Friday, January 17, 2014

'Number 46 And Rising..'

      For those accustomed to the 'new normal' who haven't thrown themselves off the Bi-Hall observation deck, these pearls are offered. There's now been two games where JeffB. has had a full complement of players but even that comes with an asterisk because Matt Daley is operating under a minutes cap in his return from 'mono'. But with a half-Daley and a full Dylan (now with two games under his belt in his return), this is a better, in caps, basketball machine than the one that slugged its way through the first ten games. Because of the L's piling up, Midd is outside the top 45 for the first time since the 07-08 season, and only someone who might be better suited to being one of the inmates in the remake of "Cuckoo'sNest" would be saying - hey, not so fast! But like Bill Parcells said, you are what our record says you are. So right now I will settle for 46 and rising.

      Right now - road games and personnel issues aside, the record says we've been inconsistent, several times at less than our best, searching for answers, and growing. My take is all that is true, but this is not a lost season. It is a new, younger-than-average squad that has shown several flashes of brilliance and solid play. Those bright spots have been increasing. People have learned what they can do during this first half of the season. 'TheBoys' understand that there is no room for stumbles. There are games that should be 'W's, and Wesleyan and ConnCollege fit that bill. There are not stellar seasons underway in either Middletown or New London, and although The Panther Express will be carrying many nervous nellies south, it says here that the lamaze sessions to regulate their breathing should be de-minimus.

      The two big equalizers for any road game are 'the road' itself and the 3-ball. Wesleyan is a shadow of its team from the last few seasons. They're not quick, don't fire the 3-ball well, are limited up front as to 'O' and depth, and also have a bunch of new parts, that Joe Reilly's trying to fit together. In terms of road trips and what we've done so far this season, the road itself shouldn't be a great negative. In terms of athleticism, depth, and cohesiveness, TheBoys are well ahead on all counts, and should be focused because JeffB. understands what's at stake. The new line-up that opened against Tufts says Daley is approaching readiness. It also says that JakeB. is growing. He seemed more at ease and in the flow of the game the last two. Dylan's return gives us more options because he must be defended. That creates space not only for Hunter and The Saint, but also for Joey whether he's at the '2' or the point. With Daley and Dylan if James is in the game, he also gets additional space to drive the ball and from in close he's been very effective, particularly from the line. It doesn't matter when The saint plays. he will be there early, late or in the middle. Very little seems to bother him, and he's one the three you want to have the rock down the stretch becasue he is 'money' at the line. It says here that Wesleyan is 'do-able', and we can move on to Vadas and his Camels.

      Vadas is the key to ConnColl's effort. He's now got a couple of running mates in Lopez and McKinley, and facing a 1500 point scorer, we need to do whatever's necessary to not allow him to get off. He's going to like not having to face Nolan for the first time in four years and could be dangerous for that reason alone. But they've got 4 L's where they haven't played any real defense when it mattered. Torched by Eastern(24), Bowdoin(17), Salve- yes that Salve-(34!) and then allowing Colby(8) to come back and put them away, says that they are vulnerable to the max. They get us as a stand-alone game, but as long as TheBoys get a shoot-around on Saturday, and avoid any Chinese take-out, Midd should get to 10-and-5 (sounds like an old one-and-one drill or run suicides) by Sunday at about four. That won't get us above #46, but it's another positive step forward, fuels the idea that TheBoys can earn a home nescac quarter game, and will keep the Williams' showdown in focus. For now that's sufficient.

       Remember: "over the bar at The Tuscany Grill, down College Street, past the nuclear sub being refitted in dry dock, and off the bell in the chapel of the Coast Guard Academy, nothin' but net!"
Be well. Clubbo.          

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