On the 'storm clouds gathering' the current score is the naysayers and 'nervous nellies', one and Clubbo, a big fat zero. With Bates rolling into town tonite and the Jumbo's from Tufts on Sunday, those clouds certainly look ominous. And I'm certain that the Rumplestiltskin characters inhabiting the hollows near Lefrak or the bars along Spring Street are clapping their hands together with glee as they dance around their nightly fires hoping that TheBoys have less luck in putting together an answer to their current woes than the princess had in guessing his name in the mythical fairy tale. And although the aforementioned Clubhead, if he thought about it, might be currently trying to spin himself out of his prediction that 'this team is about to jell', when in fact they played like sour jelly, I'll stand by TheBoys.
This is a seasoned group at the top. Joey and James are as tough as they come. But most of us older Panthers know you need at least five to dance. We're from an era or two, where having only two or three on the floor was enough to tease the crowd (if such a meager count could pass for a crowd) for thirty minutes, before people ran out of gas, or fouled out, and defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory. As bad as these seasons seemed to people on the outside, my squads pretty much hung together trying to right the ship, and we know to this day we were better for it. Although my crystal ball may have been a little fuzzy on Plattsburgh, there were positives. Matt Daley's return wasn't long enough to carry an 'O' that is struggling, but he scored easily. More minutes, as he gets to full strength, will mean more touches for him and he can have the kind of impact that will pick up the whole 'O'. With Daley down low, it gave Joey a couple of options if he drove the ball. Without him, not so much. For Joey to be most effective he needs that option. That also affects the perimeter, where if people have to sag to help with Daley, then maybe those guys don't recover in time to catch up with Hunter or TheSaint on the kick-out pass. With better looks, their percentages should get out of the deep freeze. It's an easy game but the connectable parts need to be there.
If- and it's a big one- Dylan returns tonight, everything said about options is multiplied, and the 'O' becomes an engine that is guaranteed to work way better. But taking the downside of that argument with Daley in the 24-minute range, and no Dylan, what needs to be done. We are capable of scoring the ball and playing enough defense to give us a strong chance particularly at home. Look to the not so long-ago efforts against St. Mary's and Skidmore, either of which would suit most of us just fine. TheBoys need to find some answers. It is their - individually and as a collective - call. You simply can't leave a guy (like Correa of Platts) alone repeatedly on his main spot on the floor. Start by standing on that spot. Force him to move over, or get up on him and body up one time hard. You need to make shooters prove themselves. We can start with Safford and Boornazian at eight tonight. We haven't been doing that recently.
Where the answers are going to come from, I won't guess, but there are several suitable candidates. My take is it may have already begun. Although the Salve game was dismissable because of the trip and the health issues, the inability to score against Plattsburgh highlighted the fact that this is a crisis of confidence, which may have been born from being unable to dig ourselves out of the hole in the last five minutes in Newport. No time like the present. Man up, and both Bates and Tufts are do-able and the storm clouds pass without a storm.
Remember: Off the BloodyMary glass at ThePineRoom, across the Otter Creek bridge, out of Dick TheHealer's whirlpool, and over Matt Jennings' mike, nothin' but net". Go Panthers. Be well. Clubbo.