Monday, January 17, 2011

Sports Roundup

Another big win for the Johnnies on Sunday, knocking off then #11 nationally Notre Dame. This was a Notre Dame team that was 14-3 and had handled SJU just the prior Saturday in South Bend. This game confirmed a few things to us. First, it's tough to win on the road in the Big East, and is therefore important to hold serve at home. This is hardly the only example, but this conference is just ridiculous on the road, and it was important for the Johnnies to get to 2-1 in conference at home as opposed to 1-2.

Second, the Johnnies proved that they can adjust a second time around against the same team, which is critical. Notre Dame looked like they were on another level just eight days earlier, and the roles were reversed yesterday. SJU played well and the Irish didn't, which was no doubt a factor. But they completely changed their defensive scheme, running a trapping zone press back into man for virtually the whole game, and it as airtight, causing a team that shredded them offensively last week to look overwhelmed and frustrated for most of 40 minutes of basketball.

Third, and related, the Johnnies established that the last two blowout losses to Notre Dame and Syracuse were just a part of playing a Big East schedule, not indicative of who they really are. After those two games it was difficult not to question this, and if their early season success was a little flukey. They've beaten three Top 25 teams in the first three weeks of conference play, and that's legitimate.

Unless something really good/bad happens the rest of the way, they are going to be on the bubble come selection time. They are currently 11-5, 4-2 Big East. They have 14 games left, 12 of them in the Big East. We are now at a point in the season where it is a reasonable exercise to look at where they are likely to be, and what they'll need to get in. They are currently have the 13th best RPI in the country and the #3 SOS. With the Big East being the Big East, and their only two non-conference games remaining against Duke and UCLA, that SOS number should hold if not get better, which is huge. But they still need to perform well against the tough schedule in order to hold that important RPI number as high as it is. If it stays anywhere as close to where it is, that should be enough to get in. 7-7 gets them to 18 wins, and if 6 or more of those are in conference that gets them to at least 10-8 in conference, which has been the big number the last few years it seems for Big East teams. That would mean one win in the Big East tournament and they are likely at 19 wins with their schedule, two wins and the should definitely be in with 20. Worse than 7-7, which is very possible, and they'll need more help in the conference tournament. I'd say they need at least 19, although I suppose it's not out of the question at 18. But they've put themselves in position.

Tough game for the Pats on Sunday, a somewhat shocking performance. I said going in that nothing would surprise me in that game given everything surrounding these teams in relation to each other this season. That held true for the most part, except I thought if the Jets won the Pats would make them work a lot harder than they did. I didn't envision them laying an egg. It was especially surprising to see Belichick and Brady be so central to the flop. By no means were they the only ones, but they are two of the toughest ones for the Pats to get little from and still win. Brady in particular, since he actually plays in the game and is by far their best player. I understand the Jets played very good D, especially in the secondary, making it tough for Brady to find someone open even when he had good protection. But he played a soft game in the pocket. There were times where he got knocked off his spot ever so slightly, seemed to have plenty of space to quickly step into and create more time for himself, and instead rushed a throw or - most shockingly - just rolled to the ground conceding the sack when the pressure wasn't yet at that overwhelming of a stage. It seemed like one hand on him or a body near him and the play was over. Very atypical. Just a really bad spot from that entire team, but give a lot of credit to the Jets as well.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pat,

Even I was dissappointed in the Patriots. What really surprised me was the lack of urgency they exhibited throughout the game- especially in the 4th quarter, when they were down 21-11 and ran 7 minutes off the clock and didn't score. Just very uncharacteristic of a Belichick team.

The key stat of the game was no Jets turnovers. The patriots had one of the worst defensives in the league in terms of yardage allowed during the regular season but were near the top in turnover differential (if not number 1). It would follow then that if the Jets didn't make mistakes and turn the ball over that they would have the opportunity to do some damage and that's exactly what they did. The Patriots were a bend but don't break defense all year. On Sunday they broke.

Patrick said...

bandi -

great point on the lack of jets mistakes. they did make one critical one. when they turned brady over for the first time in 300+ passes and got a return deep into patriot's territory, they tripped and blundered three straight quick plays and missed a field goal. at 0-0, i thought the game was over right there. i was thinking no way the jets can get that kind of break, not capitalize in spectacular fashion, recover from it and win this game. but from that point forward they played a near flawless football game. nothing fancy, but they outworked the patriots in every phase, which ties into your point about their lack of urgency. you don't want to oversimplify it, because there were a lot of competing factors here, and it is only a matter of time until we gladly get 500+ words from timc detailing many of them. but on it's most basic level, this was an instance of a jets team getting more up for this game and wanting it more. that cliche gets thrown around all too often but in this case it is poignantly applicable.

big, and tough, game for the johnnies tonight at louisville.

