowing their roles, keeping some continuity out there, and everyone seems to have bought it.  No one folded, and it could have been easy to fold after halftime.

We have two freshmen that are ready, and three that aren't...when I watch DePaul, I look at the players in the eyes of a coach, rather than the eyes of a fan.  Who would I put out there to win, versus who would I like most to watch out there.  With that being said, I'm in favor of how Leitao is playing the freshmen, playing the guards, but not the bigs.

I know people were loving Fred Scott during the open practice and exhibition, where he was hitting open shots, dishing assists, showing some ballhandling...however he's the worst defender on the team.  I'm glad the coaches are probably thinking the same thing, and keeping him on the bench right now.  I would actually redshirt him if I could, because I think he will be decent once he learns defense, but I don't see it happening this year.  Barry and Phillips...they aren't ready either.  Offensively limited, not too strong right now, and I would guess one or both won't be here next year....just don't see them being that tough kind of kid that is a Leitao player.

On the other side I saw people saying "I don't think Gazi is that good".  Well, I'm glad the coaches agree with me, and he played 30 minutes and started.  Offensively he had a bad game today, however defensively he's our best player on the perimeter, and is also probably our fastest player with the ball.  Love his IQ out there, and he'll only get better.  Cain has the ability to get into the lane and make things happen.  Didn't do it today, but I know he can, and it's going to help throughout the season.  Like his passion too.

Had some nice recruits at the game...we had kids at the game, and what I love about this is that this would be a game that would impress me if I was a recruit, or a HS/AAU coach.  You saw adjustments, you saw how he plays players to their strengths, you saw energy, passion, and defense.  Thought today could have been a very good recruiting tool.

I'm excited!
"In life if you don't perform at things you're expected to perform at, you are fired." - Jerry Wainwright after Alabama State game.

Offline VUWildcat2103

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Re: Western Michigan - Postgame Thread
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2015, 07:03:53 AM »
DePaul was extremely frustrating the first half yesterday, as I saw a team that was unwilling / ability to get shots off near the basket. So it was bad three after bad three. Second half, they only took 4 3's (and yes they missed them all). Myle Henry should get most the credit for the win. He was they player who spurred the comeback.
Gazi was locking down Hipster Haymond in the second half, which neutralized his utterly bad shots. And I called out Garrett for this last year, so I must do it for Gazi, but 30 minutes and zero rebounds and you are 6'4?
Rashaun... Please work on your free throws. You are a big need on this team with your defense and rebounding, but even Andre Brown shutters with fear when you step to the line.
The team needs to understand that officiating is going to be different this year. It is all about freedom of motion. DePaul had some players who were close to fouling out, but benefited from it as WMU fouled us and fouled us and we got to the line.
I'd give this performance a C+/B-

Offline lake county fan

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Re: Western Michigan - Postgame Thread
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2015, 08:19:14 AM »
The defense was very good and won this game going forward I hope the shooting improves. The next 6 games on the road tough way to start

Offline Q3DePaul

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Re: Western Michigan - Postgame Thread
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2015, 08:37:20 AM »
Let me preface by saying I am super pumped they came back and won.  The team played great in the 2nd half (especially on defense) and really fought to win this one.  However, let's keep in mind this was a Western Michigan team playing w/o their best player (Connar Tava) who was out with a broken foot and we barely won.

Gazi played terrific D on #1 in the 2nd half and I really think his D was the x-factor in the game.  Henry provided MUCH needed offense too but he didn't look as smooth out there as he did last year.  He forced up two really bad threes that looked like he was going to shoot them before he even got the ball.

I understand the D is probably going to be our calling card but the offense under Leitao was never a thing of beauty.  He had Drake on his 3 teams in his first go around and the offense always looked blah.  In the 1st half yesterday we saw that happens when we don't have a lights out shooter or someone who can get their own shot.  We only scored 24pts and had an 11pt deficit going into the locker room.  It will be a lot harder to come from behind against better teams when our offense isn't clicking.