Anonymous said...

Pat,

Be honest... you stole "poignantly applicable" from a Coach Whitmore game recap email didn't you.

Anonymous said...

PF

I'm looking for a Knicks update here. Late November/early December they were as good as anyone. They had big wins over the Bulls (twice), Nuggets, Spurs, Thunder and Hornets. But they've dropped 4 of 5 and 9 of 15, including consecutive home losses against bad teams (the Kings and Suns). What are your thoughts about this team for the rest of this season? And do you think that Carmelo Anthony rumors have anything to do with the recent slide?

--the Gunn

the gm at work said...

Obviously the three big mistakes (the pick, the Crumpler drop, and the Chung drop) are what are going to be remembered. As they should. But I think Damon Amendolara's idea that Rex Ryan is more crazy-genius than just-plain-crazy (this is a reference to a long-ago track message board post) has legs. Did he bait the Patriots and Brady into stubborn pass-centric game planning, knowing that their secondary could make sure the receivers weren't going to be open? The trash-talking largely focused on Brady, both from Ryan and his foot soldiers. And it happened for two weeks, starting with "I know Brady thinks he does and all that." An interesting point.

Also, Sanchez played within himself, which is what you have to do where he is in his career.

Outcoached.

Pat, I'm happy for you that St. John's finally has a number next to their name again. I am not so thrilled, however, that you won't shut up about it, leading to further out-of-scope posts about a B-level basketball team.

TimC said...

Was just about to get started, then I noticed that the word verification was 'mizeri'. Hmmm. Maybe I'll let it simmer for a bit.

And 500 words, PF? Come on. I've got about 15,000 in me.

Patrick said...

there really isn't anything new to say about the knicks that we haven't known for a while. they are a much improved team that can play with and beat anyone on any given night but lack the depth to do so consistently. and that's what we are seeing now. it has nothing to do with november vs. now. their first five is still right there with anyone but that's not sustainable. we can talk about 6-9 in the last 15, but their 6 of those losses are boston, miami (twice), orlando, @LA, and @utah. mixed in are wins against chicago, oklahoma city, san antonio, @pheonix (i'm not sure a .500ish team is a "bad" team, especially on the road), and @portland. going 5-6 against those 11 teams is not indicative of a change from their early december play, it is indicative in a change from their early december schedule, and this was to be expected. bringing this back to my original point, the kicker over this stretch has been that after the boston (wednesday) and miami (friday) games they lost to cleveland (saturday) in overtime looking completely gassed from the previous two games all night. then after a respectable 2-2 west coast road trip and only one off day they lost to sacramento looking the same way. a home win against the pacers and a home loss against the suns is are the only other games during this period. so those two losses are really the difference, a deeper team probably goes 8-7, and against this kind of schedule only the top few teams in the league are going to hang their heads over something like that. which, to answer your question, is telling of where the knicks are, and that is exactly how i expect them to be for the rest of the season if the roster is unchanged and they stay healthy. they'll mostly dominate bad teams, play .500 or so basketball against top teams, but fatigue will only continue to become more of an issue and there will be bad losses mixed in. they'll get to the mid-40's in wins, be a 6 seed in the east, and whoever the 3 seed is will be thankful it's a 7 game series instead of a 5 because the knicks would be an even tougher out needing to steal only one road game to put the pressure on in a garden that has been nba basketball starved for a decade. considering who the likely 3 seed potentials are, the knicks will put up an energized effort early but won't have enough to upset any of them. none of this has anything to do with the carmelo talk, but rather the fact that they don't have carmelo and as such are one player short on a team that is otherwise ready to contend. as it is they are a good, not great, team that only gets the buzz they do because they are reviving the knicks for the first time in a long time and play really exciting hoops.

Patrick said...

*they won't have enough to upset any of the likely 3 seeds in a 7 game series. a 5 game series with the knicks involved as a 6 seed against one of the likely 3 seeds would have been a lot of fun this year.

dv -

we have a scope on this site?