I have to disagree with one thing you noted Ciepier.  Tommy is clearly the same player he was last year in terms of selfishness / attitude.  He had a near meltdown in the last 4 mins of the game.  I'm not sure what caused it but I am guessing it was when Leitao was going offense / defense with him and Stimage.  I'm not sure if anyone else at the game saw it but it was BAD.  So noticeable that even Leitao, Carter AND Tibali had to talk to Tommy separately when he was pulled.  I do agree that the other players "get it" and look to be willing to sacrifice themselves for the team but we can not throw Tommy in that group yet...

Also, I'm not sure how it showed up on TV but McGrath-Phillips was pretty packed.  I think they got the students there promising wristbands to a food truck event after the game (they had to stay until the end to get them) but even the non-student crowd was very impressive.  For the most part all the bleachers were pretty filled.

Don't get me wrong...I'm happy with the W and it looks like we will be better this year.  Tuesday is the first real test to see how this team does against pretty good competition. 


Offline Ciepierball

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Re: Western Michigan - Postgame Thread
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2015, 12:28:45 PM »
Love this convo!  Lots of say based on what others commented....

I am in partial agreement with what Q3 said, however I don't think Gazi's defense is what won it for us, rather it was the team's defense that did.  I thought DePaul did an amazing job at closing down the driving lines to help someone like Gazi cover someone on the perimeter.  We very much play a team defense, so I think the team needs to be credited.  However, i do think two stood out.  The first is Gazi, who I think everyone would agree with.  The second is Stimage.  He was quick to the ball, blocking shots, playing with energy, and both of these guys did something no one else was doing....TALKING.  They are always directing their teammates on defense.  I think one play personified these two players, and our defense.....the one where it was a fast break, Gazi was chest-to-chest with the guy and partially blocked the shot, and then Stimage came in and cleaned up the rest.  That one play showed me alot.

I would also agree with Q3, and disagree with FJ, that Henry wasn't the person to get credited for this win.  Yes he scored at some critical times, however it was through the flow of the offense, and it's not like he put us on his back.  I think if Henry wasn't in there, someone else would have converted.  He did play good tough, don't get me wrong.  Love his midrange game.

So in the second half, you can see that we played a backline, however he had Gazi play like a wrestler, where he was all the way out on the perimeter denying the ball and be there for early recovery in case of kickouts.  When this happens, you're sticking with your guy, that's it, you're not being a ball hawk, and you're boxing out your guy, that's it.  With that being said, you're not going to rebound very well at all.  If Gazi did rebound well in this situation, it would have been a couple....so not having any rebounds shouldn't be alarming.  They played Cain the same way at times with Wilder....he also had zero rebounds.  But Gazi played a very good game....just not on paper.  And his shots weren't utterly bad, rather good shots that did not go in.  May have been nerves, but the staff would still tell you he's the best shooter on the team......and he did play 30 minutes yesterday.  If anything, I'd want to see more assists from Gazi than one.

If we are calling out rebounders, FJ, you mentioned Henry was the hero yesterday....he's 6'7", 225lbs, playing the frontline, and he only had 3 rebounds.  I would expect this to be higher.

I didn't get to see Tommie have a meltdown...wish I did.  But I couldn't head out, but from the TV's view, he looked really engaged during the whole game.  I was happy to see that.  Obviously I missed something, but hopefully it isn't anything bad that'll creep up during other games.
"In life if you don't perform at things you're expected to perform at, you are fired." - Jerry Wainwright after Alabama State game.

Offline VUWildcat2103

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Re: Western Michigan - Postgame Thread
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2015, 01:00:44 PM »
Henry does need to rebound better, no denial of that. Nor did I say he was great yesterday. Just saying, he was they key in the comeback. I find it interesting that his points came because of the offensive flow, yet the same flow was there for all others and all other DePaul players went 15-39; take out Tommy and it is 11-34.

You can say Gazi played a very good game, but that is simply your opinion and others have differing opinions. He had an solid game at best in my opinion. If someone is a metrics/advanced metrics person, the efficiency numbers from last night were; Henry 16, Garrett 15, Hamilton 13, wood 10, Stimage 3, Gazi -1.

 


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